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date: 17 September 2019

Godfrey, Arthurlocked

(31 August 1903–16 March 1983)
  • Jay Boyer

Extract

Godfrey, Arthur (31 August 1903–16 March 1983), broadcaster, was born in New York City, the son of Arthur Hanbury Godfrey, a writer and lecturer, and Kathryn Morton. He was raised on the streets of the city’s Irish-American ghettos. Following the death of his father, Godfrey left school at age fifteen. He traveled across the country for three years, working as a truck driver, an office boy, and a coal miner. He later recalled having earned his diploma in “the school of hard knocks” during this period. He joined the navy in 1921, serving as a radio operator until his discharge in 1924. He returned to civilian life still unsure of what he wanted to do with his future. Once again he drifted from one job to the next. He had a natural affinity for sales, and one of the jobs he took, selling cemetery plots, provided him with commissions of approximately $10,000. He had taken up the banjo while still in the navy; eager to perform, he invested this bankroll in a vaudeville troupe that went under in California in 1927. Broke, Godfrey hitched a ride to Chicago. One of the fares he picked up while driving a cab there was a shipmate from his navy days who had just enlisted in the Coast Guard. With nothing more promising before him, Godfrey enlisted as well....

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