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Petrillo

 
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Zap



Joined: 16 Nov 2010
Posts: 53
Location: Los Angeles, CA USA

PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 1:47 am    Post subject: Petrillo Reply with quote

It's always amazed me how many gags there are about this guy in countless radio shows, cartoons, movies, etc, and what power he -as union boss- obviously held over the music industry of the 1940's and 50's.

After hearing yet another Petrillo gag in a Burns and Allen episode recently, I finally got curious enough to google the guy and check the wikipedia entry on him
:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Petrillo

Quote:
For example, in the 1950 Warner Brothers animated short Hurdy-Gurdy Hare starring Bugs Bunny, the cartoon ends with Bugs making large amounts of money by having a (presumably non-union) monkey turn a street organ, during which he quips, "I sure hope Petrillo doesn't hear about this!" Phil Harris, the band leader on the Jack Benny radio show, once claimed on the show to have been married to his wife, Alice Faye, by Petrillo. When Jack Benny asked how Petrillo could do this, Harris replies "Why not? - my dues was paid up!". On another occasion Rochester is asked to blow the car horn by putting it in his mouth, and he replies "Petrillo won't let me!".

In the 1945 Crosby/Bergman film "The Bells of St. Mary's", when Crosby's character, Father O'Malley, is asked how he was successful in tracking down a long-missing musician, he points to the sky and quips, "I went straight to the top - Petrillo!".

In the 1950 burlesque revue "Everybody's Girl" the comedians Bobby Faye and Leon DeVoe, playing anti-nudist street preachers, mention that the Devil has "two horns." DeVoe then jokes, "Two horns? Brother, we'll have to speak to Petrillo about that!"

In the 1952 Hope/Crosby film "Road to Bali," Hope shows Crosby an instrument he's been using in his snake-charmer act. He quips, "Hey, I've been playing this flute all night. Have to clear it with Petrillo."


Laughing

Anyone have any insight about Petrillo?

Every time I hear these gags, I wonder if the original audiences really knew what the heck the jokes were about and who this Petrillo guy was, or if this was just the ultimate running 'inside' joke.

I wonder if there's anyone today with this kind of power and influence over so many people in the entertainment industry?
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Jimbo



Joined: 12 Sep 2010
Posts: 190
Location: Georgia, USA

PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 6:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm I have never noticed the name or the jokes.

But it's funny that once you learn more about the people in that time-era - the more humor there is in the programs.

For instance there are a lot of OTR stars that 99% of don't even know who they are who made big splashes back in the day.

One such person is "Dunniger" (single name.) He was a mind reader and he had his own show. I heard Mary Livingstone reference him the other day and he also showed up as a guest on Bill Stern in an epsidoes I heard this past week.

But he's mostly an unknown.

Another huge event in the 1940's was the birth on quintuplets. I can't remember their names now but they were so popular that they were in a lot of newspaper advertisements - at any rate, you often hear their names mentioned in comedy shows.
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boston blackie



Joined: 13 Oct 2009
Posts: 90
Location: illinois

PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jimbo: They were the Dionne(spelling?) quintuplets. They were born in Canada. The Dr.Christian is patterned after the doctor that delivered them. That was mentioned in the very beginning of his first show. We listen to the Dr.Christian shows.
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Jimbo



Joined: 12 Sep 2010
Posts: 190
Location: Georgia, USA

PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 6:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have heard of the Dionne Quints but this is a different set - next time I run across them I will let you know their name.

Listen to Dr. Christian but not Harry Lime? Smile
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boston blackie



Joined: 13 Oct 2009
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 10:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jimbo: Guess we are sort of weird.
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Jimbo



Joined: 12 Sep 2010
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've tried Dr. Christian - wasn't my cup of tea - maybe you can talk me into it again.
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boston blackie



Joined: 13 Oct 2009
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dr. Christian is no where close to Halls of Ivy. It gets too soapy for me many times, but at other times good messages. But, certainly sappy. I would not feel comfortable talking anyone into this one.
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crich70



Joined: 19 Sep 2008
Posts: 322
Location: Monroe Wisconsin

PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2011 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It sounds like it was a reference to his civil rights work for musicians. Some people back then probably didn't see that he could do much to change things (it was before the civil rights movement after all) and so they poked fun at the concept. I remember hearing about how Sammy Davis Jr. when he was a young performer couldn't even stay in the same hotel where he was performing. He had to go to another hotel because of segregation. They also had a similar remark during the war as I recall. Kilroy was here. I mean once the quote caught on everyone was using it.
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