Bob Elliott, the surviving half of Bob and Ray, the legendary radio comedy team that came to national fame in the 1950s and continued to be a cult favorite decades later, died Tuesday at his home in Cundy's Harbor, Maine. He was 92.
The cause was throat cancer, his son Chris Elliott said in an email. The younger Elliott is a comic actor. Bob Elliott was also grandfather to comic actress Abby Elliott.
In a more-than-four-decade comedy partnership that was born in a Boston radio station after World War II, Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding were blessed with what a writer for the New Yorker once described as an “infinite sense of the ridiculous.”
Vocally adept comic actors with perfect timing and delivery, Bob and Ray were masters of subtle, un-abrasive satire delivered in two-man sketches featuring an array of colorfully memorable characters.
Their primary target was radio itself.
As Elliott told the New York Daily News in 1992: “Our original premise was that radio was too pompous.”
Sketches ranged from the “Bob and Ray Mystery Tune” (winners received $18 “in cash,” plus a free breakfast at Rudy's House of Dry Toast) to the call-in opinion program “Speaking Out” (“I think the Prince of Wales should be a civil service job”). And they poked fun at commercials, with “sponsors” such as Cool Canadian Air (“Packed fresh every day in the Hudson Bay and shipped to your door.”)