By Alan Havig
In 1954, James Thurber wrote: 'You can expect the thumb of 1 hand the yankee who's straight away a comic, a stand-up comedian, a wit, and a satirist, and his identify is Fred Allen.' a number of many years after his demise and greater than 40 years due to the fact that his radio software left the air, Fred Allen's recognition as a revered slapstick comedian continues to be intact. during this publication, Alan Havig explores the roots of his comedy, the subjects it exploited, the issues and demanding situations that confronted the radio comedy author, and Allen's certain luck with the one-dimensional medium of radio. Tracing a profession that lasted from 1912 into the Nineteen Fifties and encompassed vaudeville, Broadway revues, videos, radio, and tv, Havig describes the "verbal slapstick" kind that used to be Fred Allen's hallmark and legacy to American comedy. greater than a biography of Fred Allen, this can be a research of the advance of the radio undefined, a dialogue of yankee humor, and the tale of the way one pertains to the other.Using a large choice of released and unpublished resources, together with the Allen Papers, Havig analyzes Allen's radio comedy of the Nineteen Thirties and 40s in the context of the unusual merits and barriers of radio as a medium for comedy. He argues that Allen didn't simply move vaudeville exercises to a non-visual medium as did Eddie Cantor, Ed Wynn, and others. Allen built a comedic sort that relied on notice play, sound results, and on his audience's skill and readiness to visualize a visible global during which his eccentric characters operated.Havig illustrates his tale with a variety of examples of Allen's humor, with attention-grabbing anecdotes, and excerpts from radio pronounces. In accounting for the comedian's good fortune, he offers with vaudeville, comedy writing, sponsor's calls for and censorship of fabric, and the organizational global of radio broadcasting businesses. Describing radio as "an device of wit," Fred Allen wrote: 'on radio you may do refined writing since you had entry to the imagination...that used to be why I loved radio. we had a few fun.' Readers also will have a few enjoyable remembering or researching for the 1st time Allen's Alley and the magic of radio comedy in its top. Alan Havig is Professor of historical past and American reviews at Stephens collage in Columbia Missouri.
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Additional resources for Fred Allen's Radio Comedy
It was with The Little Show and Three's a Crowd that Allen joined productions whose consistently high quality equaled his own comedy material. His performances pleased the critics. Theatre Magazine, which characterized The Little Show as "fresh as a May morning," found "the gifted Mr. Allen ... "Bl Such praise continued as Allen and Portland performed in Three's a Crowd. The comic hit of the show was Allen'S "hilarious travesty," as Atkinson called it, of Admiral Richard Byrd's South Pole expedition.
Although he had performed radio programs in auditoriums seating several hundred visitors, during the late 1930s and again in the late 1940s Fred Allen broadcast from NBC's huge Studio 8-H in the RCA Building in Rockefeller Center. M. for most of the nation, followed three hours later by a rebroadcast for the West Coast-a throng of 1,318 curious radio fans crowded into that studio for Allen's hour-long program. Minutes before the start of the show, the star comedian strolled onto the stage to warm up his audience.
Benchley wrote and performed in forty-eight short films during the late 1930s and early 1940s, made appearances in about forty feature films, and starred in a radio comedy show. 38 William Lyon Phelps, retired Lampson Professor of English at Yale, starred in a commercial radio program in 1934-1935, a program that also featured conductor-composer Sigmund Romberg. 39 The versatile Woody Allen has brought laughter to a later generation through the pages of the New Yorker, stand-up comedy routines before live audiences, and in Hollywood motion pictures.
Fred Allen's Radio Comedy by Alan Havig