There are millions of young folks who grew up on Disney and Jerry Lewis movies and fondly recall Mary Poppins, Babes in Toyland and Cinderfeller. They may not remember Ed Wynn's name but when, during presentations about vaudevillians, I show a clip of Ed Wynn in this show with his guests, The Three Stooges, there is instant and happy recognition. Eighty years ago, Ed Wynn was regarded on a par with Charlie Chaplin and Groucho Marx. By the 1940s, he was largely forgotten. Ed Wynn was the first big comedy star with the nerve to try a weekly TV show. He proved that TV was safe for comedians and they followed: Milton Berle, Jackie Gleason, Imogene Coca & Sid Caesar, Bob Hope, Jimmy Durante, Eddie Cantor, Olsen & Johnson, Donald O'Connor, Lucille Ball, Joan Davis, Burns & Allen, Jack Benny and even the Marx Brothers--solo. Any Ed Wynn TV Show is fun. The one with the Three Stooges may be the best--only a half dozen have been reissued on video, but also look for Ed's shows with guests Buster Keaton, Leon Errol and James Barton. Ed Wynn told bad jokes. No one did it better and funnier. He was one of the few comedians who was funny when he was young, when he was middle-aged and when he was old. -- fc/American Vaudeville Museum
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