Banjo Eyes: Eddie Cantor and the Birth of Modern Stardom

By Herbert G. Goldman | Go to book overview

Chapter 13

COLGATE COMEDY HOUR

"Apparently, there's nothing wrong with television that a real showman can't cure."

-- Jack Gouldthe New York Times

Eddie Cantor's professional life stagnated in the late 1940s. His radio show continued to have its old audience, and he still made occasional appearances with hastily improvised "unit" shows culled largely from his radio ensemble. But the hostile critical reaction to If You Knew Susie meant that Cantor's film career was over. He was now an institution, no longer one of the world's biggest stars.

This left Eddie free to play the doting grandfather to Michael and Judy, both of whom had lived -- with their respective mothers, Natalie and Edna -- in the house at North Roxbury Drive for the last three years.

"I grew up in that house, " remembers Judy.

And I have absolutely glorious memories of that house and my grandparents, especially my grandfather. My cousin Michael and I were the "kings of the house, " and anything we did was just considered cute.

I was the apple of my grandfather's eye. Nobody, especially my mother, liked to go down to the house in Palm Springs, but my grandfather adored it, and sometimes he would throw me in the car and we'd drive down together. Those are some of my most beautiful memories, he and I in that big blue Cadillac convertible, driving to Palm Springs.

He was extraordinarily energetic, the same at home as when he was performing. In fact, I think he was the original "streaker." We'd be in the middle of dinner, and he'd get up and drop his pants and exit. He was always clowning, very fun to be with. I adored him. Being the second generation, I think my cousin Michael and I enjoyed him more than the daughters did.

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Banjo Eyes: Eddie Cantor and the Birth of Modern Stardom
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Prologue - More Than Meets the Eyes xi
  • Chapter 1 - The Bubba and Her Itchik 3
  • Chapter 2 - The Turning 20
  • Chapter 3 - The Climb 36
  • Chapter 4 - The Follies 57
  • Chapter 5 - Of Equity and Shuberts 75
  • Chapter 6 - Kid Boots 94
  • Chapter 7 - Whoopee 116
  • Chapter 8 - Eyes on the Medium 135
  • Chapter 9 - The Peak 158
  • Chapter 10 - "Before L' Ma Performer. . ." 183
  • Chapter 11 - "We'Re Having a Baby" 212
  • Chapter 12 - The Other Madonna 229
  • Chapter 13 - Colgate Comedy Hour 256
  • Chapter 14 - "... and You Have to Give It All Back " 282
  • Epiloeue - "0ld Perf0rmers Never Die . . ." 308
  • Notes 313
  • Bibliography - Books by Eddie Cantor (chronologically Arranged) 316
  • Stageography 317
  • Filmography 356
  • Radiography 370
  • Televisionograpghy 377
  • Discography 381
  • Index 395
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