Comedy Obscura

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by JozefK, Jan 2, 2020.

  1. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

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    A thread for those comedians who never quite hit the heights of stardom, who fell through the cracks of history -- those fascinating eccentrics and misfits who deserve at least a wee smidgeon o' immortality. Or at least a thread post.

    The Man Who Would Have Been King (of late night)

    Don "Creesh" Hornsby - Wikipedia

    Don Hornsby (December 6, 1923 - May 22, 1950), aka Creesh Hornsby, was a comedian and novelty pianist who was slated to be the original host of Broadway Open House, American network television's first late night program.​

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    Originally a straightforward pianist, eventually Hornsby's nightclub act, which Life described as "a five-hour marathon of surrealist madness", incorporated rubber alligators, magic tricks, acrobatics, dry ice and a live donkey. Hornsby's performance, a continuous set during which he was served meals onstage, also featured custom-made props, including a "tickle-tickle" machine, which a United Press article called "a Buck Rogers contraption with red lights, blue dials and green knobs" that fired "a bombardment of tiny rubber cones", which Hornsby would then scoop up with a butterfly net. One of his specialties was playing the Warsaw Concerto while suspended by his heels above the piano.

    His catchphrase "creesh", which he shouted at frequent intervals onstage, is a portmanteau word meaning "constructive escapism". As Hornsby explained it, "creeshism" in action meant that "anything can be funny in the proper situation." Among his fanbase were veteran comedians Fred Allen, Phil Silvers and Groucho Marx.

    On the strength of his act—and an endorsement from Bob Hope—Hornsby was signed to a five-year contract with NBC and was set to host the program that would become Broadway Open House, but he was diagnosed with polio the week before the series was originally scheduled to debut. The disease led to his death less than a week later at age 26 in Eastview, New York.​

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    Creesh Quest
     
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  2. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

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    Asked if he'd ever been jealous of another comedian, Charlie Chaplin replied, "Yes. I was jealous of Lloyd Hamilton."

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    Lloyd Hamilton - Wikipedia

    Here is the little-remembered Hamilton in the silent short 'The Movies', directed by the then-blacklisted Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle. The "Beware of the big city" opening and closing gags are masterpieces. (1925)



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  3. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

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  4. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

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    Willie Howard

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    Howard was a successful comedian in Broadway revues. Marlon Brando once cited him as his favorite comic. Very early in his career Neil Simon wrote for Howard, and supposedly based the main character in The Sunshine Boys on him.



    You can hear hints of Sid Caesar's professor and Mel Brooks' 2,000 yr old man here.
     
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  5. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

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    Milt Kamen - Wikipedia

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    Kamen was a favorite of Mel Brooks and Groucho Marx. Both Bruce Jay Friedman and Jules Feiffer said he was their favorite standup. He's also credited with discovering Woody Allen.

    Jack Carter remembered Kamen in the days of the Sid Caesar program: "Kamen, the guy who did the run-through of those sketches, he was really the one that ad-libbed the sketches and set it up. He would do the dress rehearsal and Sid would save [himself] for the show. But Sid got plenty of shtick from this guy."

     
  6. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

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    Here Willie teams with double talk specialist Al Kelly to lampoon soapbox revolutionaries:



    Al Kelly - Wikipedia
     
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  7. FredV

    FredV Forum Resident

    Jimmy Conlin later went on to be a character actor in Frank Capra and Preston Sturges’ films.

     
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  8. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

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  9. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe Should really take better care of himself

    Bud Haggert, the writer and performer of this magnificent bit of gibberish well-beloved by engineers everywhere.

    Ladies and gentlemen, I present the Turbo Encabulator:

     
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  10. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

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  11. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
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    Billie Ritchie

    Who ripped off who?

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    Billie Ritchie - Wikipedia

    Billie Ritchie (14 September 1878 – 6 July 1921) was a Scottish comedian who first gained transatlantic fame as a performer for British music hall producer Fred Karno—this, a full decade before Stan Laurel and Charlie Chaplin took a similar career path. Ritchie is best recalled today for the silent comedy shorts he made between 1914 and 1920 for director/producer Henry Lehrman's L-KO Kompany and Fox Film Sunshine Comedy unit.

    Variations on Ritchie's "tramp" and "drunk" personae – which Ritchie claimed he had developed before and during his Karno years – were introduced to film audiences by Charlie Chaplin in such shorts as the Lehrman-directed Kid Auto Races at Venice (7 February 1914) and Mabel's Strange Predicament (9 February 1914).

    Ritchie, who, due to a series of on-set injuries, spent his final years relatively inactive, succumbed to stomach cancer in the summer of 1921. Winifred Frances, the comedian's widow, and one-time stage partner, wound up in the employ of Charlie Chaplin as a wardrobe mistress, showing there was no animosity between the two performers.​
     
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  12. antoniod

    antoniod Forum Resident

    Cliff Nazarro was also a singer on 20s 78s
     
  13. antoniod

    antoniod Forum Resident

    [​IMG] JEAN CARROLL was probably the first major Female stand-up, and was seen frequently on TV in the 50s and sometimes in the mid-60s, but she preferred Family to fame and took a break to raise her Children. She began working and appearing on Sullivan again, but she wearied of the spotlight and didn't want to be famous. It was her Husband who encouraged her to keep working, but a heart attack gave her an excuse to retire. She lived to be 98, passing in 2010(maybe because she left show business). In later years she preferred cracking jokes to friends at the country club to joking on stage.
     
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  14. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

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    Bert Williams (1874-1922) was a star of Broadway's Ziegfeld Follies. W.C. Fields called him the funniest man he ever saw.

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    Bert Williams - Wikipedia

    In this clip from the film A Natural Born Gambler (1916) Williams does his celebrated poker pantomime.

     
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  15. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
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    Frank Fay is considered the first modern standup comedian, the key on influence on Jack Benny and Bob Hope, who in turn would would be the key influences on so many who came afterward.

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    Frank Fay (American actor) - Wikipedia

    He enjoyed considerable success as a variety artist starting around 1918, telling jokes and stories in a carefully planned "off the cuff" manner that was very original for the time. Jack Benny stated that he modeled his early stage character on Fay.​

     
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  16. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

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    Smith and Dale - Wikipedia

    Smith and Dale were a famous American vaudeville comedy duo. The two performed together for more than seventy years.

    During the 1920s, they became famous for their signature sketch "Doctor Kronkheit and His Only Living Patient," which like "Who's on First?" for Abbott and Costello, became one of the famous comedy sketches of the 20th century. The name of the doctor is an inside joke: Smith and Dale, both being Jewish, named the physician Kronkheit, which is Yiddish and German for "sickness". Thus we have a doctor named "Dr. Sickness". Indeed a hospital in German is called a Krankenhaus, or literally "sick house".​

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    The longevity of the comedy team in Neil Simon's play and film The Sunshine Boys is said to be inspired by Smith and Dale.

    Smith and Dale are buried in the same cemetery plot, with a common headstone. The gravestone notes the name of the three people buried there, Dale and his wife Mollie and the widowed Smith. Smith is identified only by his show business name of Joe Smith, while his partner is listed as Charles Dale Marks and Dale's wife is listed as Mollie Dale Marks. The larger printing higher on the stone says SMITH & DALE, to which Smith added the words BOOKED SOLID.​
     
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  17. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dixie
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    Lige Conley - Wikipedia

    The comic finally achieved stardom at Educational Pictures, where he appeared in a long string of brisk, elaborately staged two-reel comedies. Some of these were directed by Fishback, under the pseudonym of Fred Hibbard. Educational took out trade ads in the mid-1920s, hailing Conley as the next Charlie Chaplin. Conley, with his curly hair and coy grin, did indeed bear a resemblance to the out-of-character Chaplin.

    Conley's stock-in-trade was the comedy of embarrassment, as his meek screen character earnestly failed at any occupation he tried. Conley's two most famous comedies are both 1924 releases.

    Fast and Furious, directed by Norman Taurog, is a fast-moving comedy set in a general store, with Lige doing everything from demonstrating pancake batter to selling shoes. The last half of the film is a spectacular car-motorcycle-and-train chase, some of which was excerpted in the Kevin Brownlow-David Gill silent-film documentary Hollywood (1980).
     
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  18. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
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    Guy Marks (1923-1987) doing his classic routine "How The West Was Really Won". His Bogart is good, but you'll never hear a better Gary Cooper impression.

     
  19. Did this dude just hire a French Nurse Prostitute? Am I seeing this right? It's like a stag film with all of the screwing cut, but the weak plot remains.

    See, there was an art back then to skirting the taboo. Lenny Bruce didn't know how to skirt. But back in the day this was how people got their jollies in an "appropriate" way. :D
     
  20. the pope ondine

    the pope ondine Forum Resident

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    the legendary Brother Theodore qualify?

     
  21. Holerbot6000

    Holerbot6000 Forum Resident

    Location:
    California
    Was Brother Theodore considered a comedian? He was such a nasty old man. I thought he was just one of Dave's many odd characters that he trotted out. Dave loved eccentrics.
     
  22. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dixie
     
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  23. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
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  24. elaterium

    elaterium Forum Resident

    A lot of pain and anger in his work. Brilliance too. He was raised in extreme affluence, his family owned the most successful publishing company in Germany. His mother had been lovers with Albert Einstein who was a frequent guest at his house. He himself was a carefree playboy. After Hitler came to power the Nazis sent him to a concentration camp where his entire family was murdered. Theodore was forced to sign over control of the family empire to the Nazis who allowed him to escape to Switzerland. The Swiss sent him back. He escaped to England and, with help of Einstein was allowed to come to the United States. He arrived penniless and managed to get a job as a janitor. Learned English and, with absolutely nothing left to lose, he started acting, under the auspices of Orson Welles. He finally hit upon the character of Brother Theodore while living in San Francisco in the 50’s, eventually making his way to New York.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2020
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  25. elaterium

    elaterium Forum Resident

    Everything that went on between Brother Theodore and Dave was scripted beforehand.
     

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