Bob and Ray
Bob and Ray, Keener Than Most Persons
The Backstayge Story of Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding
by David Pollock
foreword by Dave Letterman
MONTCLAIR, N.J. – By the established comedy conventions of their era, Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding were true game changers. Never playing to the balcony, Bob and Ray instead entertained each other. Because they believed in their nuanced characters and absurd premises, their audiences did, too. Their parodies – broadcasting about broadcasting – existed in their own special universe, and their complete absence of show-business slickness set them apart from the very institution they were mocking, yet were still part of. They resisted being called comedians and never considered themselves “an act.”
In Bob and Ray, Keener than Most Persons (May 2013, Applause Books, $27.99), David Pollock, with the full cooperation of Elliott and of Goulding’s widow, Liz, and with the insights of numerous colleagues, traces the origins and development of the unique sensibility that defined their dozens of local and network radio and television series, later motion picture roles, Carnegie Hall performances, and hit Broadway show, Bob and Ray – The Two and Only.
Bob and Ray’s many parodies, including “Mary Backstayge, Noble Wife” and “Mr. Trace, Keener than Most Persons,” and storehouse of recurring characters, such as news reporter Wally Ballou, cowboy singer Tex Blaisdell, and book reviewer Webley Webster, were known and adored by millions, but the twosome deflected all intrusions into the personalities behind their many masks and the dynamics of their relationship, and rarely elaborated on their career trajectory of methodology.
Bob and Ray were a team for 43 years, longer than Laurel and Hardy, Burns and Allen, Abbott and Costello, and Martin and Lewis. Bob and Ray, Keener than Most Persons explores the craft and culture behind that longevity and behind the laughter they brought into millions of American homes.
David Pollock, with writing partner Elias Davis, has written for The Steve Allen Show, The Don Rickles Show, The Carol Burnett Show, All in the Family, M*A*S*H, Cheers, and Frasier, and wrote nightclub material for Jack Benny. Their play, Points in Time, was produced by the South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, Calif. They have won an Emmy, a Peabody, a Writers Guild and two Humanitas awards. Pollock lives in Los Angeles and is available for interview.
May 14, 2013
6“ x 9”
8-page photo inserts
Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, an imprint of Hal Leonard