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October 20, 2022

Funny Faces: 32 Fascinating Vintage Pictures of the Classic Stars of Comedy

There are a lot of ways to be funny. There are numerous ways to get a laugh.

Many take the broad approach. The Three Stooges, for example, appear with eyes popping, arms akimbo and so forth. Other people, like Bob Hope and French actor Jacques Tati, reacted to what was going on about them to get people to laugh.

The search for photos of comedy legends also showed a surprising number of photos in which they were dancing: Bob Hope, Jackie Gleason, Jerry Lewis—even Johnny Carson tries out some steps on stage with soul legend James Brown.

Take a look back at these comedy legends through these 32 fascinating vintage pictures:

Bob Hope with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, 1950. (Howard Sochurek)

Bob Hope during the rehearsals for the 1958 Academy Awards. (Leonard McCombe)

Bob Hope on the set of the 1958 television movie version of Roberta. (Francis Miller)

Comedian Bob Hope with Soupy Sales and Shirley MacLaine, their faces covered with remnants of cream pies, 1962. (Allan Grant)

A Milton Berle joke slayed Tony Curtis, Dean Martin, and publicist Warran Cowan. “Show Miltie a curtain, he takes a bow,'” said Dean. (Allan Grant)

Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis at the Copacabana, 1949. (Ralph Morse)

Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis at the Copacabana, 1949. (Ralph Morse)

The Three Stooges performed a skit, 1959. (Michael Rougier)

The Three Stooges performed a skit, 1959. (Michael Rougier)

The Pickle Queen posed with the Three Stooges during National Pickle Week, 1949. (Francis Miller)

Comedian Phil Silvers, in the character of Sgt. Bilko, shuffling cards on his television show. (Yale Joel)

Gracie Allen and George Burns, 1958. On the wall behind them is a photo of the pair, in a similar pose, from their days as vaudeville performers. (Allan Grant)

Jack Benny and Carol Burnett in a comedy skit, 1962. (Allan Grant)

The Marx Brothers–(Fore L-R) Harpo, Chico, Groucho and (Rear L-R) Zeppo and Gummo), 1938. (Peter Stackpole)

Comedian Martha Raye, rehearsing for her TV show, 1954. (Michael Rougier)

Comedian Martha Raye on her TV show, 1954. (Michael Rougier)

Comedian Dick Gregory, 1961. (Robert W. Kelley)

Jack Lemmon in The Apartment, 1960. (Grey Villet)

French actor Jacques Tati in New York City, 1958. (Yale Joel)

French actor Jacques Tati looked at the high ceiling of a New York City lobby, 1958. (Yale Joel)

Jacques Tati examined a sculpture by Max Ernst at the Museum of Modern Art, 1958. (Yale Joel)

Mike Nichols and Elaine May doing skit on recent TV scandals during “Fabulous Fifties” TV special, 1960. (Alfred Eisenstaedt)

Actress Barbara Loden had her face made up for spoof of a cosmetics ad to appear for an Ernie Kovacs special, with a TV filter helping to complete the gag, 1958. (Ralph Morse)

Phyllis Diller, wearing a fox fur coat and high-heeled half boots, is picked up by a driver sent by her husband at the St. Louis airport, April 1963. (Francis Miller)

Phyllis Diller sits amid a large collection of hat boxes in the basement of her St. Louis home, 1963. (Francis Miller)

Phyllis Diller read the names of the well-known (including Frank Sinatra, Vic Damone and the Vagabonds) and the not so well-known on a wall after circling her own name (center), 1963. (Francis Miller)

Entertainer Jackie Gleason (C) executing his famous How Aweet It Is dance wlhile the chorus girls are taking a bow behind him, 1953. (Lisa Larsen)

Actors Jackie Gleason and Gene Kelly casually tap dancing Ed Sullivan during visit to Gleason’s studio, 1967. (Arthur Schatz)

Singer James Brown teaching talk show host Johnny Carson how to dance, 1967. (Arthur Schatz)

Rodney Dangerfield and Joan Rivers wrapped up Dick Cavett in a scene from Portnoy’s Complaint, 1969. (Arthur Schatz)

Comedian Henry Youngman (left) in a steam cabinet in Hot Springs, Arkansas, 1960. (Francis Miller)

Henry Youngman drying out after steam bath in Hot Springs, Arkansas, 1960. (Francis Miller)

(via LIFE)


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