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The Story of Harry Cheshire

by Elmer McDonald (1940)

(“Pappy”)…born in Emporia, Kansas and lived for several years in Texas. “Pappy” was in show business for 24 years before entering radio at KFH, Wichita, Kansas. For several years he played character and comedy parts in musical comedies, among those the well known “High Jinks.” For two years he had his own stock company, which played throughout the Middle West.

“Pappy” Cheshire’s hillbillies, for the last five years one of the most popular KMOX musical units, currently hold the national championship in their field. They won that title in competition with thousands of hillbilly musicians at the Municipal Auditorium in St. Louis, MO. In 1938 they withdrew from further contests after having won the title for three consecutive years.

Harry Cheshire with his alter ego, Pappy.
Harry Cheshire with his alter ego, Pappy.

“Pappy” Cheshire, known as “The Grand Old Man of Radio,” is a true showman in every sense of the word. Twenty-four years of theatrical experience and the past six years spent in the radio field insure the listener of a well balanced and entertaining program.

“Pappy,” beloved “maestro of the mountains,” has the confidence and good will of his radio audience. He has surrounded himself with a group of truly champion entertainers. Instrumentalists, singers and comedians are included in his hillbilly performances. He has built his champion group from a small unit of five people to one of the largest groups of its type in radio – some twenty artists.

During 1939, “Pappy” was on the air 746 hours and 12 minutes – averaging better than two hours a day for both local and network programs.

He and his group have become famous for their willingness and eagerness to help in bringing happiness to thousands of shut-ins, making many trips each year to various prisons, hospitals, children’s homes, and to homes of the aged and the blind. They were largely responsible for the raising of over $50,000 for the Red Cross flood relief during the floods of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers in 1937.

“Pappy” and his champion “gang” have been a regular coast to coast feature of the Columbia Broadcasting System for five years.

One of “Pappy” Cheshire’s commercial programs sponsored by the Slack Furniture Co., has been a daily feature over KMOX for five years and is still going strong.

Asked what he holds responsible for his success in radio, “Pappy” says: “…keeping the listener in mind always. Don’t try to fool people – be yourself, act natural, giving good wholesome clean entertainment; and always try to be right with your fellow men because ‘when you’re right you can’t lose,’ And I say with pleasure that I always had a group of boys and girls in my ‘gang’ that have helped me tremendously in living up to those reasons for success.”

“Pappy” is five foot eight inches tall, has blue eyes and blond partly gray hair. He loves to fish and enjoys all kinds of sports.

Two of the outstanding boys in “Pappy” Cheshire’s group are:

Frankie Taylor (His real name is Frank Krajcir)…23 years old…began radio over WIL, St. Louis. Plays piano, accordion and trumpet…single.

Clyde “Skeets” Yaney (“Skeets” the golden voiced yodeler)…28 years old…born in Bedford, Indiana…began radio over WGBF, Evansville, Ind., in 1931…one of the few yodelers to sing high C.

These boys are the most familiar to the radio audience as “Skeets” and Frankie.