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In 1948, a famous CBS radio display was titled, "The Life the Riley," starring wilhelm Bendix in the popular role of Chester A. Riley. The show's location depicts someone who has it make or lives "the life the Riley." His oft-repeated acquainted idiom top top the show was, "What a revoltin' advancement this is." Riley might easily be explained as the "Archie Bunker" of the 1940s.

You are watching: Digger o dell the friendly undertaker

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Undertaker Digby "Digger" O'Dell and the first Chester B. Riley, Jackie Gleason

While we would all agree that death is never funny, this display had an normal character in it by the surname of Digby "Digger" O'Dell, known unaffectionately together "the friendly undertaker." In real life, he was the character actor, john Brown. One of his acquainted lines addressed to Riley was, "You're spring fine, Riley. Very natural." as soon as it come time because that him to leaving an establishment, he would say, "Cheerio, I'd far better be... Shoveling off."

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Forrest Morris, chairman of Morris Funeral house (located at 305 N. Roan Street, opposite main Baptist Church) and, before that, Sterchi Funeral house on feather Street), argued to the widely-known radio personality, that his type of feeling was totally in bad taste and also the character have to be permanently "laid come rest."

In may 1948, Morris dubbed attention come the insensitivity the the routine with an editorial in the Johnson City Press-Chronicle that was sent out to the well-known radio program. In part, it said:

"Throughout my lengthy tenure that service, "said Mr. Morris, "it has never to be my desire to make light of fatality or its accompanying grief" and I confidently feel the if this renowned punster were to suffer touching grief, he would without hesitation seek another way of livelihood."

"Twixt you and also me, "Dig," death is never funny, nor, in the human being circumstances that deep sorrow, have the right to funeral company ever be taken into consideration festive or jovial.

"In every fairness, Mr. Digby, we put to you the case of a household suffering bereavement. Not an excellent case of part overly sensitive family members issue, yet the usual family of average, kind Americans. They recently lost, let united state say, your elderly mother. To save the case entirely same to you, let us think the this family, no in their an initial poignancy use grief, however some weeks after the funeral.

"Picture this scenario: This family members is tho in the phase of adjustment and transition. They're slowly, very slowly start to discover their way back right into normal routes of life they'd known before the shock the their recent heartbreak. They space seated in their home on any type of given Saturday evening, make the efforts as ideal they deserve to to lull one another, seeking any type of seemly diversion that may carry some feeling of woe in your hearts.

"Someone transforms on the radio, and every one of a suddenly without the little warning, come Digger "Digby" O'Dell, the trusted undertaker" come the microphone. Before you recognize it, you have actually been exposed to a spicy pun, or beat on words the conjures increase a cold, hard, callous, grim allusion come man's physics mortality.

"In the scenarios of this people, and also there space of several million favor them at any kind of given time in these unified States, execute you mean your act would certainly be a joke to them? In mine opinion, Digger, the is something that far exceeds a joke.

"It is true that the funeral manager earns his or her living from services connected with the funeral of the dead, yet no decent funeral director or embalmer, in mine opinion, has ever before been make happier to find out of any type of person's death.

"In a issue of speaking, funeral director do have actually the patience that Job, but there's a border to every things. In the tolerant opinion that many, your burlesque is no much longer funny. The is time to take "Digby" and bury him 6 feet down." fine said, Mr. Morris.

According to mine research, the duty of "Digger" to be never eliminated from the radio show; instead, as soon as the regime was switched to television in 1949, it retained, not only the very same character but also the exact same actor ... John Brown.

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In instance you're also remotely interested, on might 16, 1957, Digger (John Brown) passed away of a heart attack at period 54 while en path to his doctor's office. It is unlikely the there was any kind of blatant merriment existing at his funeral service. We deserve to only wonder.