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Stusia Pennypacker
Born:  January 2, 1904
Died:  March 20, 1977
WSM Grand Ole Opry
WSM Nashville, TN

About The Artist

Note: This is one of a series of biographies on the site that came about from doing research on Appendix A - The Opry Roster 1925 - 1935 from Charles K. Wolfe's "A Good Natured Riot." Our research was done to identify the people / performers he did not. Mr. Wolfe did not list this person / act in his Appendix; it was found in our research.

This network program featured a character named Stusia Pennypacker called "Thank You, Stusia." It was found in our research and review of early WSM radio logs for the Opry. A description of the program was found in a WLS Standby magazine. "A hilarious farce in serial form, modestly described as a fantastic fable of fickle fortune and the craziest year ever spun out of thin air." The author of the show was found to be Oliver B. Capelle. The theme song of the show may be "Thank You, Stusia" written by Jack Frost.

This program found itself in the midst of the Saturday night broadcast of the Grand Ole Opry on July 25, 1936 between 7:30 and 7:45pm. It was preceded on the air by the Hilltop Harmonizers and succeeded by Jack and His Missouri Mountaineers.

Information was sparse for this program which seemed to only be on the air during 1936. The first radio log listing that shows this program was seen on February 4, 1936. Most information found was via Radio Log listings in other newspapers around the country. Our research to date has discovered the following cast members:

  • Bernadine Flynn played the lead role of Stusia Pennypacker
  • Cliff Soubier played the role of Detective Casey
  • Templeton Fox played the role of Bubbles O'Brien
  • Harold Peary played the role of Professor Rollo
  • Willard Waterman played the role of Frank Tyler
  • Sylvia Clark played the role of Madam Teareda Roofoff
  • John Goldsworthy played the role of Peeps, the Butler
  • Pat Buttram played the role of King Hank

Dianne Leigh - Studio Portrait

The show was the story of Stusia Pennypacker. She had decided to give her millions to four persons picked at random in Eulalia, her old home-town and whose birthdays were on April Fool's Day - April 1. It was sponsored by Alka Seltzer.

By May, Ms. Pennypacker had given a million dollars to four unusual people and provided the old family mansion for them to live in. Until that last week in May, she had not met any of the four people.

Dianne Leigh - Studio Portrait In July there was said to be a "change of scenery" when the members of the cast were to have made a forced landing on a deserted tropical seacoast and were force to take up a Robinson Crusoe existence.

In August, the program had a character by the name of "The Wild Girl of the Woods", who was described as a strange and beautiful creature and had eluded all efforts by the four people in the mansion. But in the August 10 show, Detective Casey finally makes a blunder, and as a result, captures the girl.

Another mention of the show was found in Marjorie Gibson's Fanfare column. She wrote that Pat Buttram had the part of King Hank of the Wongo Bongo Cannibal Isle.

During our research, we stumbled upon an advertising post card for the show that contained pictures of the main members of the cast. On the back of the postcard were the lyrics to the theme song "Thank You, Stusia", written by Jack Frost in 1936.

Thank You Stusia
By Jack Frost (1936)

When your sweetie's dad gets sore,
And he kicks you out the door,
Raise your hat, bow like that,
And yell, "THANK YOU, STUSIA"

If a-swimming you should go
And a lobster grabs your toe
Shake it off, gently cough,
And yell, "THANK YOU, STUSIA"

If a copper in the park
Says: "Move on, you cannot spark,"
Raise your hat, bow like that,
And yell "THANK YOU, STUSIA"

When your heart has missed a beat,
You can't sleep and you can't eat,
Phone the gal, be a pal,
And yell "THANK YOU, STUSIA"

Bernardine Flynn was born in Madison, WI and moved to Chicago in 1927and found work as a radio actress and radio announcer, a rare position for women in the 1920's. She owed part of her success to being able to stifle her emotions and played the role of a 'straight man' in a long running popular radio show called "Vic and Sade." She played the role of Sade Gook. Art Van Harvey had the role of "Vic" in that series. Since she was a Madison native and graduate of the University of Wisconsin, she actually appeared on the National Barn Dance in Chicago along with fellow characters 'Vic' (Art Van Harvey) and 'Rush' (Billy Idelson) from the "Vic and Sade" show on Saturday night, November 6, 1936.

Credits and Sources

  • Flashes; February 15, 1936; WLS Stand-By; Prairie Farmer; Chicago, IL
  • Radio Listing; April 27, 1936; Minneapolis Star-Tribune; Minneapolis, MN
  • Radio Listing; May 25, 1936; Minneapolis Star-Tribune; Minneapolis, MN
  • Radio Listing; June 3, 1936; Minneapolis Star-Tribune; Minneapolis, MN
  • Radio Listing; July 15, 1936; Minneapolis Star-Tribune; Minneapolis, MN
  • Radio Listing; August 10, 1936; Minneapolis Star-Tribune; Minneapolis, MN
  • News of Stars and Stations; August 18, 1936; St. Louis Star and Times; St. Louis, MO
  • Fanfare; Marjorie Gibson; December 29, 1936; WLS Stand-By; Prairie Farmer; Chicago, IL
  • Radio: Sade Guest At Barn Dance; William L. Doudna; November 7, 1936; The Wisconsin State Journal; Madison, WI

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