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
    Radio Spirits » Blog Archive » Happy Birthday, anybody—here’s Morgan…

    Morgan often found certain tasks in radio tedious—he was a weatherman at one station, and because he became bored reading the weather reports on the air he’d relieve the monotony by ad-libbing cracks like “Dark clouds, followed by silver linings” and “Snow, followed by little boys with sleds.”​

    ---

    His sponsorship problems continued: Eversharp-Schick (pens by Eversharp) paid the program’s bills, and its injector razor slogan of “Push-Pull Click-Click” became “Push-Pull Nick-Nick” in Morganese. (From a May 7, 1947 broadcast: “The Eversharp-Schick injector razor is very educational…shave with it sometime—that’ll teach you a lesson.”)​

    [​IMG]

    Among his early sponsors was Adler Shoes; the company was best known for their “elevator shoes” and the reassurance to their male customers that they could be “taller than she is.” Morgan soon began directing barbs at the company president, Jesse Adler, referring to him as “Old Man Adler” and tossing off bon mots like “You might like them, but I wouldn’t wear them to a dogfight.” “Old Man” Adler was apoplectic at this and demanded time for an editorial response. Henry headed him off by apologizing: “You’re right, Mr. Adler—I would wear them to a dogfight.”​

    [​IMG]
     
    Tim Lookingbill likes this.
  2. Scooterpiety

    Scooterpiety Current operator of the Freedonia peanut stand

    Location:
    Oregon
    I am listening to Rudy Vallee as I read this, I kid you not!
    Interesting coincidence!
     
  3. Scooterpiety

    Scooterpiety Current operator of the Freedonia peanut stand

    Location:
    Oregon
    I mentioned this incident in another thread a few days ago. Another interesting coincidence!
     
    buzzzx likes this.
  4. Scooterpiety

    Scooterpiety Current operator of the Freedonia peanut stand

    Location:
    Oregon
    About Henry Morgan: He could be a funny guy, but he was something of a curmudgeon and he was often short tempered and rude (see the Bennett Cerf video). He once got irritated with listening to Charo babble on the Merv Griffin show and got up and left. Another time he was on Letterman and he began a loud tirade about something or other and when Dave came back after commercials, Morgan was gone. I can't recall if he left on his own, or was asked to leave.
     
  5. Tim Lookingbill

    Tim Lookingbill Alfalfa Male

    Location:
    New Braunfels, TX
    That could be said of David Letterman as well but it seems he got more of a pass compared to what Morgan faced.

    Since this is the first I've heard of this guy and now seeing all that's posted about him, I'm getting a sense that Morgan was doing exactly what Letterman was doing for each of their audiences' temperament and times, only Letterman could piss guests off and make it really awkward and then use his serious newsman professionalism to dispel it or dig in with a more subtle but biting turn of a phrase Morgan couldn't come close to due to his more innocent silliness illustrated in the OP's postings.

    For instance I saw Letterman conducting a typical respectable newsman style Q&A interviewing Claude Van Damme's new movie being professional and polite where he framed a question with a bit of a back handed tone like "Is this going to be another one of your movies where you're kicking ass and doing splits on counter tops?"...or something to that effect, where Claude with his typical emotionally flat response and that German accent says..."Don't destruct my movie." And Letterman uses the most confoundingly apologetic response that after picking apart each word now made it sound like he just insulted him again with..."No...that doesn't have to be done." (Insinuating the movie's already destructed by how bad it is). Claude didn't even catch it but I nearly doubled over with laughter at the shear cleverness of the phrasing of those words with Letterman's small town mid west morning show TV personality.

    Both Morgan and Letterman were making fun of the commercialism that has become our society where we don't know if anyone is being genuine because we all talk so nice, polished and professional to one another while at the same time screwing our brother to the wall just to make a buck.

    If you can't see that then it's not your kind of humor.
     
    guy incognito likes this.
  6. Scooterpiety

    Scooterpiety Current operator of the Freedonia peanut stand

    Location:
    Oregon
    The difference ( for me) is that Dave is simply funnier and much more clever. Morgan often just came across as grouchy and rude, but Dave's observations, sharpness and delivery were far superior. Also, Morgan really was of a different era, he seemed out of place somehow when I would see him on TV in the 1980s and early '90s.
     
    Tim Lookingbill likes this.
  7. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dixie
    The Henry Morgan Show - The Question Man (April 18, 1950)

     
  8. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dixie
  9. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dixie
     
    MLutthans likes this.
  10. Scooterpiety

    Scooterpiety Current operator of the Freedonia peanut stand

    Location:
    Oregon
    It is well-known that Harry Morgan's real name was Henry and that he changed it to avoid being confused with the other Henry Morgan. Harry was billed as Henry Morgan in some of his early appearances on radio and in movies.
     
  11. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    Yes. Thus, my post.

    That said, his birth name was Harry Bratsberg, but his initial show-biz/stage/screen name was Henry Morgan, as far as I know.
     
  12. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dixie
     
  13. Jay_Z

    Jay_Z Forum Resident

    Letterman also had Andy Rooney on very early in his late night show. Rooney was a foul mouthed boor in his appearance.

    I suppose Rooney and Morgan were booked because Letterman admired them or they seemed like two peas in a pod. Apparently two curmudgeons didn't work. Letterman needed more of a foil.
     
  14. Scooterpiety

    Scooterpiety Current operator of the Freedonia peanut stand

    Location:
    Oregon
    I doubt Dave had little to do with the booking of the guests, at least in the early years. A lot of show business "old-timers" appeared on Late Night in the early 1980s, and I feel Dave treated many of them with less than the veneration they deserved. In some cases, Dave appeared to know little to nothing about any of their careers. I am a big Letterman fan, but I was disappointed by his behavior toward several of these entertainment legends. Mel Blanc comes to mind. Great character actor Charles Lane was on the show, but happily, Dave did show him some respect.
     
  15. Tim Lookingbill

    Tim Lookingbill Alfalfa Male

    Location:
    New Braunfels, TX
    Agreed, but I'ld like to point out that a good talk show host interviewer shows how informed they are about a guest's career by how compelling and interesting the questions they ask and I saw and see very little of that in Letterman and in all the current talk show hosts. Most of these shows are of lighter fare for late night and I always found myself so disappointed in the lame sort of questions these guests were asked.

    I've had to resort to reruns of Dick Cavett of which I missed all when they originally aired because I was so bored with the slow pace as a teen. Now that I'm 59, I'm fascinated by the questions being asked of their guests catching up on YouTube. Even Mike Douglas interviews of Brian Wilson are so personal and revealing I haven't even seen in documentaries. There's even a Douglas interview of the great trumpet player Maynard Ferguson describing deep breathing techniques he uses for those loud and sustained screeches. I missed all of that in my youth and now I'm missing it in today's talk show interviews especially now that Charlie Rose is out.

    But really I can't think of anyone today I'ld be interested in knowing about, another disappointment. But I'm still entertained by HOW the questions are asked.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2019 at 3:11 PM
  16. Scooterpiety

    Scooterpiety Current operator of the Freedonia peanut stand

    Location:
    Oregon
    I agree, I don't watch late night talk shows anymore. The days of Carson, Cavett, Snyder (even Mike Douglas and Merv Griffin), et. al. are long gone.
    Also, as you said, I don't care about (or even know) the majority of the guests today: younger, bland TV, movie and pop stars of marginal or little talent who all look and sound alike.
    Now, get off my lawn!
     
  17. The Slug Man

    The Slug Man Forum Resident

    Location:
    North Carolina
    When I saw the topic I was like, "the guy from MASH? Was he really THAT funny?"
     

Share This Page