Kings of Komedy (4CD) Box set
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The Kings Of Komedy
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During the depression and war years, radio comedy provided the comfort that kept Americans and British alike together. It helped people forget their troubles and laugh at themselves. This 4CD set takes you on a journey through the world of these radio shows, featuring classic and hilarious material from Eddie Cantor, W C Fields, Abbott & Costello, Jimmy Durante, Danny Kaye, The Marx Brothers and the late great Bob Hope and is presented in full Proper style with a 56 page booklet that traces the stories of these great comedians from their beginnings on radio, through their work in films and finally TV. Some choice quotes "He hasn't an enemy in the world, but all his friends hate him" "Behind every successful man is a woman. Behind her is his wife" "I've had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn't it" "Dying is to be avoided - It can ruin your whole career"
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Eddie Cantor's Oh! Gee, Oh! Gosh, Oh! Golly, I'm In Love, from Ziegfield Follies Of 1922, was the earliest to appear on record, that coming in 1923 when it reached # 7 in October on Columbia 3934. Inka Dinka Doo was, of course, the theme for Jimmy Durante. It appeared on film in the movie Palooka, and in February 1934 a version on Brunswick 6774 reached # 6.
1947 saw two classics, the first being Dusty Fletcher, another old-time vaudevillian, who took his famous routine to record with the backing of the Jimmy Jones Orchestra and, in February 1947, Open The Door Richard got as high as # 2 R&B/# 3 Pop on National 4012, in competition with no less than 6 cover versions by Count Basie, The Three Flames, Jack McVea, The Charioteers, Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five and The Pied Pipers. Later that summer, Red Ingle & His Natural Seven hit the # 1 spot with their parody of Temptation, titled Tim-Tayshun, with vocal by Cinderella G. Stump who, in reality, was Jo Stafford. It also appears in the film Going Hollywood.
In late fall 1952, with the backing of Horace Heidt & His Musical Knights, comedian Johnny Standley lampooned those ubiquitous fundamentalist preachers with his two-sided hit, It's In The Book on Capitol 2249, and saw it rise to # 1, where it stayed for two weeks. The following year, Mr. Peepers himself, Wally Cox, gave us What A Crazy Guy on RCA Victor 5278 and in May it made it to # 27. Then, in October, Stan Freberg (with help from Daws Butler and June Foray) took dead aim at Dragnet with his # 1 (for FOUR weeks) St. George And The Dragonet on Capitol 2596, and later that December, Buddy Hackett's hilarious The Chinese Waiter was a # 29 on Coral 61105. And long before he became Sherriff Andrew Jackson "Andy" Taylor in Mayberry, R.F.D. (and later Matlock), Andy Griffith put out his classic What It Was, Was Football on a small North Carolina label. It became such a local hit that Capitol purchased the rights and in January 1954 it reached # 9 on Capitol 2693.
While the album is heavy on acts like The Marx Brothers (11 entries), W.C. Fields (6), Eddie Cantor, Abbott & Costello and Danny Kaye (4 each), conspicuous by their absence to some keen-eyed old-timers would be Edgar Bergen & Charlie McCarthy/Mortimer Snerd, Fred Allen (& Allen's Alley), Amos `N' Andy, The Bickersons, Jack Benny and others. Even so, what is here is sure to please, and even though some did not become single record hits, many did appear on best-selling albums and are no less classic, led by Abbott & Costello's enduring Who's On First?, W.C. Field's Never Give A Sucker An Even Break, and Pal-Yat-Chee, the 1950 take-off on the opera Pagliacci by Spike Jones & His City Slickers from their LP Murdering The Classics.
Fun as both memory-joggers and for those wishing to experience the taste of old-time radio comedy. It just could have been a bit more all-encompassing when selecting tracks.