ORIGINAL CAST PROFILES – Kenny Delmar
“That’s a joke, son!”
Those immortal words danced over the airwaves and into the hearts of millions of NBC radio listeners when they tuned into the Fred Allen Show and heard the voice of Kenny Delmar as Senator Beauregard Claghorn.
Kenneth Howard Delmar was born September 5, 1910 in Boston, Massachusetts.
Delmar began his acting career as a child actor in silent films, including D.W. Griffith’s Orphans of the Storm. He quickly gained attention from radio producers with his skill at vocal characterizations and quick wit. He landed a regular part on the Fred Allen Show. The brash, blustering Southern Senator delighted audiences with his corny puns and constant prodding of Allen. His signature line “That’s a Joke Son!” became the title of a film that featured Delmar in the part he made popular on the radio.
(A full version of this movie is available HERE)
Senator Claghorn became such a popular characterization, the animators at Warner Bros. created a character named Foghorn Leghorn (voiced by Mel Blanc).
Delmar also became a staple on television cartoon programs, including Underdog, The Go Go Gophers, and Tennessee Tuxedo.
His most notable contribution to the War of the Worlds broadcast was as the Secretary of State…an impersonation that was mistaken by some listeners to be then President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Delmar passed away July 14, 1984 in Stamford, Connecticut.