Monday, August 26, 2013

The Novelty Boys

Jimmie Pierson and Richard "Dick" Klasi were the Novelty Boys,leaders of a touring and yodeling old time country music troupe. I say troupe because their group grew to include a number of other members including Cora Deane, Cleora Cooper, Johnny Buffington and others. Dick and Jimmie were farms boys that first met in 1931 working at the Henry Field Company.

Henry Field was a seed company, they still exist today. Like many small businesses of the era, they sponsored tom on their local radio station. In this case that was 780 WJAG-AM in Norfolk, NE.  WJAG was owned by the Norfolk Daily News, so you can imagine there was some reciprocity there. While the station's main studio was at the Hotel Norfolk, the Henry Field Company programs aired daily from a studio built at one of their branch stores.It is there that Jimmie and Dick debuted on air. They later played KSOO-AM for Henry Field as well. First they played as the Nebraskan Trio, then as The Oklahoma Wranglers which they used for about 3 years.

They went on to play at KFNF-AM near Shenandoah, IA and on KOIL-AM in Omaha, NE.
In was there that they picked up the name "The Novelty Boys."  There they were sponsored by the Aksarben Horse Show and were also able to play WAAW-AM and WOW-AM. In 1934 they played on KMOX-AM.  They also played for a time on WNAX-AM in Yankton, SD. In 1937 Jimmie Pierson's little brother, Melvin "Willie" Pierson, joined the group. He stayed on for a New England tour that included WABI-AM in Bangor.

In WWII Jimmie went into the service, and his brother Willie filled in for him. the group returned to St. Louis and appeared on several stations, then stayed on at KMA-AM in Shenandoah. When Jimmie returned they tried to reunite, but illness struck and many members struck off. Jimmie and Willie played as part of a trio with Willies wife Lois on WIBW-TV, but the good times were over. Willie has a second career as a DJ on KRFM, a radioman at last.