Stars of Vaudeville #828: Wally Brown

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Today is the birthday of Wally Brown (1904-1961). A Massachusetts native, Brown had been monologist in vaudeville and finally made it to pictures at RKO in 1943. Initially appearing in a Leon Errol short and a Lupe Velez “Mexican Spitfire” feature, he was next teamed with Alan Carney as the studio’s answer to Abbott and Costello. The team appeared in a few features together as Brown and Carney, starting with Adventures of a Rookie (1943) and ending with Zombies on Broadway (1945), a follow-up to Val Lewton’s I Walked with a Zombie, co-starring Bela Lugosi. Throughout, Brown continued to act on his own, and had a flourishing career in films and television until he passed away. He had his own series of comedy shorts at RKO from 1949 to 1951, and appeared in such a diverse array of films as Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious (1956), to Mamie Van Doren’s Untamed Youth (1957) to Disney’s The Absent-Minded Professor (1961).

Because it’s the Halloween season, today we give you Brown and Carney in Zombies on Broadway:

To find out more about vaudeville past and presentconsult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famousavailable at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.

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For more on silent and slapstick comedy please see 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

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