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December 18: Hal Kanter and Diahann Carroll

Hal Kanter, a screenwriter, director, and producer who created “Julia,” the first television sitcom (1968-71) featuring a black professional character (Diahann Carroll), was born in Savannah, Georgia on this date in 1918. Kanter worked on films with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin, and Elvis Presley. For many years he was […]

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Jewish-Goyish

Lenny Bruce’s Mission to America by Lawrence Bush from the Summer 2016 issue of Jewish Currents LEONARD ALFRED SCHNEIDER, who took the stage as Lenny Bruce, died half a century ago on August 3, 1966, age 40. He was not the nice Jewish boy you’d want your daughter or son to marry. A drug abuser, […]

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May 28: Lucille Kallen, Comedy Writer

The first woman writer on Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows — amid a crew that included Neil Simon, Carl Reiner, and Mel Brooks — Lucille Kallen was born in Los Angeles on this date in 1922. A Juilliard music drop-out, she honed her comic skills at Camp Tamiment in the Poconos, met her husband […]

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O My America: Lenny Bruce and the Golden Age

by Lawrence Bush LEONARD ALFRED SCHNEIDER DIED 46 years ago on August 3, age 40. He was not the kind of Jewish boy you’d want your daughter or son to date, let alone marry. A hustler, he was arrested in 1951 on charges of falsely “soliciting funds for some non-sectarian organization that had sponsored a […]

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March 20: The Straight Man

Carl Reiner, the straight man to Mel Brooks’ “Two-Thousand-Year-Old Man” and a major influence upon American comedy as it ripened through the early years of television, was born in the Bronx on this date in 1922. Reiner worked as writer and actor on Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows and, based on that experience, developed […]

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