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Bob and Ray

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Bob and Ray 1951

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Biography

Bob Elliott (born 1923) and Ray Goulding (1922–1990) were an American comedy team whose career spanned five decades. Their format was typically to satirize the medium in which they were performing, such as conducting radio or television interviews, with off-the-wall dialogue presented in a generally deadpan style as though it were a serious interview.

Bob & Ray’s 40-year career began at WHDH, Boston. Bob was a disc jockey, and Ray a newscaster. When the Red Sox games were delayed on account of rain, they began to amuse each other to fill the time. Soon they had a daily show of their own, “Matinee with Bob & Ray,” an improvised, madcap exercise in controlled chaos. Over their long career, they created more than a hundred characters, all played by Bob or Ray. Wally Ballou, the hapless journalist, Mary McGoon, whose recipe for frozen ginger ale salad prefigures Martha Stewart; Biff Burns in the sports room, Webley Webster, Barry Campbell, a third rate actor with an ego the size of the universe, Mary Backstayge, Noble Wife whose pals travel the world in search of goofy adventure.

Their humor is subtle, dry, intelligent and clean. Bob & Ray have a keen ear for language, how it is used and misused by the con artists, hucksters and hustlers who populate radio and television. Their humor is timeless. Bob & Ray ‘s satire of soap operas, game shows, radio shrinks and other self-appointed “experts,” and commercials, is as pertinent today as it was in 1946.

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