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Monday, March 31, 2014

Hey There, Bunky.....

One of the funniest people ever died last Tuesday.
His name was Eddie Lawrence.
Maybe you'd know him better as "The Old Philosopher"
Maybe you wouldn't.
But his Old Philosopher routine was as funny as I can remember.
And this goes back to my childhood.
It was usually in the form of a comedy album.
Perhaps the first clean one ever, of course not counting Redd Foxx and Belle Barth.
But I always thought it worked better visually.
He did all the major TV variety shows with it----Sullivan, Steve Allen, Carson, and invariably killed.

For the unfamiliar, I'll paraphrase an example of what he did from his New York Times Obituary:

(With the soft strains of "Beautiful Dreamer" in the background)
“Hey there, Bunky, you say you lost your job today?
You say it’s 4 a.m. and your kids ain’t come home from school yet?
You say your wife went out for a corned beef sandwich last weekend — the corned beef sandwich came back but she didn’t?
You say your furniture’s out all over the sidewalk cause you can’t pay the rent and you got chapped lips and paper cuts and your feet’s all swollen up and blistered from pounding the pavement looking for work?
Is that’s what’s troubling you, fella?”
(Then, as "Beautiful Dreamer" gave way to a marching band playing something boisterous by John Philip Sousa, he bellowed).
“Then lift your head up high!
Take a walk in the sun with that dignity and stick-to-it-iveness, and you’ll show the world, you’ll show them where to get off!
And you’ll never give up, never give up, never give up ((whap! whap!) — that ship!”
Then he'd do two or three more versions, with different jokes, but always followed up by never giving up that ship.

There is a live performance of this on YouTube.
Just type in Eddie Lawrence The Old Philosopher, and click on the one where you can see his face.
NOT one of the album covers.
An album cover will be at the beginning of that one too, but it's not the icon.
You all owe yourselves this.
Some people a little younger than me might be familiar with some of this because Soupy Sales, on his TV show, when he went to the radio to check the weather, would "stumble" across a cut from one of Eddie's albums.
Or he'd have Pookie the lion mime him.

Eddie Lawrence also had a very good part in the Broadway musical "Bells Are Ringing" and the distinction of writing the book and lyrics for the shortest running musical ever to open on Broadway.
It was "Kelly", and it ran one night.
Lawrence sued to prevent it from opening, after changes he didn't approve of were added.
It sounds like he had taste.
I also vaguely remember him briefly hosting a kiddie show on TV, not unlike "Howdy Doody", or maybe he was filling in for Buffalo Bob.
And whenever he did the live commercials, or when the kids in the Peanut Gallery were starting to bug him, he would mildly threaten them with "Thumps"
As in "If you kids keep this up, you'll be getting your thumps"
Or, If you don't buy these Tootsie Rolls, you're gonna get your thumps".
Occasionally he'd call them "your little thumperinos"
It made me hysterical.
He had a brief but memorable part in the film "The Night They Raided Minsky's"
He played one of the burlesque comics.
On the burlesque stage, he appeared in the sketch commonly known as "Crazy House".
In it, he played the patient in a hospital room, and people would come in and do crazy things
As each punchline was reached, Lawrence would punctuate it by yelling "Nurse! Nurse!", and rolling his eyes and his fingers.
As far as I'm concerned, he stole the picture right there.

He will be sorely missed, but it's really nice that he made it to be 95 years old.

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My books ,"Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not
e-books. But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one. If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at macchus999@aol.com.
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube, and my 4-hour interview at the Television Academy's Emmy TV Legends Website.
Here's the link:  www.emmytvlegends.org/interviews/people/mark-rothman
 
*****

4 comments:

  1. The Old Philosopher! I used to watch Soupy Sales when he was local in Detroit, and he'd sit there at his lunch or breakfast table pretending to listen to an old table radio. Different audio clips would be played, and one was the Old Philosopher. I never knew where that came from until reading this blog. - Lee Markham

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About Me

Hi. I am, according to my Wikipedia entry,(which I did not create) a noted television writer, playwright, screenwriter, and occasional actor. You can Google me or go to the IMDB to get my credits, and you can come here to get my opinions on things, which I'll try to express eloquently. Hopefully I'll succeed. You can also e-mail me at macchus999@aol.com. Perhaps my biggest claim to fame is being responsible, for about six months in 1975, while Head Writer for the "Happy Days" TV series, for Americans saying to each other "Sit on it."