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“During my days on the Sgt. Bilko Show, starring the inimitable Phil Silvers, I met a man who became a second brother to me, since my first one, Danny, had moved to Shangri-la in the sun and was making a name and a tan for himself in Hollywood. Billy Friedberg, a wonderful writer and editor, was twelve years my senior but about forty years my superior in his knowledge and experience in the ways and back alleys of Broadway. He was a cousin to Lorenz (Larry) Hart, the brilliant lyricist who, with Richard Rodgers, coauthored some of the brightest and most sophisticated songs and scores in theatrical history. Billy and I spent two years writing Max Liebman's "spectaculars" for NBC, along with writer Will Glickman, a funny, mustached dandy who looked like a Jewish French colonel in the Foreign Legion, if you want to get into oxymorons. We did two shows a month. One was a star-studded revue with impeccably and lavishly staged musical numbers and comedy sketches written by us for the likes of Ray Bolger, Maurice Chevalier, Nancy Walker, Tyrone Power, a young Tony Randall, and Bert Lahr, one of the funniest men who ever lived. Bert was a compulsive worrier who never thought his performance was good enough. After convulsing the entire crew, cleaning ladies, and makeup people during a run-through of one of his sketches, he would turn out to the house and ask poignantly, "Wuz that funny? I don't tink that wuz funny. We got to make it funnier." If he made it any funnier, he would have committed genocide. The second show of the month, done just two weeks later, featured adaptations of old Broadway musicals, which we refined, edited, updated, and goosed-up laugh-wise. We did Knickerbocker Holiday, Dearest Enemy, Best Foot Forward, and others too distant to remember.”— Neil Simon, Rewrites
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