Archive for August, 2014

Way Too Much about Phil Silvers (the abbreviated version)

Phil Silvers: A star before anyone even conceived of Jazz Hands. Phil Silvers: A star of the species Hamus Actorum.

Among the constellation of worthy subjects demanding to be illuminated, Phil Silvers is not one of them. Not that he’s unworthy. But Phil Silvers. Really? He’s a fossilized relic leftover from the Vaudevillian Era – a prehistoric time when tummlers, crooners and acrobats performed on poorly lit, unmicrophoned stages. As you may recall from your high school Celebrity Geology classes, the Vaudevillian Era was sandwiched between the Shakespearian Period – a period marked by proto-thespians in unmolted drag crawling out from under the curtain and soliloquizing anyone at the Globe who would listen, and the Television Epoch when shadowy 2-dimensional images ruled the airwaves and were at the apex of the entertainment food chain.

Phil Silvers barely registers with me and probably doesn’t move the needle with most of you either. Although justly beloved by many, he was the kind of entertainer I despised as a child (me being the child here, not Phil) for one reason – utterly predictable humor. Mr. Silvers strutted around ‘neath the proscenium arch like the well-trained pro that he was: hitting his marks and delivering his punchlines. He larded his performances with super-sized gestures and lusty dollops of feigned disbelief. His predictable repertoire of hammy attributes only served to harden my bias against the so-called other white meat. He was like a very uncool uncle who you hoped would just leave the pink box of goodies from Lyncourt Bakery on the kitchen table, then get back in his 9 mpg, 1973 Plymouth Gran Fury and drive his insincere persona back to Weedsport where his “scenery eating” talents weren’t much appreciated either. And to think that Phil Silvers is responsible for today’s microwave oven technology, just boggles the mind. He isn’t responsible for it. But to think he is – oy vey. Read the rest of this entry »