About “Wanna Buy a Duck?” and Joe Penner

Click HERE to visit my website dedicated to comedian Joe Penner, “Wanna Buy a Duck?”

That’s right. As if “Get it Got it Good” doesn’t fill up enough of my late night free time. But the subject matter is much more focused that this site, in fact, it’s dedicated to one individual. Who rates this singular treatment? Well, if you’re a fan of Old Time Radio, the stage (including Vaudeville, Burlesque & Broadway), or 1930s movie musicals, you may remember comedian Joe Penner. But odds are you won’t. So here’s a little of his first guest appearance on the Rudy Vallee Program on July 13, 1933:

(CLICK the arrow to listen)

That’s him in the masthead (or header) photo above with Lyda Roberti and his ubiquitous duck (Goo Goo) as they appeared in the 1934 Paramount musical College Rhythm, Penner’s first feature-length film.

Here’s the full photograph:

Lyda Roberti and Joe Penner in “College Rhythm”

“Wanna Buy a Duck?” is all about Penner, and may be the only website around that is. Many past performers I admire (Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Danny Kaye, Eddie Cantor, Jack Benny, Phil Silvers, etc.) have fansites, and I’ve always felt Penner deserved a little better. So, in addition to essays on his films, radio shows, stage performances, etc., I’ll be adding photos, posters, lobby cards, sheet music covers and other Penner ephemera you’ve probably never seen from a collection that just keeps growing.

Overkill? Maybe, but lots of fun.

craig hodgkins

PS: “WBAD” (sounds like the call letters of a pirate radio station from back east, doesn’t it?) won’t be for the trendy, “what’s new and hot so I’ll know what I like” kinda person. But if you’re ready to jump head-first into another era of entertainment, come on in…the water’s fine!

15 Responses to “About “Wanna Buy a Duck?” and Joe Penner”

  1. Did Joe Penner ever do a movie called”Gangway”? If so, is there a copy around?

    • Penner did star in a two-reeler titled “Gangway.” It was Vitaphone release #2362, and came out sometime in 1930-31 as part of his “pre-stardom” contract with Warner/Vitaphone. I’ve never seen it, but I do have a B&W photo from it in my collection. Joe is perched on the front edge of a Chippendale chair wearing knee-high boots, a tricorn hat and a bent sword.


    • Having seen Joe Penner’s films and only a few minutes of one by Jerry Lewis (couldn’t hack anymore), I’d say that Lewis copied Penner but never quite got it right. Joe was a one-of-a-kind 🙂

  3. Looking for information on my “Lobby Card” from the 1934 movie “College Rhythm” featuring Joe Penner and many others. Any help appreciated. Thanks, Gary

  4. Do you have any tracks or pics with Monk Purcell

  5. It is nice to know that someone is remembering Joe Penner. A bit dated though he may be, his was a more-than-lovable comic persona.

    • Caught The Life of the Party on tmc with joe Penner & Parkys. The comedy bits were very good! Penner cracks me up!

  6. I have been a Joe Penner fan for a long time. Perhaps because we are proud of the fact that at some time in his youth he lived in my neighborhood. Could you please trace his youth years fore me? His dad must have moved to Dearborn, Michigan at some point following his job with Ford. Oldsters from the neighborhood remembered him but it is hard to find conclusive information about him during these early years. Please advice.

    • I wrote the 9 23 13 question regarding Penner/Dearborn. I know conclusively that his mom and dad indeed lived in Dearborn in 1925 on Salina Street. In fact, it was 3427 Salina. Do you have any data on his coming and going during that period. He later moved his mom and dad to California. I would think between 1925 and 1932/33 the family was firmly living there and possibly he would visit. Old timers have memories of his presence only they are no longer with us. Please advise.

  7. My dad has a joke book of joe penners. Brings it out every now and then for us to enjoy with our families. I just shared this website with him. He enjoyed it a lot. Thanks for your efforts.

  8. what was joe penner duck name

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