Wednesday, April 02, 2008


Here's (above) something Mike turned me on to: Christopher Walkin's sketches on Saturday Night Live where he plays "The Continental." What a terrific idea! A woman we never see knocks on the Continental's door and he takes her in and tries to seduce her. Where's this been all my life? I want to see every episode!

Here's (above) a parody of the Walkin sketches which is even more overt than Walkin's. Hard-to-please YouTube fans gave this 2 1/2 stars, but I'd give it a 5. It's hilarious!

Housewives in the 50s were treated to some real exotica on TV! After being stimulated to distraction by the original (unfortunately short-lived) Continental show, they got to watch the king of the exotics, Korla Pandit (above) play the organ. I love the mystical narration at the start.


Some Guy said...

Hey, Eddie! Make sure you watch Saturday Night Live THIS SATURDAY! Christopher Walken is gonna host again for the seventh time, and they'll most likely do another Continental sketch!

I was all excited because I thought it was last Saturday but it turned out it was a rerun.

mike f. said...

Don't forget about Liberace - the scourge of husbands in the '50s.
He replaced all those smarmy Burlesque jokes about American housewives and "the iceman".

Unfortunately the joke was on the housewives, though. It turned out that Liberace was much better suited to play the mouth organ.

Mark Stroud said...

That "Continental" sketch totally outways the creepiness of the organ player.

mike f. said...

Even though "The Continental" was an obscure TV show that’s been off the air for more than 50 years, it was such a weird concept that it’ll probably live on in parody forever.
The Walken/SNL skits have become - like Lewis Carroll's song parodies - more famous than the genuine article. How often does that happen?

The first parody I'm aware of appeared in the pages of a MAD comic book from 1954, before it was a magazine. “The Countynental” - a real gem, by the way - was written and drawn by two legends: Harvey Kurtzman and Jack Davis.
(Red Skelton and Jerry Lewis also reportedly did TV parodies. I’d sure love to see them.)

The original Continental was a suave, mustachioed wop named Renzo Cesana, who died in 1970. According to Wikipedia, he was an actor, composer and vocalist - and recordings by Renzo Cesana appear as bonus tracks at the end of several CDs in the Capitol ULTRA LOUNGE series, unlisted in the liner notes for some reason. (Among them are "Violets For Your Furs" and "Walk The Lonesome Night.")

The original show was, it must be admitted, also instructive and educational. It seemed be saying: "Husbands beware! Always lock up your wives and girlfriends when there’s an Italian in a dinner jacket lurking about!"

Words to live by, I think.

John A said...

There's also a Famous Studios Popeye that has Bluto tries to romance Olive Oyl disguised as "The International".

David Germain said...

Of course Pepe Le Pew first spoofed it back in the day with his cartoon The Cat's Bah.

Anonymous said...

Interesting--I always assumed Walken's Continental was a riff on Pepe le Pew.


Anonymous said...

Korla Pandit said he wanted a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame so people could walk on him after he was dead.

I.D.R.C. said...

The first Walken sketch was the best as I recall, but for some reason doesn't even appear on the Walken "Best of" SNL dvd. They all should be on there. Hastily thrown together.

The amateur parody may be a funny concept but his delivery is so poor that it ruins it for me.

lastangelman said...

Christopher Walken is such a talent - he can sing, dance, do comedy, drama, horror, romance, the whole schmeer - and tells anecdotes and jokes that leave you fallin' on the floor sputtering and laughing like a maniacal imbecile - met him twice, once in a diner in New Jersey and another time in a dreary Holiday Inn cocktail lounge - he could clean up just doing a one man show on the road telling anecdotes - and I think he he's much more humble and has tons more class than Jack Nicholson.
Another weird 50's show had to be the Hugh Hefner cocktail party - I guess it was pre-runner of staged reality shows. Hef was the host and you got to meet all the celebrities and politicos taking about intellectual and fluffy stuff at this party, with drinks, hors d'oeuvre and cigarettes in their hands. I guess they were still experimenting trying to figure out what people will watch.
Thanks to YouTube we now know the answer to that question, almost instantly.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Red Skelton was doing this sketch nearly 40 years before Walken, (called, the "Transcontinental" and doing it so, so much better. Skelton's absolutely brilliant facial contortions, perfect feel for physical comedy and hilariously over-the-top performance blows just about ever other "Continental" parody out of the water, as Red was wont to do.

John A said...

Anon: No Argument there, Red Skelton was a brilliant live performer. He made a few movies, but they don't even come close to the stuff he did live. Television was a perfect medium for him, although he was really popular on the radio too. The guys at Warners, especially Bob and Tex, loved him.

sarah j. said...

Was that someone holding a smoking ham in the Korla Pandit opener?

Thad said...

John A - Tashlin liked Skelton too - enough to give him an uncredited, silent cameo in his hit movie Susan Slept Here.

pappy d said...

Korla Pandit used to hang out with Vampira & the Amazing Criswell. Tim Burton got him a cameo in "Ed Wood".

The things a black man had to do to get on TV!

David Gale said...

There's always Korla Plankton
Me and him can play the blues
And then I'll watch him buff
That tiny ruby that he use

He'll straighten up his turban
And Inject a little ooze
Along a one-celled Hammond organism
Underneath my shoes

-Frank Zappa, Excentrifugal Forz

pappy d said...

Someone just told me KP did the music on "Time for Beany".

Buzz said...

Hi, Eddie!

Check out the Wikipedia link for the amzing true story behind Korla Pandit -- there's even a Disney 'toon connection!

-- buzz