I learned of the death of Gary Owens while on an airplane. Nearby passengers had to be wondering why I was laughing to myself. I was thinking of this.
Magic 98 listeners have been treated to Gary’s famous Christmas blooper for many years. I don’t believe anyone can hear it without smiling, if not laughing out loud.
At a radio convention in California years ago, I was having breakfast and watched a steady stream of broadcasters stop by the table next to me to say hello to Gary Owens, who was polite and friendly to all as his eggs got cold.
That night he was on stage awarding door prizes to the attendees, when the large circular drum holding the entry forms malfunctioned. His ad-libbed line was hilarious.
It’s said a joke you have to explain is not funny, but I’ll risk it. Here’s is a Wikipedia entry:
Billy Barty (October 25, 1924 – December 23, 2000) was an American film actor and television star. In adult life he stood three feet, nine inches and was often cast in movies opposite taller performers for comic effect.
As the crowd got quiet and a stagehand tried to repair the device, Gary looked at it and said: “It might interest you to know this also serves as Billy Barty’s summer home.”