Radio Listeners Were Crazy for Eddie Cowell

I received numerous responses from my Eddie Cowell article a few weeks ago. A few folks shared their memories of the once popular funnyman.

Don Sluder said he could write about the jovial jester for weeks, calling him the best radioman to ever hit the air in this part of the country: “We always started our mornings at home by listening to Eddie on WJHL; he was always entertaining. I remember his daily march around the breakfast table (similar to network radio’s Don McNeal’s “The Breakfast Club”). You could picture in your mind thousands of people pushing back their chairs and keeping time to the music.”

Merrill Moore said the clever jokester used this as a diversion tactic, allowing him to take a brief yet much needed break: “Eddie liked to alter record titles. One example was ‘To Each His Own,’ introducing it as the long-underwear song, “To Itch His Own.”

Don further recalled that one of Eddie's most requested records was a 1942 Spike Jones ditty: “Horsey, Keep Your Tail Up – Keep the Sun Out of My Eyes.” “Another reason for listening each morning (during icy weather) was to find out if area schools would be closed. There were times when, just for fun, Eddie would announce that they were closed when they really were not.”

Don further related that he later pursued a radio career and became a staff member for WCYB Radio in Bristol: “Was I ever surprised when I learned that Eddie Cowell was another staff announcer. At last, I had the privilege to get to know my radio hero. One thing he brought with him to Bristol was his famous fanfare recording that he would play before a big announcement. “Eddie had taken an old 78-rpm sound effects’ record that contained a normal short fanfare with trumpets. He recorded it over and over on an audiotape, making it last as long as he wanted.

“Many will remember his invitation to watch from the street as he told about sitting on the window ledge of the Reynolds Arcade Building where our sixth floor studios were located to eat lunch or stop at the bridge in Bluff City for a swim on the way to work.” 

Johnny Humphreys made a deposit from his memory bank: “I fondly recall him; all our family looked forward to his program in the early mornings. I can remember his machine gun sound effects. He would often have to (supposedly) use his gun on the large rats in the studio before he could begin his program. “My older brother Fred took me downtown one day, and I was fortunate to be interviewed (on the “Man on the Street” program) in front of the Majestic Theater. I was awarded a coupon for a free loaf of that wonderful smelling Honey Krust Bread.”

Phil White offered his memory of the famed airman: “I will always remember him carrying on a conversation over the air with a “cow” (a Cowell conversing with a cow). He would tip over a small round cardboard box to get a “moo” sound from it.”

The imaginative Eddie Cowell saga seems to be endless. If you have additional memories of this long-remembered radio humorist, please share them.