Friday, January 11, 2008

Robert Benchley and Fred Allen

The Isn't Life Terrible blog (love the name!) has a remembrance about two now-nearly-forgotten men of comedy: Robert Benchley and Fred Allen: part one, part two.

Of the two guys, I'm more familiar with Fred Allen. His sarcasm, his nasally tone, all combine to make a very funny title sequence to the movie IT'S IN THE BAG, which you can see in part two of the above blog. It's worth clicking on even if you've never heard of Allen or Benchley. Even if you have a disdain for these gentlemen, go take a peek. [EDIT: Unfortunately, the title sequence was taken down. Netflix does have the entire movie available to stream.]

Yeah, it's a crying shame that some of these comics of the past are forgotten now. But that's arguable since there are blogs like the above-named that remind us of the past. Don Brockway, the mind behind the Isn't Life Terrible blog writes:

Those of us who admire entertainers of yesteryear often have a tendency to drift along with the undercurrent of melancholy that is the wake of the public's fickleness in its never-ending search for new amusements. Younger fans who missed the heydays of their idols often make substantial efforts to seek out the portion of the work that survives, then use it to proselytize on behalf of their hero. They shake their heads sadly when few join them in their celebration of those who reached incredible heights of popularity in their own day... only to arrive at a near-total indifference and anonymity in ours.

Above photo of Fred Allen and his wife, Portland Hoffa, from Comedy-o-Rama's Fred Allen tribute page.

My favorite quote from Allen's book TREADMILL TO OBLIVION.

Like Allen, my great grandparents were in vaudeville.

1 comment:

Tom McMahon said...

I have over 6500 posts on my blog, and my favorite is And Fred Allen Stayed With Aunt Lizzie. Trivia: Portland Hoffa celebrated two silver wedding anniversaries, one with Fred and one with bandleader Joe Rimes.