This is an online encyclopedia of personalities of Old Time Radio. It is designed for educational and entertainment purposes.

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Jack Pearl (1894-1982)

Jacob Perlman was born October 29, 1894, in New York City. He became a vaudeville entertainer as a teenager using the stage name Jack Pearlman. Over a course of time, he developed into one character, a German storyteller named Baron Munchausen, loosely based on a famous fictitious literary character. To be the Baron called for a straight man.

A straight man in comedy is one who supposedly thinks like everyone else in the audience. Jack's first straight man was Ben Bard (1893-1974), who left the act in the early 1930s to go to Hollywood. (And Ben made it big in Hollywood.) The second straight man was Clifford Hall (1894-1972). Cliff had the gentlest nature. He was inquisitive without seeming ignorant. In 1942, Cliff was attacked by a Canadian soldier on leave, leaving him blind in one eye. Eventually, the eye was removed and replaced with a glass eye.

The Baron's stories were amazing. Even when they weren't so amazing they were incredibly funny. Here is an example of one of those:

CLIFF: You went to a correspondence school?

BARON: Yes, I did. Back in the old country.

CLIFF: I didn't know they had correspondence schools on the continent!

BARON: Yes, but let me finish.

CLIFF: OK, Baron.

BARON: I wasn't such a good student. Sometimes I played hooky!

CLIFF: How did you do that?

BARON: (laughs) I sent them an empty envelope!

Jack and Cliff tried their routines on radio in Hollywood but they didn't work. They then tried to go back to radio to try them but that didn't work either. Cliff would play other characters in other radio programs before retiring. Jack stopped doing everything until 1963 when he played a man (using the name Jack Pearlman) who seemed very much like Munchausen. Cliff worked on TV until he was diagnosed with cancer in 1966.

Jack Pearl was happily married to Winnie Desbrought for most of his life. He died on Christmas Day in 1982 at the age of 88 in New York City.

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