Henry Morgan, the great lost comedian

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by JozefK, Feb 8, 2019.

  1. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dixie
    Henry Morgan is the great unsung radio comedian, his smarta$$ satire influencing everyone from Steve Allen to David Letterman.

    [​IMG]

    Henry Morgan: **** the Sponsor

    Henry Morgan was one of the rare radio stars of the nineteen forties to approach comedy from an intellectual stand point. Most popular comedy personalities relied on a stable of writers and "switch" jokes (bits that featured minor changes on a tired routine in attempt to sell them off as a new gag). Fred Allen, Henry Morgan, Stan Freberg and Bob & Ray were all popular during their era and were some of the first to break away from the old manner of operating.

    Henry Morgan saw through all that was phony and contrived in the world of American media and held it in contempt. While most performers in early television pretended that dancing girls dressed as giant packs of cigarettes was perfectly normal, Morgan was pointing out the lunacy.​

    Here Morgan demonstrates the differences between radio & real life (1950)

     
  2. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dixie
  3. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dixie
  4. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe Forum Resident

    Sounds like he was an influence on Steve Martin as well.
     
    longdist01 likes this.
  5. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dixie
  6. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    Also a terrific game show panelist. Morgan was very witty and acerbic on I've Got a Secret, which is I think how he's remembered. Very interesting man, but also neurotic and prone to screwing up his life.
     
  7. antoniod

    antoniod Forum Resident

    The Blacklist(I think he'd unwittingly joined a Communist front group)interrupted his career momentum and ended his peak stardom, though he was very active again once he got off of it. He kind of put himself out to pasture(in Truro, MA)in the 70s and only appeared on TV sporadically then, which was probably another factor in his present obscurity.
     
    guy incognito and trumpet sounds like this.
  8. Alan G.

    Alan G. Forum Resident

    At one time I had a tape of a radio bit Henry did about Eighteen Bottles of Whiskey. I can only find a transcription online:

    “I had eighteen bottles of whiskey in my cellar and was told by my wife to empty the contents of each and every bottle down the sink, or else... I said I would and proceeded with the unpleasant task. I withdrew the cork from the first bottle and pured the contents down the sink with the exception of one glass, which I drank. I then withdrew the cork from the second bottle and did likewise with it, with the exception of one glass, which I drank. I then withdrew the cork from the third bottle and poured the whiskey down the sink which I drank. I pulled the cork from the fourth bottle down the sink and poured the bottle down the glass, which I drank. I pulled the bottle from the cork of the next and drank one sink out of it, and threw the rest down the glass. I pulled the sink out of the next glass and poured the cork down the bottle. Then I corked the sink with the glass, bottled the drink and drank the pour. When I had everything emptied, I steadied the house with one hand, counted the glasses, corks, bottles, and sinks with the other, which were twenty-nine, and as the houses came by I counted them again, and finally I had all the houses in one bottle, which I drank.”

    His reading was hilarious. Really witty guy. Kinda lost to the ages.
     
  9. Paul J

    Paul J Forum Resident

    Location:
    Baltimore
    Unfortunately, my main memory of him is reading the lyrics of Hello Goodbye on Merv Griffin, in an effort to demean.

    My mother taught me how to hold a grudge.
     
  10. boyjohn

    boyjohn Forum Resident

    In just about every other thread on here, you will find someone making similar broad statements about the music of today, so I would probably cut him some slack.
     
    Paul J likes this.
  11. Reader

    Reader Forum Resident

    Location:
    e.s.t. tenn.
    Can't believe there's a thread about Henry Morgan. Just got his album "Here's Morgan" this week. Very few people under about 50-55 would know who he is. Always enjoyed his humor.
     
  12. Paul J

    Paul J Forum Resident

    Location:
    Baltimore
    If I recall correctly, both Merv and another guest, 20s singer Rudy Vallee, both disagreed with him.

    Vallee specifically speaking of ‘Michelle’.

    The things you remember...
     
    guy incognito and Steve Litos like this.
  13. Gaslight

    Gaslight Kokomo or My Ding-a-Ling : Shoulda been a poll

    Location:
    Northeast USA
    If you still hold a grudge about this today, then well done to Henry Morgan then.
     
    Paul J likes this.
  14. unclefred

    unclefred Coastie with the Moastie

    Location:
    Oregon Coast
    I loved his act on the reruns of I've Got a Secret. He was delightfully acerbic, very funny.
     
  15. Steve Litos

    Steve Litos Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago IL
    Great memory!

    Vallee and Merv, who both knew a thing about singing and the music biz, were probably thinking "Michelle...hmmm...good melody. With a little luck I probably could have done something with the song."
     
    guy incognito and Paul J like this.
  16. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    Luckily, nobody ever mixed him up with this guy:
    [​IMG]
     
  17. Jack White

    Jack White Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    BTW, that clip indicates that Morgan and Letterman's conversation would continue after a commercial break (which occurs at end of the clip). IIRC, as it actually aired, when the show returned from the commercial break Morgan was gone and Letterman carried on without an explanation of Morgan's disappearance, as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
    guy incognito likes this.
  18. Jack White

    Jack White Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    I remember Morgan as a panelist on game shows I watched as a kid growing up in the '60s and early '70s. I was too young to know about his earlier career in radio (or to even know about what a vast media radio was in the '30s to '50s). He was one of those New Yorkers who populated game show panels, from an earlier era who were suppose to be sophisticated and witty. Even though as a kid I have always liked cynical humour, my impression of Morgan was of a gratuitously snide and deeply unhappy man. I hope for his sake he was much different in 'real' life, but I doubt it.
     
    Strat-Mangler and Bertly like this.
  19. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dixie
    Henry Morgan (humorist) - Wikipedia

    Morgan had married Isobel Gibb on August 17, 1946 in Las Vegas, Nevada. By 1948, they were separated.[5] During an appearance on Late Night with David Letterman in 1982, Morgan told Letterman that she was still trying to sue him for more money.​
     
  20. Jack White

    Jack White Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    Yeah (I watched the Youtube clip) ... but why did Morgan disappear during the commercial break?

    I realize Morgan wrote an autobiography, but I imagine a well researched, straight forward biography would be more factually enlightening. Though (for research purposes), I suppose most of those who knew him personally are also deceased by now.
     
  21. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dixie
    [​IMG]

    So This Is New York - Wikipedia

    So This Is New York is a 1948 satirical movie comedy[1] starring acerbic radio and television comedian Henry Morgan and directed by Richard Fleischer. The cynically sophisticated screenplay was written by Carl Foreman and Herbert Baker from the 1920 novel The Big Town by Ring Lardner.[2] Foreman was blacklisted soon after.[3]

    It remains the only film in which humorist Henry Morgan plays the leading role, and the material was tailored to showcase the cynical persona Morgan had developed for his radio show.

    The film was made on a small budget, "a little more than $600,000 ... cobbled together from several small-time non-Hollywood investors, including a dry goods salesman and a lettuce grower".[2]

    So This Is New York was one of the first Hollywood movies to use the technique of freezing action on the screen while the narrator, Henry Morgan, spoke about what the viewer was seeing. One scene has Morgan entering a taxi as a cabbie barks at him in a thick Bronx accent, "Awrite - where to, Mac?" Subtitles appear on the screen translating, "Where may I take you, sir?"

    It was a flop when it was first released, but is now "a favorite of many film buffs and critics".[2] When the Tribeca Film Festival decided to include a Stanley Kramer film, noted director Martin Scorsese surprised Kramer's widow by requesting So This Is New York, rather than any of his better known works.​
     
    guy incognito likes this.
  22. buzzzx

    buzzzx Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cal.
    Here's Henry pissing off both Bennett Cerf and John Daly on "What's My Line". (3rd part of clip).
     
  23. Tim Lookingbill

    Tim Lookingbill Alfalfa Male

    Location:
    New Braunfels, TX
    I'm 59 and this is the first I've heard of him. Brilliant satarist! Thanks to the OP for posting this.

    Never can get enough clever humor these days seeing I haven't laughed at a standup comedian on all three network talk shows since Letterman left. I don't who is deciding to book them but it makes me think it's getting pretty much hard to find really good new standup comedians, not like it was in the '80's through to the early 2000's.
     
    BeatleJWOL likes this.
  24. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dixie
  25. tmsorosk

    tmsorosk MORE MUSIC PLEASE

    Location:
    Alberta Canada
    I don't recall this fellow but his voice is very familiar.
     

Share This Page