Goodman and Jane Ace

Author: 
"Easy Aces" radio show. Courtesy of the Missouri Valley Special Collections.

Jane and Goodman Ace were partners in creating laughter. The team started a local daily radio show in 1930 that was so successful that it was picked up CBS and NBC and broadcast across the country. Goodman moved on to become one of the highest paid comedy writers for many of the big name stars of radio and television.

Goodman Ace was born in Kansas City. He attended Northeast and Central High School and went on to study journalism at the Kansas City Junior College. He got a 20-dollar-a-week job as a cub reporter at the Kansas City Post. He was eventually given a daily column to write and inserted jokes to attract readers. Jane Ace was born in Kansas City and also attended Central High. Her sense of humor matched the older Goodman’s, and she was to play a key role in their success in comedy.

The couple’s future began while Goodman was doing a 15-minute radio version of his newspaper column on KMBC radio. Fate stepped in when the performers scheduled to follow him failed to show up. To fill the airtime, he called in Jane, who was waiting in the audience. Together, they ad-libbed a discussion about a humorous bridge game that they had played. Listeners liked it and called the station wanting more. "Easy Aces" was born, and the two married in 1928.

The star of the show was really Jane, whose spontaneous speech mangled common expressions and made people laugh. In 1931 they were offered $500 a week to move to Chicago and go nationwide on CBS. The following year, NBC made a bigger offer, and the couple moved to New York. "Easy Aces" ran for almost 20 years.

Goodman started writing for big-name radio stars including Ed Wynn, Jack Benny, and Abbott and Costello in the mid-1940s. He broke into television by writing for the Milton Berle Show, later working for Sid Caesar and Bob Newhart. Fred Allen called him "America’s greatest wit."

Acknowledgement: 

A version of this article previously appeared at http://www.kchistory.org/content/biography-goodman-1899-1982-ace-and-jan...

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