I’ve collected Penner memorabilia for several years, and finally decided he’d been forgotten long enough. For
most of the 1930s, he was one of the biggest radio stars around (when network radio was big), with more than one catchphrase
that kept Depression-era America in stitches. In addition, he had top-billing in nine of his ten feature films, and appeared
on the stage in burlesque, vaudeville and Broadway.
So I’ve started this site to offer him a belated career
retrospective, share some of my collection, provide a forum for Penner fans (there are a few of us), and — quite honestly
— because I don’t think anyone else will.
How I Got Started
I first became aware of Joe Penner’s career while reading Ozzie Nelson’s autobiography, cleverly titled Ozzie, which was published in 1973. Nelson and his wife — Harriett Hilliard Nelson
— received their first national radio audience exposure in 1933 as Penner’s bandleader and band vocalist.
Ozzie and Harriett eventually went on to have two sons (David and Ricky) and headline their own radio and television programs.
A great deal is known about The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, but there was (and is) very little accurate information
available about Penner.
Until now, that is.
If you’re interested at all in Joe Penner, or suspect
you may want to be, please visit my guestbook and leave a note. And, if you have some cool Penner stuff to share, please do
that as well. I’d love to hear from you.
– Craig Hodgkins