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Little George Haab
Born:  March 8, 1914
Died:  February 8, 1944
WRVA Old Dominion Barn Dance

About The Artist

George Haab was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1914 to parents Edward and Catherine Haab.

On November 28, 1938, George married the former Kathleen Virginia Hines (daughter of Mrs. Grover Wister Hines at Sacred Heart Church in South Richmond, VA. The bride was given in marriage by her uncle, Walter S. Williamson. Irene Burke was the maid of honor and only attendant. James Haab, George's brother, was best man. Groomsmen were Allen Kalbaugh, Harry Atkinson, Jacob Wirt and William Haab. Upon a trip north after the wedding, the couple was to reside on West Twelfth Street in Richmond.

The first mention of George as a performer was found in the June 29, 1934 edition of Microphone magazine. A picture and caption indicated he was "harmonica champion" and appearing regularly on the "Corn Cob Pipe Club" program. Advertisements for the Edgeworth Pipe Club program on WRVA would feature Little George as one of the performers.

In January 1940, articles indicated he was part of an early version of the WRVA Old Dominion Barn Dance. The 'star' of that show in January was "Little Mary Latimer" who was known as the "The Little Girl In The Pants" due to a unique costume. The show was to originate from the Bainbridge Junior High School. An article indicated there would be some 30 radio broadcast stars on the show. It would feature acts such as The Georgia Wildcats, the Domino Hillbillies, Smoky and Poky, Little George Haab, Doris Andrews, Johnny Warren and Johnny Hughes. The emcees were Pat Binford and Ward Adams. In addition, the article stated "...ample indoor waiting space has been arranged in the event of bad weather."

International Country Music Conference - Belmont University - Nashville, TN - Roni Stoneman, Mike Brown, Fleming - May 2003 Promo Ad - Carnival - New Oxford Fire Company - Hanover, PA - Vandergrift Brotehrs - July 1967

International Country Music Conference - Belmont University - Nashville, TN - Roni Stoneman, Mike Brown, Fleming - May 2003 Promo Ad - Carnival - New Oxford Fire Company - Hanover, PA - Vandergrift Brotehrs - July 1967

International Country Music Conference - Belmont University - Nashville, TN - Roni Stoneman, Mike Brown, Fleming - May 2003 Promo Ad - Carnival - New Oxford Fire Company - Hanover, PA - Vandergrift Brotehrs - July 1967

A few weeks later, he was once again on the show that was "rapidly becoming a Richmond entertainment fixture" on the 14th edition of the show at Bainbridge Junior High School. This time the show would feature the Georgia Wildcats, the Tobacco Tags, the Domino Hillbillies, Jake and the Boys, Ward Adams' Gang, Smoky and Poky, Doris Andrews, Johnny Warren, Johnny Hughes and Little George (Haab). Ward Adams and Pat Binford shared emcee chores. Management had arranged for an appearance by the Sunrise Hillbillies due to the audience response on their first appearance on the show two weeks earlier. The show would have an "extra skit" that would be called "Tag Day" where Smoky and Poky would be 'annoyed' by Slim Bryant and Roly Poly Reid. The article mentions the show had already drawn mail from 23 different states. The show was sponsored by the South Side Athletic Club.

Little George continued to appear on the popular show. In late March, the show had set new attendance records at The Mosque theater in Richmond. The March 23, 1940 show was to feature previously mentioned acts and also Sunshine Sue and Her Rangers. The show would also have a fiddling contest featuring Elmer Stroop, Virginia champion defending his title against Kenny Newton of the Georgia Wildcats. The Sunrise Hillbillies were on the list of performers as well along with Bill Stell.

Little George Haab was once again one of the stars in an April show at the Mosque. That show had a 'theme' - "Funfest Night." The two broadcasts that night were to feature special comedy material performed by the entire cast. The show also included another appearance by the "Dancing Deacons" and "Barney Google," the dancing horse. Part of that show was to be carried over the Mutual Broadcasting System radio network. The show was to also have a 'mock bathing-beauty contest with almost the entire male cast members taking part. Making their show debuts that night were Everett Bauman, The Shapiro Twins, and, Richmond juvenile saking aces.

On October 16, 1940, George registered for the World War II draft. His registration indicates he was five feet two and a half inches tall - which was probably why they called him Little George. The Richmond News-Leader published his photo along with other local servicemen in May 1942. At the time he was "...undergoing recruit training at the United States Naval Station at Newport, RI.

Sadly, he was a casualty of World War II. He is listed in the plot for "Tablets of the Missing" at the Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial in Coton, South Cambridgeshire District, Cambridgeshire, England. He was listed as Missing in Action or Buried at Sea. He was awarded the Purple Heart. His rank was listed as Seaman, Second Class. His date of death was listed as February 8, 1944.

His widow, Kathleen, later remarried William E. Larsen. She died in 2014 at the age of 96.

Promo Ad - Carnival - New Oxford Fire Company - Hanover, PA - Vandergrift Brotehrs - July 1967

Credits and Sources

  • Kathleen Hines Weds Mr. Haab In South Side; November 29, 1938; The Richmond Times-Dispatch; Richmond, VA
  • Corn Cob Pipe Club Broadcasts Aim for Spontaneous Humor; June 29, 1934; The Microphone; Boston, MA
  • Little Mary Latimer To Show On Barn Dance Program Again; January 25, 1940; The Richmond Times-Dispatch; Richmond, VA
  • Barn Dance Show Saturday To Feature Cast Of Thirty; February 1, 1940; The Richmond Times-Dispatch; Richmond, VA
  • Barn Dance Set For Tomorrow; March 22, 1940; The Richmnond Times-Dispatch; Richmond, VA
  • Comedy Is Stressed On Barn Dance Bill; April 19, 1940; The Richmond Times-Dispatch; Richmond, VA
  • 'Newspaper Centennial Program Being Planned for April 21; April 12, 1940; The Richmond News-Leader; Richmond, VA
  • George Francis Haab Jr.; U. S. World War II Draft Cards; October 16, 1940
  • George F. Haab; Official United States Navy Photo; May 20, 1942; The Richmnond News-Leader; Richmond, VA