Radio’s Most Essential People Countdown: #10: Joseph Kearns

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10) Joseph Kearns

Joseph KearnsJoseph Kearns was one of radio’s most talented and most used actors. His first classic role was in the children’s Christmas radio serial, The Cinnamon Bear when he played Crazy Quilt Dragon in 1937.

It wouldn’t be the last radio classic with Kearns’ fingerprints on it. He would be the first Man in Black on Suspense, as the show’s sinister host. He also wrote and acted in numerous episodes of the Series, playing a wide variety of roles. He also would play the Whistler in a similar narrator role as the man in black.  He played Jack Benny’s out of touch security guard Ed.

Beyond that his wide variety of radio roles are simply too numerous to mention. From appearing in the pilot of Let George Do It to playing Moriarity to Basil Rathbone’s Sherlock Holmes to being one of the great highlights as old Doc Yak Yak on the Harold Peary show, Kearns was a vital radio character player.
While Kearns enjoyed some success on television before his untimely death (playing Mr. Wilson on Dennis the Menace and Superintendent Stone on Our Miss Brooks.), it’s Kearns’ radio work that is his lasting legacy.

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