Perkins (sometimes called
Oxydol's Own Ma Perkins) was a radio serial which was heard in America
on NBC from 1933 to 1949 and on CBS from 1942 to 1960. Between 1942 and
1949, the show was heard simultaneously on both networks. Oxydol
dropped its sponsorship in 1956. The show was created by Robert Hardy
Originally heard as a local program from WLW, Cincinnati from 08/14/33 to 12/01/33 weekdays, the series then moved to the NBC network beginning 12/04/33 and continued through 07/08/49 with Oxydol as the sponsor. From 09/28/42 to 11/25/60, CBS also aired the series which gave the program the double network status. Also from 1935 until 1938 concurrent broadcasts were offered over Mutual, CBS, and the Blue networks. Virginia Payne starred as Ma Perkins for the entire run of 7,065 broadcasts without missing a single program. Ma's best friend and partner, Shuffle Shober, was played by Charles Egelston. Announcers include Bob Brown, Jack Brinkley, Dick Wells, Marvin Miller and Dan Donaldson. Each episode is 15 minutes in length.
Ma, dubbed "America's mother of the air," was a feisty widow who owned and operated a lumber yard in the small town of Rushville Center. The drama which resulted between her interactions with townsfolk, as well as the dilemmas of her three children, were much of the stories in the serial. Ma's daughter Effie Perkins was played by Kay Campbell who later became known as Grandma Kate Martin on the television soap opera All My Children.
When the show finally ended the day after Thanksgiving Day, 1960, it was one of only eight entertainment shows still on the CBS radio network.
A pioneering soap opera, Ma Perkins was heard on daytime radio for close to 30 years. For most of that time it was sponsored by Procter & Gamble's Oxydol soap flakes. The 15 minute show began in 1933 and did not leave the air until 1960. For several years it was broadcast on both NBC and CBS. The busy team of Frank and Anne Hummert produced the show and one of the initial scriptwriters was Robert Hardy Andrews, who also wrote Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy in its earliest radio days.
Virginia Payne died on February 10, 1977.