Fred Allen's Radio Comedy CL

Alan R. Havig, Author Temple University Press $64.5 (287p) ISBN 978-0-87722-713-7
A Stephens College (Missouri) professor of history here examines Allen's (1894-1956) 20 years in vaudeville, his career in radio from 1933 to 1949, and his characteristic brand of air-wave comedy, and concludes that Allen was a literary humorist who created ``comedy uniquely aural in achievement and appeal.'' His humor, as Havig observes, frequently involved parody, insult (as in Allen's long-time feud with Jack Benny); puns; dialect humor (a Chinese-American was a ``Yangtse Doodle Dandy''); worldly satire; and sporadorically profound wit (Allen defined life as ``a lull between stork and epitaph'' and a spinster as ``a woman who indulged once too seldom''). Havig's searching account amuses and informs, offering further proof that the line between high and popular culture has blurred in our century. Photos. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 08/17/1990
Release date: 08/01/1990
Paperback - 296 pages - 978-0-87722-810-3
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