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Old-time radio returns to Waynesboro

'Breakfast in Waynesboro' offers heapin' helpin' of corn-fed humor

'Breakfast in Waynesboro' offers heapin' helpin' of corn-fed humor

July 01, 2006|by DON AINES

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - In bygone days when people gathered around living room radios rather than plasma televisions, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, gossip columnist Hedda Hopper or bandleader Spike Jones might drop in for "Breakfast in Hollywood" and a chat with Waynesboro native Tom Breneman.

In 1947, Breneman brought his ABC Radio program to his hometown for its sesquicentennial, an event that was re-created Friday morning with John Shindledecker hosting "Breakfast in Waynesboro," the kickoff for WaynesboroFest.

Instead of Hope or Crosby, Shindledecker had Mayor Richard Starliper, the Rev. H. Clayton Moyer and 100-year-old Lulu Baker among the "celebrities" who took part in the show, which was broadcast live on radio station WJEJ in Hagerstown.

Like Breneman in the 1940s, Shindledecker went into the audience to chat with some of the 150 guests and tell a few jokes.

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Moyer gave an on-air plug for his play, "15 Days Under the Confederate Flag," which will be performed several times during WaynesboroFest, a triennial event with 10 days of festivities celebrating the community's heritage and culture. It also served as a lead-in for the annual Summer Jubilee, the town's Fourth of July celebration.

Shindledecker also spoke with Mary McGarity-Lee, who was 1 year old when Breneman came to town. Her father, Al McGarity, owned a Packard dealership and supplied the convertible for Breneman to ride in the town parade.

Breneman gave McGarity-Lee's parents a silver orchid ring, which she wore Friday. A few minutes after telling that story, she won a door prize - another ring.

The audience got a heapin' helpin' of corn-fed humor from "Maybell Jerkwater," a character created by Peggy Dawson. Jerkwater noted the breakfast had bacon and sausage, but no ham.

"I guess they figgered they had enough on stage," she told Shindledecker. He told the audience he plans to do a similar broadcast during the Christmas season.

"I really, really enjoyed the guitarist and the first song about Waynesboro," said Martine Potter of Rouzerville, Pa., one of a group of women who donned the oldest dress hats they could find. Carolyn Carson said one of Breneman's regular gags was to model hats he borrowed from women in his audience.

Breneman died in 1948, and golf buddies Hope, Crosby, Jack Benny, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello served as pallbearers, Shindledecker said.

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