Career Summary written by Frank Nelson

In the 1980’s, Frank Nelson wrote this summary of his career:

See a scan of the original

My career started in Denver, Colorado, in 1926. At a rather tender age, I auditioned for the part of a man in his 30’s with 30 other applicants. After a series of auditions, I was selected for the part. It was for a 26-week series featuring a married couple and was for a local bank. (Needless to say, I never did really understand the part.) My wife was played by a very lovely 32-year-old redhead. So much for missed opportunities. The show was on KOA. I next worked as an announcer at KFEL in Denver.

Left there and came to Hollywood, California at the end of 1929. Worked here on all of the local drama shows, mainly as a leading man, up to 1932. In 1932, returned to staff announcing and worked briefly for KGB in San Diego, then back to L.A., where I announced at KFAC-KFVD and KMTR. The night before I was to be married in January of 1933, I received a wedding present from KMTR — I was fired!

Returned to freelance acting and freelance announcing where I have remained ever since. Some of the better-known shows in Los Angeles during that period, on which I was the leading man, were “Tapestries of Life”, “The Three Musketeers”, “Vendetta”, “The Witches’ Tale”, “Makers of History”, “Calling All Cars”, etc.

It was not until 1933 that any transcontinental shows emanated from Hollywood. The First of these was a sustaining show done by RKO and was called “Hollywood on the Air”. I announced the show and also worked as an actor. Sometimes when a star scheduled to appear failed to show up, I did the star’s part, too. The show ran 1933 and part of 1934.

The first sponsored transcontinental show from here was called “Flywheel, Shyster and Flywheel”, and starred Groucho and Chico Marx. It ran for 26 weeks and I was on all of the shows. The show was done live from a movie sound stage on the RKO studio lot, as the NBC studios did not exist at that time.

The following list is composed of shows on which I worked during my career. The dates merely indicate the first time I performed on each. They are, of course, all network shows.

1934
Feb. 7 Burns & Allen
April 8 Hall of Fame
May 6 Chase & Sanborn
June 1 Jack Benny (38 years)
Oct. 3 Log Cabin
1935
Feb. 13 Mary Pickford Show
Feb. 26 Bing Crosby Show
March 8 Hollywood Hotel (Leading Man for Motion Picture Stars)
June 4 Red Trails
June 29 Shell Chateau (Announced show for two years)
1936
March 1 Leslie Howard
March 13 First Nighter
June 1 Lux Radio Theatre (Announcer for two years)
Oct. 1 Joe E. Brown Show (Featured Performer during run of show)
1937
Jan. 4 Amos ‘N Andy
Jan. 12 The Al Jolson Show
Jan. 24 Walter Winchell
Feb. 16 Jack Oakie College
Feb. 17 Frank Morgan Show
March 16 Alka-Nox
April 25 Eddie Cantor Show
June 5 Grace Moore Show
Aug. 5 Showboat
Sept. 29 One Man’s Family
Nov. 14 Silver Theatre
1938
Jan.16 Tyrone Power Show
April 1 Lum ‘N Abner
April 30 I opened the new CBS studios on Sunset Blvd., as I started every show starting a 6 AM and finishing at midnite. Charlie Vanda of CBS hired me for the day for $50.00. I later told him that had AFRA been in existence, it would have cost him a couple of thousand. To which he replied – “Hell, if AFRA had been in, I wouldn’t have hired you!”
July 3 Passing Parade
Sept. 29 Good News of 1938
Oct. 5 Texaco Star Theatre
Nov. 17 The MGM Show
1939
Jan. 10 The Hedda Hopper Show
Jan. 30 Those We Love
Jan. 31 Fibber McGee & Molly
June 7 Kay Kyser’s Kollege
June 13 Big Town
July 24 Blondie (I was Herb Woodley, the next-door neighbor 6 yrs.)
Sept. 7 Good News of 1939
Nov. 6 Sherlock Holmes
Nov. 10 Sunkist Show
Dec. 23 Arch Oboler Show
Dec. 30 Gene Autry’s Melody Ranch
1940
July 21 Signal Carnival
Oct. 18 I Want a Divorce
Oct. 24 Rudy Vallee Show
1941
March 24 Point Sublime
April 24 Tommy Riggs Show
Sept. 12 3-Ring Time (39 weeks with Milton Berle)
Sept. 14 Great Gildersleeve
Oct. 12 Flagg and Quirt Show
Dec. 17 The Dizzy Duncans (Starred in show)
Dec. 30 Horace Heidt Show
1942
Feb. 2 Orson Welles Show
March 29 The Screen Guild Show
1943
Feb. 18 The Bob Burns Show
Feb. 28 The Ransom Sherman Show
June 30 Date With Judy
July 22 Roma Wine Show
Sept. 7 Judy Canova Show
Sept. 30 The Maxwell House Show
1944
Jan. 4 Red Skelton Show
Jan. 13 Sealtest Show (Featured Performer over 2 years)
Jan. 23 Life of Riley
Feb. 23 Frank Sinatra Show
Feb. 26 Corliss Archer
March 3 People Are Funny
April 12 Dr. Christian
June 8 Dinah Shore Show
July 18 The Philip Morris Show
Sept. 14 The Joan Davis Show
Sept. 17 Toasties Time
Oct. 1 Hall of Fame
Oct. 29 Ozzie and Harriet
1945
Jan. 6 The Danny Kaye Show
April 25 The Billie Burke Show
May 20 The Eddie Bracken Show
May 30 The Jack Carson Show
June 20 The Saint
July 19 Maisie
Sept. 23 The Fannie Brice Show
Oct. 25 Abbott & Costello
Nov. 30 Durante-Moore Show
1946
Jan. 6 The Baby Snooks Show (worked weekly thru entire series)
March 15 The Ginny Simms Show
May 3 Duffy’s Tavern
June 7 The Alan Young Show
June 8 The Jack Kirkwood Show
Oct. 3 The Dick Haymes Show
Oct. 8 Bob Hope Show
Oct. 13 The Phil Harris Show
Nov. 19 My Friend Irma
1947
May 12 The Victor Borge Show
May 28 The Dennis Day Show
Oct. 19 Meet Me At Parky’s (Featured Performer thruout Series)
Nov. 26 The Jack Paar Show
1948
Jan. 30 The Danny Thomas Show
Feb. 4 The Tony Martin Show
Feb. 11 The Jimmy Durante Show
March 24 Beulah
June 17 Hallmark Theatre
June 26 Steve Allen Show
Sept. 27 Our Miss Brooks
Oct. 16 My Favorite Husband
1949
Jan. 30 Life With Luigi
April 5 Martin & Lewis
1950
Jan. 27 Screen Directors Playhouse
June 15 Sara’s Caper
1951
March 28 Dr. Christian
1952
Feb. 3 Donald O’Connor Show (TV)
Feb. 27 Eb & Zeb (TV)
March 9 Jack Benny (TV)
April 11 I Love Lucy (TV)
May 21 Edgar Bergen Show
Oct. 17 Corliss Archer
1953
April 5 Life With Luigi (TV)
June 16 My Little Margie
June 27 Saturday Nite Revue (TV)
1954
Jan. 11 The Ray Milland Show
Jan. 30 The Roy Rogers Show
March 9 Suspense
1955
July 28 Make Room for Daddy (TV)
1956
Feb. 1 Private Secretary (TV)
June 28 Climax (TV)
1957
Oct. 14 Sally (TV)
1958
Feb. 13 Shower of Stars (TV)
Feb. 19 The Betty White Show (TV)
Nov. 19 The Real McCoys (TV)
1959
Feb. 26 I Married Joan (TV)
1960
April 8 The Flintstones (TV)
July 28 Dennis the Menace (TV)
Sept. 22 Oh, Those Bells (TV)
1961
Feb. 15 Angel (TV)
Dec. 12 Pete & Gladys (TV)
1964
Jan. 2 The Phil Silvers Show
Aug. 27 The Addams Family (TV)
1966
Dec. 13 Petticoat Junction (TV)

Actually from 1961 on, I have concentrated my work in the commercials field, plus Jack Benny Specials. For the past 18 years, I have been the voice of the symbol of Harris Trust and Savings in Chicago. I am Hubert, the Harris Lion.

My most recent credits would be “The Oddball Couple”, a cartoon series in which I co-star with Paul Winchell. He plays Fleabag, the slob dog, and I am Spiffy, the elegant cat. Also a number of “Sanford and Son” shows.

As well as performing as an actor, I announced such shows as “Hollywood on the Air”, “Lux Radio Theatre”, “Shell Chateau”, “The Al Jolson Show”, and others.

Worked as a leading man opposite Motion Picture Stars on shows such as “Hollywood Hotel”, “The Leslie Howard Show”, “Texaco Star Theatre”, “Screen Directors Playhouse”, “Arch Oboler”, etc.

For Hanna-Barbera – “Dinky & Dog”, “Snorks”.

Enough Already!

4 Comments

  1. I’m curious who is posting this site? Is it a member of Mr. Nelson’s family. I’m a fan of Frank’s too. I’ve only seen him interviewed twice but I was impressed with his personality and who he was as a performer. I’m just curious as to who loves him enough to dedicate a site to him.

    • Hi, Heather. My name is Mike Schryver and I operate the site. I started it in the early days of the web when I was looking for a subject to write a web site about, and later a member of Frank’s family contacted me and asked me to post some material they forwarded to me, which now makes up most of the site.

  2. I’m 56 years old and a lifelong fan of Mr. Frank Nelson, whom I still remember very fondly after all these years. I’ve always thought that he had a rare talent that somehow allowed him to be witty, classy (in a wholesome, family-oriented, non-sexual sort of way), not boring and genuinely funny at the same time. His jokes and put-ons have definitely stood the test of time and harken back to much simpler, less pessimistic times for American society. His interviews (of which he gave quite a few throughout his life) showed him to be a warm and thoughtful human being as well. God bless him for all the laughter and joy he’s brought to millions and may God rest his soul.

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