Cliff Hall: Feed to a Baron

L-R, Hall and Pearl

Cliff Hall (1894-1972) has at least two major claims to fame as far as classic comedy fans are concerned: he was straight man to Jack Pearl (Baron Munchausen) on radio as well as some stage and early tv variety appearances; and he played the Racoon Lodge President on various incarnations of The Honeymooners.

Pearl was a vaudeville vet and he also worked with other comedians, as in the shorts Thou Shalt Not with Billy House, and I’m Telling You, with Willie and Eugene Howard, both in 1931. On Broadway he worked with Pearl in The Ziegfeld Follies of 1931 and Pardon My English (1933) but then began to work with him on his various radio shows. He worked with Pearl throughout the ’40s and into the early ’50s, but also pursued an independent career as an actor. He was in the films Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) and Follies Girl (1943). In addition to his work on Jackie Gleason’s various TV programs, he was a regular on the soap opera Search for Tomorrow, and the kids program Johnny Jupiter, and did dozens of guest shots on shows like Kraft Theatre, Studio One, One Step Beyond, The Patty Duke Show, Mister Ed, and Bewitched. His last professional credit was the 1967 Broadway show Sherry!, a musical adaptation of The Man Who Came to Dinner.

For more on vaudeville 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.