Ma Perkins

Ma Perkins

Virginia Payne

Born on June 19, 1910 in Cincinnati, Ohio

There is some question as to her birthdate. I found three sources that quote June 19, 1910, one other source quotes December 7, 1904 and yet another source quotes December 7, 1909. However, one source is one that I trust implicitly. Jim Cox, in his book "The Great American Soap Opera", gives her birthdate as June 19, 1910 - that is the date that I am going with. There seems to be no question about her death.

Died: February 10, 1977 in Cincinnati, Ohio

I did find this small obituary on her:

Payne Obit


NBC, CBS, 1933-1960

Produced by Frank & Anne Hummert and debuting on WLW-Cincinnati Radio August 14, 1933, "Ma Perkins" (or "Oxydol's Own Ma Perkins") would grow to be one of the longest running radio soap operas.

On December 4th, 1933, Ma Perkins graduated to the NBC Red Network, where it was broadcast until 1949.

In 1942, "Ma Perkins" was picked up by CBS radio, at which time it was broadcast on both NBC and CBS simultaneously. 

Ma was the owner-operater of the lumber yard in small Southern town of Rushville Center, population 4000. Story-lines pivoted around her interactions with the local townsfolk as well as the ongoing dilemmas of her three children, Evey, Fay and John. One of her children died during WWII.

The kindly, trusting widow Ma Perkins with her huge heart, and great love for humanity, was forever offering her homespun philosophy to any troubled soul in need of advice.

Actress Virginia Payne was a mere 23 years old when she took on the role of matronly Ma Perkins and to her credit, in the 27 year run on the two networks, Virginia did not miss the taping of even one of the 7,065 episodes.

Virgina's co-stars:

Ma's best friend Shuffle Shober was played by two actors - Charles Egelston (from 1933-1958) & Edwin Wolfe (from 1958-1960). Ma's son John was played by actor Gilbert Faust.

Her daughter Fay was played by Isabelle Krehbiel (1933), Margaret Draper & Rita Ascot. Finally, the role of Evey Perkins was played by 3 different women - Dora Johnson (1933-1944), Laurette Fillbrandt (1944-1945) & Kay Campbell (1945-1960).

When the show finally ended on Friday, November 25th, 1960, the day after Thanksgiving Day, it was one of only eight entertainment shows still on the CBS radio network.

The last episode was the only one in which Virginia Payne's name was mentioned, by Payne herself in a farewell speech.

In all other episodes, the announcer at the close of the show would run down the names of all the actors in the cast (but one), and then say, "... and Ma Perkins."

Although Oxydol sponsored OXYDOL’S OWN MA PERKINS for a long time, there was an eventual parting of the ways. On Friday, November 30, 1956, the final broadcast took place under Oxydol sponsorship.

The following Monday, the program was sponsored by the “Multi Sponsors” package. The program continued its story with various sponsors until Friday, November 25, 1960.

This was the sad day when MA PERKINS and the other 5 remaining radio serials aired their final broadcasts on CBS Radio.

As for Oxydol (the detergent), it was a sponsor or co-sponsor of different daytime serials on television.