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About the Artist
A native of Palestine, Illinois, Raymond Brown was his real name but to listeners and fans of the WWVA Jamboree in particular and Jake Taylor's Rail Splitters, he was Quarantine. He was billed at one time as the "Ugliest Man in Radio". When he was just five years old, the family moved to Sullivan, Indiana. He wrote in one of Jake Taylor's Log Books that his father worked in a saw mill during most of his childhood days. His father moved the family to Terre Haute, Indiana when Quarantine was 21, his father took a job in the steel mills. A friend of his told him his face was his fortune but he was 22 years old before he started collecting on it. In other words, he became a comedian. When he was 23, he met a gal named Betty and became her partner as part of a comedy-singing duo. Betty later married Jake Taylor. Then Quarantine met his special gal and married her on June 10, 1935. Around March 1, 1938, Quarantine writes that Jake made him an offer to join the Rail Splitters with him on WWVA. From there Quarantine went on to become one of the comedians on that show.
We happened upon a souvenir folder from 1940 of Quarantine's called "Laff with Quarantine" It also indicated he was the "Nuttiest Nut from Terre Hut". He had been on the WWVA Jamboree about two years then and it appears he had branched off from the Jake Taylor group and was teaming up with Big Slim, the Lone Cowboy, doing comedy stints. He was also billed as "The Ugliest Man in Radio" in the 3rd Annual Goodwill Tour folio.
In 1935, a big change occurred in his life. He met a gal who would become his wife.
Around 1932 or so, he became a partner with a gal that became Mrs. Betty Taylor (Jake Taylor's wife) and they did comedy, singing and dancing together. This appears to be prior to 1934, when Betty married Jake Taylor and gave up the act and working with Jake.
The souvenir folio had a bit of Quarantine's humor in it, so we'll relate it as we found it.
Funny Happenings by Quarantine and Big Slim
In 1945, Mary Jean Shurtz wrote in her column that Quarantine was working over in Indianapolis, Indiana over radio station WIBC with Fiddling Red Herron's act. That same year, Quarantine was part of another show over WIBC called "The Swap Shop". Other acts on that show incldued Marian Martin (accordionist who was a part of Doc Williams' Border Riders for a time); Emmy Lou; Hallie Miller (we assume Curley Miller's wife). From the description of the show by Mary Jean Shurtz, it sounded like a radio version of eBay.
Billboard magazine reported in late 1946 that Quarantine had stayed about four years at WIBC before he joined the KSTP Sunset Valley Barn Dance up in St. Paul, Minnesota.
He was appearaing on the air via transcribed shows three days a week (Tuedays, Thursdays and Saturdays) at 6:05am with fellow comedian, Bobby Walker.
In July of 1950, Sam Workman was reporting to The Billboard that Quarantine had moved to WRVA and was on the Old Dominion Barn Dance program.
Credits & Sources