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CARROLL, GENE

CARROLL, GENE (13 Apr. 1897-5 Mar. 1972) had one of the longest-running television shows in Cleveland. A native of Chicago, he dropped out of high school and performed in amateur shows to compete for cash prizes. He joined Jack Grady of Chicago in a successful song-and-dance act in 1924. When Grady became ill in 1929, Carroll teamed up with Glenn Rowell of Cleveland. Known as Gene & Glenn, they appeared in vaudeville and on the radio, performing in Cleveland on station WTAM from 1930-35. In 1934, NBC began broadcasting a 15-minute version of the act "Gene & Glenn," including the characters of Jake and Lena, which were created by Carroll. When Jake was to marry Lena in 1935, crowds gathered around the WTAM building in anticipation of a glimpse of the couple. Carroll and Rowell left Cleveland in 1935, performing out of Des Moines, Chicago, and Boston until 1943. After Rowell's departure for war work, Carroll appeared on the "Fibber McGee & Molly Show" on NBC for 1 season. He returned to Cleveland in Apr. 1948 to establish a talent school and begin a television variety show on WEWS, continuing these projects until his death. The television program, originally known as the "Giant Tiger Amateur Hour" and then the "Gene Carroll Show," was continued by his widow. After his first two marriages ended in divorce, Carroll married Helen Olsen in 1940.