Wayne and Shuster

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(Redirected from Frank Shuster)

Wayne and Shuster were a Canadian comedy duo formed by Johnny Wayne and Frank Shuster.

Wayne (born Louis Weingarten, May 28, 1918July 18, 1990) and Shuster (September 5, 1916January 13, 2002) met as high school students at Harbord Collegiate Institute in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 1930. They both studied at the University of Toronto, where they wrote and performed for the theatre there, and in 1941 they made their radio debut on CFRB in their own show, The Wife Preservers in which they dispensed household hints in a humorous fashion. This exposure resulted in the pair being given their own comedy show on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's Trans-Canada Network as Shuster & Wayne.

They enlisted in the Canadian army in 1942, and performed for the troops in Europe during World War II as part of the Army Show (they would also later perform for the army in the Korean War). They returned to Canada to create the Wayne and Shuster Show for CBC Radio in 1946. They first performed on The Ed Sullivan Show in the United States in 1958, and set a record there by appearing 67 times over the next 11 years.

Wayne and Shuster turned down many offers to come to the U.S. permanently, preferring to remain in Toronto. (They did co-star in a CBS-TV sitcom, Holiday Lodge, which aired as a summer replacement for Jack Benny in 1961.)

They performed "literate" comedy, combined with slapstick. They often used classical or Shakespearean settings and characters; on their first Ed Sullivan appearance, for example, they performed a modern murder investigation using Shakespeare's Julius Caesar in a sketch called Rinse the Blood off My Toga, which spawned the popular catch phrase, "Julie, don't go!" After the opening of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in 1958 they created a baseball-themed skit involving characters from Hamlet and Macbeth. The duo treated these sketches the way singers treat their most popular songs by performing new renditions many times over the years.

After having a weekly television series in the 1950s, they began a series of long running Wayne & Shuster comedy specials on CBC Television in the early 1960s which continued into the 1980s by which time their comedy was regarded as old-fashioned. However, they were an influence for later Canadian comedians, such as Lorne Michaels (Shuster's son-in-law), the Royal Canadian Air Farce and The Kids in the Hall.

In 1990, the year after Wayne's death the group received a Special Gemini Award for their outstanding contribution to Canadian Television. In 1996 Frank accepted the Margaret Collier Award for the duo comedy writing.

Shuster was a cousin of Joe Shuster, the creator of Superman.

Trivia/Parodies

These two are most likely the inspiration of Terrance and Phillip from Comedy Central's South Park, as their stories are remarkably similar.

In a bit on Late Night with Conan O'Brien called "National Act Like Canada Matters Day", guitarist Jimmy Vivino remarks to O'Brien, "Wow, Conan, you're a regular Wayne & Shuster."

After Wayne's death the two received a Special Gemini Award "For Outstanding Contribution to Canadian Television". In 1998 They were honoured with the Margot Collier Award for outstanding contribution to Canadian Television writing.

In 1965 The Wayne & Shuster Hour won the Silver Rose at the Rose d'Or Television Festival

External link

  • Wayne and Shuster (http://www.museum.tv/archives/etv/W/htmlW/wayneandshu/wayneandshu.htm) Museum of Broadcast Communications biography
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