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February 10th, 2009
George Carlin on Danny Kaye

George Carlin: I would see Danny Kaye.  And, especially in the group of movies around 1947, when I was ten.  And I can see now, if I look back at things that were popular in 1947, that was my critical year, that was tenth—the year of my tenth birthday.  That was the year that songs were on the hit parade I’ve looked back that I know inspired me.  “Mañana.”  May have been a little bit later, fifth grade, eleven years old, so that’s the next year.  I sang “Mañana” at school.  Danny Kaye, in 1947 I believe was ‘Kid from Brooklyn,’ was one of the one’s where he does song and—songs and dance and that incredible verbal facility for fast talking and complicated lyrics.  And I would see at the end of the movie, when the credits would roll, that the lyrics and so forth the songs were by Sylvia Fine.  I didn’t know she was his wife.  And I would write to MGM, to Sylvia Fine, and ask for the words to some of these things. [sings a fast melody]  And I forget them now.  I know them when I see the movies again, but I don’t recall them now.  And I never got an answer, of course.  And it was a mystery to me.  But I—I liked him and wanted to emulate him.  And I never used really the words ‘hero’ or—or any of that kind of stuff.  But he was kind of an ideal to shoot for.  He did things I wanted to do: he made funny faces, he made funny voices, and he was incredibly facile in verbally.  So—I think I used that right—so, I wanted to be like Danny Kaye.  And I called that being an actor at the time, that time of my life that meant ‘actor.’  The word ‘comedian’ didn’t—hadn’t really gelled yet in my mind firmly.

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