Benjamin Francis Ford (May 12, 1901 _ June 20, 1986), known professionally as The Duke of Paducah, was an American country comedian, radio host and banjo player popular from the 1940s to the 1960s. Ford was born in De Soto, Missouri, and was raised in Little Rock, Arkansas. He had only a third-grade education, so he joked that he came from the 'university of hard knocks.' He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1918. During his Navy service he learned to play the banjo and earned his nickname Whitey Ford because of his blonde hair. After his discharge in 1922, he joined McGinty's Oklahoma Cowboy Band, a Dixieland jazz group, as a banjo player. The group later changed its name to Otto Gray and his Oklahoma Cowboys and appeared in a few Hollywood film shorts. In 1929, Ford made his debut on WLS-AM in Chicago, Illinois.
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