Bob Burns (Robin Burn)
Photos with Bob Burns
BiographyVan Buren, Arkansas, USA
After growing up in a small Arkansas town, Bob Burns qualified as a civil engineer, but also worked as a salesman, farmed peanuts, and in World War I was a Marine sergeant and champion rifleman. His great interest from boyhood was music, and from 1911 his main career was in entertainment. He played musical instruments including his trademark "bazooka", led bands, and did blackface comedy in vaudeville, carnivals, and appeared in early talking films. Read more... and ultimately (1941-47) his own program, playing the bazooka and telling tall tales about mythical hillbilly relatives like Uncle Fud and Aunt Doody. His association with Crosby led to a long-term movie contract at Paramount, for 12 popular films beginning with Rhythm on the Range (1936). His film character was a slow talking, philosophical, bazooka-playing hillbilly or bumpkin who may have looked gullible, but eventually outwitted the city slickers. Despite this stereotyped character, Bob did draw the line somewhere; he and Paramount parted ways after he refused to appear in a proposed 1941 film which he felt would ridicule "the people of his native hills". He made a few films for other studios, then retired from the entertainment field in 1947. Land investment had made Bob rich, and he spent his last years on his 200-acre model farm in Canoga Park, California.