Al Hirschfeld’s “Late Late Very Late Show” – How Many Can We Identify?


A game: I thought it might be fun to see how many people from this 1955 Al Hirschfeld drawing we could collectively identify.

Sorry for the less-than-stellar quality image; I took this picture with my cell phone. It’s on the wall of my mom’s apartment in Florida.

[Update: Replaced the cell phone photo with a better quality image.]

This entry posted in Cartooning & comics, Popular (and unpopular) culture. Bookmark the permalink. 

27 Responses to Al Hirschfeld’s “Late Late Very Late Show” – How Many Can We Identify?

  1. 1
    Ampersand says:

    I’ll start us off:

    #47, needless to say, is Groucho Marx – probably the most recognizable person in this drawing, 66 years later. (Except for #41, I guess.)

    #48 is Dorothy Kilgallen, a newspaper writer who frequently appeared on the TV show “What’s My Line?”

    There are a few more I recognize, but I don’t want to Bogart all the easy ones…

  2. 2
    Ruchama says:

    21 is Howdy Doody
    16 and 17 are Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz
    44 might be Jimmy Durante?

  3. 3
    Allie D-A says:

    #31 is Bobby Thomson; and I’ll stop there bc I’ve spent too much time with this drawing & have an unfair advantage!

  4. 4
    Ruchama says:

    I think 27 might be Judy Garland, but I’m not sure who’s with her.

    6 is Ed Sullivan.

    13 is Eisenhower.

    And I just asked my father if I was right about Ed Sullivan, because I wasn’t positive, and he went through and identified almost everyone.

  5. 5
    Elizabeth Janes says:

    I think I know a bunch more (2, 8, 20, 23, 33, 34, 45, 46…), but here are some:
    1 – Steve Allen; 10, 11 and 9 – Kukla, Fran and Ollie; 18 & 19 – Imogene Coca and Sid Caesar; 28 – Ethel Merman

    Semi-wild guesses: is 12 Betty Furness? 15 Edward R. Murrow? 32 Noel Coward?

    Are there Ninas in the drawing? Just at a glance I don’t see any, or the signature with the number.

    Happy new year!

  6. 6
    Jeremy Redlien says:

    #4 – Orson Welles?

    #20 -Humphrey Bogart

    #44 – Kilroy of “Kilroy was here”

  7. 7
    nm says:

    #12: my guess would be Bess Myerson
    #24: isn’t that Joe McCarthy?
    #37: Jack Benny
    #38: Rochester
    #45: Gene Kelly, I think

  8. 8
    MJJ says:

    2: Liberace
    4: Jackie Gleason
    14: Bishop Fulton Sheen
    21: Howdy Doody
    45: Bob Hope(?)

  9. 9
    MJJ says:

    38: Buster Keaton(?)

  10. 10
    Aflias says:

    8=Milton Berle, 22=Jane Mansfield

  11. 11
    Ampersand says:

    Hi, Allie D-A! (Allie is my sister, btw, which is why she’s spent as much time as I have staring at this print.)

    MJJ – You’re right about #45 being Bob Hope (sorry NM!), but #38 isn’t Buster Keaton.

    NM: Yes for Joe McCarthy! (I didn’t get that one, my Mom identified it for me.)

    Elizabeth: I think you’re right about Betty Furness. And no Ninas in this drawing – at least, none I’ve ever seen, and I’ve looked. :-)

  12. 12
    Ampersand says:

    Aflias – Welcome! I think you’re right about Milton Berle, but I think 22 is Dagmar.

  13. 13
    Zardeenah says:

    I’m pretty sure #2 is Liberace, and given the appearance and proximity to Dorothy Kilgallen, I’m guessing that #39 is John Daly.

    And I’ll venture to say that 41 is Donald Duck

  14. 14
    MJJ says:

    Then #38 is probably Ned Sparks?

  15. 15
    Martha Joy says:

    The only one I recognize is number 41, Donald Duck. But then again, I’m not American, and too young as well, so I didn’t expect to know a lot of these.

  16. 16
    nobody.really says:

    Ampersand @ 11: “Yes for Joe McCarthy!”

    Another entry in my “Things I never expected to see on Alas, a Blog” list.

  17. 17
    brian t says:

    #1 is surely Dave Brubeck
    #22 – Veronica Lake?
    #24 looks like Richard Nixon to me.
    #28: Ethel Merman
    #36 – a young Marlon Brando, I think
    #41 is an early version of Donald Duck
    #45: Jack Lemmon

  18. 18
    nm says:

    Oh, duh, #25 is Joseph Welch. And though I agree that #20 looks like Bogart, I don’t see how it can be, because these are all people seen on TV, and Bogart didn’t have a show.

  19. 19
    Elizabeth Janes says:

    brian t: I’m standing firm on Steve Allen for #1! Hair and glasses are similar, but compare his mouth with Brubeck’s and see which better matches the drawing.

    25 and 39 are annoying me MIGHTILY, whispering “you know you know us…” Also 3 to a lesser degree.

    Is 43 Dave Garroway? And if so, is that J. Fred Muggs up top?

    When I realized 24 was Joe McCarthy I went to Google Images to confirm. Above all the images of JM, right under the search field and row of search options, was the row of what I guess are possible related search results (?). The two on the left (most popular? most likely?) were a six-photo collection of Ted Cruz head shots, and a number of period McCarthy images (portrait shots, Time Magazine cover, newspaper with screaming headline “M’Carthy Charges Reds Hold US Jobs”) collectively titled “Red Scare.” I thought, Yes, Google, you got that right.

  20. 20
    RonF says:

    To confirm some earlier statements:
    #1 is Steve Allen.
    #2 is Liberace
    #4 is Jackie Gleason.
    #6 is Ed Sullivan.
    #7 is Roller Derby, which used to be on TV on the weekends. And still should be.
    #8 is Milton Berle.
    #9 – 11 are Kukla, Fran and Ollie
    #13 is Pres. Eisenhower.
    #14 is Bishop Fulton Sheen
    #15 is Ed Murrow
    #16 is Lucy – the first female performer I can remember that only needed one name
    #17 is Desi Arnaz
    #18 is Imogene Coca
    #19 is Sid Caesar
    #20 is probably Humphrey Bogart
    #21 is Howdy Doody. I watched the last live show as Buffalo Bob, Howdy Doody and Princess Winterspring Summerfall said goodbye. I sat there and cried while chewing on a bubblegum cigar. Mom and Dad took me to the movies to cheer me up. It didn’t work.
    #22 I *think* is Jayne Mansfield
    #26 is Friday Night Fights
    #27 is Judy Garland.
    #28 may well be Ethel Merman, but then where is Carol Burnett and how the hell is she not in this picture?
    #34 I *think* is Red Skelton
    #37 is Jack Benny.
    #40 is old-style Saturday morning wrestling, with the old-school guys like Killer Kowalski
    #43 I also *think* is Dave Garroway and that would make #5 J. Fred Muggs
    #44 is Jimmy Durante
    #45 is Bob Hope – and the ski jump nose, profiled in outline at the intro and end of the Bob Hope Show and his specials, make him as recognizable as Groucho.
    #46 – Another one that is on the tip of my tongue ….
    #47 is Groucho – the first male performer I can remember that only needed one name. I am not contemporary to the movies, but I really shouldn’t have been allowed to watch “You Bet Your Life” at such an impressionable age. And my parents wondered how their single digit age son fully understood double entendre jokes ….
    #48 I *think* is Dorothy Kilgallen, but then who is #29, dammit?

    I’m old enough to have watched them all live on TV (but not old enough to remember Eisenhower as a General), but I don’t think I ever actually saw Milton Berle, Imogene Coca or Sid Caesar when they had their own shows.

  21. 21
    John says:

    I’m thinking #2 could either be Liberace or Oscar Levant. Everyone else has covered the others I could definitely identify.

  22. 22
    Gwen Tarbox says:

    Is 29 Gwen Verdon?

  23. 23
    Elizabeth Janes says:

    RonF – The drawing date is 1955, which according to Carol Burnett’s filmography on imdb is the date of her very first TV appearance, one episode of the Paul Winchell show. I think she didn’t really become a TV “name” until she became a regular on The Garry Moore Show in ’59 — when people talk about her early years that’s usually the first show mentioned.

    46 – Arthur Godfrey? Yes on Red Skelton for 34. Who the heck is 42? No clue on 30, 35 or 36. Who’s that peeling potatoes? The mouth looks so familiar, but doesn’t match the rest of the body in my memory. I can HEAR 39’s voice…

    33 – Yogi Berra?

    I was alive when most of these folks were on TV, but only became familiar with most them after the shows had ended. Kukla, Fran, and Ollie probably were the only ones on my regular viewing calendar! And we lived out in the country, with hills all around, so TV reception was iffy a lot of the time.

  24. #33 might be Howard Cosell

  25. 25
    Elizabeth Janes says:

    I was baffled by the man showing the paper to the weeping lady (#30); a friend I sent the link to thought maybe it was This is Your Life, which I know only through parodies of it.

  26. 26
    nm says:

    My husband also suggests that #30 is This Is Your Life. He also says that #29 is Arlene Francis, from What’s My Line? together with John Daly and Dorothy Kilgallen.

  27. 27
    paintedjaguar says:

    04 – Jackie Gleason, yes; “and awaay we go…”
    20 – not Bogart, Jack Webb
    34 – Red Skelton, definitely
    36 – does look like Brando, but who’s 35?
    42 – Red Buttons; it’s that gormless look
    44 – Jimmy Durante; check out the hair
    45 – Bob Hope; the profile and I’ve seen that striped shirt somewhere
    46 – Arthur Godfrey