Monday, August 29, 2005

Harry Stewart

The boot sale was a wash out today so delving in the archive found this compilation LP of some novelty songs by various people including Yogi Yorgesson and Harry Kari and the Saki Sippers, both the creation of Harry Stewart.
He was born to Norwegian parentage in Washington state in 1908. His excellent website informs us -

"Harry was raised in the Proctor District, attended Washington Grade School then Stadium High School in Tacoma. When Harry was age 15 or 16, he acquired tuberculosis, which resulted in one lung removal. He was a bellhop at the Carlton Hotel also worked graveyard shift from midnight to seven A.M. at the St. Paul & Tacoma Lumber Co. Harry just "hung around" the then new radio station "KVI" and was eventually given a job as an announcer, weather reporter, news man and banjo player in 1927. In 1931 he moved to Los Angeles, California, with the hope of getting an announcing and banjo playing job with one of the larger stations. In those days, both announcers and banjo players were too plentiful. If he wanted to continue in the radio field, he had to think up a new act or forget about eating. He had not written or acted any comedy, but the character named Yogi Yorgesson, Swede-Hindu mystic, born of the need for survival, CAME TO HIM after starving in the area for a while. "Yogi" was a cross between Ivar Haglund, (locally famous as owner of Ivar's Acres of Clams, Seattle) and Mahatma Gandhi, a Hindu Spiritualist. He tried out his routine on the nationally broadcast show "Merrymakers". It was six months before he got a job with Al Pearce and his gang, whom he was with for about three and one half years (1934-1937). His character for the show was "Yogi Yorgesson," (the Hindu mystic from Stockholm, Sweden) with a Swedish comedy touch. Yogi: "mystical" and Yorgesson: "comedic Swedish name." He gazed into a small fish bowl turned upside down as his "crystal ball" and would make statements such as, "I can see my face on da udder side." That was his line, but his skit also answered questions that were posed to him by listeners. Actually, the listeners’ questions were simply part of the script that he wrote. He used an exaggerated Swedish dialect to add to the humor. One routine done on that show is remembered by his son Steve which went like this: A lady called in and asked, "My baby just swallowed some bullets, what should I do?" Yogi answered, "Give him some caster oil and don't point him at anybody!" His costume consisted of Swede boots, Hindu loincloth, lumberjack shirt and a Hindu turban."

Harry went on to create other characters including Harry Kari,Claude Hopper, and Klaus Hammershmidt.
He died in 1956 in a car wreck whilst driving back from a fishing trip.

Yogi Yorgesson - The Bees & The Birds

Harry Kari - Yokohama Mama

These You Send It files are available for seven days or until exhausted.

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