Captain Spaulding, I Presume?

by January 8, 2010 0 comments

the comedian not the communist
– or was he a socialist? –
may or may not
have shot
an elephant in his pajamas
(I don’t know how it could fit in those tiny leggings, either)
but regardless of his political leanings,
not Carl
was best known to Americans
not only for the Broadway Musical,
Animal Crackers,
or movies such as, Night at the Opera,
but for a game show called, “You Bet Your Life”.

The bespectacled, mustached fellow
invited men, women
from all walks of life:
tall ones,
short ones
brilliant ones,
not so smart and clever folks
to his show
and most bet their lives
they knew the answers
to questions
many sane members of society
had a clue to, too.

In one show,
a refined southern gentlemen
who had a wonderful recipe for fried chicken,
never did guess
the secret word,
but Colonel Sanders always was better
with foul than funny men.
Even famous writers
such as Ray Bradbury flubbed-up;
but four-star general
Omar Bradley came mighty close.

My favorite contestant
was the smug intellectual
from M.I.T.
who claimed to have developed a system
on how to beat a roulette wheel.

I wonder if that formula
won him tenure
in the Physics Department?

Either way,
the Master of Improvisation
played along, mispronounced
the last name of the Ph.D.
every time they spoke.
When the dapper fellow
on sabbatical
told the comedian
of his generation
the money he earned in Vegas
allowed him to finish his first book:
Quantum Mechanics and the Art of Gambling
the quick thinker fiddled with his Havana,
rolled his eye brows
and retorted,
“I’m sure it will be a best seller
– but not in your lifetime.”

Regardless of impending literary fame,
the man answered four questions
on Astronomy. After he conferred
with his gal pal
partner in the game show shenanigans,
both hugged like honeymooners
in the Bonus Round
that made them thousand-aires
and $10,000.00 1959 dollars richer.

“Put this money in the bank little lady,
before your partner in larceny
whispers in your ear, “Lay it on 7 Red, Sweetheart”
or worse – asks you to invest your five thousand
in his new book deal,”
the quick-witted one warned
before the two left the stage
wealthier than the average game show contestant.

could make me belly laugh
– the one teamed with Chico, Harpo and Zeppo
not the economic/historical author –
and what a writer the fellow namesake was, too.

The Communist Manifesto
is still a big seller
especially in Hollywood
in the 1950’s
from what I hear
– ask anyone named . . . McCarthy.

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