For those who do not know who Orson Bean is, I am so very sorry, but strongly suggest they discover this brilliant, fascinating and entertaining man. He appears now and again on the Dennis Miller radio show, in one-hour segments that goes past like five minutes. These hours are among the best I have ever heard, and continue to hear as I did on Wednesday, Dec. 12 on my drive back home from visiting my dad in Calexico.
Bean has been there, done that with just about every personality involved in the entertainment business the past half-century or so, and he seems to remember all the brilliant moments and pulls them one at a time from his bag of memories in a way that captivates me. The problem for me is that there are so many precious moments in these one-hour segments that it is hard to remember many of them because there are just too many.
Thank you, Orson Bean for being who you are and a special thanks to Dennis Miller who takes his always entertaining and thought provoking show to an ever higher level during these hours with Orson Bean.
Two of Orson Bean’s stories on the Dec. 12 show made me laugh so hard I had to focus to stay on the road.
The first involved Kitty Carlisle Hart, one of New York City’s cultural elites of a generation ago, TV game show personality and the wife of legendary Broadway producer/writer Moss Hart (Camelot, among so many others). Everything he seemed to touch turned to gold on the stage. On their 25th anniversary, he took her to a special restaurant, where they sat at a huge table, just the two of them. The waiter brought over their drinks, and he Hart to her and said, “I want to thank you for staying with me for all these years through thick.” The other story involved heavyset, dead-pan comedian Jackie Vernon (oh if you don’t know him, either, I am so, so sorry). The event was some kind of police charity event at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles and the audience included a large number of police officers who were being honored. The entertainers included a wide range of artists, including Vernon. One performer, an actress who needed to be very familiar with her script in order to deliver a good performance, wasn’t “in tune” with her lines and blundered and stumbled her way through her lines. She was pretty bad. The next performer was Vernon. He went on stage, and in his usual dead-pan manner said, “there are a lot of police officers out there today and you are very good with clues and deductions, so what was it we just saw? Was it drama? Was it comedy. Or what?”
Actually, the first story was told by Orson Bean and the second one was told by Miller, whose timing of the story made it even better. I could see and hear Jackie Vernon on stage delivering those lines as Miller was recounting them. Boy, did this Dennis Miller show make my drive home a short one.