Ask AP: The Duke of Paducah

Celebrities, Celebrity Q&A, People
on September 7, 2008

Who was the so-called “Duke of Paducah”?

—Chuck Sanders, Englewood, Fla.

Country comedian Benjamin Francis “Whitey” Ford, a native of Desoto, Mo., was dubbed “The Duke of Paducah” while appearing on a radio show in the 1930s. With a career that spanned three decades, he was a member of The Grand Ole Opry, hosted his own television show and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1986, just a few months after his death. His vast collection of American humor was purchased in the 1970s by the producers of the TV series Hee Haw, where many of his jokes were recycled for a new generation.