A Day with George Gobel
For you youngsters, George Gobel was one of the first big TV stars. "Lonesome George"
was a comedian/actor who also sang and played the guitar. We played a convention with
him in the early eighties and were asked to be his back-up band for his portion of the
show. As bandleader, I was to meet George in his hotel room and determine what songs
he would sing, keys, tempo, etc. As his manager showed me in, George was sitting in a
chair with his feet propped up on the bed. He was wearing a baby blue jogging suit
(which looked like it had never been jogged in) with black patent leather dress shoes,
with a spit-polish shine. After our short meeting we headed down to the convention hall
to rehearse with the rest of the band. As we stepped off the elevator, George and I
turned left while his manager, knowing a shortcut, turned right. He called back to us,
"George, Dave, walk this way." Quoting the punch line of an old vaudeville joke, I
muttered, "If I could walk that way, I wouldn't need the talcum powder." Mr. Gobel
stopped in his tracks and turned to me with both surprise and delight in his face. "Son",
he exclaimed, "you're a lot older than you look!" "I guess that's a pretty old joke, Mr. Gobel?" I asked. He
answered, "Son, that joke was old before you were young!" He was truly happy that a kid in his twenties would
know a joke from the twenties. I was his buddy the rest of the day and he shared some great stories with me,
from the early days of television.
Here's the original joke:
A fella walks into the drug store and tells the beautiful female clerk, "I need some talcum powder." She says,
"Certainly. Walk this way", and then sashays down the aisle of the store, in a very feminine way. He replies, "If I
could walk that way, I wouldn't need the talcum powder." (rimshot and cymbal)
George Gobel quotes:
"It seems like I'm always an hour late or a dollar short. I'm the kind of guy who will have nothing all my life and
then they'll discover oil while they're digging my grave."
"My uncle was the town drunk- and we lived in Chicago."
"If it weren't for electricity, we'd all be watching television by candlelight."
"Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?"