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Gene Godt
Born:  May 5, 1918
Died:  January 16, 1990
WHO Iowa Barn Dance Frolic
WHO Des Moines, IA

About The Artist

Florenz Eugene (Gene) Godt was born parents Florenz Charles and Daisy Godt in Fort Smith, Arkansas in May of 1918. Around that time, his father was a manager of Godt's Brothers drug store. He married Daisy Green on June 30, 1915.

By the 1940's Eugene had moved to Des Moines and was working at the Central Broadcasting Company based on his World War II Draft Card registration.

Promo Ad - Valley View Park - Buzz and Bayou Boys of Washington - July 1955
Promo Ad - Old Dominion Barn Dance - Buz Buzby (Buzz Busby) and the Bayou Boys - March 1955

Promo Ad - Old Dominion Barn Dance - Buz Busby and his Bayou Boys - Aug 1955
Promo Ad - Valley View Park - Buzz Buzby - Bayou Boys - Jean Shepard - Hawkshaw Hawkins - June 1956

He joined the WHO news bureau staff in 1940, doing news broadcasts. He later did other shows such as "Across the Keyboards" which also featured Bill Austin and Eddie Schofield, who played the piano. Promotional ads indicated that the show would feature "the comical commentaries" of Gene Godt, "The Homely Philosopher."

Promo Ad - Old Dominion Barn Dance - Buz Busby and his Bayou Boys - Aug 1955 He got his journalism degree from the University of Missouri in 1940. He was editor of the university's humor magazine. That gave him a start on writing "humorous essays and anecdotes based on true-to-life experiences. That humor would become a part of the "Across The Keyboards" program as well as on Saturday nights on the Barn Dance Frolic show.

In fact, Gene played that role on the Iowa Barn Dance Frolic. He was known for his "clever wit and being a humorist." He would get the audience to laugh and smile based on his revelations, comments and experiences in the day-to-day home life of the average person.

His career was interrupted for three years serving in the Navy Air Corps during World War II. He saw duty in the Solomon Islands campaign. He was seriously injured at Guadacanal in an ammunition dump explosion. He retired from the U. S. Navy in 1945 as lieutenant.

In October 1952, Gene accepted a position with the television news division of WCCO-TV in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He stayed there for several years.

In August of 1959, his career took him to KYW-TV in Cleveland, Ohio as director of sales promotion and advertising. In 1960, he was elected president of the Broadcast Promotion Association. About three years later, he became promotion director in October of 1965 at WJW-TV.

In 1971, Gene decided to 'retire' in Vermont. But he became active in local politics, serving in town offices such as auditor, town service officer and town moderator. He ran for the Vermont state legislature for the Windham-3 house representative. He did win and served several terms. In the beginning, he wrote a column for the local Brattleboro newspaper to keep his constituents informed.

He served in the legislature for five years, but resigned due to his family health. He passed away in January 1990.

An editorial upon his passing commented on his quick wit could be used to make a point.

"Gene Godt's special quality was his lovely sense of humor. His quick with delivered in a courtly manner was sometimes a surprise to those who had to learn that there was a mona who loved a laugh whenever possible. He knew what powerful ammunition could be deployed camouflaged in that humor and he used it well and often. His points were well taken."

Credits & Sources

  • Gene Godt Will Appear Here At Barn Dance Frolic; May 28, 1950; The Muscatine Journal; Muscatine, IA
  • Gene Godt, News Broadcaster Will Be Here Tuesday; June 7, 1951; Wright County Monitor; Clarion, IA
  • WHO Barn Dance At Fairgrounds Saturday Night; July 17, 1951; Kossuth County Advance; Algona, IA
  • TV News Post For Gene Godt; October 10, 1952; Des Moines Tribune; Des Moines, IA
  • Advertising Memo; Randall Hobart; July 22, 1959; Minneapolis Star; Minneapolis, MN
  • What Has Happened To Them? February 22, 1960; Des Moines Tribune; Des Moines, IA
  • Gene Godt Moves..."; October 14, 1965; Akron Beacon-Journal; Akron, OH
  • Godt says his varied experiences qualify him for House; Kathy McMasters; November 3, 1984; Brattleboro Reformer; Brattleboro, VT
  • Confessions of a rookie legislator; Gene Godt; January 23, 1985; Brattleboro Reformer; Brattleboro, VT
  • Gene Godt, 71, Former WCCO-TV executive; January 27, 1990; Star Tribune; Minneapolis, MN
  • The Valley Loses A Special Friend; January 17, 1990; The Brattlebordo Reformer; Brattleboro, VT

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