Thursday, September 23, 2010

Pvt. Zimmerman checks out: Deceased Artiste Mickey Freeman

I know very little about Mickey Freeman, but had to pay tribute to the gent because I deeply love The Phil Silvers Show (aka You’ll Never Get Rich and, of course, Sgt. Bilko) and enjoyed his regular appearances on the “Jewish hour” on The Joey Reynolds Show, which WOR unceremoniously cancelled a few months back (and I haven’t listened to that bastion of right-wing idiocy since — thanks, Buckley family!).

Freeman was a Borscht Belt comic who was a “human joke machine” in the manner of Morey Amsterdam or the mighty Henny Youngman. He could, in others words, summon a joke for every topic, and did so on the Reynolds show. He had a few acting roles (mostly NYC-based, like the immaculate Naked City TV series), but was best known in the business as a gag-meister who appeared at numerous Friars Club events.

He was a regular on Bilko, but didn’t often have lines as the character described in various places online as “the diminutive Pvt. Fielding Zimmerman.” He did get a featured part in the fan-fave episode called “Doberman’s Sister”:

Freeman doesn’t seem to have guested on too many TV comedy shows as a standup, so his act is sadly lost to history. However, two small clips appear on Youtube. The first finds him opening a segment on the 100th anniversary of the Friars Club:

Here is the best bit of Mickey, seen guesting on Pat Cooper’s Internet comedy show. Pure shtick!:

If you’d like to hear him to best advantage (and catch a damned good NYC radio institution that is sorely, sorely missed), WOR has indeed kept up its page of Reynolds’ shows. The “Jewish hour” lives on, here.

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