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Subject: ARCHIVE: July 14, 1984 ~Comic voice actor Kenny Delamr, who as apart of Fred Allen's ensemble of actors on his radio show, best known as the bombastic, super-chauvinistic southern senator 'Senator Beauregard Claghorn', which later inspired the popular Warner Bros cartoon character the rowdy rooster 'Longhorn Leghorn' spouting "It's a Joke, Son!", though he was in real life a New England-born Yankee, dies at 73.

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Date Posted: Sunday, July 14, 11:53:02am

Kenny Delmar
[ Kenneth Frederick Fay Howard ]
(September 5, 1910, Boston, Massachusetts
July 14, 1984, Stamford, Connecticut)

American actor active in radio, films, and animation. An announcer on the pioneering radio news series The March of Time, he became a national radio sensation in 1945 as Senator Beauregard Claghorn on the running "Allen's Alley" sketch on The Fred Allen Show. The character Delmar created was a primary inspiration for the Warner Bros. cartoon character Foghorn Leghorn.

By the late 1930s, Delmar was an announcer on such major radio series as The March of Time and Your Hit Parade. He played multiple roles in The Mercury Theatre on the Air's October 1938 radio drama The War of the Worlds. His main role was that of Captain Lansing, the National Guardsman who collapses in terror when confronted by the Martian invaders, although he also is noted for his address to the "citizens of the nation" as the Secretary of the Interior, in which role he spoke in a stentorian, declamatory style deliberately reminiscent of then-President Franklin Roosevelt. Cavalcade of America featured him in their repertory cast, and also was heard as Commissioner Weston on early episodes of The Shadow.

Delmar is notable for creating the character Senator Beauregard Claghorn on Fred Allen's radio program Allen's Alley, which he did while also serving as the show's regular announcer. Senator Claghorn made his radio debut October 7, 1945, and six months later was called "unquestionably the most quoted man in the nation" by Life magazine. The role inspired the Warner Bros. animated character Foghorn Leghorn, first seen in the Oscar-nominated cartoon Walky Talky Hawky (1946), voiced by Mel Blanc.

..."During the late 1940s, Mr. Delmar captivated 20 million radio listeners every Sunday night with his burlesque of a bombastic, super-chauvinistic legislator who drank only from Dixie cups and refused to drive through the Lincoln Tunnel," wrote The New York Times. "His stock expression, 'That's a joke, son,' was for many years one of the nation's pet phrases, mimicked by children and businessmen alike. ... The windbag character, he said, was inspired by a Texas cattle rancher who had picked him up while he was hitchhiking and barely stopped talking." Delmar was later heard by a later generation of television watchers via the animated character called The Hunter which he voiced using his Senator Claghorn inflections, including, "That's a joke, son." "The Hunter" was a dog detective whose nemesis was The Fox, a criminal fox who attempted bizarre capers, usually huge in scope (such as attempting to steal the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty or, in one episode, the State of Florida). The Hunter ran as an ancillary segment of the cartoon series King Leonardo and his Short Subjects, produced by Total Television Productions.

At the height of his popularity, Delmar also starred as Claghorn in a theatrical feature film, It's a Joke, Son! in 1947. Delmar was also announcer and voice performer on The Alan Young Show in 1944. One of the characters that he played was Counselor Cartonbranch who is obviously similar in mannerisms and voice to Senator Claghorn. In 1953 he returned to radio replacing Hans Conried's character on My Friend Irma, as the Professor's cousin, Maestro Wanderkin and as Conried's Schultz on Life with Luigi.

He died on July 14, 1984 at St. Joseph's Hospital in Stamford, CT,
and was buried at nearby Long Ridge Union Cemetery under
a stone bearing the name of his famed alter ego character
'Senator Claghorn' and his catchphrase "It's a Joke, Son!"...

Delmar was also a well-utilized cartoon voice talent whose voice was familiar to baby-boomers as
Commander McBragg, The Hunter, Major Minor on "Klondike Kat", and other Saturday morning cartoon icons.


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Subject Author Date
I remember Claghorn's shtick was "...he drank only from Dixie cups and refused to drive through the Lincoln Tunnel"! (NT)"That's a joke, son!"Sunday, July 14, 12:50:45pm

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