The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Jesters of the Republic #31


Fred Allen

8 comments :

swac said...

Well deserving of that crown too.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

You gentlemen (and gentle lady) know that every time you post a photo of my comedy idol the world seems just a little bit brighter.

"An unemployed jester is nobody's fool..." -- Danny Kaye

swac said...

I don't have nearly enough Fred Allen. Tons of Bob & Ray and Jack Benny...need to find some OTR sites and start downloading.

Brent McKee said...

I saw a number of the Fred Allen episodes of "What's My Line?" courtesy of GSN. He wasn't at the heights of his powers in that format, but he was still great. Too bad Mr. Benny didn't appear as a mystery guest on the show until 1962.

Robert Fiore said...

What he'd do, back in his vaudeville days, was he'd have them project a slide of the president (then Woodrow Wilson) on the curtain, and the audience would applaud, and then they'd project a slide of Abraham Lincoln, and the crowd would applaud louder, then they'd project a slide of the flag, and the crowd would go wild, and at the height of the frenzy Allen would walk onstage with his juggling gear saying "Thank you, thank you . . ."

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

I remember seeing Eddie "Rochester" Anderson as the mystery guest on one of those reruns -- Allen wasn't there that night, but I thought to myself that had he been, he would have guessed Roch right off the bat.

Brent McKee said...

He was on an episode of "What's My Line" where Dennis Day was the mystery guest, but as I recall the name of Mr. Benny did not come up. On the other hand when LA Police Chief Parker appeared there was a mention of Jack Benny.

swac said...

In one of the Jack Webb threads someone mentioned Archive.org, which prompted me to search them for some Fred Allen, and I found this page with tons of downloadable mp3s. Enjoy!