Born Aug 31, 1903 – Died March 16, 1983
Arthur Godfrey was a very popular radio and TV entertainer in the 40's and 50's. He was born in New York City, and served four years in the Navy as a radioman from 1920 to 1924. He enlisted in the Coast Guard as a radioman from 1927 to 1930. He was stationed at the Coast Guard Yard in Curtis Bay, MD, just south of Baltimore. When his enlistment was up the Coast Guard was instrumental in Godfrey obtaining his first commercial radio job at WFBR, a Baltimore radio station. Godfrey was always proud of his association with the Navy and the Coast Guard.
Later in 1930 he became a staff announcer for NBC and remained there until 1934. In addition to announcing, Godfrey sang and played the ukulele. In 1934 he became a freelance entertainer, until 1945 when he joined CBS Radio where he hosted Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts, a program featuring rising young performers such as the lovely Carmel Quinn. In 1948 the program began to be simultaneously broadcast on radio and television, lasting until 1958. This program presented to the public many future stars including Pat Boone, The Chordettes, Patsy Cline, Julius La Rosa, The McGuire Sisters, Carmel Quinn and even opera singer Marilyn Horne.
In 1949 he fronted a daily TV program, Arthur Godfrey and his Friends, lasting until 1959. This was replaced by the radio program Arthur Godfrey Time in 1960, lasting until 1972.
Arthur Godfrey was also interested in aviation, obtaining a pilot's license in 1950. He was friends with Eddie Rickenbacker of Eastern Airlines and Godfrey extensively promoted air travel on his radio shows. He was an honorary captain for Eastern Airlines and made a movie promoting air travel and Eastern Air Lines. In January 1954 Godfrey buzzed the control tower of Teterboro Airport in his Douglas DC-3 and his license was suspended.
Godfrey also made a documentary "Flying with Arthur Godfrey" in 1951. This color film features Arthur Godfrey flying an Eastern Air Lines Constellation from Idlewild to Miami with legendary Eastern Captain Dick Merrill. Captain Eddie Rickenbacker is also prominently featured in the film. The film has been digitally remastered to DVD and is available for $9.99 plus shipping at http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=6500124870&category=810 The film runs for almost an hour. It's a trip back in time as Arthur lights up a Camel in the cockpit while preparing to take off and offers one to Dick Merrill, who declines, and to the flight engineer who accepts. They also shut down 3 engines inflight to show the power of the Constellation's engines.
Godfrey also made three movies: Four For Texas (1963), The Glass Bottom Boat (1966), and Where Angels Go...Trouble Follows (1968). In 1988 he was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame. Arthur Godfrey died in New York City.
Arthur Godfrey also extensively promoted tourism in Miami and Miami Beach for many years, often hosting his show in the winter from Miami Beach. A major east-west road on Miami Beach is named Arthur Godfrey Road and connects the west end of the Julia Tuttle Causeway (I-195) to A1A on the east side of Miami Beach.
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