Life after the Alley::Fred Allen


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Life after the Alley After his own show ended, Allen became a regular attraction on NBC's The Big Show (1950–1952), hosted by Tallulah Bankhead. He appeared on 24 of the show's 57 installments, including the landmark premiere, and showed he had not lost his trademark ad-lib skill or his rapier wit. (The show's head writer, Goodman Ace, later told radio host Richard Lamparski that Allen's lucrative NBC contract was a large factor in getting him on the show, though Allen also wrote the segments on which he appeared and consulted with the respected Ace and staff on other portions of the show.)

In some ways, The Big Show was an offspring of the old Allen show: his one-time Texaco Star Theater announcer, Jimmy Wallington, was one of The Big Show's announcers, and Portland Hoffa made several appearances with him as well. On the show's premiere, in fact, Allen – with a little prodding from head writer Goodman Ace – could not resist one more play on the old Allen-Benny "feud," a riotous parody of Benny's show called "The Pinch Penny Program."

Fred Allen sections
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Life after the Alley
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