Phil Harris (born Wonga Philip Harris; June 24, 1904 – August 11, 1995) was an American singer, songwriter, jazz musician, actor and comedian. Though successful as an orchestra leader, Harris is remembered today for his recordings as a vocalist, his voice work in animation and as a pioneer in radio situation comedy, first with Jack Benny, and then in a series in which he co-starred with his wife, singer-actress Alice Faye, for eight years.
In time, Harris's comic persona made such an impression that it was inevitable he would go further with the character. Though he remained loyal to Benny and continued as a key member of the Benny cast for several years, Harris got his chance in 1946 when he and wife Alice Faye began co-hosting The Fitch Bandwagon, a comedy-variety program that followed the Benny show on Sunday nights. It was sponsored by hair products manufacturer F.W. Fitch Co. of Des Moines, Iowa.
Originally a vehicle for big bands, including Harris' own, The Fitch Bandwagon became something else entirely when Harris and Faye's family skits made them the show's breakout stars. Coinciding with their desire to settle in southern California and raise their children—Phil Jr. (born 1935 and whom Harris had adopted while previously married), Alice (born 1942) and Phyllis (born 1944), The Fitch Bandwagon name disappeared when Rexall became the program's sponsor in 1948; the show was renamed The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show. By that time, it had become a full-fledged situation comedy featuring one music spot each for Harris and Faye.