The Sound of the Crowd

He is not in the book you know

Jerry Beck posts notice that comedian-actor-director Howard Morris has passed away on Cartoon Brew.

Fans of Sid Ceaser’s classic television like Your Show Of Shows know Morris as a kind of “co-second banana,” sharing duties with Carl Reiner. In one sketch that Morris friend Mark Evanier rightly says “may be the funniest eleven minutes in the history of TV sketch comedy,” Morris played a…slightly overemotional surprise guest on a send-up of This Is Your Life.

He also did animated voices including:

Most of the characters for the teriffic animated adaptation of Jules Feiffer’s Munro, about a four-year-old boy who is accidentally drafted into the army.

The gopher in Disney’s Winnie-The-Pooh pictures.

Jughead on the Archie cartoons.

Atom Ant.

And he was also Professor Lilloman in Mel Brooks’ High Anxiety.*

In other words, as Jerry says, this was a tremendous talent, and I wish him a peaceful rest.

*His friendship with Brooks dated back to their days in ’50s television together, when Morris was appearing on and Brooks was writing for the Sid Ceaser shows.

The story goes that one day Ceaser told Morris he was bringing on a new writer, a kid named Mel Brooks. Who was very funny but a little crazy, and if he ever did anything that seemed strange Morris should for god’s sakes not react. Lest he become violent.

A few days later, while out with Morris, Brooks mugged him. He sent Morris’ wallet back to him in the mail and no more was said about it till several months later. When Morris made the ill-advised mistake of mentioning it while out in a rowboat with Brooks. Who proceeded to mug Morris again, insisting that he leave his wallet and shoes in the boat and swim to shore.

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