Wally Butterworth

Hebert Wallace “Wally” Butterworth (October 25, 1901 – February 24, 1974) was an American radio announcer and host of variety and quiz shows.

Born in Philadelphia, Butterworth aspired to be a singer from an early age. He took singing lessons and after graduating from Swarthmore High School as president of his class, went on two successful singing tours in Canada and the eastern United States.

Butterworth auditioned for the role as an announcer for NBC radio in New York City in the early 1930s. He got the job and was stationed in Chicago, Illinois. He covered the Chicago Civic Opera, the Symphony, football games and livestock parades. After a stint in the Navy, he was hired as the announcer of Vox Pop, but in 1936, co-host Jerry Belcher left the program, and Butterworth took over as host. In 1939, the show moved from NBC radio to CBS radio.

His work on Vox Pop led Butterworth to host and create other quiz programs, some of his own design. This continued from the late 1930s until the early 1960s. Butterworth lost a lawsuit against General Electric over a contract for a television quiz show which he felt was directly modeled after one of his radio programs.

The lawsuit between Butterworth and GE led him to become politically active. He broadcast a radio program in Atlanta on which he opposed the NAACP convention and attacked blacks, non-Christians and Catholics. The show was cancelled after being on the air for only two weeks, and the resulting lawsuit he filed against the radio station ended unsuccessfully. Around 1961, the Georgia offshoot of the Ku Klux Klan, the National Knights of the Ku Klux Klan used recordings narrated by Butterworth to spread its pitch. Butterworth also organized the Defensive Legion of Registered Americans in 1962, and narrated a series of spoken voice recordings for the Christian Voters and Buyers League, promoting anti-Semitism, racism, and a boycott of Kosher products.

Butterworth died in Pennsylvania on February 24, 1974.

Birth and Death Data: Born January 1st, 1901, Died January 1st, 1974

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1933

Roles Represented in DAHR: speaker

Recordings

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor LCS-76910 12-in. (33-1/3 rpm) 8/14/1933 The talking kitchen General Electric Company Slide show soundtrack : Talk speaker  
Victor LCS-76911 12-in. (33-1/3 rpm) 8/14/1933 Where does Mrs. Harris find the time? General Electric Company Slide show soundtrack : Talk speaker  

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Butterworth, Wally," accessed September 28, 2020, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/105923.

Butterworth, Wally. (2020). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved September 28, 2020, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/105923.

"Butterworth, Wally." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2020. Web. 28 September 2020.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/105923

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