Wednesday, August 28, 2013

An Interview with Lou Marsh - Part Two

Kliph Nesteroff: There was a small time comedian who was an emcee at Jack Ruby's Carousel Club in Dallas - Wally Weston.

Lou Marsh: Well, Wally Weston wasn't a small timer - he was just a comedian. We loved him. He used to introduce the strippers and do a line about them before he brought them on. He did a funny job. We went a couple times to see him. He was very funny. I'm trying to remember this correctly. 

We sat with him after one of the shows. We said, "Why do you hang around this place? You're so funny." He said (morosely), "Yeah. Yeah, I know." He meant something by that, but I don't know what. Like he wanted to get out of there, but they would not let him go.

Kliph Nesteroff: One place notorious for Mob connections was the Cal-Neva Lodge, which Marsh and Adams played... 

Lou Marsh: Cal-Neva Lodge was run by Sam [Giancana]. Frank Sinatra had a lot to do with it. That's where we met Joe DiMaggio for the first time. We did a show with Joe called Amateur Time, forget who put it on, and we enjoyed being with him. We did a show with him in San Francisco for his fiftieth birthday at a club called Bimbo's. 

We were brought into Cal-Neva by the agent and we stayed there for a little while. We did a helluva job and had a lot of fun at the Cal-Neva - but you would see people come in and out and you would mind your own business. Know what I mean? You know what I mean (laughs). The Cal-Neva Lodge was owned by a few people that, at the time, had a lot of connections. That's all I can say about that. 

Kliph Nesteroff: What can you tell me about the manager of Marsh and Adams - Billy J. Creedon? 

Lou Marsh: Billy was an entertainer himself. He had been in a dance team with his wife. Here's the interesting thing about Billy. Billy entertained Hitler. Do you hear this! 

Kliph Nesteroff: Yeah. 

Lou Marsh: Billy was in Germany before the War. He entertained for Hitler and they treated them like a king, but he got out of there just in time, I guess. 

Kliph Nesteroff: How about this movie you did called The Godmothers? 

Lou Marsh: Oh, geez, yeah. We did a spoof of The Godfather. It starred Frank Fontaine, Tony Adams, myself and a couple of local entertainers. The movie never came out. The Godmothers. We got to see it, they screened it for us one night, but it never came out. I don't know why. 

I guess somebody got p.o.'d with the situation because it was a take-off on The Godfather, some legal thing, so it never came out. It's still in the can somewhere. If you can find a copy, call me and I'll buy it from you. 

Kliph Nesteroff: Jerry Lester was in it. 

Lou Marsh: Jerry Lester, myself, my partner, Frank Fontaine, Billy Barty - and Mickey Rooney too! Billy Barty had a way of breaking us up. He'd walk up to us. "You big guys think you're funny, but you're not. You're not." And he'd walk away. He would always do that. He'd walk up. "What's wrong with you? You're not funny! Why don't you give up the business?" And then he'd walk away.

Kliph Nesteroff: Were you friendly with Jerry Lester? 

Lou Marsh: Very friendly. Jerry, my partner, and I used to golf at least twice a week. Jerry would always say, "Well, I got a call from so and so. I'm gonna have to go do a movie, sorry, I'll have to leave you guys." And he never went anywhere.  

Kliph Nesteroff: What can you tell me about the relationship between he and his brother Buddy Lester. 

Lou Marsh: I don't... I don't really know. We golfed with Buddy Lester once. Jerry Lewis loved him. 

Kliph Nesteroff: I had heard that Buddy and Jerry Lester didn't get along.

Lou Marsh: Well, you didn't hear me say that, but y'know... we were all in a movie together called Hardly Working. Buddy, Jerry, my partner and I. And whenever you saw Buddy and Jerry Lester off in a corner talking with each other... you sure wondered what it was they were talking about. 

Kliph Nesteroff: How about a pair of Miami Beach comics - BS Pully and HS Gump? 

Lou Marsh: I didn't have too much to do with him. I would go and see him. He did things that, at that time, my partner and I would be afraid to do. He was off-color long before that kind of thing was around. We didn't want to do that kind of an act, so we never got friendly with BS.

Kliph Nesteroff: How about Belle Barth? 

Lou Marsh: Phewf. That was a delightful human being, but - again - used material that you would never think of doing - at that time. Today it would be nothing. She did what she did and she got knocked for it. But everywhere she would go she packed the hotels, packed the nightclubs. She did great in nightclubs, but she couldn't spread into TV or movies. 

We were very close. We'd have dinner together, our families would get together. But it was the wrong time for Belle. She was so funny she should have been on top of the world. She'd be like Joan Rivers today. 

Kliph Nesteroff: Do you remember a comedian named Bert Stone? 

Lou Marsh: Bert Stone and his partner Eddie Shine. Eddie Shine was the first person to introduce my partner and I to one of the biggest agents in New York - Willie Weber. Shine was the guy who said, "Lou and Tony, you guys are funny enough to be with one of the best agents." So he called Willie Weber, "I got two kids here in Boston that I think will do great for you." 

That's how we got with Willie Weber and he turned out to be a great agent. He was the first one to get us on television and the first one to get us into a major nightclub. In the middle of all this, he died. We were just left hanging there with his son. He was a nice kid too, but he didn't have the pull his dad had. 

Kliph Nesteroff: Stu Weber. 

Lou Marsh: Stu Weber (laughs). Jesus Christ. Where you getting these names! This keeps coming up! How long have you been writing these things? 

Kliph Nesteroff: Three years. 

Lou Marsh: You know everybody! There must have been something you did before three years that you know all these guys. Jesus Christ, I tell you, you got them pretty good. 

Kliph Nesteroff: Willie Weber sued Don Rickles for breach of contract. Don Rickles left Willie Weber for Joe Scandore. 

Lou Marsh: You didn't fool around with Scandore. You just... Scandore... I mean, I'm not saying anything but... Joe had a way of doing things... he had some nice... connections... but... I don't want to... I'm a little surprised at these questions...


Anonymous said...

all these years later and he's still terrified to talk about the mob.

Anonymous said...

What an enigmatic ending.

Kevin K. said...

I get a kick how these guys get a kick out of you and your knowledge of their lives, times and friends. You're a good guy.

Anonymous said...

Lou's nightmare: a knock on his door, Two mafia thugs enter. "You said a few things about Scandore during your interview with Kliph. We don't like you talkin' about the boss. C'mon, we're taking a ride. Get in the car."