"Southern" accents in historical media

1) "Uncle Josh Weathersbee," a favorite character created by Cal Stewart, played a "rube" on dozens of popular early recordings. From his hometown of "Punkin Center" he journeyed to the big city, stopped by a department store, and tried to get himself some food in a cafeteria.

2) The Carter Family, sometimes called the "first family" of Country music, released numerous popular recordings in the 1930's, which brought southern music and southern accents to listeners around the country. In this recording, you can hear them speak in a staged "meeting" with the "singing brakeman" Jimmy Rodgers.

3) Southern accents were a handy go-to for radio and cartoon characters. "Senator Claghorn" was created by Kenny Delmar for the Fred Allen Radio show; Mel Blanc's rooster Foghorn Leghorn was a riff on the same vocal character.

4) In the golden age of boomer TV, southern accents abounded in comedy -- both from actual southerners such as Jim Nabors (Gomer Pyle USMC) and pretend ones such as Buddy Ebsen (The Beverly Hillbillies) -- check out this ad for Winston Cigarettes in which Ebsen offers Granny (Irene Ryan) a change of smokes!

5) In Saturday morning cartoon land, southern accents were an easy go-to. Hannah and Barbera's shows included the "Hillbilly Bears," with Jean Vander Pyl (the voice of Wilma on the Flintstones) providing the voice for Mama Bear.

6) In modern standup, comics such as Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy have brought their accents to bear on their audiences. Larry, though, is actually from Jacksonville, and didn't grow up with a deep-woods vernacular; he put on the accent later in his standup career, as this early video shows.

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