Friday, January 26, 2007

More about Charlie McCarthy

Charlie McCarthy was born at the age of 11. More specifically, he was carved from a block of pine by an Illinois carpenter named Theodore Mack, then sold to aspiring teenage ventriloquist Edgar Bergen for 35 dollars. Created in the image of a Chicago newsboy named -- what else? -- Charlie, the little wooden head joined Bergen for a series of private parties, touring shows, and one-night stands, finally finding steady work on vaudeville.

In 1930, Charlie made his screen debut in a Vitaphone one-reeler, and within a few years was receiving billing over his mentor Bergen. Officially discovered for radio by Rudy Vallee in 1936, Bergen and McCarthy went on to star on the top-rated The Charlie McCarthy Show.

After co-starring in the Disney feature Fun and Fancy Free (1947), Charlie and his fellow dummies Mortimer Snerd and Effie Klinker (together with Bergen, of course) moved into TV, where in the mid-'50s they co-hosted the comedy quiz program Do You Trust Your Wife?

In the 1960s, Charlie continued to live in lavish splendor with the Bergen family, occupying a bedroom that was even larger than that of his "sister" Candice Bergen. Not long after making a cameo appearance in The Muppet Movie, Bergen and McCarthy made a spectacularly successful comeback appearance in Las Vegas -- a comeback cut short by Bergen's fatal heart attack at the age of 75. (story complied from) Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

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