Saturday, November 20, 2010

Nov. 20: Allan Sherman, ("Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh,") died on this date in 1973.

He was 48 when he died from emphysema.

Born Allan Copelon, Sherman was a comedy singer, parodist, satirist, and TV producer,  His first album, My Son, the Folk Singer (1962), became the fastest-selling record album up to that time. His biggest chart hit was a spoof of summer camp entitled "Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh," in which a boy describes his summer camp experiences to the tune of Ponchielli's Dance of the Hours. I reached #2 on the national Billboard Hot 100 chart for three weeks in late 1963.
He released 10 albums, 2 "best of's" and a box set.
In 1971 he was the voice of the Cat in the Hat from the television special. His last film before his death was Dr. Seuss on the Loose

Sherman created a game show, which he called "I Know a Secret." TV producer Mark Goodson used Sherman's idea and turned it into I've Got a Secret, which ran on CBS from 1952 to 1967. Rather than paying him for the concept, Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Productions made Sherman the show's producer.

As producer of I've Got a Secret, which was broadcast live, he showed a fondness for large scale stunts that had the potential to teeter on the brink of disaster. He once released 100 bunny rabbits onstage as an Easter surprise for the Madison Square Boys Club, whose members were seated in the studio. The boys were invited to come up onstage to collect their prize. Although the resultant melee made a good story, it did not necessarily make for good TV.

He was fired in June 1958, after an elaborate stunt featuring Tony Curtis turned out disastrous. His dismissal did not, however, prevent Mark Goodson-Bill Todman from bringing Sherman back many times as a guest on their shows in subsequent years after he achieved celebrity status following the release of his albums.

In 1951 Sherman recorded a 78-rpm single with veteran singer Sylvia Froos which included the songs "A Satchel and a Seck", parodying "A Bushel and a Peck" from Guys and Dolls, and "Jake's Song". The single sold poorly, but he soon realized the song parodies he wrote to amuse his friends and family were taking on a life of their own.

At the time, Sherman lived next door to Harpo Marx in the Brentwood section of West Los Angeles. After attending a party at Marx's house attended by hias show-biz friends, George Burns phoned a record executive and persuaded him to sign Sherman to a contract. The result was a long playing album of these parodies, entitled My Son, the Folk Singer, which was released in 1962. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.

The album was so successful that it was quickly followed by My Son, the Celebrity. In 1962, capitalizing on his success, Jubilee Records re-released Sherman's 1951 single on the album More Folk Songs by Allan Sherman and His Friends, which was a compilation of material by various Borscht Belt comedians.

Sherman peaked with My Son, the Nut in 1963 by broadening both his subject matter and his choice of parody material and begun to appeal to a larger audience. "Hello Muddah..." appeared on this album.

Sherman's career success was short-lived: after peaking in 1963, his popularity declined rather quickly. By 1965, Sherman had released two albums that did not make the Top 50 and in 1966, Warner Brothers dropped him from the label. His last album for the company, Togetherness, was released in 1967 to poor reviews and poorer sales.

(Continued below CDs...)
HIGHLY Recommended (Links to Amazon):
 My Son the NutMy Son the Folk SingerMy Son the CelebrityA gift of laughter;: The autobiography of Allan ShermanMy Son the Box

(... continued)
In 1971, Sherman was the voice of Dr. Seuss's "The Cat in the Hat" for the television special. He also did voice work for Dr. Seuss on the Loose, his last project before his death.

1 comment:

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