6 June 2000 | MIK7x3
Oy! There's the Rub!
It may seem hard to believe, but it is already ten years since we lost Johnny Wayne. He and Frank Shuster formed among the most formidable comedy duos of the 20th century. In the span of a half-century, Wayne and Shuster took their act from the University of Toronto to the wartime stage, radio, and, from 1954 to 1980, a half-hour variety television series. Their show combined classical literature with more modern writers, including William Shakespeare, popular culture, and their own unique brand of shtick for some of the most clever parodies on television. Shuster's dramatic excellence proved to be the perfect foil for Wayne's versatile talents and dry wit. They combined Faust and "Face Off" to create "The Unholy Goalie." Richard III and Rusty Staub were teammates in "Shakespearean Baseball." "The Scarlet Pimpernel," "Bridge on the River Kwai," and "Citizen Kane" became "The Brown Pumpernickel,""Kwai Me a River," and "Citizen Wayne." In fact, Wayne and Shuster's famous airplane sketch was parodied years later in an episode of Seinfeld! And then, there was always time for the zany Professor Weingarten, or the shlock-doc "The Wonderful World of the World." Wayne and Shuster thought Yiddish, acted British, and remained Canadian. Well I see by the clock on the wall, that my time for this review is up. For some good humour that predated the age of cynicism and did not rely on four-letter words for a laugh, I highly recommend Wayne and Shuster. Well if I didn't, where's the sketch!?