Saturday, February 18, 2023

Fred Allen -- The Old Joke Cemetery -- February 18, 2023

Pittsburgh Gazette-Times, 13-February-1922

Fred Allen, the greatest comedian of old time radio, made his first movie in 1929. In 1922-1923 he played Broadway and then toured the country in a big revue, The Passing Show of 1922.One of his sketches was called "Old Joke Cemetery," It used a big backdrop with gravestones that bore the punchlines of antediluvian jokes. One of the chorines in the show was Portland Hoffa. He married her and they worked together for the rest of his life.

Pittsburgh Gazette-Times, 13-February-1922

Fred's name is hard to read in the complete ad. The big stars of the show were brothers Willie and Eugene Howard. They starred in three editions of The Passing Show. They had a very limited film career. Fred Allen had the first name on the supporting list. 

 The Passing Shows were yearly revues that ran from 1912 to 1924. You will notice that the 1922 edition was still on the road in 1923. 

Pittsburgh Gazette-Times, 13-February-1922

I found his two memoirs in the San Francisco Public Library, Treadmill to Oblivion and Much Ado About Me. The books taught me a lot about writing humor.

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