Jack Pearl, born Jack Perlman (October 29, 1894 – December 25, 1982), was a vaudeville performer and a star of early radio. He was best known for his character Baron Munchausen.
Vaudeville and early films
He made the transition from vaudeville to broadcasting when he introduced his character Baron Munchausen on The Ziegfeld Follies of the Air in 1932. His creation was loosely based on the Baron Munchausen literary character. As the Baron, Pearl would tell far-fetched stories with a comic German accent. When the straight man (originally Ben Bard, but later Cliff Hall) expressed skepticism, the Baron replied with his familiar tagline and punchline: "Vass you dere, Sharlie?" This catch phrase soon became part of the national lexicon.
Typical of the dialogue:
- Hall: You seem to be effervescent tonight.
- Munchausen: Haff you effer seen me ven I effer vasn't?
Pearl played this character and others in Broadway musical revues of the 1920s and 1930s: The Dancing Girl (1923), Topics of 1923 (1923–1924), A Night in Paris (1926), Artists and Models (1927–1928), Pleasure Bound (1929), International Review (1930), Ziegfeld Follies of 1931, Pardon My English (1923) and All for All (1943).
Pearl's radio career included stints as the host of The Lucky Strike Hour (1932–34) and The Jack Pearl Show,:170 which ran from late 1936 through early 1937, sponsored by Raleigh and Kool Cigarettes.
The success of his first radio series brought him to the attention of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. He starred as his character in one feature film, Meet the Baron (1933) with Jimmy Durante, Edna May Oliver, ZaSu Pitts and the Three Stooges. He also appears in Ben Bard and Jack Pearl (1926), a film of their vaudeville act made in the DeForest Phonofilm sound-on-film process, and Hollywood Party (1934).
With the cancellation of his second radio series, Pearl found himself struggling to find work. He continued in radio with shows like, Jack and Cliff (1948),:166-167 The Pet Milk Show (1950),:269 and The Baron and the Bee (1952), a quiz show, but he never recaptured his mid-1930s fame.
In 1934, a juvenile novel, Jack Pearl as Detective Baron Munchausen, was based on his radio scripts. On February 8, 1960, he received a star at 1680 Vine Street on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his radio work. Pearl died in New York in 1982.
Pearl was married to Winifred Desborough.
|1927||Two Flaming Youths||Pearl|
|1933||Meet the Baron||The Famous Baron Munchausen of the Air|
|1934||Hollywood Party||Baron Munchausen|
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- Terrace, Vincent (1999). Radio Programs, 1924-1984: A Catalog of More Than 1800 Shows. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 33. ISBN 978-0-7864-4513-4.
- "The Jack Pearl Show". OTRRpedia. Retrieved 6 April 2011.
- "Jack Pearl". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Archived from the original on 7 July 2018. Retrieved 7 July 2018.
- Frank Rose, The Agency: William Morris and the Hidden History of Show Business, 1995, New York: Harper, p. 261.
- Albert, Dora (March 7, 1937). "Why Jack Pearl Came Back". Detroit Free Press. Michigan, Detroit. p. 100. Retrieved July 6, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.
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