Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Review of "Charley Weaver’s Letters From Mamma," by Cliff Arquette

Review of
Charley Weaver’s Letters From Mamma, by Cliff Arquette

Four out of five stars
 Early in his career, Cliff Arquette was primarily a radio comedian that was very active, at one time he was performing on thirteen different daily radio shows. One of his greatest accomplishments was when he guested on the police show “Dragnet” starring Jack Webb. It is said that Webb’s reaction to Arquette was the only time that Webb ever exhibited a humorous reaction that he allowed to be broadcast in the initial eight years of the show.
 Arquette retired from show business for a time, only to return after he created the character of Charley Weaver. As Weaver, he would claim to be from Mount Idy and his act featured letters supposedly written by his Mamma back at Mount Idy. These skits proved to be so popular that Arquette adopted the Charley Weaver persona full-time. He appeared several times on the Jack Paar show and often had Paar and the audience convulsing with laughter when he would read the letters from his Mamma.
 This book is a collection of those letters and is a demonstration of how professional humor has changed in the last half century. Most of the jokes fall into the category of “quaint” in the sense that they are based on double entendres and required a highly developed sense of timing. If you can find some old clips of Weaver appearing on the Jack Paar show, you will get a lesson in how the proper timing can turn a mildly humorous story into one that is hysterical.

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