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About The Artist
Lem Turner was one of the mainstays for many years on the WHO Iowa Barn Dance Frolic, offering up his own brand of humor that you just don't hear anymore. Reading his book of jokes from those days, they're just plain, clean old-fashioned pun-filled parodies on everyday life.
But before we serve up a few samples of that humor, let's see what we can find out about him.
He was known as "Councilman-in-Charge-of-Opry-House-Doin's" and later "Clown Prince of Laughter". Since he was the comedian of the show, he got to do his act with many of the stars on the Iowa Barn Dance Frolic show. But the one he worked with most was a gal named Martha in the Sunset Corners, the fictional town the show took place in. Other acts he did his dialogs with included such folks as Bobby Clark, a ventriloquist, the Songfellows, even the announcers couldn't escape his fun like Jack Kerrigan, known as the "Singing Announcer" and Stan Widney, Joy Miller, a cute little 7-year old singer who could yodel, Mountain Pete, Ralph Peer, the World's Greatest Ocarina player, accordionist Glenn Burklund and Jerry Smith.
Later on we find that in 1953, he was hosting a disc jockey show over WHO out of Des Moines, getting letters from fans in such exoctic places as Alaska, Puerto Rico, Labrador, Panama, Hawaii and Canada, due to the clear-channel signal strength of the station. His show was on a bit early and called the "Country Music Record Show" and we're willing to bet that he didn't leave his humor behind on that show and maybe caused a few people to roll back over and go back to sleep after hearing a parody or two but eventually waking with a smile and probably telling the folks at work something like "Did you hear what that Lem Turner said this morning?"
How about some tidbits that Lem and Martha that got audiences a chuckle or two?
How about some nursey rhymes that Lem would dish out?
Now let's take a look at what a comedian and a seven-year old yodeling gal do for humor on-stage.
And if you're not shaking your head and groaning yet, well, how about a snippet of a parody that he did once in a while with the great Ocarina player on the Iowa Barn Dance, Ralph Peer?
Well, we haven't found that much about his career yet, but at least we found and could share a bit of his taste in country humor.
Credits & Sources