Two For Tuesday: Dick “Two Ton” Baker

Something a little off the wall this week.

I grew up in Chicago, as many of you know, home of the legendary Riverview Park. Sadly, I never got there, but I do remember the ads for it. Many of the ads at the time were done by a man named Two Ton Baker, who for years had been a radio personality in the Chicago area. In fact, his show went out over the Mutual Broadcasting radio network, of which WGN radio was a big part in those early days.

You know how things get filed away in the back of your mind and stay there until one day they pop out and you just have to find out more about them? Well, I was tooling around the Internet one day, and suddenly the name “Two Ton Baker” made its way to the front of my brain, and I just had to Google him. And, as luck would have it, a wonderful person named Dick Baker (no relation) has built an entire website dedicated to two Ton and his music. And what great music it is! Two Ton was an excellent piano player and singer who recorded not only songs for adults but for children as well. I encourage you to go visit the site, which has a full biography, a discography, a huge collection of Dick’s recordings, including a few recordings of his shows for WGN.

Here are a couple of songs that are representative of Two Ton’s musical mastery. The first is a recording of “Civilization (Bongo Bongo Bongo)”, a song written by Bob Hilliard and Carl Sigman that has been recorded by many others, including Louis Prima and the Andrews Sisters and Danny Kaye.

The second is “Bert The Turtle,” also known as “Duck and Cover,” a Cold War song primarily taught to kids to teach them how to survive a nuclear explosion.

Hope you’ve enjoyed the music of Two Ton Baker; if you did, visit the website.

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