Title: Herb Kent recalls Al Benson's radio style and success in advertising
Creator: Smithsonian Productions
Date Created: 1995-03-29
Physical Dimensions: WAV
Transcript: Chicago was expanding. We came close to having a million Blacks in Chicago. In the '40s along came Al Benson, a Southern gentleman who maintained a very strange Southern accent. Obviously he wasn't White. He mispronounced words by the score. He said them just however they came out of his mouth. He would eat and talk at the same time. I have seen him with a mouthful of food, the record would be over, he'd just take and spit the food out in his hand and continue talking. When he was through, he'd put the food back in his mouth. Oh, it was hilarious, but he was very, very effective.
He sold beer. He had a beer called Canadian Ace. He sold no money down cars, jewelry, a lot of west side accounts. A lot of what they'd call maybe "schlock" accounts that were not really first rate, but paid a lot of money. He did a thing about Chicago's last liquor store, you could go out there and buy stuff cheap. Mum Deoderant. He would say stuff like, "You jump here, you jump there, you jump everywhere." And you know, he was just on.
And it was interesting. You come out of school, and it was just good to listen to. It was like an old friend. And you didn't mind the fact that he didn't sound really smooth and really educated. But he made a ton of money.
Special collection number: SC 39
Special collection name: Black Radio: Telling It Like It Was