Frequently Asked Questions

LAST UPDATED: September 30, 2017

Who were/are some of the more famous fans of the show/Paul Rhymer?

Some of the more notorious fans we know about include: Ray Bradbury, Norman Corwin, Stan Freberg. Edgar A. Guest, Edgar Bergen, Ogden Nash, John O'Hara, Fred Rogers, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jean Shepherd, James Thurber, Thelma Todd, Tom Lehrer, Hendrik Willem van Loon, Chester Lauck, Norris Goff, Ethel Barrymore, Jane Seymour, Bill Thompson, Tony Randall, Barbra Fuller, Bill Cullen, Don Ameche, Walter Huston, Jim Jordan, Marian Jordan, Don QuinnPaul Whiteman, Robert Benchley, Ann Guilbert, Carlton Morse, Carl Reiner, Kurt Vonnegut, Everett Greenbaum, Andy Griffith, Jack Foster, Leonard Maltin, Erma Bombeck, Cary Grant, McLean Stevenson, Alec Templeton, Shirley Temple, Jason Willis, John Steinbeck, Dave Garroway, Sherwood Anderson...
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And those who mysteriously claim not to be have been fans: Garrison Keillor [1]

Until 1940, Vic, Sade and Rush were the only talking characters, right?

There is substantial evidence that at least two other characters had very brief cameo appearances and spoke before the arrival of Uncle Fletcher.

Was "Vic and Sade" really on television?

It was. It wasn't called "Vic and Sade", no matter what you read or who tells you this. At least not the first time - as the show was on at two different times. The first time it was called "The Gook Family". I find it to be hideous - maybe even beyond hideous. And if you wish your life and enjoyment of the show to be ruined, you can go to YouTube and have your life ruined as you watch that monstrosity. Don't do it! As a matter of fact, try to forget about the television show. Please?


Why does Sade call Rush, ''Willie''?

Sarah Cole, one of the resident experts around here, contends that ''Willie'' is used because ''William'' was Idelson's first name.


Then, why does Sade often call Russell, ''Willie''?

Pure guessing on my part, but I assume she did this to show Idelson (and the audience) that she had not forgotten ''Willie'' while he was in the Navy.

[In some ways, this adds to the whole "Russell was a second-class citizen" portrayal.]


'Bernadine' or 'Bernardine'?

You will see Flynn's name in both varieties, even in old magazines and newspapers.  I have it on authority that it is, 'Bernardine'.

There was considerable press about Flynn when she and Don Ameche worked together on Empire Builders.  They had also gone to college together.  It appears that in those early interviews, Flynn's first name was often spelled wrong.

When Flynn became co-host of the News for Ivory Flakes and Crisco in 1943-44, her name was often misspelled in the daily newspaper promos for that program. (see graphic)

Her name was often misspelled during the days of the Vic and Sade television show press as well.

Where did Rush come from?

Sade had a very close friend named "Mary Meadows" who had rough financial difficulties during the Depression.  Her friend has a son named "Victor Rush Meadows", who just so happened to be named after Victor Gook.

The Gooks adopted this boy, although as far as I can tell, there never was any kind of official, legal act of adoption.   Yet, young Victor's last name subsequently changed to "Gook", so we can assume there was a legal ceremony.

According to the A to Z of American Radio Soap Operas, page 236, Rush's real first name was "Russell" and his last name was Meadows.   But that book is wrong, as so many other books are on Vic and Sade.

It was agreed upon almost immediately that Vic would call young Victor, "Rush".  Rush would call Vic, "Guv".

What was "The Daily (Little) Love Story?"
 

It looked something like this.


What happened to Josephine Gumpox, the mail-order bride of Mr. Gumpox, the garbage collector?

We know that in the episode where the two are married, that they live at 702 West Chestnut Street.  But after this, Jake Gumpox lives at the Bright Kentucky Hotel, a bachelor hotel.

According to John T. Hetherington, (author of Vic and Sade on the Radio: A Cultural History of Paul Rhymer's Daytime Series -- who answered a lot of questions about the scripts that I posed to him through e-mail), there is no mention as to what happened to Josephine in the days or even weeks after Mr. Gumpox brought his wife to town.
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What was "The Brick Mush Man?"
1905
 

No one seems to be completely sure but it could be a street vendor/door-to-door salesman who sold polenta or a cornmeal mush in brick form, often a breakfast food and often served with syrup and probably fried.

I  made a discovery that seems to prove without doubt that at least by 1903, there were in fact real ''brick mush salesmen'' who had ''brick mush'' for sell, as well as other foods, using a wagon, going from street to street. (see graphic)

Here's a video that may show how to make brick mush.

Incidentally, brick mush costs 13 cents in one episode and 15 cents in another episode. It comes in several colors: midnight blue, off-apricot, burnt silver, graveyard grey, green dawn, bruised maroon and daffodil black!


There are several (50 or more) audio episodes that exist which aren't yet available to the collector. Will they ever be released?

I talked to a very reliable, knowledgeable and legitimate source recently who told me that the files in question have either been sold years ago (to Radio Spirits) or were donated to the Library of Congress.

What this means to the collector such as you and me is that they may one day show up in the Radio Spirits catalog - but even if they do, they wouldn't be free and you'd be breaking the law if you downloaded a bootleg mp3 off the internet.

If they were donated to the Library of Congress, they may never be heard by anyone except to visitors of the library and even then, who knows?

The final answer is - there's no way for us to know just yet, but it doesn't look good.


What are "beef punkles?"

No one seems to know for sure - it seems to be made-up. We know, however, that they take fours hours to cook before they are tender.

They are sometimes referred to as "boiling beef".

What is 'who laid the chunk?'

It's probably answered here.

What is Hooper (maybe "Hoover") Dip?

No one knows. It was mentioned once - in this episode. According to Russell and Sade, it's some kind of sweet sauce that goes with upside-down cake. But no mention of this can be found on the internet, so it's likely a made up thing like beef punkles.

What is Stingyberry Jam?

It's some odd sort of food invented by B.B. Baugh. According to Sade and Russell, it "churns and writhes and crawls and breathes in the bottle." It's "green and bubbly and cloudy and funny." It contains 46 ingredients. Uncle Fletcher professes often about how great it is but he claims he's never tried it!

Who was "Billy Patterson?"

See this. And this. And this.

Where do Vic and Sade live?

To my knowledge, there is no definitive answer (despite what you have heard and read) but we can assume they live somewhere close to Bloomington, Illinois. This was where creator Paul Rhymer grew up.  If not Bloomington, then Normal, which is a suburb of Bloomington.

In part-time Vic and Sade announcer Mel Allen's Book, "How 'Bout That" he writes that Vic and Sade lived in Cooper, Illinois, which is outside of Springfield. I find that to be completely the opposite of what I believe.

Then there is the whole Crooper, Illinois fiasco!

Yet another source (the Lakeland Ledger, 1979) states Vic and Sade lived in Cropper, Illinois. (There is no such town on the the map.)

Would you believe, Rushville Center?

Most of the towns the Gooks mention as being close are also close to Bloomington. In a very early show, Vic tells Rush he used to play baseball in Normal, which is a suburb of Bloomington.  The People's Bank Building was a famous building in Bloomington. Miller Park Zoo is mentioned several times - yes, there's a Miller Park Zoo, too in Bloomington. Even the newspaper name corresponds with Bloomington's. In the episode, History of Plant Number 14, Vic says the plant was erected in 1910 and was built in McClean County. Bloomington is in McClean County, Illinois (see map). Here is a much broader map. Also, see this.

Cooper, Cropper, et al, told to us over and over in various articles, books and radio interview programs - are simply WRONG!  The Gooks lived in Bloomington or Normal, Illinois -  - (Bill Idelson said it was Bloomington in this interview in the 1970's.)

According to both Barbara Schwarz and author John T. Hetherington, Crooper was only mentioned in the 1957 television show, which has almost nothing in common with the first radio series.

Where is "Carberry" - home of Bess, Walter and Euncie?

In an interview with Bernardine Flynn, she stated that Carberry was actually Carlyle, Illinois. There, Paul Rhymer actually had kin named Bess and Walter (I believe, his sister and brother-in-law) and to top it off, Walter had a bad kneecap.  See the map.

Where is Dixon? Sade refers to Dixon as where she came from before she moved to the town they live in.

See the map.

What's the deal with Raymond Belcher Beirman? He shows up everywhere.

Raymond Beirman has his own section. He was a studio engineer whose name wound up in the show.

What's with all the Lum and Abner mentions?

This also has it's own section. Seems that Chester Lauck and Tuffy Goff (Lum and Abner) were big admirers of Vic and Sade (reference) and vice versa. Clarence Hartzell played huge parts on both shows as well.

If there really was a People's Bank building in Bloomington, Illinois, let's see it!

Yes, this postcard is of the PEOPLE'S BANK BUILDING in Bloomington, Illinois (circa 1920.)  No episode will ever be the same again as you now envision stuff being thrown over it (shoes, undershirts and whatever else they may have said!)
David Whitehouse 1943

Where did Russell come from?

According to the John Dunning Book, The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio, page 701, Russell was the orphaned nephew of Mr. Buller, Vic's boss at Plant 14, Consolidated Kitchenware. His parents were killed. This story also coincides with research done by Barbara Schwarz and John T. Hetherington.

According to Hetherington, Sade initially feels that Russell is thrust upon her and Vic. But in a scene shortly after this, she loving wipes away Russell's tears.

David Whitehouse recalls some early memories here.

As far as I know, there never was any official or legal adoption!  And I don't ever believe Russell uses the name "Russell Gook" or is ever called that.

What is Hyena Grease (the oil Uncle Fletcher rubs on his shoes?)

Hyena Grease is a concoction invented by Roy Dejectedly; it is Hyena Grease mixed with turpentine, creosote, lamp black and tractor oil. It's "the finest preparation for smearing on your shoes there is in the entire civilized world."

We have no idea if this is a polish or what it is, but Roy Dejectedly and Uncle Fletcher seem to swear by it.

The formula is [supposed to be] secreted inside Vic's safety deposit box in the People's Bank.

What is "500"?

"500" is a real card game. The rules are available hereWatch a video that shows you how to play.

What happened to Rush?  Why is he missing in 1943?

Check here and here. Bill Idelson (Rush) volunteered himself into the Coast Guard, then the U.S. Navy, February 15, 1943. However, he is missing from the show a couple of months prior to this. Needless to say, it was assuredly Coast Guard or Navy-related.

There is no explanation on the show as to where he went - he is simply no longer there.  Four months later in June, he is replaced by David Whitehouse, who played Russell.

Why was Vic missing for stretches?

He was ill.

What is the Chicago-Alton Railroad?

See this map, and this.

"Stuff happens"

Stuff happens. It's a popular statement these days. It's often twisted into a more vulgar phrase "sh*t happens"; Wikipedia gives credit to Paul Rhymer for it, as does the book, "The Dictionary of Modern Proverbs" here.

It was Bernardine Flynn's character, Sade, who most often said, "stuff happens" on Vic and Sade. The earliest occurrence I can find is in 1941, in the episode, Vic Declines Cornet Lessons. (((HEAR)))

What exactly is the "Greek junk?"

He may never get credit for it, but what Paul Rhymer seemingly did was invent Lorem ipsum, which is basically a half-Latin, half-gibberish  writing, used for fill-in.  If it was not Lorem Ipsum, it was something very close to it.

Wikipedia and others do not give him credit, yet, if you read the articles around the internet carefully, you will see Rhymer's "Greek junk" came along before any of the mentioned Lorem ipsum.

However, people much smarter than me (including English whiz and Vic and Sade devotee, Lydia Crowe) disagree with me.  And she is probably right.

It's all Greek to me!

Were there any other shows like Vic and Sade?

Bill Idelson, when working and writing with Andy Griffith on the Andy Griffith Show, told a story that is oft-repeated; Griffith told Idelson that the Andy Griffith Show was "doing the same thing" as Vic and Sade (reference).

Meanwhile, another of the show's writers, Everett Greenbaum, was also a noted and devoted fan of Vic and Sade (1) (2)

Others have commented that Seinfeld and Vic and Sade were similar.  Meh.

A Prairie Home Companion, which is a radio program from Public Radio, is similar in some aspects, but not so much in others. Garrison Keillor denies being influenced by Vic and Sade. or Paul Rhymer.

Radio
  • When Vic and Sade began in 1932, about 60% of American households had radio.
  • By the time Vic and Sade left the air in 1946, 90% of the households had radios.
Never do we hear a radio or reference to the radio in "Vic and Sade"!  (Although, the never-broadcast audition episode mentions radio).

I want to contribute money to you so you will continue the site.  Where do I send it?

This project is about sharing information.  Information should be free.
I do not want your money.  All I ask is that you send me your Vic and Sade story (how you found the show, favorite show moments, etc.) or volunteer to be interviewed.  I'd like to find out how you feel about the show, Paul Rhymer and other tidbits.  Please send me an email!  I really mean that.  Having your story is something I'd really cherish.

2 comments:

  1. I've been away from Vic N Sade for a while, since becoming a father I haven't had much time to spare. But before that happened I spent some time doing investigative work, if you will, about the show. A couple of things stand out - first, while I forget which town I found that V&S lived in, it was quite apparent. Not only the street names which were mentioned during the scripts but another interesting thing, many of the characters mentioned (Rush's friends from school, people Sade knew etc.) are very similar to unusual street names in that same town. My biggest 'find' was locating a gentleman named Tatman whose family in fact owned what was known long ago as 'Tatman's vacant lot' - it was just down the block from what I figured to be the location of the Gook residence. Mr. Tatman was very nice and wrote me that the property was owned by someone in his family and was in fact used by the local kids to play ball etc. So there was in fact a Tatman's vacant lot, the location was identified (I would have to dig out my old V&S stuff) and I am told it is now the parking lot for some sort of clinic or medical service building.

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    1. Thanks for your email. Please look here: http://vsresearchnotebook.blogspot.com/search/label/Tatmans%20vacant%20lot

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