Lapses of synapses
During a recent television discussion with Mel Brooks, Dick Cavett started talking about health expert J.I. Rodale, publisher of Today's Health
. You may recall that Rodale was the person who died during a Cavett Show
taping in 1971. It was fascinating to see that Mel Brooks thought Cavett was using the standard slang to describe a comedian "dying" on stage. Several exchanges went back and forth before Brooks understood that Cavett was talking about a guest who actually did drop dead during a talk show.
What about dying on radio? On 23 January 1943, the critic Alexander Woollcott was at CBS as one of five panelists discussing "Is Germany Incurable?" on The People's Platform.
The group also included novelists Rex Stout and Marcia Davenport (My Brother's Keeper
Suddenly, Woollcott wrote a note, "I am sick," and was helped out of the studio. Later, Marcia Davenport claimed she had killed Woollcott. The two apparently had a lifelong hatred of each other. As a child, Davenport had often been insulted by Woollcott when he was visiting her mother, soprano Alma Gluck. In the moments before the live broadcast of The People's Platform
, the two had been hurling bitter invective back and forth, sending Woollcott into a frenzy during the final seconds before the program went on the air.
Minutes later, he suffered a heart attack followed by a cerebral hemorrhage. Woollcott was cremated, and his remains were mistakenly sent to Colgate University in Hamilton, New York. When the error was discovered, Woollcott was then shipped to his alma mater, Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, arriving with 67 cents postage due.
The cover painting for the Cardinal edition of Marcia Davenport's My Brother's Keeper
(1954) is by Tom Dunn, who had been a U.S. Marine Corps Artist
during WWII, and returned home to do numerous cover illustrations for Pocket Books, including Philip Wylie's The Disappearance