1958: H’wood event ends in tragedy

Nov. 25, 1958:

A night to be remembered: No play ever held the dramatic impact of the backstage tragedy at the Friars’ BevHilton Desi-Lucy dinner when five top medics, in black tie, performed battlefield surgery to try and save the life of Harry “Parkyakarkus” Einstein (54) … The scene could never be used in a film — no one would believe it! Actor John Bromfield, hobbling painfully because of torn ligaments, aided by a coupla newsmen (yours truly included) in assembling an electric line for the medics to use in a last-ditch fight; waiters rushing towels from the men’s room, to be used in the gory emergency surgery; the “waiting room” onstage with the top names in showbiz hoping against hope for a happy ending; the suddenly saddened faces of friends who had minutes before been laughing hysterically at “Parky’s” great lines — which he, as usual, personally wrote. And, as usual, before each “Roastmaster” dinner, he confided how nervous he was — too nervous to eat, take a drink … Ed Wynn, commenting, “This should once and for all do away with the unfair adage ‘the show must go on.’ The show can’t go on.” … George Burns and Milton Berle argued no one should ever be permitted to work on a dais if he has a heart condition. And then Abe Lastfogel commented that perhaps keeping a man OFF might more quickly break his heart. (Whenever I am in the BevHilton’s Ballroom for a testimonial or “roast,” I still recall that night of 47 years ago when the comic, the father of Albert Brooks and “Super Dave” Osborne, died.)

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety