Mostly about my backyard chickens. (Boring, I know), but there are a lot of us out here. Mine are only kept as pampered pets. I could eat a neighbor's chicken, but not MINE. There may be a comment on current events only if I get riled up enough. And there will always be a cartoon or a joke to cheer us. I promise to try my very best to respond to comments. Now I have to figure out how this blogger thingy works....
Saturday, January 7, 2017
Step into the Time Machine......
The Old Philosopher
Eddie Lawrence Dies at 95; Comedy’s ‘Old Philosopher’
Eddie Lawrence, Comedian, Actor and Pitchman, Is Dead at 95
Eddie Lawrence first performed his new comedy routine for his agent and
a few entertainment executives, they told him that they loved it but
that it was too clever for most people to understand. Mr. Lawrence had
more faith in his audience.
He began the routine in a nasally whimper, a voice he later described as “sort of a crying Jolson.”
folks,” he said. “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 banal background music gave way to a marching band, Mr. Lawrence
abandoned the whimper for a bellow.
your head up high!” he thundered. “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. You’ll never give up, never give up, never give
up — that ship!”
so was born “the Old Philosopher,” a character and routine that became
Mr. Lawrence’s bread and butter. Mr. Lawrence, who died on Tuesday in
Manhattan at 95, structured the routine like a song, alternating tales
of his fictional victims’ strange troubles with his clichéd refrain to
in 1956 as a three-minute single, “The Old Philosopher” rose into the
Top 40 of the Billboard charts. Decades later, it continued to provide
Mr. Lawrence (and some imitators) with a flexible framework for comic
and many television appearances. Many people became familiar with the
routine, or variations on it, even if they did not know Mr. Lawrence by
name. But it brought him new opportunities. He worked as a lyricist,
pitchman, actor, writer and director. In the 1930s, he performed in
variety shows at the Roxy Theater. In the Army in World War II,
he was a disc jockey. Soon after the war, he did impersonations on
radio, including on a show with the actor John Marley, and he began
recording albums of comedy routines in the 1950s, many of which included
versions of “The Old Philosopher.”
became a regular on “The Steve Allen Show” and appeared on “The Tonight
Show Starring Johnny Carson.” In the 1980s, he adapted “The Old
Philosopher” for commercials for the Claridge Hotel Casino in Atlantic
earlier, he appeared off Broadway in “The Threepenny Opera” and had a
prominent role on Broadway as a bookie in “Bells Are Ringing.”
In 1965, Mr. Lawrence wrote the lyrics for what became something of a pop standard, “I’ll Never Go There Anymore.”
Stephen Sondheim once listed it among songs he wished he had written,
but it was also linked to one of Mr. Lawrence’s most frustrating
experiences, the 1965 musical “Kelly.” Inspired by the story of Steve
Brodie, who supposedly survived jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge in 1886,
the show became the biggest flop Broadway had ever seen at the time.
Lawrence wrote the book and the lyrics, and Moose Charlap composed the
music. It was a labor of love for both of them, intended as a nuanced,
unconventional story that reflected their serious artistic ambitions.
But after producers decided to make substantial changes, Mr. Lawrence
and Mr. Charlap sued, trying to stop the production from going forward.
The cost ballooned from $450,000 to $650,000, considered exorbitant at
The show opened on Broadway on Feb. 6, and closed after that one performance.
experience was a lifelong sore point for Mr. Lawrence. He was pleased
many years later when a concert version of “Kelly,” as originally
written, was produced by the York Theater Company, with Brian d’Arcy
James in the lead role.
Lawrence was born Lawrence Eisler on March 2, 1919, in New York, the
oldest of two brothers. His father, Benjamin, was a banker, and his
mother, the former Bess Garbowsky, was a garment worker. He graduated
from Boys High School in Brooklyn and he later studied art at Brooklyn
College, where he graduated in 1940.
the war, he used the G.I. Bill to study painting in Paris with Fernand
Léger. Mr. Lawrence painted throughout his life. He exhibited in
galleries and signed his works Lawrence Eisler.
His survivors include his wife, the former Marilyn White, and his son, Garrett Eisler, who confirmed his father’s death.
Mr. Lawrence sometimes said no when asked to perform his signature routine to pitch products.
that happened, it was not unusual for him to later hear an imitator on
the radio, hawking whatever it was he had decided against pitching. But
he often said yes. In 1974, he was surprised to get a call from John
Lennon. Mr. Lennon had produced a record by Harry Nilsson and he asked
Mr. Lawrence to do a promotional riff for the record. He gave Mr.
Lawrence creative control.
pussy cat,” Mr. Lawrence said in the 30-second spot. “You say you
opened up a bicycle wash and the first six customers drowned, and they
picked you up in the wax museum for trying to score with Marie
Antoinette? Is that what’s got you down, pussy cat? Well, rise up, get
yourself Harry Nilsson’s new album, ‘Pussy Cats,’ produced by John
Lennon. Nilsson’s latest — ‘Pussy Cats.’ On RCA records and tapes. Meow,