"Cecil and Sally"
and Helen Troy
John Patrick and
"Cecil & Sally"
"Cecil and Sally" were the air names of Johnny Patrick and Helen Troy, who developed
the musical comedy routine while working together at KYA in 1928. The serial program debuted on the West
Coast connection of the short-lived ABC network, and moved to KPO and NBC after the former network
went bankrupt in 1929. Patrick wrote the scripts and sang; Troy sang and played the piano and organ.
Her character, "Sally," endeared herself to West Coast listeners with her girlish lisp, referring to her
partner as "Theethil."
The program ran on NBC until 1933,
and was among the earliest radio shows to be nationally syndicated via
electronic transcription — large, long-playing phonograph discs — by MacGregor &
Ingram, a pioneering recording company.
Johnny Patrick (born John
Patrick Goggan in 1905) wrote more than a thousand scripts for "Cecil and Sally" during
its run. A successful playwright and Hollywood screenwriter following his early
years in radio, he adapted Vern J. Sneider's novel "The Teahouse of the August
Moon" for the stage in 1953, which earned him a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award.
In 1956, he wrote the screenplay for the motion picture version of "Teahouse,"
which starred Marlon Brando and Glenn Ford.
Mr. Patrick also wrote the screenplays for "Three Coins in the Fountain"
(1954), "Love Is A Many-Splendored Thing" (1955), "High Society" (1956), "Les
Girls" (1957), "Some Came Running" (1958), "The World of Suzie Wong" (1960) and
"The Shoes of the Fisherman" (1968). In later life, he retired to St.
Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. He died in 1995 at the age of 90.
San Francisco-born Helen Troy appeared in several radio
programs after "Cecil and Sally," including the 1937 series "Texaco Town" on the
CBS Radio network, in which she played the comical "Saymore Saymore." The
fast-talking comedienne had a brief career in motion pictures, making her film
debut in George M. Cohan's "Song and Dance Man" (playing a character named
"Sally," no less) and playing alongside such stars as Mickey Rooney and Judy
Garland in "Thoroughbreds Don't Cry" (1937) and Spencer Tracy in "Big City"
(1937). She died at the age of 38 in 1942.
John Patrick and Helen
Troy were elected to the Bay Area Radio Hall of
Fame in 2006 as part of the first class to be inducted.
Ad from "Broadcast Weekly" magazine, February 7-13, 1932
"Cecil and Sally" recordings courtesy of Wayne Eberhart of Whatever Wreck-ards,
Seattle, Wash., with editing by John Abens. Original text for this exhibit by
John Schneider. "Cecil and Sally" print ad from Bay Area Radio Museum