With a Name Like Dink Trout, You’ve Got to be Good

Francis “Dink” Trout (1898-1950) was a fascinating jack of all trades: musician, radio personality, screen actor, voice-over artist. He started out as a trombonist and marimba player in Ben Bernie’s Orchestra. This led to radio work with Bernie, which led to other radio work. In 1926, he played a character named Zeppo in the Broadway show The Wild Rose with William Collier, Joseph Santley, and Gus Shy. (How the character was related to the world’s only legitimate Zeppo remains to be discovered by this author). The following year he got his own local radio show on WOR out of Newark. As a radio actor he appeared on Lum and Abner, The Dennis Day Show, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, et al. In films he had supporting turns in several of the Scattergood Baines pictures with Guy Kibbee, Miss Polly (1941) with Zasu Pitts, Gildersleeve’s Bad Day (1943), Up in Arms (1944) with Danny Kaye, and The Horn Blows at Midnight (1945) with Jack Benny, among others. In 1949, he appeared with The Three Stooges in Jerks of All Trades, a TV pilot that never aired. He also worked for Walt Disney, proving the voice of the title character in Bootle Beetle cartoons (1947-50) and the King of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland (1951), his last role.

To learn more about show biz history, please see No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, and for more on classic comedy, please read Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube.