Saturday, November 21, 2009

THE TIMES SQUARE TWO: The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour

Link courtesy of Drew Friedman and Jay Lynch

From Monsters and Rockets...

The Times Square Two were an eccentric musical comedy duo who were apparently fairly popular in the '60s, appearing on most of the big variety and talk shows of the era - Merv Griffin, Johnny Carson, Dick Cavett, Dean Martin, et al. They affected the personas of a pair of creepy yet endearing nitwits from the bygone days of early vaudeville, with "Mycroft Partner" as a pompous English dandy and "Andrew I" as a storky nerd with Coke bottle glasses, greased and center-parted hair and a squawking, Jerry Lewis voice. (They often introduced themselves as "My Partner and I.")

In reality, "Partner" was Peter Elbling, AKA Harold Oblong, an English writer and character actor who became uniquitous in the '70s and '80s, turning up everywhere from The Phantom of the Paradise to WKRP and Taxi. The "I" in this team was Michel Choquette, a French-Canadian who went on to be one of the early writers for The National Lampoon, among other accomplishments.

At the height of their popularity, The Times Square Two stayed in character even when offstage, claiming to know little about the pop culture of the day and being driven around by a chauffer in a vintage motorcar. They took the act about as far as it could go, finally splitting up in 1970.

The Times Square Two have become rather obscure in the decades since, and footage of their old performances is rare. This clip, from the old Smothers Brothers' show, captures the pair in performance. By being such an odd throwback, their act became sort of timeless. If these two were just starting out now, they would probably baffle and amuse audiences just as much as they did in 1964.

From Michel Choquette...

Peter Elbling and I formed The Times Square Two in Vancouver in 1964, moved to California in 1965, then to New York in 1966. The act broke up early in 1970. Peter has been living in Los Angeles since then, where he has worked in improvisational theatre and as a television actor. He has also made a name for himself as a writer. I stayed in New York for a few years, where I became one of the original contributing editors of National Lampoon. Since then I have worked on various film, theatre and publishing projects. Since 1984 I have been teaching screenwriting and comedy writing at McGill University and Concordia University in Montreal.

If you're interested, I can e-mail you some Times Square Two photos and literature.


Michel Choquette

1 comment:

Gary said...

That's brilliant. I'd like to see someone resurrect the first bit with a ukulele! What do we know about these guys?