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GEORGE GOBEL & RED BUTTONS
by Billy Ingram

I started thinking about some of the great second banana comedians we grew up with on television, guys who were perennial guest stars but never had their own long running shows. George Gobel was one of my faves, his deadpan loser shtick was popular with TV audiences but his brilliant TV series ran bi-weekly from 1957-1960 and spawned a couple of catch phrase: "Well I'll be a dirty bird," and "You don't hardly get those no more."

Here's the comedian on The Garry Moore Show in the early-1960s.

He's most famous for his appearances on The Hollywood Squares in the 1970s.

Speaking of which, here's an audio mix of Hollywood Squares quips from Gobel and another TV second banana Paul Lynde. I know most, if not all, of Lynde's jokes were given to him in advance. I'm not so sure that George Gobel wasn't working off the cuff most of the time.

Here's George Gobel and Dean Martin in an amazing duet that was heavily bleeped but delightfully spontaneous.

Red Buttons was another second banana that I enjoyed on the rare times he would turn up on TV. By the 1970s he was mostly relegated to the daytime TV talk circuit but I still remember watching this first routine from Red Buttons and roaring with laughter, from the Dean Martin Roasts.

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