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11, 1906 in Indianapolis,
Died: November 21, 1981 in Woodland
Los Angeles, California, USA
Cause of Death: Cancer
Height: ? He was taller than George
Burns, but shorter than Fred Clark. He was somewhere over 5' 7"
tall and under 6' 1" tall.
college at UCLA and first started on radio in 1927 as an announcer and
a singer on KMIC. He eventually moved into national radio,
announcing for Bing Crosby and others. Besides having a good,
easy-to-take voice for radio, he was known for quick and clever
ad-libbing. But mistakes seem to humble us all, and he had a
doozy when he announced President Herbert Hoover as "Hoobert
Heever." Luckily, that blooper was not recorded at the time the
President was being introduced to an audience. It was recorded
after the fact, and put before the President's speech in a
broadcast. Had he made the slip in front of the President, it
would've been REAL embarrassing. Just the same, Harry's blooper
made it into the Immortal National Hall of Bloopers Fame.
Although basically known as a radio announcer, he did secure acting
jobs in TV and movies, both comedy and drama, usually playing himself,
but sometimes playing other characters. When Bill Goodwin left
the Burns & Allen TV series in 1951, it seemed only natural they
get Harry Von Zell. Harry is the announcer for the rest of the
series run and again in the George Burns Show of 1958-1959.
It was unusual in any 1950s TV series that the announcer had as big of
part as Harry did. Like Bill Goodwin before him, he was more than
an announcer, but a full-fledged member of the cast as friend to the
family and an actor in his own right. You saw him all throughout
the show, even when he wasn't plugging Carnation or B.F. Goodrich.
I'm always interested in knowing more about Harry Von Zell. I
would especially like to hear a recording of him singing. If you
can help me with information or anything, please CONTACT ME.
- Famous for one of the most well-known
bloopers in radio history, "Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the
United States, Hoobert Heever."