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Sunday, July 16, 2006

Never Got a Dinner: Red Buttons Dies at 87

Red Buttons... here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

(Don't forget to check out the Friars' Club website.)

Actually, Red eventually got his testimonial dinner in 1987... however, that was part of his bit. (He was also the man of honor for the Friars' Club Celebrity Roast in 1958.)

Not many folks were so honored. Red was one of the few. Many other greats "never got a dinner". Some of the biggest names were never reached that point. We're talking the biggies.
  • Adam, who said to God, "I've got more ribs, do you got more broads?"... and said to George Burns, "Dad, can I have my allowance?"... never got a dinner.
  • Moses, who said to the Children of Israel, "Wear your galoshes, I never did this trick before... and stop calling me Charelton!"... never got a dinner.
  • Flash Gordon, who said, "No, that's not how I got my name"... never got a dinner.
  • Amelia Earhart, who said, "Stop looking for me, see if you can find my luggage"... never got a dinner.
  • Bluebeard, who said to Scottland Yard, "How do I know how many wives I've killed? I'm not an accountant!"... never got a dinner.
  • Jack the Ripper's mother, who said, "How come I never see you with the same girl twice?"... never got a dinner.
  • President Jimmy Carter, who said to Pope John Paul II, "Next time bring the missus"... never got a dinner.
  • King Henry VIII, who said to his lawyer, "Forget the alimony, I've got a better idea"... never got a dinner.
  • Ray Charles, who said to Stevie Wonder, "Maybe we're white"... never got a dinner.
  • Doctor Spock, who said, "Never raise your hand to your kids, it leaves your groin unprotected"... never got a dinner.
  • King Soloman, who said to his thousand wives, "Who hasn't got a headache?"... never got a dinner.
  • The invisible man's wife, who said, "I don't care if it looks silly, don't stop!"... never got a dinner.
  • Aladdin, who said to his wife, "I know it's not a lamp, keep rubbing!"... never got a dinner.
(At least, that was according to Red.)

Now, I listened to one of Red's albums a year or two ago. For some reason I listened again this weekend. For some other reason I wanted to look up Red... mostly to look up more information on his acts. Google listed quite a few finds... and that he died at age 87. I thought that must have been a couple of years ago. Imagine my surprise to learn that he just died on July 13, 2006.

If you've ever heard any of the roasts from the Friars' Club... they are rather raw and raunchy. Funnier than Hell! Great comedians of the golden age cursing and swearing and shooting off with any number of vulgarisms and dirty jokes and insults. Red was mostly clean in the roasts. At least his language was clean... occasionally (from the handful of recordings I've found), he strayed into slightly raunchy material, but always with clean language. (The same year Red got his Testamonial Dinner, Rich Little was honored with a Celebrity Roast... you should hear his speach at the end! Especially his impression of Johnny Carson... perfect, and deliciously vulgar!)

(In case you are wondering who got a dinner, here's the list of Testimonial Dinners from the Friars' own site. Don't forget, they also honored folks with other ceremonies, too... however, I don't quite know why some got dinners and some got roasts... I think there were also lunches.)

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