I posted about this once before, I think. But what the heck. The topic never grows old.
For years, Gardner Dozois and I suffered for being honest men. Periodically, we'd get to reminiscing about the pop culture of our youths and inevitably we'd both enthuse about the artistic genius of the Banana Man. Nobody believed us.
"This is like Hoppity Hooper, isn't it?" Marianne would say. "You guys just made it up."
"No! Really! And Hoppity Hooper is real too!" I'd respond. And wind up looking a lot like Jimmy Stewart in Harvey, another honest man who suffered for the clarity of his vision.
Thank God for the Internet! It took years for the clips to be uploaded, but when they were, they vindicated my youth.
The Internet also proved that the Banana Man I knew was not the original Banana Man. A. Robin (performing above), who created the act, died in 1950. The man who appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and yearly on Captain Kangaroo was Sam Levine, who bought the act from Robins and did very well by it.
Here's his version:
I'm amazed there aren't Marxist schools of Bananamanology, obsessively analyzing every least nuance of the act. Because it's clearly a leftist critique of Capitalism, magically producing endless amounts of consumer goods and then throwing them all away.
Oh, yeah, and Hoppity Hooper? Also real. As witness:
You can see why nobody believed me.