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Poster: Mr. Television  (see this users gallery)

Duffy's Tavern aired from May until October 1954 in syndication.



An unsuccessful attempt to bring a popular radio program to television, Ed Gardner created the series, which ran on radio from 1941 to 1951. Gardner starred as Archie, the manager of Duffy's Tavern, a seedy bar and grille on New York's third avenue; Duffy the owner was never seen. Also featured were Pattee Chapman as Miss Duffy, Duffy's husband-hunting daughter; Alan Reed as Archie's slow-witted comrade, Charlie Finnegan. The radio series had been as much a showcase for guest stars ( such as Bing Crosby and Clifton Fadiman), as a situation comedy; the tv adaptation was merely the latter.


Here's the lyrics to the Duffy's Tavern Theme Song.


When Irish Eyes Are Smiling (from the 1912 musical revue, The Isle O' Dreams), music by Ernest R. Ball & lyrics by Chauncey Olcott & George Graff, Jr.


There's a tear in your eye,
And I'm wondering why,
For it never should be there at all.
With such pow'r in your smile,
Sure a stone you'd beguile,
So there's never a teardrop should fall.
When your sweet lilting laughter's
Like some fairy song,
And your eyes twinkle bright as can be;
You should laugh all the while
And all other times smile,
And now, smile a smile for me.


When Irish eyes are smiling,
Sure, 'tis like the morn in Spring.
In the lilt of Irish laughter
You can hear the angels sing.
When Irish hearts are happy,
All the world seems bright and gay.
And when Irish eyes are smiling,
Sure, they steal your heart away.


For your smile is a part
Of the love in your heart,
And it makes even sunshine more bright.
Like the linnet's sweet song,
Crooning all the day long,
Comes your laughter and light.
For the springtime of life
Is the sweetest of all
There is ne'er a real care or regret;
And while springtime is ours
Throughout all of youth's hours,
Let us smile each chance we get.


When Irish eyes are smiling,
Sure, 'tis like the morn in Spring.
In the lilt of Irish laughter
You can hear the angels sing.
When Irish hearts are happy,
All the world seems bright and gay.
And when Irish eyes are smiling,
Sure, they steal your heart away.


An Article from Time Magazine


New York Hick
Monday, Jun. 21, 1943 Article


A score of U.S. celebrities have gone as guests to Duffy's Tavern (Blue Network, Tues., 8:30 p.m., E.W.T.) and come away thoroughly buffooned. The buffoon is Barkeep Archie, a likable mug, strictly from Brooklyn, who shares the great American love of irreverent ribbing.


Last week Archie toyed with uncommunicative Cinecomic Roland Young ("I think his mother was frightened by a clam"). In its time Duffy's has found similar salutes for shapely Dancer Vera Zorina ("The terpsicorpse from the ballet"), Information Please' s Clifton Fadiman ("What do you know besides every thing?"), portly Elsa Maxwell ("Speaking of the Four Hundred, how're you and the other 398?"), and the Lone Ranger, whom Archie steadily addressed as Lone ("Lone, say hello to little Wilfred").


Archie is a lean, mischievous, battered six-footer named Ed Gardner, who declares : "Your true New York mug doesn't say toity-toid or erl. He's about halfway between oyster and erster." Gardner's in dignities are delivered with a kazoo-voiced good nature which keeps everybody happy, including his victims. Three writers turn out the original script, but the final version is practically all Gardner ("The boys do a rough draft and I tear it down"). The result is grade-A American foolery.


In two years Duffy's has acquired about 7,000,000 steady listeners. Prisoners at San Quentin (their warden's name is Duffy) like the show so much that they call their jail Duffy's Tavern. The program contains some of radio's oddest characters. Duffy, proprietor of a Third Avenue saloon where "the elite meet to eat," never shows up, is merely a stubborn Irish character on the telephone. Another off-stage character is a man with two heads named Two-Top Gruskin, who once attended a masquerade as a pair of book ends holding a book entitled My Son, My Son. Man-crazy Miss Duffy, the boss's daughter and pure Tenth Avenue, is Gardner's pretty, redheaded exwife, Actress Shirley Booth (My Sister Eileen, Tomorrow the World).


Poggenburg's Rise. Ed Gardner was born Eddie Poggenburg over a butcher shop in Astoria, L.I., 39 years ago, the only child of Irish-German parents. His father was an ornamental plasterer and semi-pro baseball player. Eddie's first job was playing piano in a saloon. He quit school at 16 because his parents did not want him overeducated.


Gardner was selling pianos when he met Shirley Booth at a friend's house. His opening was typical: "Little girl, you need awakening." She replied that apparently he needed sleep. They were soon married. Mrs. Gardner joined a stock company in Springfield, Mass., and her husband sold miniature golf courses. Mrs. Gardner began making money and a name for herself. Ed was distressed ("I'm a very buck-conscious fellow"). To one "dizzy dame" who tittered "And is this Mr. Booth?" |he snarled: "Yes, John Wilkes."


After the Bingo. But marriage introduced Gardner to the inside of show business. Gradually he worked into producing, directing and writing radio shows. Now the sole owner of Duffy's (where they catch the "after-Bingo crowd"), he nets about $2,000 a week. Gardner admits that he himself is indistinguishable from his character Archie. After a recent broadcast a woman towed her young son up to Gardner and pleaded : "Talk to him like Archie." Said the astonished Gardner: "How else?"


An Article from Time Magazine


Dear Teacher ..."
Monday, Apr. 01, 1946 Article


Miss Mary Varian Riblet was sitting quietly at home that evening, minding her business. Her business was mapping out her spring teaching schedule at Long Island City's William Cullen Bryant high school. The telephone rang. An excited relative reported that the name "Riblet" had just been used (as the name of a schoolmarm just like Miss Riblet) on the Duffy's Tavern program (NBC, Fri., 8:30-9 p.m., E.S.T.). But even worse, Ed Gardner, who portrays Archie and makes insult his profitable stock in trade, had slurringly called this character "Old Pianolegs!"



White-haired Miss Riblet, "approaching 70," had never heard the like. Pianolegs, indeed! Soon, others called. At school, where she heads the English department, bobby-soxers tittered as Miss Riblet passed by. She went to the school archives. Sure enough, about 30 years ago she had taught Ed Gardner English I and English II. The records revived her memory. He had been a poor student, averaging a measly 70 to 75. He flunked his third term grammar, had to take it again. Mary Riblet, deciding it was time to rap her old pupil's knuckles, stomped off to a Manhattan law office.


Last week, she accepted an out-of-court settlement of $2,500. But that was not enough. She also insisted on a personal letter of apology from former student Ed Gardner. She got it:


"My face is red about the whole incident. . . . We wrote a script about a schoolteacher and my scriptwriters used the name of Harcleroad. At the last minute, it was called to my attention that we had used the name Harcleroad previously . . . so in searching for a substitute name, my memory reverted to you and the old days at Bryant.


"Please accept my assurance that there was no malicious intent. . . . It was the farthest thing from my mind to want to cause you any mental anguish. . . . As I have since told people, you were one of my favorite teachers and that's why your name has stuck with me through all the years.


"P.S. How do you like that grammar you taught me?"


Humphed Miss Riblet, unimpressed: "Never in 30 years did he send me a Christmas card."



An Article from Time magazine


Call of the Islands
Monday, Oct. 10, 1949


Archie, the dimwitted, malapropped manager of Duffy's Tavern, has never been known to his Third Avenue customers or his nationwide radio audience as a particularly fast man with a buck. But by last week, when Duffy's Tavern (Thurs. 9:30 p.m., NBC) returned to the air, it was clear that Archie was under the smartest kind of management. Rasp-voiced Ed Gardner, who plays Archie and produces the program, had accomplished the modern miracle of getting out of the reach of the tax collector.


The miracle required his moving from Manhattan to Puerto Rico, where Duffy's Tavern is now tape-recorded and flown to the U.S. Last week Gardner was living in a rented mansion in San Juan's exclusive King's Court, hard at work on such ambitious sidelines as a movie (Pigs' Feet in Paris) and filmed television shorts.


The call of the islands had been crooned by the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Co., a local government agency interested in promoting new business. Under island law, Gardner has to pay neither U.S. income tax nor any Puerto Rican income, property or excise taxes on any of the movies or TV shows he produces. The Puerto Rican exemptions run until 1959 and, as long as he is resident in the islands, he appears to be safe from the U.S. tax collectors. Gardner resents the imputation that he is a tax dodger. "It's just a hell of a good business opportunity," he explains. "I want to make pictures and I came here because they're cheaper to make in Puerto Rico than anywhere else."


Though far from the comforting rumble of the Third Avenue "el," Gardner is not likely to become homesick. Under the new law, 50 U.S. companies (chinaware, leather goods, textiles) have already moved to Puerto Rico and more are expected by boat and plane.



To read Ed Gardner's Obituary go to http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=2RsfAAAAIBAJ&sjid=9ZoEAAAAIBAJ&dq=duffy's%20tavern&pg=4811%2C2526822


To watch some clips of Duffy's Tavern go to http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=duffy%27s+tavern+tv+show&oq=duffy%27s+tavern&gs_l=youtube.1.1.0l5.5956.10156.0.12560.14.9.0.5.5.0.141.925.6j3.9.0...0.0...1ac.1.11.youtube.pWJKH2ehuBU


For an episode guide of Duffy's Tavern go to http://ctva.biz/US/Comedy/DuffysTavern.htm





For more on Duffy's Tavern go to http://web.archive.org/web/20120211111734/http://www.chrisneylon.com/oldtimeradio/pages/rsb12-Duffys%20Tavern.html


For a biography of Ed Gardner go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ed_Gardner


To listen to episodes from the radio show go to https://free-classic-radio-shows.com/Comedy/Duffys-Tavern/index.php


For Duffy's Tavern-related interview videos at the Archive of American Television go to http://www.emmytvlegends.org/interviews/shows/duffys-tavern


To watch the opening credits go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAFVFDZ4Fbc
Date: Tue July 11, 2006 � Filesize: 18.7kb � Dimensions: 311 x 400 �
Keywords: Ed Gardner (Links updated 5/5/2017)

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