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June 16, 1989 - Image 61

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-06-16

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

ENTERTAINMENT

Jack Carter feels doing comedy is a "natural talent."

MASTER OF F

RITA CHARLESTON

Special to The Jewish News

A

comedian's come-
dian," "The master
of fun" and "Jack
of all tirades" are
just some of the
labels that have stuck to
veteran entertainer Jack
Carter. And in Carter's
estimation, they all fit. One
way or the other.
Carter's career began back
in New York over four decades
ago when his dreams
centered on becoming a
dramatic actor. Winning a
scholarship to the American
Academy of Dramatic Arts, he
went on to play straight roles
in stock companies with col-
leagues like Angela
Lansbury and Jeff Chandler.
"But I was always clowning
around," Carter recalls, "so
one day a producer sent me to
an agent who started me on
the road to comedy."

A winner on the "Major
Bowes Amateur Hour,"
Carter took to the road with
fellow entertainers Paul Win-
chell, Robert Merrill, and a
then semi-professional by the
name of Frank Sinatra.
During a stint in the Army,
Carter worked with a small
travelling band of servicemen
known as "The Flying
Rileys." By the time he was
discharged in 1946, he had
formulated an act that was to
skyrocket him to fame and
fortune.
He first went to Broadway
to star in Call Me Mister.
Later, he appeared on several
of Milton Berle's "lexaco Star
Theater" shows and it was
during this time that he got,
what he considers, his first
big break.
Carter hosted a minstrel
show for ABC Television for
13 weeks which led to his
hosting Dumont's "Cavalcade
of Stars" for two years before

having his own show for three
years on NBC.
He also broadened his many
talents in many other areas of
show business. He starred on
Broadway in Mr. Wonderful
and toured with Guys and
Dolls. He also appeared in
productions of The Odd Cou-
ple, Hatful of Rain and The

Last of the Red Hot Lovers.

In straight dramatic roles
on television, he received two
Emmy nominations for his
work on two "Dr. Kildare"
series. He also appeared more
than 50 times on Ed Sullivan
shows and guested on many
more variety and talk shows.
He faced moviegoers in
such films as Viva Las Vegas
and Mel Brooks' History of the
World Part I. He also receiv-
ed rave reviews for his co-
starring role with Connie
Stevens in the ABC movie-of-
the-week, "The Sex Symbol."
Carter has tried his hand at
directing, too, including a

I GOING PLACES

WEEK OF
JUNE 16-JUNE 22

SPECIAL EVENTS

HENRY FORD
MUSEUM AND
GREENFIELD
VILLAGE

Dearborn, Motor Muster,
vehicles from the 1930s
through 1950s, Saturday
and Sunday, admission,
271-1620.

COMEDY

COMEDY CASTLE

2593 Woodward, Berkley,
Roger Behr, today and
Saturday; Paul Kelly,
Tuesday through June
24, admission, 542-9900.

MISS KITTY'S
COMEDY CLUB

Long Branch Restaurant,
595 N. Lapeer Rd.,
Oxford, Bill Thomas,
today and Saturday,
admission, 628-6500.

MEADOW BROOK
MUSIC FESTIVAL

Oakland University,
Rochester, The Smothers
Brothers with special
guests Jim Stafford and
Pat Paulsen, today,
admission, 377-2010.

THEATER

DETROIT
REPERTORY
THEATER

13103 Woodrow Wilson
Ave., Detroit, Enchanted
Night, Charlie and Out
At Sea, now through
June 25, admission,
868-1347.

PERFORMANCE
NETWORK

408 W. Washington, Ann
Arbor, Death Drinks a
Beer and That'll be the
Day, now through June
25, admission, 435-7859.

SHAW FESTIVAL

Niagara-on-the-Lake,
Ontario, Man and
Superman, now through
Oct. 15; Berkeley Square,
now through Oct. 14;
and Once in a Lifetime,
now through July 23,
admission, (416)
468-2172.

BIRMINGHAM
THEATRE

211 S. Woodward,
Birmingham, The Nerd,
now through Sunday,
admission, 644-3533.
Continued on Page 72

THE DETROIT JEWISH,NEWS

61

ERTA1NME

Comedian
Jack Carter's
clowning
around
took him
from the
dramatic
to the
comedy
stage.

number of episodes of Lucille
Ball's "Here's Lucy" shows,
and straight plays such as A
Thousand Clowns and
Mousetrap at Chicago's Drury
Lane theater.
Although best known as a
comedian, Carter claims to
always try to keep his hand in
drama. Unfortunately, he
feels the industry has
typecast him and is not about
to let go of the image.
"They're snobs on Broad-
way. They stereotype you and
won't give you a chance. But
that's because they haven't
seen me. I have great stage
presence, electricity and con-
trol of the audience.
"Still," he continues, "to
this day I'm thought of only
as a comedian. Producers say
I'm not what they want. They
want a 'regular' actor. Type-
casting has held on for over
40 years so I can't seem to get
the parts I'd really like. For
me, it's very hard to get
straight, serious roles. In fact,
it's next to impossible."
So Carter continues to do
what audiences think he does
best: play the clown. Like
many Jewish comedians
before him, Carter says it's a
natural talent.
"Jews are natural com-
plainers and they see life in a
funny way," he contends.
"Jewish people are always
great tragedy complainers. At
the height of tragedy, they'll
say something funny. Their
observations of life are funny,
which is what has kept them
going I think. They came out
of the Holocaust, out of
persecution, they came out of
everything to live in hovels, to
live in the Lower East Sides
and then fought their way out
of it all, laughing and joking
all the way."
But even with his "natural
talent," Carter has lasted a
long time in show business.
What keeps him in the public
eye?
"I just kind of show up and
entertain them," he says. "Au-
diences always liked me. I'm
a great crowd-pleaser. I was
never a boss, hotel owner or
producer-pleaser, but I am a
great crowd-pleaser. I wasn't
the best socializer in the
world, but audiences always
sensed I was going for broke
with them. I was giving my
all. I was what's called a hard
worker; sweat and strain `til
you get 'em, you know? I've
never lost an audience."
Still, he has endured other
losses, like the break-up of a
marriage. But he manages to
joke about that loss too. "To-
day I live in Beverly Hills," he
quips. "Just nine blocks from
my home. That's an old
divorce line. In California we
have community property. So

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