Recalling 1948 (Aired 04-27-72)
Godfrey was born in New York City. While his family was originally well off, his mother was unsuccessful as a performer with aspirations to fame and stardom that never materialized, and his father was a failed sportswriter who left the family. With the family in sudden poverty, Godfrey tried to help them survive by going on the road accepting odd jobs, and hoboing. He served in the United States Navy from 1920 to 1924 as a radio operator on naval destroyers. Additional training in radio came during Godfrey's service in the Coast Guard from 1927 to 1930. It was during a Coast Guard stint in Baltimore that he appeared on a local talent show and became popular enough to land his own brief weekly program. Emphysema, resulting from the radiation treatments for Godfrey's cancer, became a problem in the early 1980s. He died of the condition in New York City on March 16, 1983. Godfrey was buried at Union Cemetery in Leesburg, Virginia, not far from his farm in Waterford, Virginia.