Not be confused with Phil Harris, the “Bear Necessities” guy, Phil Baker (1896-1963) became best known as a radio comedian and the host of the game show “Take It or Leave It”, which became “The $64 Question”, which became the “$64,000 Question”. In vaudeville, Baker played accordion in addition to joke telling, and was for a time teamed with Ben Bernie (who played violin before becoming a popular bandleader), and employed Sid Silvers as a stooge. He wrote numerous popular songs and starred in many Broadway revues prior to his success on radio. Attempts to make it on the big and small screen were not successful, explaining his relative obscurity today. He passed away in 1963.
To find out more about these variety artists and the history of vaudeville, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.
[…] Rose vehicles followed, such as Sweet and Low (1930), and Billy Rose’s Crazy Quilt (1931), with Phil Baker and Ted Healy. She did a Ziegfeld Follies in 1934, where she introduced her popular character Baby […]
[…] the vaudeville act “the Fiddle-Up-Boys”. In 1915 he formed a more successful partnership with Phil Baker. Baker played the accordion and gradually added more and more jokes until it was essentially a […]
I will definetly be buying this book about Vaudeville. I love the history.