Suddenly playing the charming bad guy was my thing.
--Ray Liotta (1954-2022)
Singer and comedian--no, no, that's not right--comedian and singer--no, I had it right the first time--singer and comedian Dennis Day was born on this day in 1916 (he died in 1988.) Day thought of himself as a singer first and a comedian second, and I have to respect that. Yet watching this clip from the once-popular game show What's My Line, it's hard for me not to think of him as first and foremost a comedian:
If you haven't figured it out, the way the What's My Line mystery guest segment worked is the blindfolded celebrity was allowed to keep asking questions as long as each answer approximated a "yes". A "no" and the next celebrity to the right got their turn, or if you were at the very right, as was Random House publisher and best-selling joke anthologist Bennett Cerf, then the next celebrity up would be the one at the very left, in this case Broadway gossip columnist and occasional true-crime journalist Dorothy Kilgallen. Dorothy's string of correct guesses was unusual. In most cases, there's were enough "no" answers to go around, assuring each panelist got a chance to ask a question. I suspect it was no accident that the line of questioning began with stage and radio actress Arlene Francis, that the producers hoped that the segment would reach an exciting climax once radio comedian Fred Allen's turn came up. If I'm right, then obviously, things didn't go according to plan. Why does it matter? Well, in the larger scheme of things it really doesn't, except that Allen previously had been engaged in decades-long mock feud with...
It's more than nerves at stake in this gangster film parody:
By 1968 both the long-running radio show and the long-running TV show were off-the-air, but Benny and Day occasionally found things to do together, such as this Texaco commercial. Day is in his early 50s by now, but gamely still plays the insouciant youth of yore:
Life before the self-serve pump.
OK, I've said Day was also, even primarily, a singer, but what did he sing? Usually novelty-numbers, especially when he sang on TV. But the son of Irish immigrants seemed particularly drawn to...
...Irish songs (or songs written in America about Ireland.) Here's one such song. Longtime Benny announcer Don Wilson provides a bit of musical accompaniment towards the end:
Maybe Day was a singer after all. A comedian shouldn't let the announcer have the last laugh.
Not even gays. Most would be surprised. Only because what you see on TV, a serious guy in a suit, unsmiling, isn’t how anyone thinks of gay males.
--actor Richard Deacon (Leave It to Beaver, The Dick Van Dyke Show), on how aware the general public was of his sexual orientation.
*Sigh*. First Neal Adams, now George Pérez. The latter recently deceased comic book artist mentions the former recently deceased comic book artist, and a few other people, in this 2014 clip from one of the many comic book conventions he's attended:
Listen to them cavalierly toss that word "nerd" around. I guess it's a way of "owning" the one-time slur, the same way some blacks use the N-word or the increasing popularity of "queer" among the LGBTQ community. I get it, but when it comes to the graphic arts, I'd prefer to think of such so-called nerds (or geeks) as the comics cognoscenti.