Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Albert and his father

Albert Brooks is a funny guy - so funny, in fact, that he has to sit back and be less famous than other "funny" guys such as Tim Allen and Louie Anderson.  But he can stand it.  As he explained the other day on "CBS Sunday Morning," he did not get into show business as an all-or-nothing deal, and if he hadn't made it there, he would "gone and sold shoes or something."

But make it he did, and we've liked him in movies such as "Lost In America" and "Modern Love."  His real story, though, is almost as interesting as some movie plots.

To begin with, he was born with the name of Albert Einstein.  This little joke was played on him by his father, who was a radio comedian born Harry Einstein, who went by the name "Parkyakarkus." As in, sit down right here.  He did funny dialect bits on radio and in movies, and by the time television took over as America's choice of entertainment, he was wealthy from California real estate investments, so it didn't matter that his form of humor didn't work too well on the small screen.

He was still considered one of the funniest comics around, and so it was that on the 23rd of November, 1958, he was topping the bill at a roast for Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz at the Friars' Club in LA when stricken by a massive heart attack.

The odd thing was that he collapsed, just after leaving the audience gasping for breath after a hilarious monologue, into the arms of Milton Berle.  Trust me, the last person you want to be saying something serious on your behalf would have been Uncle Miltie, but that's the way it worked out for "Parky."  Berle stood there hollering, "Is there a doctor in the house?" and the crowd thought it was a gag of some sort.

No joke, but really, even though some doctors actually were in the audience, their efforts to bring him back were for naught, and Parkyakarkus passed away that night.

Albert Brooks had one half-brother, the late Charles Einstein, who was a well-known baseball historian and writer, and two brothers: Bob "Super Dave" Einstein, a stunt comedian, and Clifford Einstein, who was in the advertising business.

One of Parkyakarkus's friends was Frank Nelson!  Which means that young Albert had the thrill of answering the doorbell and hearing this famous "Yesssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss?"

Interesting lives, all.

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