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December 24, 2009



This is a fantastic piece of work! I, for one, do not find the tangents off-topic or unnecessary; just thorough context. To connect this voice and face with so many dots from my childhood is a valuable enough service. To learn that Henny Youngman made a film with Waylon Jennings is gravy.


I have a question to Listener Kliph, clearly the World's Leading Stangologist.

I vaguely remember that our Arnold was in a serious car crash, maybe around the late 60s-early 70s. The story at the time was that his face was damaged, and that doctors gave him the option of plastic surgery that would make him look less Stang-ish, which he declined. He wanted to look just like the Arnold Stang we love, and so the doctors restored him to his unique and perfect look.

Is this a memory, or a fantasy, of mine? If real, I'd like to know. If not, I Stang corrected.

Jody Morgan

Fine article on an actor whose work I've enjoyed, but I would like to make one minor correction: the co-authors of _The 50 Worst Films of All Time_ are *Harry* Medved (brother of Michael) and Randy Dreyfuss (presumably not related to Richard). It's worth reading just for the interviews with a few of the filmmakers whose works are featured.

Listener Kliph


In a previous post I did about Akim Tamiroff I quoted from the book credited to Harry Medved. A reader then posted this comment:

"The 50 Worst Films" was NOT written by Michael Medved's brother Harry. In its sequel, "The Golden Turkey Awards," Mikey admits that he thought the first book would hurt his hoped-for career as a screenwriter, so he credited it to his 15-year-old brother and a 21-year-old Oberlin med student. I was at Oberlin at the time, and med students were infamous for doing nothing but studying. It struck me as odd that a kid and a med student found the time to watch all these obscure movies in the pre-VCR days. And the book really didn't seem to be written a high school sophomore.
When he found out that the Hollywood types loved it, he freely admitted to being its writer. Because he thought that would help his career as a screenwriter. I loved the first book--"Hey, I'm not the only person in the world who watches bad old movies just to laugh at them!" But with his smug confession in Golden Turkeys, I thought "Wow, I just now became aware of this guy's existence, and I've immediately lost all respect for him."

So based on that new information I now refer to the book being written by Rush Limbaugh's favorite, Michael Medved.


I do not know the answer to your question. All I can say is I've never heard that before nor have I seen it mentioned elsewhere. His filmography does not seem to have slowed down any during the time period you've mentioned. Arnold is still alive so I guess we should call him up ask him.

John Fink

Fantastic post! Thanks a bunch. The MP3s of the radio shows was worth the price of admission!


Great article! I love Arnold Stang too!

Jed Martinez

Terrific rundown of Mr. Stang's career. I know that you had to leave out a few omissions for this article (such as those very funny TV commercials for Chunky he used to appear in during the late 1950s, or additional cartoon vocal roles - such as 'Blackie the Sheep', opposite the late Sid Raymond [doing his Bert Lahr imitation] as the Wolf - or on modern shows like "Courage the Cowardly Dog" or the made-for-TV movie "Top Cat and the Beverly Hills Cats"), but if I had to remember him from a more recent acting role, it would have to be his guest appearance on "The Cosby Show" - where he portrayed an expectant grandfather in the waiting room with one other expectant grandparent... played by the late, great Sammy Davis, Jr.! Sammy played an ex-prize fighter with a literacy problem, and Stang (by coincidence) happened to be a school teacher. The chemistry of this unlikely duo clicked by the end of the episode. I loved it.

There was a rumor going around, some years ago at Cartoon Network, that there was going to be a live-action/animated talk show (a la "Space Ghost - Coast to Coast") with a CGI version of 'Top Cat' doing the interviewing. Was Stang invited to reprise the role for this show idea (which I saw a clip of on "Entertainment Tonight")?

Anyway, as a former New Yorker, I like hearing about celebrities I grew up with over the years. And do you think that Mr. Stang's career is finally over?...


Margate, FL


Kliph, please allow me to join in the praise being so deservedly heaped upon you for this post. I wish I was as articulate as the others, but I'm at least glad they were there to put it all into words for you. As for me, all I can say is that your post brought me several minutes of the happiest reading I've had lately. To paraphrase Randy Newman, you've got a fan in me.


A correction to your fine article: although Stang's stunt double Janos Prohaska was indeed well-known for his ape roles (perhaps most notably the fluffy, white-furred carnivorous Mugato on the original "Star Trek" series), the titular alien in "Robot Monster" was in fact portrayed by George Barrows, a burly character actor whose other gorilla suit credits include "Gorilla at Large", "Konga" and some episodes of "The Beverly Hillbillies".

Michael Powers

This essay on Stang, one of my own favorite character comedians practically since birth, remains the most informative and entertainingly written article about him that I've ever seen, and I must've read a hundred of them back in the sixties. You're a hell of a fine writer and made me laugh out loud more than once with a masterful turn of phrase ("It would seem. One would assume."). Truly good writing is so damnably rare on the internet. I came to this article through a link on Mark Evanier's site this morning; Evanier repeatedly steers his readers to the creme-de-la-creme of the web and your blog is anything but an exception. I'll return again and again, and thanks.

Listener # 109577

Indeed, I concur; Mr. Nesteroff, you are not only a "hell of a fine writer" -- you are a hell of a fine DJ and a marvelous historian, to boot! The only way this could be any better would be with the addition of an interview with Arnold Stang himself. Does the great man have an email address? Can he be contacted through friends? Anything?

Ted Hering

Remember Arnold as the BEE in the animated Honey Comb cereal commercials of the 1980s? He also made some nice voice overs for Chunky candy bars. A great talent.

Dave the Spazz

Great piece!

Stang was on Dorian's show something like ten years ago.


Totally awesome article. Stang's scene in "Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" was one of my favorites of that great movie.

You can hear the Stang "Top Cat" LP at my blog here:

Top Cat Tells Story Of Robin Hood. I also have the COLPIX Top Cat LP, but have not had a chance to share it on my blog yet.



Sadly, that's not Arnold Stang on the "Robin Hood record - it's Daws Butler doing his "Hokey Wolf" character. I wonder why Arnold didn't record the album, since the other cast members all appear to be there.


Oh, and terrific article!! I've always been a fan of Arnold, but this was a cornucopia of interesting facts and links. Great Job!!

Bob Nelson

The tag line in the Chunky ad was "What a chunk o' chocolate"
done in his Brooklyn accent.

Peter G.

I remember years ago in London as a kid hearing the record "Where Ya Callin' From, Charlie?" on the radio and just falling about with laughter. The last line/comment just cracked us up..."He hung up!" We never knew much about Arnold but just loved that recording. Does anyone know if it's still available anywhere on CD or tape or, dare I say it, "Vinyl"?


I have the Top Cat COLPIX LP posted now:

Top Cat Original TV Soundtracks COLPIX Records


I finally got the COLPIX Top Cat LP posted:

Top Cat COLPIX Records.

Mike Tiefenbacher

The last live appearance sighting of Arnold that I had was when he appeared, completely unbilled, on LATE NIGHT WITH CONAN O'BRIEN, circa 1994 or so. He was just an actor in a sketch, in the days before they got a regular repertory company, and before they slugged the sketch between the first and second guests, so I believe it appeared as the final bit on the show. How or why he ended up doing this one-shot job is unknown as well, since it could hardly have been anything but a favor--if not for Conan himself, then another member of the production staff--but his presence was unmistakable. I waited for Conan--a fan of old TV and cartoons, after all--to say something, but no such luck. Not so oddly, it's not listed on IMDB.


I share on my blog The Arnold Stang's LP WAGGISH TALES.

Scroll down till the bottom of the page and you will find the download link (archive from the 1st of february 2007)

Enjoy !

Jack Pendarvis

You put anything I have written about Arnold Stang to SHAME! But my friend Phil's mom dated Arnold Stang AND Marty Ingels (both of whom did Pac-Man cartoon voices). Anyway, my friend Jeff and I are starting a campaign to get people to refer to money as "Stang." Like, instead of "Wow, that's a lot of money," you would say, "Wow, that's a lot of Stang." Okay! Maybe you can help us out. Thank you for a fascinating article.


Your article is incredible! I was searching for a reference on the web to Arnold Stang's use of the frequent phrase, "Heaven's to Mergatroid!" and also " Don't fight it, (name?), it's bigger than both of us", on one of the fifties TV show he appeared in as a regular. Please tell me if you remember this.

Listener Kliph

For the latter, it's definitely one of The Milton Berle Shows no doubt. The former, I only know of Snagglepuss.

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