This is an online encyclopedia of personalities of Old Time Radio. It is designed for educational and entertainment purposes.

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Barton Yarborough (1900-51)

William Barton Yarborough was born October 2, 1900, in Goldthwaite, Texas. As a boy, Bart ran away from home to join a vaudeville troupe. He loved to sing and dance. Despite his Texas drawl, he rarely sang cowboy songs or "western" dances. Rather he did the usual popular songs of the time.

In time, Bart studied with the Eva La Gallienne Company. Bart was active on the stage, in movies, and on television, but it would be radio for which he was remembered. He began working in that field in the 1920s.

He began the role of Cliff Barbour on One Man's Family Friday, April 29, 1932, over NBC. On that show, he was probably the one performer who lasted the longest. He would do many other radio programs over the years. The shows included I Love a Mystery, Adventures by Morse, and Dragnet in starring roles as well as many other shows in which he was a supporting player.

Bart did a handful of movies in the 1940s, including one which was based on the I Love a Mystery radio show.

In 1948, Bart was a guest star on the radio series Jeff Regan, when he became friends with the star, Jack Webb. It was decided that Bart would become Sgt. Ben Romero, the partner of Sgt. Joe Friday, the character played by Jack Webb, on the new radio crime series, Dragnet. The history of that series can be read about on the page of Jack Webb's biography on this 'blog. Bart was on the series until he passed away of at heart attack at age 51 on December 19, 1951, at his home in Pasadena, California. He was unmarried at that time but had been married to Barbara Jo Allen, who was known on the Bob Hope Show as Vera Vague.

On One Man's Family, after Bart's death, the part of Cliff Barbour simply disappeared and wasn't heard about. On Dragnet, the imaginary lives of two Los Angeles cops and the real death of the actor who played them were combined together. The episode was called, "The Big Sorrow." Bart and Jack had filmed two episodes of the TV version of the series before Bart's death. The episode of Bart's death on radio was redone for television and titled, "The Big Death."

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