Wednesday, March 13, 2013


The televersion of Buddy Hackett must have been a very influential comedian and right from the very start of his career. So much so that other young comedians of that era who bore a passing resemblance to Hackett not only patterned their acts after him, but they apparently underwent plastic surgery to enhance their resemblance to Buddy.

It must have been worth it, because each of them became very successful.

But it wasn't just comedians who wanted to look like Buddy Hackett. There were two others who had their own reasons to be mistaken for the former Catskills tummler.

Here's a rundown of those TV characters:


'Make Room For Daddy'
"Fugitive Father"

Buddy Bruno took his emulation of Buddy Hackett even further, by adopting the comic's nickname as well. This bordered on identity theft, but it looks like the show biz hierarchy of the early 1960's accepted the practice since Buddy Bruno was a good friend of Danny Williams, the nightclub entertainer. In fact, Danny arranged for Buddy, a recent widower who was on the road most of the year, to headline at the club for two weeks while the Williams family took a vacation. But this made Buddy a target for the NYC child welfare services because his life on the road was not considered to be in the best interests of his little daughter, Barbara.

'Quincy, M.E.'
"Snake Eyes" Parts 1 & 2

Ronnie Fletcher was playing a mountain resort near Reno during a coroners' convention back in the 1970's. But a contagious outbreak left the resort quarantined and Fletcher did not take that at all well. Several times he tried to break free and escape. As it turned out, his panic was unfounded as the crisis was proven to be a deliberate man-made hoax and there was no threat that the contagion would spread.

'Murder, She Wrote'
"No Laughing Murder"

Murray Gruen was one half of the comedy team Gruen & Howard, partnered with the suave singer-comedian Mack Howard. But their partnership ended when their friendship soured over accusations of theft between the two. Over the next twenty years, Howard became the host of 'WeekNight', a successful late night talk show, while Gruen scrounged to reclaim his former glory as a nightclub comic. He bought himself a mountain lodge in the Catskills which he hoped to transform into a venue for himself and that's where an unwelcome reunion between the two former partners was held. (Their children, who had grown up together, were going to marry.) But it turned to tragedy when Murray was stabbed in the back (not fatally) and then his agent was found hanged in the pantry. Novelist Jessica Fletcher, who knew both families somehow, determined that the agent's death was murder, not suicide.

'McMillan & Wife'
"Reunion In Terror"

Police Commissioner Stuart McMillan's college football team held its reunion in San Francisco but it turned to tragedy when somebody started killing off the members of the team. Comic Joey Germaine had been the waterboy/equipment manager for the team and while he was in town, he volunteered his time to help Sally McMillan's charity by performing his act.

And now for those two TV characters who were not comedians, but still wanted to look like Buddy Hackett......

'Here's Lucy'
"Lucy And The Stolen Stole"

Barton is one citizen of Toobworld who did not get a Buddy Hackett facelift in order to further his own career as a comedian. Barton was a fence who figured that if his similarity to Hackett could be enhanced, then victims would be describing the star of "The Love Bug" to police sketch artists instead of to him.  Eventually it didn't matter. No amount of cunning and deception could have protected him from the primal force that was Lucille Carmichael....

'The Danny Thomas Hour'
"It's Greek To Me"

We know that the pan-dimensional beings who passed themselves off as the demi-gods of ancient Greece were capable of altering their appearances. This was proven by the God of Lightning, Zeus himself, within the framework of 'Hercules: The Legendary Journeys' and 'Young Hercules'. Thanks to that recasting, we can apply that rule to all the appearances of the demi-gods in other TV shows, movies, and commercials - thus keeping them all together in Earth Prime-Time.

But why Zeus would want to look like Buddy Hackett....?
Here's the plotline for this special episode, courtesy of the Three Stooges fan site:

Against the wishes of her father Zeus (Buddy Hackett), Aphrodite (Juliet Prowse) has no wish to marry Apollo (Vic Damone) and is bored with life on Mt. Olympus. Wishing to romance a mortal, she travels to Earth and becomes enamoured of Danny Thomas. Whisking him to the mount of the gods, Zeus is angered and places Danny on trial. In order to prove his worth to Aphrodite, Danny is sent on a quest for the Golden Fleece, and if unsuccessful, he will be put to death.

Aphrodite snatched Danny out of an airplane, and when the adventure was over he discovered it had all been a dream. Or was it? I think it really happened, with the musical numbers due to intervention by Mr. Sweet the demon from 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer' (and member of the TV Crossover Hall Of Fame), and that Danny was led to believe it was just a dream.

Nothing in any of these shows mentioned the use of plastic surgery, but it does make for a nice splainin as to why so many TV characters resembled Buddy Hackett. Of course, it doesn't take into account at least three men from the wild, wild West who looked like the comic, nor why a dinosaur and a car sounded like him. Just a fluke of tele-genetics I'd say.......


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