Amos 'n' Andy Illustrated

Images of the Characters, their Creators, and their World

William Gibiral "Bill" Hay, in full Scots regalia, 1929. Hay announced Correll and Gosden's broadcasts from their arrival at WGN in 1925 until mid-1942, when a recurring heart ailment compelled his retirement from daily broadcasting. Born in Dumfries, Scotland in 1887, Hay emigrated to the United States as a young man, hoping for a career as a professional singer. His journey eventually led him to Hastings, Nebraska -- where he took a job as a piano salesman for the Gaston Music Company, gave voice lessons, and conducted the choir for a local Methodist church. In November 1923, he took a job that would change the course of his life -- when the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company opened radio station KFKX on an upper floor of the Gaston Building. Hay became the station's chief announcer -- and his rolling Scots "r's" soon captivated listeners. After two years as the voice of  KFKX, Hay relocated to Chicago and worked briefly at station WOK as both an announcer and a bass singer. In October 1925, Hay joined the staff of WGN,  where he remained until  he accompanied Correll and Gosden to WMAQ in 1928. In addition to his announcing duties, and his work as WMAQ's General Sales Manager, Hay also presented a Scots-dialect program of poetry, humorous readings, and philosophy under the name of "Auld Sandy." Following his retirement from "Amos 'n' Andy" in 1942, he could still be heard in a syndicated series of Bible readings, entitled simply "Bill Hay Reads The Bible." Away from the microphone, Hay was an avid lawn bowling enthusiast, eventually becoming the Honorary Life President of the American Lawn Bowling Association -- and his final professional announcing work proved to be his stint as the voice of the ALBA's annual Buck Hill Open competition from 1960 to 1969. Hay's simple, conversational announcing style never crossed the line into false familiarity -- he viewed himself not as an entertainer but as the sponsor's voice, no more and no less -- and presented the nightly sales messages for Pepsodent Toothpaste and Pepsodent Antiseptic, and later Campbell's Soup, Campbell's Tomato Juice, and Campbell's Pork and Beans, with plain-spoken, unadorned dignity.

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