Originally posted in 2012
Today is the birthday of Julius “Nipsy” Russell (1918-2005). Those of us a certain age remember him as the guy who used to go on all the game shows as a panelist and recite humorous rhyming poems. But he was more than a one-tick pony.
He was a trained dancer (influenced by Harlem tapper Jack Wiggins), started out doing stand-up comedy in his native Atlanta, and for awhile was the comedy partner of Mantan Moreland in a crosstalk act. A booking on the Ed Sullivan Show in the late 50s led to a host of other bookings – -a lucrative television career that lasted almost half a century.
To learn more 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.
To learn more about 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