Today is the birthday of brilliant Canadian comedian Dave Thomas (b.1949). While he has a long list of impressive credits, he is most notable for having been head writer and key cast member of the late night comedy sketch show SCTV. It was while starring on this show that he became famous for accomplishing something that no one else has accomplished before or since: a Bob Hope impression. In his 1996 book SCTV: Behind the Scenes, he explains how he found the key, which was a certain mumbly quality that Hope had, especially in his mature years. But I also think Thomas was blessed with having a voice in Hope’s same register, one with a lot of nose resonance, having a quality roughly in the goose honk range.
At any rate, here is in one of the most classic of all SCTV sketches, with Thomas as Hope, and Rick Moranis as Woody Allen:
To find out about the history of show business, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold. For more on silent and slapstick comedy please 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