Today's Video Link
As I've mentioned many times here, I was and am a big fan of Allan Sherman. I write poems and lyrics for a lot of my projects — in fact, I'm writing lyrics for a cartoon show this evening — and my two heroes of lyric-writing are Mr. Sherman and MAD's Frank Jacobs. Oh, that Sondheim guy's all right when you need to rhyme "personable" with "coercin' a bull" but the guys who really inspired me were Sherman and Jacobs. Frank still turns up in the pages of MAD every now and then.
Sherman had a very brief career as a comedy star. He set some sort of record for going from living on unemployment insurance to having the hottest act in show business…then back to living on unemployment insurance. Others have done it but no one's done it faster. The story of how he made it into the Big Time has been told by many, including him in his autobiography, and you can read it in this piece by Stan Cornyn, who was working for Warner Brothers Records when Sherman did for them what was then the fastest-selling record in history: My Son, the Folk Singer.
One interesting detail (interesting to me, anyway): In his autobiography, Sherman said he got in with WB Records because a friend of his — Louis Quinn, a character actor on the TV show, 77 Sunset Strip — knew the execs there. Cornyn says it was George Burns who arranged things. Maybe it was both.
I'm hoping Mark Cohen can straighten it out. Mark is working on an exhaustive biography — Overweight Sensation: The Life and Comedy of Allan Sherman (Brandeis U. Press. 2013) and I'll let you know when it's time to order copies. In the meantime, one thing he's dug up is Sherman's parody of "Seventy-Six Trombones" from The Music Man. This was recorded live on January 18, 1963 in Santa Monica at, I think, the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium…