Monday, October 31, 2005


Happy Halloween and welcome to The Third Banana, the first ever blog devoted to obscure classic comedy.* For the sake of convenience, "classic comedy" is whatever I say it is, but the accepted rule of thumb is that "classic comedy" refers to any comedy that predates the rise of Adam Sandler. You'll notice an emphasis on comedians who haven't really received their due, hence the title of the blog. Third bananas, in burlesque parlance, were the third string comics, the comedians-in-training who would play patsy to the top and second bananas, lead comics like Phil Silvers or Pinky Lee. That is not to say that the unsung comics we'll focus on are legitimate third bananas, or were even considered third bananas in their own time. The nature of pop culture is that it tends to spin down to "basics" over the years, and the factors that dictate what remains a "basic" and what is forgotten are largely circumstantial (in many cases, marketing is more a deciding factor than substance). For instance, thanks to constant television exposure and canny merchandising, the shorts of the Three Stooges are more popular today than they were in the 1930s and 40s while hundreds of Columbia's other comedy shorts, starring comics such as Andy Clyde and El Brendel, have drifted into near total obscurity despite many being of equal or better quality. This kind of trend leads to an unfortunate (and, to my mind, dangerous) homogenization of culture and sites such as this are intended to shake up the box, so to speak; to illustrate exactly how much more there is to, say, silent comedy than Chaplin, Keaton, and the Keystone Kops.** Above all, this is the stomping ground of the Stainless Stephens and Lloyd Hamiltons and Pat and Patachons of the comedy world.

To keep things hopping, two other comedy obsessives besides myself will be contributing regularly to The Third Banana: comedian and songwriter Nick Santa Maria and, from the UK, the encyclopedic Geoff Collins.

And now, THE BRANDY!!!

* May not be true.
** Not that I have anything against Chaplin, Keaton, and the Keystone Kops. I'm no heathen.



Blogger Elayne said...

Welcome to the blogosphere! I hope you "remember the ladies" as well - I'd love to see a post on Marie Dressler, for instance!

12:53 PM  
Blogger Aaron Neathery said...

I'm not forgetting! I'm currently working on a piece on Gale Henry. And if I can track down Muriel Landers' "Girly Whirls" one-shot for the Columbia shorts dept, she's getting a post as well.

8:32 PM  

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