|Los Angeles, CA||April 4, 2023|
One of a plethora of showbusiness figures interred at Westwood Village Memorial Park is Hy Averback, who wore various hats in the entertainment industry. He was the announcer of Jack Paar’s and Bob Hope’s radio shows and served as narrator of the television series Meet Corliss Archer, which had a brief run in 1954. As an actor, Averback’s voice was heard on numerous radio broadcasts of The Jack Benny Show. Averback’s small screen acting credits include episodes of I Love Lucy from 1953 and 1955, and several appearances on The Red Skelton Hour and the Eve Arden vehicle, Our Miss Brooks. Averback directed 102 episodes of the sitcom The Real McCoys, starring Walter Brennan; 20 episodes of the CBS war dramedy M*A*S*H; and two episodes of the latter’s follow-up series, AfterMASH. The films he directed include Where Were You When the Lights Went Out?; I Love You, Alice B. Toklas; and Suppose They Gave a War and Nobody Came. Averback also produced the TV program F Troop, among others. Another title he held was husband — in Westwood’s Garden of Serenity, Hy’s marker says, “Always…” while the plaque for his wife, Dorothy, concludes with, “…together.”
Before he had a hand in producing, directing, and acting in comedic Hollywood projects, Averback entertained service members on the Armed Forces Radio Network during World War II. His character “Tokyo Mose” was a parodic response to Tokyo Rose, a nickname applied to English-speaking propagandists for the Japanese Empire. Broadcast daily from Guadalcanal, Sergeant Averback’s program continued on after the war, airing even in Japan during U.S. occupation. He was succeeded as Mose by Sergeant Walter Kaner in early 1946. Many sources indicate that this lampooning endeavor was the start of Averback’s entertainment career, but before the war he worked for KMPC Radio in Beverly Hills. In fact, a November 1945 edition of the Evening Citizen from Ottawa describes the 25-year-old as “a former Hollywood announcer.” Regardless, with jobs on The Jack Paar Show and The Bob Hope Show in his immediate future, and with many more jobs to come in the ensuing decades, Averback’s Hollywood career was still ahead of him. Even still, in 1997 his widow, Dorothy, said Tokyo Mose was among Hy’s proudest achievements.
Born: October 21, 1920 in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Spouse: Dorothy Bridges Averback (m. 1949-1997)
Military Rank: Sergeant
Died: October 14, 1997 in Los Angeles, California
Cause of Death: Complications from Heart Surgery
Interment: Westwood Village Memorial Park, Los Angeles, California
"I doubt it. We have a release date in Houston the end of this month. And then there's an opening in Atlanta early in July -- I think July 3rd. So I doubt if we can make changes that quickly at the lab. I do see a couple of things that I'd like to do, but every director does, constantly, and he always wants to change, and fix, and do. And we might not be able to."
- Hy Averback
June 1969, after being asked in a post-screening interview if he was contemplating making changes to his upcoming film, The Great Bank Robbery
Sources Consulted and Further Reading
Associated Press. “Hy Averback, 76, TV Actor and Producer.” New York Times. October 23, 1997. https://www.nytimes.com/1997/10/23/arts/hy-averback-76-tv-actor-and-producer.html.
The Bobby Wygant Archive. “Hy Averback “The Great Bank Robbery” 1969 – Bobbie Wygant Archive.” YouTube video, 2:50. March 29, 2021. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6P40EF44PY.
Broadcasting Magazine. “New Tokyo Mose.” February 18, 1946. Page 72. https://worldradiohistory.com/Archive-BC/BC-1946/1946-02-18-BC.pdf.
IMDb. “Hy Averback (1920-1997).” Accessed September 12, 2023. https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0002195/.
[Ottawa] Evening Citizen. “‘Tokyo Mose’ Now Hit With Yanks.” November 30, 1945. Page 1. From Newspapers.com. https://www.newspapers.com/article/22927811/hy-averback-as-tokyo-mose/.
Variety Staff. “Hy Averback.” Variety. October 28, 2023. https://variety.com/1997/scene/people-news/hy-averback-1200324626/.