Duke of Paducah

Date: 1984 July 11
Length: 120 min.
Call Number: OHC108


Country music performer and comedian. Born May 12, 1901. Died June 20, 1986. Real name: Benjamin Francis Ford. Later given the nickname “Whitey” for his blond hair. Acquired stage name, the Duke of Paducah, in the 1930s. Career active 1920s-1950s. Star of the Grand Ole Opry during the 1940s. Member, Country Music Hall of Fame®.

Interview Summary

1984 July 11
(2 hours)
Country comedian Benjamin “Whitey” Ford, popularly known as the Duke of Paducah, discusses the development of his career. Discussion includes his years in the Navy; learning to play the banjo; his early years as a musician; the start of his country act; working vaudeville; working as a radio performer; working with Otto Gray & His Oklahoma Cowboys; the origin of his famous line “these shoes are killin’ me”; and the development of his comedy style.