Friday, February 5, 2016

In Passing: Bob Elliot of Comedy Team 'Bob and Ray'

For forty-five years Elliot and his partner Ray Goulding entertained audiences on radio and television with their deadpan humor, taking turns portraying some self-serious character to be slowly and subtly skewered by the other.

In spite of their long tenure, Bob and Ray never had followings as large as other '50's stars such as Milton Berle or Sid Caesar. Their greatest fans seem to be other comedians, counting Groucho Marx, Johnny Carson, Woody Allen, and David Letterman as admirers.

Bob and Ray developed their partnership on a Boston radio program in the late '40's. Elliot hosted a music program with Goulding reading the news, then sticking around to swap stories with the host.
In 1951 they moved to television with the show, Bob and Ray. The program also starred Cloris Leachman and Audrey Meadows, who eventually left to join The Honeymooners.

In 1956 they won a Peabody award. The judges summed up their approach "They deal primarily in satire, that rare and precious commodity. Their aim is deadly, their level is high, and their material is fresh, original, imaginative, and terribly funny."

They continued performing together until Goulding's death in 1990.

For more detailed coverage of their career and influence, I recommend this article from the New York Times.

For a sample of their work, check out this short video clip from the Bob and Ray Show, circa 1952.

For a few more pictures of Bob and Ray, please visit the KultureKat Pinterest page.
Follow KultureKat's board Bob and Ray on Pinterest.

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