Bad Boy Of Radio
Helps Increase Shoe Sales
"Any kind of foot you have, son.....
bring it in to Old Man Adler."
--- Henry Morgan
Lincoln, Me. (DG)---
Henry Morgan wasn't called "The Bad Boy Of Radio"
for nothing. Throughout his radio career, he took great delight in
thumbing his nose at the radio industry. He was also an effective commercial
salesman--- although the sponsors held their breath at the commercial
he was presenting on the air.
When he hosted HERE'S MORGAN, a weeknight
program on WOR/Mutual, Morgan was a breath of fresh air to the radio
listeners who hated the overwhelming impact of radio commercials--- and
a nightmare to the sponsors who had the guts to sponsor the program.
The program was 15 minutes of ad-lib commentary by Morgan,
accompanied by occasional snatches of music. He also took great delight
in commenting about his sponsors--- much to the chagrin of the sponsors
and network management. When the commercials were transcriptions, Morgan
usually added some humorous commentary to what was heard. When the commercial
had to be presented live, Morgan took no prisoners. Since Morgan
said what he thought about a product, some sponsors, who lacked a sense
of humor, cancelled its sponsorship of the program. One sponsor would
actually PROSPER with Morgan's sharp wit--- although it
did take some restraint not to cancel its sponsorship of the program. The sponsor in question was Adler Shoes.
The most famous product in the Adler line
was Adler Elevator Shoes--- the shoes that make you "Taller
Than She Is." Morgan licked his chops at the prospect of
the product and its famous saying. While he was selling Adler Elevator
Shoes over the airwaves, Morgan also made Jesse Adler, the
president of Adler Shoes For Men, a radio celebrity. On
the air, Morgan referred to the company president as "Old Man
Adler." There were a few commercials where Morgan featured Old
Man Adler more than the shoes themselves. One lengthy commercial had Morgan
narrate the "life story" of Old Man Adler, which he mentioned
little about the shoes he was supposed to sell
Originally, Adler wasn't impressed with what was said on
the program. He also felt his new radio nickname was showing disrespect
to him. Adler was on the brink of canceling sponsorship of HERE'S
MORGAN, when something happened. People were going to the Adler
Shoe Stores in the New York City region. They were asking the
clerks if Old Man Adler was in. In addition, the people were also asking for and buying "Old
Man Adler's elevator shoes." In the process, sales of all Adler
With all the good things taking place, Adler had a change
of heart. He started to like his new nickname and celebrity status on
the program. So much so, he had "Old Man Adler"
printed on his personal stationary. With his new fame and increased sales,
Adler still gritted his teeth with the commercials Morgan was presenting
on the air.
World War II spelled the demise of HERE'S MORGAN
on WOR/Mutual--- to the relief of network management, because Morgan
went into the service in 1943. Unfortunately, Adler lost his most valuable ally. With the program off the air, there were transcribed commercials for
Adler Elevator Shoes. Unlike Morgan's humorous commercials,
the new commercials were complete with a musical jingle and a serious
sounding announcer. Unfortunately, the new commercials were also dull.