The Laugh Crafters: Comedy Writing in Radio and Tv's Golden Age

Young, Jordan R.

Published by Past Times Pub Co, 1999
ISBN 10: 0940410370 / ISBN 13: 9780940410374
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Synopsis: Twelve of Hollywood's top comedy writers and speak their minds about the so-called good old days, and recall the outrageous backstage antics of legendary comedians. No one is spared in frank, uncensored and frequently hilarious conversations about the stone age of broadcasting -- the 1930s, '40s and '50s -- when advertising agencies controlled the programs, stars ran amok and writers were treated with profound disrespect, like a necessary evil.

From the Author: I live in the past, and I readily admit it. In fact, I've made a career out of it. I would love to have written comedy for radio in its heyday. Having grown up during the television era -- Jack Benny made his TV debut the week I was born -- I did not have this opportunity. As a show business historian, however, I have been able to live this dream vicariously, interviewing many of those who did.

For an oral history of radio drama (a work-in-progress at this time) I have interrogated a number of comedy writers about their work in radio and early television. And while I have sat at the feet of countless actors, comedians, musicians, announcers, producers and other industry veterans, the writers were a revelation. They proved, invariably, to be the best raconteurs and the most articulate interview subjects.

While screenwriters have finally won a measure of recognition in recent years, far less attention has been paid the writers of radio and television's Golden Age. Several of the writers featured in this book have been celebrated for their creative efforts of the 1960s and '70s, but most have seldom, if ever, talked about their work in the early days of broadcasting -- the '30s, '40s and '50s -- a decidedly different era of popular culture that has been largely forgotten.

I have been a lover of comedy and comedians all my life. This book may present a somewhat unflattering portrait of some of my favorite entertainers. But as we know, there are at least two sides to every story. Behind every successful radio and TV comic was a hard-working writer -- or a platoon of them -- who toiled in virtual anonymity. It is high time these invisible comedians took a bow.

These interviews were conducted between 1990 and 1995. Many of the subjects required little or no prodding, and since my philosophy as an interviewer is simply, "shut up and listen," and I let them go right on talking. I have edited the interview transcripts only slightly and rephrased next to nothing.

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Title: The Laugh Crafters: Comedy Writing in Radio ...
Publisher: Past Times Pub Co
Publication Date: 1999
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Used: Good

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