Today is the birthday of one of the broadcasting medium’s greatest comedy writers, Nat Hiken (1914-1968). In a career you might call charmed, he first wrote for Fred Allen for radio, then for Milton Berle for both radio and television, and then created and wrote The Phil Silvers Show a.k.a. You’ll Never Get Rich (1954-1959), and then created and wrote Car 54, Where are You? (1961-1963). After this spectacular run he wrote a television special for Carol Burnett in 1966, and the 1969 Don Knotts film The Love God (released posthumously).
And now because it’s my new favorite show, here’s an episode of Car 54:
To find out about the history of the variety arts, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.
And check out my new book: Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etc