Monday, October 19, 2009

Forgotten Comics: Dayton Allen

A few years back, I read a book by Ben Alba called Inventing Late Night about the early life and career of Steve Allen - and the first few years of what we have long called The Tonight Show.

I was familiar with most of the regular performers Steve had on his shows back then - Don Knotts, Tom Poston, Louis Nye, Pat Harrington, Jr., Steve & Eydie ... but one name was unfamiliar to me: Dayton Allen.

According to the book, Dayton Allen used to get big laughs with the catch-phrase "Why Not?". (According to Wikipedia, "Why Not?" was - in its day - as popular a catch-phrase as Mad Magazine's "What, me worry?")

Even though he lived until 2004, I don't ever recall seeing Dayton Allen in anything. He did mostly cartoon voice work (Deputy Dawg, Lancelot Link) until 1971 and then stopped working, save for two small acting credits in the mid '80s.

Here is a clip of Dayton Allen from a 1960 unaired pilot for a comedy series. Is it me, or is this unusually hilarious for 1960?