Ben Gage

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Gage (right) with Marshall Kent in "Gun-Shy".

Ben Gage (October 29, 1914 - April 28, 1978) was an American radio singer and announcer, occasional off-screen film singer dubbing the voice of non-singing actors, and television actor active from 1937 to 1975. Born in Chicago, Illinois, he was married to film star Esther Williams.

Early career

Gage joined NBC's Hollywood announcing staff in 1937.[1] Later that year, he became the announcer for the Olsen and Johnson radio program.[2] On May 20, 1940, Blue Network Varieties was launched on the NBC Pacific Blue network. Gage was the singing announcer of the five-day-a-week half-hour program.[3] That same year, he and Mary Jane Barnes were "featured singers" on Remember This Song?, a weekly program also on NBC Pacific Blue.[4] In September 1941, he joined the Bob Hope Show, replacing Bill Goodwin as announcer.[5]

During World War II, Gage was a sergeant in the U.S. Army Air Force. He worked with the USAAF's band on Soldiers With Wings on CBS radio.[6]

Postwar and television

He served as announcer and vocalist for Maxwell House Coffee Time, a musical summer replacement program in 1946.[7] In 1947, he was a regular on Meredith Willson's Ford Showroom,[8] serving as singer and announcer. He also played Dr. Crenshaw on The Joan Davis Show.[9] In 1948, he was the announcer for the Danny Thomas Show.[10]

Gage resembled James Arness and could imitate his voice perfectly, and played Gunsmoke spoofs in four episodes of the Maverick television series, which is the work for which he is best remembered, especially for a 1959 Maverick episode with James Garner called "Gun-Shy" (with Gage as "Marshal Mort Dooley" instead of "Marshal Matt Dillon") as well as "A Tale of Three Cities" with Jack Kelly, "The Misfortune Teller" with Garner, and "A Technical Error" with Kelly.

He also appeared on Batman, Bonanza, F Troop, The Donna Reed Show, The Lucy Show, and Star Trek.

Personal life

Gage married swimmer/actress Esther Williams on November 25, 1945.[11] They divorced April 8, 1958,[12] and they had three children: Benjamin, Kimball (1950-2008), and Susan. Gage and Williams, made a personal appearance tour September 10 - October 13, 1954.[13] For Sentimental Reasons, the couple's album, was released by MGM Records in November 1954.[14]

Partial filmography

See also

References

  1. ^ "Chicago" (PDF). Radio Daily. June 21, 1937. p. 17. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  2. ^ "Los Angeles" (PDF). Radio Daily. October 26, 1937. p. 7. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  3. ^ "(untitled brief)" (PDF). Broadcasting. June 1, 1940. p. 83. Retrieved 10 August 2015. [permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "Behind the Mike" (PDF). Broadcasting. March 1, 1940. p. 50. Retrieved 10 August 2015. [permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "Bob Hope Show Returns To Air Tonight On KMJ". The Fresno Bee The Republican. September 23, 1941. p. 11. Retrieved August 9, 2015 – via Newspapers.com. open access publication – free to read
  6. ^ Abbott, Sam (October 24, 1942). "Radio Talent: Hollywood" (PDF). Billboard. p. 6. Retrieved 9 August 2015. [permanent dead link]
  7. ^ ""Coffee Time" A Musical for 13-Wk. Summer Period" (PDF). Radio Daily. May 23, 1946. p. 6. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  8. ^ "(advertisement)". The Decatur Herald. June 18, 1947. p. 17. Retrieved August 9, 2015 – via Newspapers.com. open access publication – free to read
  9. ^ "'Ford Showroom' Set For Wednesday, 9.30 P.M.; Meredith Willson Stars". Harrisburg Telegraph. June 14, 1947. p. 19. Retrieved August 9, 2015 – via Newspapers.com. open access publication – free to read
  10. ^ "Danny Thomas Show" (PDF). Billboard. January 10, 1948. p. 10. Retrieved 9 August 2015. [permanent dead link]
  11. ^ "Esther Williams Weds Announcer Ben Gage". Freeport Journal-Standard. November 26, 1945. p. 1. Retrieved August 9, 2015 – via Newspapers.com. open access publication – free to read
  12. ^ "Esther Williams Given Divorce From Ben Gage". The Record-Argus. April 9, 1958. p. 1. Retrieved August 9, 2015 – via Newspapers.com. open access publication – free to read
  13. ^ "Virus Pneumonia Lays Lewis Low" (PDF). Billboard. August 28, 1954. p. 83. Retrieved 9 August 2015. [permanent dead link]
  14. ^ "M-G-M to Release 6 Albums Nov. 19" (PDF). Billboard. November 6, 1954. p. 21. Retrieved 9 August 2015. [permanent dead link]
  15. ^ "(advertisement)". The Mason City Globe-Gazette. November 30, 1959. p. 12. Retrieved August 9, 2015 – via Newspapers.com. open access publication – free to read

External links


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