Lum & Abner was one of the first old-time radio shows I ever heard - Sunday night on public radio in DC. They played L & A, X-Minus 1, and a few others. L & A seemed at first like the worst sort of hokey old stuff from a dusty bygone era - a treacly organ theme, cackling hillbillies, “ethnic” humor of the rural sort. If Amos and Andy was blackface, this was redneckface.

But then I did them the courtesy of listening to the show instead of judging it, and discovered something else entirely: one of the sweetest, most endearing, comfortable pieces of sustained consensual hallucination that ever flowed across the airwaves. It wasn’t a soap opera, but the stories went from day to day (the show ran M-F); it wasn’t a comedy like any other on the air, because it underplayed the jokes, never oversold, never went for cheap gags. The humor arose from the relationship between Lum and Abner, the proprietors of the Jot ‘Em Down Store, men of a certain age who’d settled into the bickering ways of an old married couple. There were a few other characters, some just implied, others given voice by the men who played L & A - from Squire Skimp, the town scheme, r to the dimwitted Cedril. Each episode builds off the previous day and leads to the next, but usually ends with a sharp little comedic hook.

In one of those instances where life comes to imitate art, the town on which Lauck and Goff based their stories named itself Pine Ridge after a while - and it has a Jot 'Em Down store to this day.

Wikipedia entry here.

Well-intentioned official fan site here.'s collection is a mess. The best, most complete collection can be found at the Old Time Radio Researchers Group, but you have to request a password.

They made movies, too.



Chet Lauck (Lum, on the left) and Norris Goff (Abner)


An episode from 1942: the Folding Cot.  
An episode from 1942: Penny Weighing Machine.