November 14, 2004

Dayton Allen, R.I.P.

One of my comic idols, Dayton Allen, died last Thursday, a largely forgotten figure. Mark Evanier, who writes one of my favorite blogs in the blogosphere, news from me, posted a wonderful anecdote about Allen.

Allen is best known as one of Steve Allen's sidekicks, but he was a far more limited performer than his compatriots Don Knotts and Tom Poston. Allen was a terrific writer, but his specialty, the monologue written from the point of view of pretentious practitioners of different professions, was admittedly repetitious. These monologues were chronicled in two of my treasured possession -- the LP and hard-cover book named after his catch phrase: Why Not?. But check out his profile on IMDB and you'd think that Dayton Allen was little other than a prosperous cartoon voiceover specialist.

Truth be told, it's hard to argue that Dayton Allen is a major figure in American comedy. What is undeniable, though, is that he was funny. And Mark's entry nails what made Allen so special.