Famous Arkansan: Norris Goff and Chester Lauck

Several well known people have
roots in Arkansas. The list runs the gamut from Johnny Cash to Jermain Taylor.
Check here every week as we highlight a new Famous Arkansan. This week: Norris
Goff and Chester Lauck

Zoie Clift
Norris Goff created, along with fellow
Arkansan Chester Lauck, the popular 1940s radio show Lum ‘n Abner and subsequent movies. The setting for the program was mythical Pine Ridge,
Arkansas, and its Jot-em-Down general store. Goff ( 1906-1978) was born in Cove and worked in his
father’s store while growing up which made his role as grocer ‘Abner
Peabody’ a natural. Lauck ( 1902-1980) was born in Alleene but grew up in
Mena. He played the character ‘Lum.’
The Lum and Abner Museum
and Jot ‘Em Down Store is located in Pine Ridge on the side of Hwy 88. The
museum opened in the 1970’s and is now on the National Register of Historic
Places. Many are probably
familiar with the Lum and Abner name. Chester “Chet” Lauck and Norris “Tuffy”
Geoff of Mena created Lum and Abner in 1931. Their radio broadcasts of the ‘30s
and ‘40s were among the most popular on the air and they were the first network
program broadcast from Radio City in New York in 1933. Their career also
spanned movies and T.V.
The show was based on
small town life and was set in the Jot ‘Em Down Store (which reflected country
stores across the nation) in a fictional town called Pine Ridge. In 1936, the
citizens of Waters (the town the show was based on) officially changed the
town’s name to Pine Ridge in honor of the duo.

Lon and Kathy Stucker
currently run the museum and store. If you are in the neighborhood and get a
chance, stop by and say hi. The museum is open March 1-Nov. 1 Tues-Sat from 9-5
and from 12-5 on Sunday. It is open by appointment Nov-Feb. For more
information, call 870-326-4442.

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