Morey Amsterdam credits himself for discovering these stars
Some big names got their start on The Morey Amsterdam Show.
Morey Amsterdam. You know him and love him as Buddy Sorrell on The Dick Van Dyke Show. He's the joke-a-minute gag writer of the fictional Alan Brady Show. But, start looking into Amsterdam's biography, and you'll discover that he was much more than just Buddy Sorrell. For instance, he was a joke-a-minute gag writer in real life, as well! That's what we in show biz call "range."
Amsterdam's vaudeville beginnings meant he was a comedy veteran before he ever appeared onscreen. He was an accomplished cellist and songwriter, and he wrote hilarious novelty tunes like "Rum & Coca Cola," and "Why, Oh Why Did I Leave Wyoming?" before he was a household name.
On his road to the top, Morey Amsterdam wrote jokes for a murderers' row of headline acts, like Milton Berle, Jack Benny, and Henny Youngman.
Then, in 1948, he hosted one of the first variety shows on TV, The Morey Amsterdam Show. To hear Amsterdam tell it, he booked the show full of greats-to-be, paving the way for the stars of (what was then) tomorrow. In a 1983 interview with The Tampa Tribune, Amsterdam spoke about his eye for talent.
"I gave a lot of people their first national exposure," he said. "Performers like Rosemary Clooney, Mel Torme, Sarah Vaughan, and Vic Damone. I discovered Art Carney. He was a great natural comedian. He played Charlie the Doorman and then Newton the Waiter. He still had a year on his contract when I gave him up to Gleason."
Hollywood would've been a completely different place if it weren't for Morey Amsterdam. And it would've been a whole heck of a lot less funny.