Today is the birthday of banjoist, comedian and songwriter Freddy Morgan (1910-1970). He started out in vaudeville in the 1920s as one half of the banjo duo Morgan and Stone. In 1947, he joined the Spike Jones band, becoming one of the most prominent members of his ensemble. As goofy and funny as he is as a comedian, he was also a top-notch musician, and you will find his name entered in the rolls of the Banjo Hall of Fame. He also wrote and perfomed songs. The #12 hit “Hey, Mr. Banjo” was one of his, recorded with the group The Sunnysiders.
Here he is in a hilarious bit on the Spike Jones show:
To find out more about the variety arts past and present, 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 don’t miss Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, to be released by Bear Manor Media in 2013.