David Bruce: The Coolest People in Comedy — Automobiles, Beauty, Children

Automobiles

• When he was a teenager, Soupy Sales used to double-date with a friend named Bill Cravens. The two would take their dates to a movie, go to the park to neck (smooch) for a while, and then get something to eat. On one double-date, Soupy’s date didn’t want to go to the park because she said she wasn’t feeling well, so Soupy told Bill that they needed to take his date home. She asked, “Aren’t we going to get something to eat?” Soupy replied, “If you’re too sick to neck, you’re too sick to eat.” Back when Soupy was a teenager, not every teenager who was old enough to drive had a car. On his double-dates, a friend with a car would drop Soupy off at his date’s friend’s house, and then the friend with a car would pick up his date and then come back to get Soupy and his date. Once, Soupy was in a house waiting for his date to come down from upstairs. The young woman’s father said, “Gee, I wonder what’s keeping Elaine?” Soupy said, “Wait a minute! Isn’t this Joanne Pinckard’s house? The young woman’s father said, “No, Joanne lives across the street.”

Beauty

• In 2008, comedian Margaret Cho debuted a new show: Beautiful. The genesis of the show came when a radio host asked Ms. Cho, “What would you do if you woke up tomorrow and you were beautiful?” She was shocked by the question because, as people who know and love her (or see her) realize, she is beautiful. She asked the radio host, “What?” and he explained, “What if you woke up and you were blond, blue-eyed, 5’ 11” and weighed 100 lbs and you were beautiful, what would you do?” Uh — 5’ 11” and 100 lbs! Ms. Cho says, “I told him I probably wouldn’t get up because I would be too weak to stand!” She also thought, “It upset me because I thought if that was the only person he thinks is beautiful, he must not see much beauty ever. I wanted to do a show about how we are all beautiful. It is something I have to constantly tell myself.”

• Apparently, the Ziegfeld Follies’ Flo Ziegfeld was a good judge of feminine beauty but lacked a sense of humor. He once watched W.C. Fields make the audience roar with laughter with a comedy sketch, then asked how long the sketch had taken. The answer came back: 28 minutes. Mr. Ziegfeld next asked how long it took for the girls to get ready for the next scene. The answer came back: seven minutes. Mr. Ziegfeld then ordered Mr. Fields to cut his comedy sketch to seven minutes.

Children

• As a small boy, Wally Cox learned that some of the best things in life could be purchased with a box top from a box of cereal or the aluminum seal from a jar of Ovaltine. Just send in a box top or an aluminum seal and a small amount of money to cover shipping and handling, and all kinds of neat stuff — including a Cub reporter’s certificate (from a radio program starring Dick Steel, the boy reporter) — would arrive in your mailbox. The aluminum seal from a jar of Ovaltine bought young Wally the knowledge of how to decode the secret messages that were broadcast at the end of the Little Orphan Annie radio program — secret messages that gave hints about Little Orphan Annie’s next exciting adventure. Young Wally was proud to know the code: A is 2, B is 4, C is 6, etc. Unfortunately, soon after young Wally learned how to decode the secret messages, the dullest boy in school told him, “Hey, you wanna know the Little Orphan Annie secret code? A is 2, B is 4, C is 6 ….” Disappointed at being unable to amaze even the dullest boy in school with his foreknowledge of Little Orphan Annie’s next exciting adventure, young Wally soon stopped sending away for things that required payment of a box top or an aluminum seal.

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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