Nothing gave Ben Bernie a bounce like beer. His
Pabst-sponsored radio program got a Blue Ribbon hypo when prohibition was
scuttled in 12/32, permitting the company to put alcohol back in their brew by
spring '33. From there, the Old Maestro conducted for a winner team, him the first
on radio to sing praise of brewmeisters able finally to put a kick back in
their beverage. The good news tip-toed in, Ben not saying "beer"
outright during his 3-21-33 broadcast, but making it clear via buzz phrasing that
Pabst would soon put a head on bland near-beer and malt they'd been
Volstead-obliged to sell ("things are brewing"). Within a couple
weeks, Ben openly advertised a stronger potion, and saw his ratings hop
for the roof. The "Yowsah" man had been strong currency for
vaudeville, bandstands, and radio. He'd stay hot for another decade after this. Gone since 1943, Bernie resurrected circa 1977
when pop artist Chic recorded Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah) and got BB's signature
phrase onto Billboard's Top 100 as though the Old
Maestro had never left. Bernie was also caricatured a lot in cartoons, and
those played TV non-stop from the fifties forward.
So Loew's State in Cleveland had a triple volley for that summer show in 1934. Bands like
Bernie's were especially appealing to younger audiences, said Variety.
Presentation houses liked music aggregation too because it could fill a whole
liveportion --- no need for a usual four or five acts to support the movie.
Such was another nail in the heart of vaudeville. Bernie and "all the
lads" from his radio roost was all the entertainment a stage could want
before lighting up the screen with, in this case, Hide-Out, an MGM programmer
second-billed as it might have been had Loew's gone with a pic
duo. What got notice and publicity in local press was Laurel and Hardy and their newest, Them Thar
Hills, featured as it was on the Cleveland Plain Dealer's entertainment page (above),
along with Bernie. If Ben was the cocktail, L&H were surely the shaker:
lots on a fence would have tipped in Loew's favor upon seeing that those funnymen were
in again. For purpose of the Plain Dealer and their cartoonist, it was
Stan/Babe who were topping the bill.
More fruit of Prohibition ending at Greenbriar Archive: What, No Beer.