Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My Continuing Stupidity Is STILL Your Gain!



OK, yesterday I offered a contest for a free book. Nobody won it. And the reason for that has nothing to do with your intelligence.

The book is a biography of a comedian. In order to win the book, I asked for folks to name a comedian - any comedian - in the comments section here. And you folks named a whole slew of really fine comedians.

Here are the guesses that were made:

Jerry Lewis
Sid James
Joe E. Brown
Charlie Callas
Buddy Hackett
Dick Van Dyke
Bob Hope
Victoria Wood
Red Skelton
Richard Pryor
Billy Connolly
Henny Youngman
Jerry Van Dyke
Peter Sellers
Victor Mature
James Finlayson
Jonathan Winters
Joe Besser
Joe DeRita
Don Rickles
Pauly Shore
Stephen Wright
Jack Benny

None of them was the one. Too bad, because there are a number of folks on that list of whom I'd love to read a biography, with Sid James, Joe. E. Brown, Charlie Callas, Henny Youngman, and James Finlayson heading the list.

(Did I mention I love supporting players, character actors, and otherwise obscure [at least to American audiences] comics?]

Anyway, I'm afraid I severely overestimated the possibility that any of you would name this fellow. He's been out of the public eye for a long time, and the films he starred in - which were many, albeit mostly two-reelers - haven't been played on TV, or even in revival movie houses, for decades. If I named the folks he supported - that is, those people whose own starring vehicles he appeared in - you'd be able to narrow it down by reviewing cast listings for their films, I suppose. But, I wanted to give first crack at the book to somebody who really, truly loved this guy and might have named him without a whole bunch of clues. Since that didn't happen yesterday, I'm going to give some rather obvious clues (at least, they should make his identity obvious to those who know of him, even though I'm sure some of you will still say, "Who?", when I finally reveal his name. Shame, that, as he was pretty much a household name back in his day.)

Please try to guess who he is from the following hints. Since you may read my blog at a wildly varying time from others, and I'll be making it relatively obvious - at least to those of you who know of him - I wouldn't want to give a vast edge to anyone in my own time zone. Therefore, I'll take all correct answers given by 8am, Wednesday, September 21st, U.S. Eastern Time, throw them into a hat, and choose a winner at random. So, if somebody else has already made the guess you would have made, don't let that stop you from making the same guess.

(And I'll ask one favor. If you DON'T like this fellow, let me know. I can't imagine why you wouldn't, but I want the book to go to someone who truly enjoyed his work.)

Here we go...

1 - Some of his appearances on film were in silent movies, but his own starring roles were all made with sound. In the silents, however, he appeared in some of the most-watched movies ever made during that era.

2 - He appeared in films with Laurel & Hardy, The Marx Brothers, Lucille Ball, Doris Day, Charlie Chaplin, Fatty Arbuckle, and the "Our Gang" (or "Little Rascals") kids.

3 - He had one shtick, or bit of business, he almost always performed within his later filmed appearances. He was, as a matter of fact, sometimes referred to as "The Master Of ... " that shtick.

That might be enough to give it away to someone who knows the guy and appreciates him. If none of you get it today, I guess I'll have to assume I'm the only guy in the world who still loves him. That would make me very sad.

Oh, well. Post your guess (ONE per customer, please) in the comments, and best of luck. I'll give the results tomorrow.

Soon, with that.


21 comments:

Michelle H. said...

I have absolutely no idea. I probably could Google it, but that wouldn't be fair. Hope it goes to someone who appreciates the book.

Cricket said...

Anyone I could have guessed is already on your "no list." Whoever wins will deserve the book more than I would.

I'm super curious now, though.

Hilary said...

It's burning its way into my brain.. slowly...

Anonymous said...

Edgar Kennedy

let the plucking begin

Carolina said...

I'm pretty sure I've never heard of the guy, as I've never heard of Joe. E. Brown, Charlie Callas (Maria I know), Henny Youngman and James Finlayson either. Sid James does 'ring a bell' although I can't picture him.

I dó like Bill Bailey too (favourite is still Billy Connolly however), but I'm sure he isn't the guy your book is about.

Good luck to all the other 'contestants' ;-)

Eva Gallant said...

I haven't a clue!

Daryl said...

Buster Keaton

Expat From Hell said...

Daryl beat me. EFH

Land of shimp said...

Jimmy Durante.

Okay, probably not but I loved him when I was a little kid. I have a thing about liking big noses.

If it is him, I actually don't want to read a biography about him, as he still exists in my brain as that nice man in the hat, with the big schnoz. That's where I want him to stay.

I read a biography of Lewis Carroll over the summer. Jesus, what a mistake that was. Even though I thought I knew enough about the worst of him to be prepared? Not so.

I wanted to remove Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass with TONGS so as not to have to touch them. Pretty much that bad.

Since I don't want to find out that Durante had some alarming habit of accosting poodles or something for companionship? If it is Jimmy Durante? I shall pass.

Even if it isn't and it turns out to be someone who I accidentally name at some point? I have to pass, with thanks, of course. My reading list being of some substantial size as it is.

Land of shimp said...

Jimmy Durante.

Okay, probably not but I loved him when I was a little kid. I have a thing about liking big noses.

If it is him, I actually don't want to read a biography about him, as he still exists in my brain as that nice man in the hat, with the big schnoz. That's where I want him to stay.

I read a biography of Lewis Carroll over the summer. Jesus, what a mistake that was. Even though I thought I knew enough about the worst of him to be prepared? Not so.

I wanted to remove Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass with TONGS so as not to have to touch them. Pretty much that bad.

Since I don't want to find out that Durante had some alarming habit of accosting poodles or something for companionship? If it is Jimmy Durante? I shall pass.

Even if it isn't and it turns out to be someone who I accidentally name at some point? I have to pass, with thanks, of course. My reading list being of some substantial size as it is.

Craig said...

Oh, just for fun, I'll throw Vernon Dent's name into the ring; he was a regular in the Stooges' films. . .

Daryl said...

Ray said to tell you Edgar Kennedy ..

Maggie May said...

Max Wall?
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Buck said...

I'll take all correct answers given by 8am, Wednesday, September 21st, U.S. Eastern Time...

You need a (better) calendar. And your list of guesses is incomplete, by one.

--Resident Pedant, out.

Uncle Skip, said...

I'm gonna guess Harold Lloyd.
And I'm with Buck on the calendar issue... unless you really are in a parallel universe.

i beati said...

WC Fields , Baby Huey I'm just playing

Matt Conlon said...

Rats, I was going to say WC Fields...

Who was the fellow known for having a completely deadpan face... Buster Keaton?

Ah, crap someone beat me to that too...

I will go with Chaplin?

lime said...

i was going to guess buster keaton too.

Crazed Nitwit said...

Before my time I think.

I know it's not George Carlin, but I want to say his name cuz I miss him.

HUGS

Teacher's Pet said...

I have no idea. I hope that someone that comments before 8 A.M. on Wednesday guesses correctly and wins the book. I look forward to knowing who the comedian is.

CatLadyLarew said...

I was gonna go with Harold Lloyd, but Uncle Skip beat me to it.