Thursday, August 3, 2006


Earlier today I mentioned how Lenny Bruce would have turned 80 this year had he not died forty years ago today.

Well, today happens to be the 80th birthday of another performer, the legendary crooner Tony Bennett.

Tony Bennett has made many appearances on TV talk shows and variety shows and in plenty of TV specials over the years, and he had his own variety show back in 1956. He's appeared with everybody from Judy Garland, Nat King Cole, and Frank Sinatra to Jackie Gleason, Hugh Hefner, and even Howard Stern.

If I'm not mistaken he also appeared on '60 Minutes' to discuss his sideline as a painter.

Tony Bennett has contributed a few characters to the roster of Toobworld. These include a fellow named Maximillian in five episodes of '77 Sunset Strip', a visitor to 'Evening Shade', Arkansas, by the name of Tony Lombardi, and Danny Williams' Lebanese cousin Stephen from Toledo who wanted to be a singer and not a haberdasher. (I wonder if he knew Max Klinger back in Toledo?)

But he made plenty of appearances as himself in fictional settings, mostly in sitcoms. So the birthday boy is eligible for induction into the Crossover Hall of Fame as an honored member of the League of Themselves.

"The Simpsons"
- Bart vs. Lisa vs. the Third Grade (2002) TV Episode (voice)
- Dancin' Homer (1990) TV Episode (voice)
- The First Gentleman (1998) TV Episode
"Space Ghost Coast to Coast"
- Joshua (1998) TV Episode
"Muppets Tonight"
- Episode #1.6 (1996) TV Episode
"Suddenly Susan"
- A Kiss Before Dying... on Stage (1997) TV Episode
- Zing! (1995) TV Episode
"SCTV Network 90"
- The Great White North Palace (1982) TV Episode
"King" (1978) (mini) TV Series

As you can see, Tony Bennett does have a toon version of himself in the Tooniverse. And his appearance in the mini-series about Martin Luther King, Jr. might mean that he has a counterpart in an alternate dimension, in much the same way Mel Torme had in an episode of 'Sliders'. (As for working with Muppets, which he also did in "Elmopalooza!", that's definitely to be found in Earth Prime-Time, the main Toobworld.)

At any rate, Tony Bennett is still going strong and here's hoping he gets the chance to appear in a few more TV shows as himself.

Maybe crooning one of Charlie Harper's jingles on 'Two And A Half Men'!

Happy Birthday, Mr. Bennett!


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