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Pearce (Al) papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Restrictions on Access
  • Restrictions on Use and Reproduction
  • Preferred Citation
  • Processing Information
  • UCLA Catalog Record ID
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement

  • Contributing Institution: UCLA Library Special Collections
    Title: Al Pearce papers
    Creator: Pearce, Al
    Identifier/Call Number: PASC.0320
    Physical Description: 14.0 Linear Feet (8 boxes and 7 album boxes)
    Date (inclusive): 1938-1946
    Abstract: Comedian Al Pearce became an established name in radio and was best known for playing Elmer Blurt, a self-conscious door-to-door salesman. The collection consists of script files, sound recordings, and photographs related to Pearce's radio career as well as a small amount of memorabilia.
    Physical Location: Stored off-site. All requests to access special collections material must be made in advance using the request button located on this page.
    Language of Material: Materials are in English.

    Restrictions on Access

    Open for research. All requests to access special collections materials must be made in advance using the request button located on this page.
    Audio materials in this collection are restricted and require advance notice for use.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical objects belong to UCLA Library Special Collections. All other rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Al Pearce Papers (Collection PASC 320). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Joel Parham and Julie Graham.
    Collections are processed to a variety of levels depending on the work necessary to make them usable, their perceived user interest and research value, availability of staff and resources, and competing priorities. Library Special Collections provides a standard level of preservation and access for all collections and, when time and resources permit, conducts more intensive processing. These materials have been arranged and described according to national and local standards and best practices.
    We are committed to providing ethical, inclusive, and anti-racist description of the materials we steward, and to remediating existing description of our materials that contains language that may be offensive or cause harm. We invite you to submit feedback about how our collections are described, and how they could be described more accurately, by filling out the form located on our website: Report Potentially Offensive Description in Library Special Collections.  

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 9962898293606533 


    Albert Walter Pearce was born July 25, 1898 in San Jose, CA. Pearce worked as a door-to-door insurance salesman for a time, but eventually went into the real estate business in San Francisco, CA with his brother Cal Pearce. In the late 1920s, Pearce got a position as a singer at a local radio station, KFRC. At KFRC, he was introduced to Jack Hasty who asked Pearce to play the lead role in a skit he had written, as Elmer Blurp (later changed to Elmer Blurt). Elmer Blurp was a character that Pearce easily identified with: a self-conscious salesman. In 1929, KFRC featured Pearce in T he Happy-Go-Lucky Hour, which ran for four years. Pearce was joined on air by his brother Cal Pearce, Abe Bloom, Charles Carter, Jean Clarimoux, Edna Fischer, Tommy Harris, Norman Nielsen, Monroe Upton, Hazel Warner, and Cecil Wright.
    The radio program changed names and stations in 1933, becoming Al Pearce and His Gang and broadcasted on the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) Blue Network. The comedy-variety program was broadcasted from 1933 through 1946 on Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) and NBC. The show had many prominent sponsors including: Pepsodent, Ford Motors, Grape Nuts, Dole Pineapple, and Camel Cigarettes. During the show's tenure, Pearce's gang included Arlene Harris, Bill Comstock, Jennison Parker, Bill Wright, Monroe Upton, Artie Auerbach, Kitty O'Neil, and Harry Stewart. Al Pearce and His Gang is most memorable for the skits of Elmer Blurt selling insurance door-to-door with his distinct knock followed by the famous tagline, "Nobody home, I hope-I hope-I hope." In 1943 the Elmer skit was turned into a feature length film titled Here Comes Elmer, starring Pearce as Elmer Blurt.
    Pearce had another radio show, Fun Valley, which was broadcasted for one season on the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) Blue Network from 1943 through 1944. The program was a comedic variety show that included short skits and musical numbers. Pearce was joined on the show by regulars Arlene Harris, Wendell Niles, and Ivan Ditmars.
    In addition to his radio projects, Pearce made several film and television appearances including the motion pictures Here Comes Elmer (1943), Hitchhike to Happiness (1945), One Exciting Week (1946), and The Main Street Kid (1948). His public career seemed to disappear during the 1950s. Pearce died on June 2, 1961 in Newport Beach, California due to heart disease (confirmed by a copy of his Certificate of Death found in the collection).

    Scope and Content

    Collection consists of materials related to the career of radio and television comedian Al Pearce. Includes script files, transcription disks, photographs that appear mostly related to radio programs in which Pearce was involved; and a small amount of memorabilia. The script files include drafts of completed and revised scripts and script pages for multiple radio shows, among them The Al Pearce Show, Al Pearce and His Gang, The Al Pearce Show for Camel Cigarettes, Fun Valley, Here Comes Elmer, The Life of Elmer Blurt, and Backstage in Broadcasting. The transcription disks include twelve and sixteen inch platters of selected Pearce radio shows; the bulk of the recordings are of The Al Pearce Show and Here Comes Elmer. The photographs are headshots of Pearce and promotional shots related to Pearce's career. Additionally, there is a small amount of personal memorabilia and an Al Pearce and His Happy Prune Pickers recipe booklet.

    Organization and Arrangement

    Arranged in the following series:
    1. Memorabilia, 1930s-1960s.
    2. Photographs, 1930s-1940s.
    3. Scripts, 1938-1946.
    4. Transcription disks, 1939-1945.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Comedians -- United States -- Archives.
    Sound recordings.
    Radio scripts
    Radio actors and actresses -- California -- Archives.
    Pearce, Al -- Archives