Stars of Vaudeville #486: Fred MacMurray

Originally posted in 2012

Most people (over a certain age) know him as “Steve Douglas” from the tv show My Three Sons (1960-1972) and a star of silly Disney movies like The Shaggy Dog (1959), The Absent Minded Professor (1961) and Son of Flubber (1963). A lesser number (film buffs) know him as a major star of the classic Hollywood studio era of the 1930s and 1940s. But I’ll lay dollars to donuts that only a VERY few know that Fred MacMurray (1908-1991) got his start in the 1920s in  vaudeville as a saxophone player in a band called “The California Collegiates”.

The Wisconsin native enjoyed a long career. The other night the Countess and I enjoyed him (well watched him) in Irwin Allen’s 1978 disaster (I mean disaster movieThe Swarm. 

Now, here’s a clip I found that’s DOUBLY awesome. Not only is it very illuminating about Fred MacMurray the man….but also about Bob Hope, whom believe it or not, I have NEVER seen on a talk show PERIOD, let alone speak so warmly and candidly. A double testament to MacMurray:

To learn more about the history of show businessconsult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.


And please check out my new book: Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Mediaalso available from etc etc etc


One Response to “Stars of Vaudeville #486: Fred MacMurray”

  1. I can’t speak to how often Hope appeared on talk shows as a scheduled guest, but he used to make frequent “surprise” cameos on them. It was such a familiar sight to see him interrupt the proceedings on talk shows by walking out unannounced and trading japes with the host for a brief while that there was a bit in the early days of Letterman’s late-night show that saw saw the show interrupted by a surprise appearance by “The Bob Hope,” a deli sandwich, on a plate with pickle, chips and tiny cup of cole slaw, that was named after Hope. It was a very clever but insider-y bit that I doubt anyone under the age of, say, 45 would understand today.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your 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 )

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: