The year before this BLB was published, Chase and Sanborn invested in Bergen for a radio show. The Chase and Sanborn Hour began on May 9, 1937. Bergen's co-stars were Don Ameche, W.C. Fields, Dorothy Lamour, Mae West, and various guest stars.
The program was instantly popular, and Charlie became America's most lovable bad boy because of his verbal sparring with W. C. Fields and Mae West.
Following the advent of the program, numerous toys, games, records, and coloring and story books were produced. All are now valuable collector items.
In 1939, Bergen created Mortimer Snerd. Then in 1940, Chase and Sanborn decided that Bergen was the best part of the show, so Ameche and Lamour were dropped. The program was renamed The Edgar Bergen/Charlie McCarthy Show.
For over 30 years, the ratings of the show never fell below the top ten. It ranked as number one for most of those years.
At age 75, Bergen decided to retire. His final show in Las Vegas was packed, and he received six standing ovations. His closing lines that evening were, "Every vaudeville act must have an opening and a closing, so I'll pack up my jokes and my little friends . . . and say goodbye."
About noon the following day, Bergen died in his sleep, and the brash, flippant Charlie became a silent orphan.