El Brendel: The Man Who Said “Yumpin’ Yiminy”

El Brendel (Elmer Goodfellow Brendel, 1898-1964) is the character responsible for the expression “Yumpin’ Yiminy” and that’s good enough for me. A Swedish dialect comedian who wasn’t the slightest bit Swedish, he was part of a vaudeville comedy team with his wife Flo Burt beginning in 1913. Burt sang, El told jokes and did crazy dancing. Their popularity led to Broadway shows such as Cinderella on Broadway (1920), The Mimic World (1921), The Passing Show, and Spice of 1922.

Brendel had bit parts in 50 films — whenever anyone wanted a humorous Swede (and I guess that was pretty often) from 1926-56. Most of his movies were comedy shorts with comedians like Shemp Howard and Harry Langdon, but he also had roles in some classic features such as Wings (1926), The Big Trail (1930), Little Miss Broadway (1930) with Shirley Temple, and Preston Sturges’ The Beautiful Blonde from Bashful Bend (1948), and even starred in some features such as Mr. Lemon of Orange (1931). His characters usually had names like Knute, Ollie, Svenson, Jorgensen, and the predictable like. His last theatrical film was Laffing Time (1959) with Gloria Jean and B movie western maven Edward Finney. He also worked substantially in television during his last years on shows like The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, I Married Joan, My Little Margie, and The Bob Cummings Show. His last credit was a 1965 episode of the show Vacation Time entitled “Down Home”.

To find out more about history of vaudeville, where El Brendel got his start, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, and for classic comedy please read Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube.

 

4 comments

  1. El Brendel’s Christian name (given name) is Elmer. His full name is Elmer Goodfellow Brendel. Remember, he is not Swedish. He is of German-Irish origin.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.