Your Shopping Cart | Your Account Information | Catalog Quick Order | Customer Service | Order Status | Contact Us


AboutBlogOur Radio Show SEARCH   KEYWORD

The Fabulous Frank Morgan

On this date in 1890, actor-comedian Frank Morgan came into this world…born Frances Phillip Wupperman in New York City.  The youngest of eleven children (six girls, five boys), the Wupperman family were quite well-to-do and were thus able to give Frances a fine education at Cornell University (where he also joined the renowned Phi Beta Kappa fraternity)—but upon graduation, he decided to follow in his older brother Ralph’s (Raphael Wupperman) footsteps and become an actor.  His success on the Broadway stage translated into equal fame in silent films…though it was with the advent of talkies that Morgan really made his mark.  Frequently cast as a befuddled but well-meaning middle-aged eccentric, his films include The Half-Naked Truth (1932), Hallelujah, I’m a Bum (1933), Bombshell (1933), The Good Fairy (1935), The Shop Around the Corner (1939), The Mortal Storm (1940) and The Human Comedy (1943).  He was twice nominated for acting Oscars (for 1934’s The Affairs of Cellini and 1942’s Tortilla Flat) but his best-known role (even to those who aren’t necessarily classic movie fans) remains the titular charlatan of The Wizard of Oz (1939), which remains a timeless favorite for both old and young alike.

As an M-G-M contract player, Morgan also made frequent appearances as the resident comic on the studio’s Good News (of 1938) program from 1937 to 1940…and in the fall of 1940, took over the program (along with Fanny Brice as “Baby Snooks”) when it was shortened to a half-hour and christened Maxwell House Coffee Time.  Brice quit the program at the end of the 1943-44 season to start her own show in the fall and Morgan soldiered on for another year (with Robert Young and Cass Daley in support) afterward…then made his way to The Kraft Music Hall at a time when the show was having to do with the temporary absence of its star, Bing Crosby.  A 1946 summer sitcom called The Fabulous Dr. Tweedy (featuring Frank as an absentminded college professor) garnered enough positive buzz to run through the 1946-47 season, and Morgan’s final radio gig was as one of the stars of The Old Gold Show (also called The Don Ameche Show), which allowed him to match wits with stars Ameche and Francis Langford.  (This series is where many of “The Bickersons” sketches were performed…and sadly, in some cases “The Bickersons” routines are all that remain from those broadcasts—though some of the scripts have been reprinted in book form.)  Morgan passed away on September 18, 1949…but he left behind a true legacy of movie memories and radio laughter.


  1. Scott C. says:

    Spiffy new digs, Ivan. I’ve added your new pied-à-terre to the blogroll. (“Wupperman”? Really? I never knew that, but it’s a name that would fit right in rather neatly with all the other characters in SHOP AROUND THE CORNER.)

  2. Thanks for coming over to say “hidy,” Scott! As always, I am honored to be on your award-winning blogroll!

Leave a Reply