"STATION KUKU," written and directed by Raymond Knight and broadcast by the
National Broadcasting Company, is considered the most popular humorous program
on the air. It is a burlesque on broadcasting and illustrates that the pun is
not the lowest form of humor broadcast. In casting the production, which is a
weekly program, Knight uses actors and actresses with wide ranges of voice
characterizations. The following script is a typical "KUKU" broadcast and is
an outstanding example of radio comedy as written. The broadcast runs thirty
minutes.--Peter Dixon, 1931
BY RAYMOND KNIGHT
OPENING ANNOUNCEMENT. And now comes the hour when brave mariners at sea take
their port to starboard and sit down to listen--not to the wild waves but to
their radio sets--when flag-pole sitters cock an attentive ear to near-by
aërials, when the denizens of the underworld emerge from the dens to gather in
front of the loud-speakers of radio stores, and when all really intelligent
people shut off their sets and go to bed.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the Cuckoo Hour is upon us again, and we are about
to hear Raymond Knight in his radio character of Ambrose J. Weems as he tells
the world from Station KUKU--America's newest and worst radio station.
This is your last chance to get away--all right, it's your own fault. We now
turn you over to Station KUKU.
WEEMS. Ready--aim-- Fire!
The Cuckoo is dead.
ALL. Long live the Cuckoo!
WEEMS. Good evening, folksies--this is Ambrose J. Weems, the voice of the
diaphragm e-nun-ci-a-ting. Before we begin the day's broadcasting I want to
stoop to business. I mean--get down to business. As you know, Station KUKU is
not run for profit--and that reminds me of that old saying about the
judiciary, "His Honor is not without profit save in his own country." ... Now
where was I? Oh, yes--KUKU is not run for profit, it is conducted for the
people, for the people, and for the people.
[Applause. Orchestra, "Stars and Stripes Forever."]
And if elected I promise-- Ahem, as I was saying, we are constantly striving
to improve our programs. Nobody pays us a cent and we are trying to give them
their money's worth.
Now folksies, to-night we are giving you a new feature--an extra service.
Ladies and gentlemen of our vast unconscious audience, you have heard of jokes
funny enough to make a horse laugh--well, that's the kind of jokes we want on
this program, jokes funny enough to make a horse laugh, and in carrying out
our policy of service to the people, beginning to-night we are bringing a
horse into the studio to try our jokes out on. What other radio station would
go to such lengths for its public? Of course there are certain embarrassing
features attendant upon this--I mean, suppose the horse should forget what its
duties are and laugh all during the program? But I think there is no danger of
that. [Calls.] Bring in Molasses! ... We call her that because she never runs.
[Hoofs fade in. Note, use wooden hoofs.]
Come here, Molasses--whoa--whoa--all ready for work?
Good! Now, Molasses, I am going to tell you a joke.
[Snort and run away.]
Hey, bring that horse back here!
Whoa! Molasses, you misunderstood me.
I am going to tell you a joke--and if you laugh then it's good enough for the
radio audience. Now listen, Molasses--it seems there was a Scotchman and an
Irishman and-- [Voice lowers to whisper.]
No? ... Well, let's see.... Ah, yes--this sailor went to Hawaii and met a girl
and-- [Voice lowers.]
No? ... Dear me! This is embarrassing, but not the way I thought it would
be. ... Molasses, listen to this one. This boy and his girl friend went out to
ride on a tandem bicycle and-- [Voice lowers.]
Say, look here, what's the matter with you? You're supposed to laugh at a good
joke. Molasses--look at me!
POTHER. By Jove! ... He did laugh!
WEEMS. Go an' take that horse out of here!
POTHER. Come, Molasses! ... Giddyap! ... Come! ... She won't budge--giddyap!
... By Jove, I can't move her!
WEEMS. You can't, eh? ... Watch me! ... Here, Molasses--
[Horse-laugh. Hoofs fade out.]
POTHER. By Jove, Weems, old chap--what did you give her?
WEEMS. Five dollars.
POTHER. Five dollars?
WEEMS. Certainly--money makes the mare go round.
And now KUKU presents Mrs. Pennyfeather's personal service for perturbed
people, in which Mrs. Pennyfeather gives little recipes for making light
MRS. P. Dear perturbed people of the radio audience, to-day is our last
broadcast before Christmas and right in the middle of the Christmas season,
when everything is gay and festive and unrestrained, so to-day I am going to
give you a recipe in the nude--I mean in the mood. H'm, yes. ... Because I
think that the mood counts for everything in life. ... H'm, yes.
I thought that I should give you a Christmas recipe, so I went through my
recipe-books and I found one entitled "Spirit of Christmas" and I said to
myself, "That's just the thing to give my dear radio friends, 'Spirit of
Now this is going to be just as much a surprise to me as it is to you, because
the recipe doesn't say whether it makes a cake or a pudding or a sauce. ...
Won't that be fun, to make it and not know what the result will be? H'm, yes.
I have brought the ingredients into my studio-laboratory and I shall mix them
together right in front of the microphone and then we shall all see what it
makes. ... Isn't that intriguing? Now first it says some of this red liquid. I
shall pour that into the mixing-bowl.
And now next--I've got on my old glasses, I dropped my new ones last week and
I do have a little difficulty in seeing--next--oh, yes, this nice clear white
liquid. I shall pour that in.
Now let me taste it. [Taste.] Um--yes--that's very nice--quite refreshing, as
a matter of fact. It has a familiar taste--let me see if I can tell you what
it tastes like. ... There, I've poured out a small glassful. [Drink.] That's
funny! It's very familiar, but I can't just place it. ... Well, let me see
what's next--oh, yes, this bottle here. I'll pour that in.
And now for next--next--next--now what was I talking about? Oh, yes--I'll just
taste this again to see what it's like. ... [Taste.] Yum--very nice. ... Now
the next ingre-ingre-ingre-indegrient is--I can't pronounce its name--Now I'll
pour that in.
There, now let me taste that.... [Taste.] A little bit more, I think.
H'm, yes--now let me taste this. ... [Taste.] Very deshl-deshl-de-shil-us. ...
H'm, yes. I wonder if this is a pudding or ... a pudding? Be funny if it was a
... pudding. Yes--I just love Christmas rec-rec-recipes--of all sorts--
[Giggles.] Little recipes--big recipes... . I'll just taste this and tell you
if it is a little recipe or a big recipe. [Taste.] It's a big recipe, a great
big recipe... . H'm, yes. ... Well, I was doing something, I forget what--I
must go and see... . [Fade out.]
WEEMS. Folksies, my eyes are a bit better than Mrs. Pennyfeather's. Let me see
what this recipe really is. ... Aha! I thought so. ... It was not the spirit
of Christmas but a recipe for "Spirits for Christmas."
We now give the incorrect time--when you hear the musical note it will be
exactly one-half tone flat--get ready--mark time!
[Sour trombone note.]
Exactly 7 1/4 lbs--Mother and child are doing well.
Now, folksies, comes one sports broadcast. To-day we send you a bristle by
bristle description of the annual pigskin contest between the Florida College
Lemon-pickers and the Alaska University Walruses.
This is the post-season game of post-season games. We now turn you over to
Eddie McGurk, America's premier sportscaster and Percival D. C. W. Pother our
English guest-announcer at Igloo, Alaska.
[Break. Crowd noise.]
POTHER. How do you do, everybody? This is Percival D. C. W. Pother speaking.
By Jove! This is positively ripping--you know I've never been to a football
game before as you play it here in America. ... You see, in England we play
Rugby, and it's evidently quite different, but I shall know for certain before
the game is finished.... I'm informed it's customary to give the schedule of
the persons participating in the contest.
MCGURK. The line-up--Percy.
POTHER. Oh yes--the line-up at this time-- Here it is. "For Alaska
University-- I. Kayak, R. E."--What does R. E. signify?
MCGURK. Right End.
POTHER. Quite so--quite so--you know in England that would indicate--Royal
Engineers. Rather confusing--er--Murphy R. T. Now what's that?
MCGURK. Right Tackle.
POTHER. Quite so. By George, here come the teams! [Band faintly, "Boola-
Boola.] That's strange--they're marching on the field... . And why do they
MCGURK. That's the band.
POTHER. The band--and what has a band to do with a football contest, Mr.
MCGURK. Aw ... they play.
POTHER. But I thought the football teams played.... Well, no matter, I daresay
it's the American rules. Now in England--
[He is interrupted by a cheer.]
"Rah Rah Rah--Rah Rah Rah!
You ask her--I'll ask her--
Now we'll all--aska
Yi Yi Yi--Walruses!
POTHER. Well, by Jove! ... I don't quite understand--what's going on--it's not
at all like football in England. ... Over there--
"Pick 'em sour,
Pick 'em sweet,
We play football with our feet!
Pick a lemon and watch it grow!
POTHER. Just a moment, every one--I feel there's some mistake. I was under the
impression there was going to be a football contest of sorts here--
MCGURK. Hold it a minute, Mr. Pother. This is Eddie McGurk speakin', folks.
I'm goin' to give you a short description of the local color here. This is the
end of the first quarter and the score is Walruses nothing, Lemon-pickers
nothing. It's a great contest--all the Eskimos in their furs and the
Floridians in their bathing-suits. ... Here's the whistle--Mr. Pother will
POTHER. Well now, really--this is all rather confusing. ... I'm not quite sure
whether the bands or the people in the stands are competing.
[Band fade in "Fair Harvard."]
They're all performing queer evolutions in the field now and marching up and
MCGURK. Eddie McGurk again, folks! Alaska 6, Florida 0 at the end of the first
half. The crowd is going mad as the Florida band, 683 strong, forms the figure
of a baked alaska on the field. There's the whistle.
POTHER. I'm informed that this is the second half, but I'm not quite sure
whose half of what... . There seems to be some sort of game going on in the
[All sing--tune, "Our Director."]
"Here's to old Alaska,
Long may she wave!
We're all Alaskans
And we never shave.
We're original tough guys,
Don't give a hoot--
Three cheers for Alaska
And down with Fruit!"
POTHER. As far as my limited knowledge goes I am broadcasting a play-by-play
description of the intersectional contest between the--
MCGURK. Eddie McGurk again, folks! Score at the end of the third quarter,
Florida Lemon-pickers 13, Alaska Walruses 13. Boy, this is a great game! Looks
like the goal-posts are going to be torn up to-night.... There's the whistle.
I turn the microphone back to Percival Pother.
POTHER. I'm not quite sure why you should, old thing. I don't seem to be able
to follow the game--as a matter of fact, I'm not sure there is a game.
[All sing--tune "Tipperary."]
"It's a long way down to Flo-ri-da,
It's a long way to go--
It's a long way down to Florida
Away from ice and snow.
Good-by, Old Alaska,
Don't you be afraid,
It's a lemon that we will hand you,
For you need Lemon-aid! Rah--Rah--Rah!"
POTHER. I'm still endeavoring to give you a play-by-play description of this
football game and if you will grant me a moment I will--
MCGURK. Much obliged, Percy.... Well, folks, this is Eddie McGurk about to sum
up the game--final score 20-13 in favor of the Alaska Walruses. The Florida
Lemon-pickers have lost the twenty-third post-season intersectional contest by
seven points. The Lemon-pickers lost out on the last song of the game, as they
missed a high note with ten seconds to play. Gus Kayak was the star for the
Walruses, as he led the cheering section down the field in the last quarter
and was not tackled before he crossed the goal-line with the old megaphone
tucked safely under his arm. The Lemon-pickers made eight first downs on
marching evolutions, but--
[Orchestra fades in with jazz number.]
WEEMS. And now, music-lovers everywhere, draw your chairs up to the window and
prepare to leap out at any minute, for we present KUKU's Symphonic Razz
Orchestra in a decomposition especially suited to its present stage of decay.
To-day our orchestra toys with the "Light Cavalry Overture." It will be played
somewhat lighter than usual.
It may finish it, or it may not, depending upon weather conditions.
The 100% American conductor, Robert Armbruster, known to the music world as
the Three-Blind Maestro, will follow the baton. Ready, gentlemen?
My mistake, they say they're not gentlemen. Anyway, here we go--
[Police whistle. Orchestra burlesque.]
And now, folksies, KUKU's Contribution to Dramatic Research, the "Nickelodean"
in which, each week, we re-create the old movie-theater and the days when a
nickel would give you six short reels from the thrillers and one long reel
from the bad air.
To-day's movie is a story of how love came to the underworld during the
holidays, entitled "It Isn't the Past That Counts at Christmas--It's the
Present." The Nickelodean is open. ... Overture!
Reel one. Society knew that there was an underworld in the great city of New
York and it suspected that there might be a sub-underworld, but little did it
know of the existence of a sub-sub-underworld. In the midst of this sub-sub-
underworld one Gorilla Ginsberg lived, moved, and had his being, for he was
known as King of Vice and with him was his henchman One-Eye Louie, his vice-
president. It was a cold December night, Christmas Eve, to be exact, as the
Gorilla and One-Eye Louie sat plotting within the house they called--home. ...
GORILLA. Now look here, Louie, here's the plans of the house--see?
LOUIE. Yeah, I getcha, Gorilla.
GORILLA. Now the church is next door, see--
LOUIE. I getcha.
GORILLA. And when the bell strikes ten--I start down the chimney, see?
LOUIE. I getcha.
GORILLA. Now I'll have on me Santy Claus suit, see?
LOUIE. I getcha--Santy Claus suit.
GORILLA. 'At's it. Now I stop here on the third floor and get the money out of
the servants' pocket-books, see?
LOUIE. Servants' pocket-books--I getcha.
GORILLA. Then I come out of the fireplace in the second floor and get the
LOUIE. I getcha--jewelry.
GORILLA. Then I come out of the fireplace on the first floor and get all the
LOUIE. Silver--I getcha.
GORILLA. An' if anybody sees me--I tell 'em I'm Santy Claus, see?
LOUIE. Santy Claus--I getcha.
GORILLA. Now accordin' to schedule I should be at the front door with the swag
at 10:15, see?
LOUIE. I getcha.
GORILLA. And when the clock strikes one--that's quarter-past--you come drivin'
up to the door in your sleigh with your Eskimo suit on and I come down with
the bag full of stuff and we drive off--see?
LOUIE. I getcha, Gorilla.
GORILLA. Now you got the four reindeers?
LOUIE. Yeah--I swiped 'em from the zoo last night.
GORILLA. Good! An' if anybody sees us they'll think we're Santy Claus and an
LOUIE. I getcha. Gee, that's the berries!
GORILLA. Remember when the clock strikes quarter-past--you be at the door with
the sleigh and the reindeers.
LOUIE. O. K., Chief. ...
WEEMS. Was ever more fiendish and cunning plan conceived? We leave the two
scoundrels and go to the house of John D. Rockyford--the melon king--where in
a bedroom on the second floor, little Gwendolyn Rockyford, the apple of the
melon king's eye, was being put to bed.
NURSE. Now, darlin', take off the pearl necklace--there's a good girl.
GWEN. Yes, Nursie.
NURSE. Now the gold bracelets.
GWEN. Yes, Nursie.
NURSE. Now off with the little diamond garters--that's it.
GWEN. Yes, Nursie.
NURSE. Now slip the little platinum and emerald shirtie off.
GWEN. Yes, Nursie.
NURSE. And now--
WEEMS. There will be a brief pause while Gwendolyn is being put to bed--I mean
while the film is being repaired.
[Piano interlude. Audience stamps feet and whistles. Film repaired.]
NURSE. There! Now into bed with you, and let me pull up the gold-embroidered
sheets around your little expensive neck and there you are!
GWEN. Thank you, Nursie.
NURSE. You're welcome, darlin'. ... Bless your little trusting heart!
NURSE. Yes, darlin'.
GWEN. How did the market close to-day?
NURSE. It was a good firm market, darlin'.
GWEN. Goodie! ... Now I can go to sleep happy.
NURSE. Ah, how simple--how sweet--how unaffected! ... Good night, dear.
GWEN. Good night, Nursie.
[Snores. Clock strikes ten. Noise of descending.]
GORILLA. Ah--the second floor! ... Good! ... Now where is--ah--jewelry--a
pearl necklace--gold bracelets--diamond garters--swell loot! ... Now to make
GWEN. Ooh! ... Are you Santa Claus?
GORILLA. Curses! ... Oh, it's only a little girl.... Think fast, Gorilla,
think fast! ... Yes, little girl, I'm Santy Claus.
GWEN. I knew you because of your red suit and your white whiskers.
GORILLA. [Aside.] The disguise saved me--good!
GWEN. My name is Gwendolyn Rockyford.
GWEN. May I sit on your lap?
GORILLA. Er--yes--come here.
GWEN. Now talk to me, Santa Claus.
GORILLA. [Aside.] I must play a part. ... Well, well, Gwendolyn, and what do
you want for Christmas?
GWEN. No, I am very happy and I want other little boys and girls to have my
[Applause from audience.]
GWEN. Yes--you will give them my presents, won't you?
GORILLA. [Aside.] This is unbelievable. Why, yes, Gwendolyn, I will give them
to other boys and girls.
GWEN. Goodie! ... I love other boys and girls.
GORILLA. [Aside.] A daughter of the rich--and how simple and unaffected!
GWEN. I love you, too.
GORILLA. [Aside.] This is the first time any one has ever said that to me. ...
Thank you, Gwendolyn.
GWEN. Why, Santa Claus--there are tears in your eyes!
GORILLA. Er--it must be perspiration, dear--this fur suit is very hot.
GWEN. Poor Santa! . .. But you must be happy because you do so much good.
GORILLA. [Aside.] I do good? I, who have stolen and robbed all my life?
GWEN. You have restored my faith in life.
GWEN. Yes... . You see, I never believed in Santa Claus--until to-night.
GORILLA. [Aside.] Curses on you, Gorilla Ginsberg! ... You who have never done
a clean thing in your life--but wait--here is my chance.
GWEN. I love everybody.
GORILLA. Gwendolyn, to-night you have done a wonderful thing. ... I cannot
tell you what, but you have changed the course of a man's life--
[Clock strikes one. Sleigh-bells fade in.]
Hark! Now, Gwendolyn, there is my sleigh--I must go... I will leave my bag
here. ... You--you may open it in the morning--and now ... little girl ...
will you--will you--will you give me a kiss?
GWEN. Of course, dear Santa Claus. [Smack.] There!
GORILLA. Ah, I am a new man! Good-by, Gwendolyn!
GWEN. Good-by, Santa Claus!
[Applause. Music. Sleigh-bells full up.]
LOUIE. Whoa, there, Donder! Whoa, Blitzen! Ah, here he comes!
GORILLA. Drive, Louie, drive like mad!
LOUIE. But where's the swag?
GORILLA. There ain't no swag.
LOUIE. What? ... No swag?
GORILLA. No--I'm a new man! Drive, I tell you, drive!
[Sleigh-bells fade out.]
BOTH. [Argue, fading out. Applause. Music.]
NURSE. Why, Gwendolyn--are you awake?
GWEN. I'll say I am.
NURSE. What have you there, dear?
[Jingle of metal.]
GWEN. Well, sort of--
NURSE. A gold watch, a knife--a key-ring, a silver cigarette-case, a flash-
light--and 8500 in cash! Why, Gwendolyn, where did you get these?
GWEN. Santa Claus.
NURSE. Santa Claus?
GWEN. Yes, he was just here and I found them in his pockets.
NURSE. Oh! ... How simple, how sweet, how unaffected!
[Music up to close. Applause.]
WEEMS. And now comes the Kiddies' Hour. ... Yoo-hoo, Kiddies, Uncle Ambrose
has a story for you.
WEEMS. It's all about Santa Claus.
ALL. Who cares?
WEEMS. Come over here to the microphone so the little children in the radio
audience can hear too.
AMBROSIA. Gee, the little children in the radio audience are lucky.
WEEMS. I'm glad you think so, Ambrosia dear.
AMBROSIA. Yeah--they can tune out, but we have to listen to you.
WEEMS. That will do, Kiddies. ... Now to-day I have a story for you about why
Santa Claus' reindeers have horns on their heads.
AMBROSIA. I know why.
WEEMS. Do you, dear? Why?
AMBROSIA. Cause they look like the devil.
WEEMS. Ambrosia! Now once upon a time when Santa Claus first started bringing
presents to you--
AMBROSIA. Started what?
WEEMS. Bringing presents to you.
AMBROSIA. Say--are you trying to kid us?
WEEMS. Why, children, of course not.
AMBROSIA. O. K. Then shoot!
WEEMS. Well--once upon a time Santa Claus had eight deer to pull his sleigh,
and when it came time for him to build a new house he had to figure out
stables for the deer to live in, so he had a bright idea. He built in the
house a hunting-room or a trophy-room.
AMBROSIA. I know what a trophy is.
WEEMS. Do you, dear? What is it?
AMBROSIA. A trophy is what you get when you have hardening of the arteries.
WEEMS. Yes, dear. ... Education is a wonderful thing. So Santa Claus built his
trophy-room and hung up his guns and his snowshoes, but he didn't have any
heads to hang up.
AMBROSIA. Any heads?
WEEMS. Yes, darling.
AMBROSIA. Did you hang up the one you got at the party, night before last?
WEEMS. The one I got?
AMBROSIA. Yeah, I heard you say yesterday morning you had an awful head that
you got at the party the night before.
WEEMS. Yes, dear--ha, ha! So Santy Claus--
AMBROSIA. You didn't say anything about hanging it up--but you did say
something about a hang over.
WEEMS. Here, Ambrosia--here's a nickel for you--now keep quiet.
AMBROSIA. Ooh, gee!
WEEMS. Well, so Santy Claus wanted some heads to hang in his trophy-room--you
know, animals that he had bagged while hunting.
AMBROSIA. Like you make bags out of alligators?
WEEMS. Roughly, dear, roughly.
AMBROSIA. Do you know what kind of fruit two alligators would make?
WEEMS. No, dear--they don't make fruit.
AMBROSIA. Yes, they do--two alligators make an alligator pear.
WEEMS. But then Santy Claus got his idea and he built the eight stables for
the eight reindeers around his trophy-room, and he cut eight holes in the
walls, one into each stable, and around each hole he put a frame, and then the
eight reindeers would stand in their stables and put their heads through the
holes in the wall, and so he had eight mounted deer-heads all around the
trophy-room at no extra expense.
WEEMS. But the deer had only two ears on their heads, and they could pull back
their heads at any time and leave a hole in the wall. You see if Santy had
made the holes so small that they couldn't pull them back, they couldn't get
them in to begin with.
WEEMS. And it was very embarrassing for Santa Claus to have one of the local
Eskimos in to dinner and to take him into the trophy-room and to point to one
of these reindeer and to say, "Now I shot this splendid specimen in Africa in
the fall of 1899," and then find he was pointing to an empty hole.
AMBROSIA. Holes are usually empty, aren't they?
WEEMS. Yes, sweetheart! So there Santa Claus was ... if the holes were too
small, the reindeer couldn't get their heads into the frames, and if they were
too big, they pulled them back at the wrong time. He was on the two horns of a
dilemma--but he solved the problem.
ALL. What did he do?
WEEMS. Well, you see each reindeer presented a dilemma, so he took two horns
of each dilemma and fastened them on each reindeer's head and they couldn't
pull them back--and that is why reindeers have horns to-day!
WEEMS. And so, folksies, we leave you with a smile--a tear--perhaps--perhaps a
touch of nausea. We are just doing our bit, and may we remind you of our
motto? You can fool some of the people some of the time and you can fool some
of the people some of the time but you can't fool some of the people some of
This is Ambrose J. Weems thinking only of you.
CLOSING ANNOUNCEMENT. And so ends the Cuckoo Hour from Station KUKU. You have
been listening to the Cuckoos under the leadership of Raymond Knight in his
radio character of Ambrose J. Weems, and consisting of Adelina Thomason,
Eustace Wyatt, Elsie Mae Gordon, and others. This is Alwyn Bach going out to
do his Xmas shopping.
The Cuckoo Hour has come to you from our New York studios as a persecution of
the National Broadcasting Company.
Originally broadcast: probably 23 December 1930