The Sid Gould Salute

I was reminded of the existence of Sid Gould (Sydney Greenfader, 1912-1996) during our recent Covid quarantine binging of The Love Boat. He had a recurring role as a waiter on about a half dozen episodes of that show. In his bits he made a STRENUOUS effort to work in some kind of trademark hand motion he’d do when he delivered his lines. It’s strange to say the least, and it no doubt rang especially strange to those who didn’d know who he was. It’s like he’s saying “Remember this?” and you’re like “Sure, whatever you say.”

But I only required a quick refresher to realize that I did know him. He and his wife Vanda Barra (1924-2015) were bit players on The Lucy Show and Here’s Lucy. Gould was the cousin of Lucille Ball‘s second husband Gary Morton. And he’s in almost 100 of these Lucy episodes as funny waiters, door men, delivery men and the like.

I’ve found little about the earliest years of his career. He was from the Bronx. I can only assume he came up through the Borscht Belt. His earliest screen credits are appearances on the variety shows of Steve Allen, Jack Paar, Perry Como, Garry Moore, Jackie Gleason, Joey Bishop, Merv, and Dinah.

He had a decent role in the film Teenage Millionaire (1961) written and directed by Lawrence Doheny, starring pop singer Bobby Clanton, boxer Rocky Graziano and Zasu Pitts. But mostly he was a bit player in things like Jerry Lewis’s The Bell Boy (1960), Critic’s Choice (1963) with Lucille Ball and Bob Hope, What a Way to Go! (1964), The Sunshine Boys (1975), The Duchess and The Dirtwater Fox (1976), Hot Stuff (1976, directed by and starring Dom Deluise), Scavenger Hunt (1979), Mel Brooks’ History of the World: Part 1 (1981) and tv shows like That Girl, The Odd Couple (of course Garry Marshall would love him), and the shows I mentioned at the top. His last work, appropriately somehow, was in Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol (1987).

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