|Previous||1 of 6||Next|
small (250x250 max)
medium (500x500 max)
large ( > 500x500)
Loading content ...
A CRITICAL SURVEY OF THE LAUGH INDUSTRY Figure WITH SUGGESTIONS FOR YOUR COMING CONVENTION BANQUET OR ENTERTAINMENT BY AXEL CHRISTENSEN REDPATH KIMBALL BLDG. CHICAGO I take it that you are interested in the laugh industry, because as official purchasing agent for your coming convention, banquet, or entertainment, it's going to be up to you to furnish your members with every possible laugh that can be squeezed into the allotted time. In this I can be of help to you, because mirth making has been my work for over a quarter of a century and during that time, I have learned a good deal about selling good, clean humor. So with your permission, I will give you some facts regarding the Laugh Industry that are the result of my long experience. Figure Probably the most important feature of a convention is the banquet and generally, the success of the whole affair stands or falls according to what sort of intellectual feast you spread before your guests at that time. Humor is the sauce piquant which makes this feast enjoyable and worth-while, and you just can't have too much of it, because it aids in the digestion of the serious talks you want to put across as well as of the food that is eaten. Therefore, in this survey of the laugh industry, we will discuss first the question of selling laughs to customers at the dinner table. I have found that the easiest way to sell laughs is to take the customer by surprise. For instance if the customer (or guest) thinks that the speaker who is being introduced is going to try to sell a lot of dry and uninteresting ideas (about a business that he would prefer to forget for the moment altogether) he will be doubly pleased when he discovers that this same man is a laugh dealer. On the other hand, when a speaker is introduced as a humorist the immediate reaction in the mind of the listener is something like this: Well this fellow had better be good. We'll see. I wonder what old bromides this fellow is going to pull, etc. The speaker is received with some polite applause, his first few quips get some obliging laughter and he is often half way through with his routine before he wins the whole-hearted interest of his listeners, most of which have been joked to death at previous banquets. However, the element of surprise can make this same speaker's routine a hundred percent efficient, and that's why I always try to do my laugh manufacturing incognito at the speakers' table to start with. For example: At a recent convention in Chicago, I was on the speakers program as Count Anton Carlson, President of the Such and Such Bank of Stockholm, Sweden for an address on Banking Conditions in the Scandinavian Countries. Before sitting down to dinner I was introduced individually to as many of the members as possible, and during the dinner I had to answer questions (in dialect) about banking conditions in my native country. Figure The ladies at the table were evidently so thrilled at the idea of talking to a real count, that they took turns sitting next to me and making me feel thoroughly at home. Finally, Count Anton Carlson, was introduced by the toastmaster in a manner fitting to his station, upon which the entire audience stood up as a tribute to this honored guest from abroad. Can you imagine a more perfect setting for a humorous speaker? Well, I began my talk in a rich Scandinavian dialect that was funny in itself. Of course, at the beginning I made a few remarks on banking, so that for a time it looked like the real thing, and no one expected anything more than a few dull platitudes and some dry statistics. Gradually, however, I infused more and more humor into my talk, until at last it was just one long series of laughs after another. At first of course, some of the people didn't really dare to laugh out loud, because they were afraid they might offend their distinguished visitor. But when they did get wise, they let out all their supressed laughter and some more too. As you can imagine, the results were almost deafening. And a good time was had by all, judging from the wonderful manner in which the audience treated me. A few months later, the Chicago Bankers had me do the same stunt for about four hundred bankers and their wives, so I guess it went across. Eh? As you can appreciate, the same idea will work out equally well for any type of convention. I have been a big steel man from Oslo, Norway with an audience of superintendents and foremen giving their undivided attention in order that they might not miss anything I might say regarding the Superiority of Electric Welding Over Riveting. They had me back there, too. Again, I was on two occasions introduced as a prominent railroad official of 'the Norwegian State Railroads', at conventions of the Track Supply Association, of Chicago, and the Nickel Plate Railroad Company, who held their annual convention at Cedar Point, Ohio. Figure For Chamber of Commerce dinners, or for Rotary, Kiwanis and similar organizations, I am usually introduced as the president of the Chamber of Commerce of Bismark, North Dakota, on my way home from a trip to Denmark. However, each convention or meeting is treated as a separate case, and I prepare for it in advance, collecting enough facts about the business or industry to enable me to talk more or less intelligently about it. Of course, the subject is treated in a comedy vein, interspersed with my sure-fire laugh routine. So, whether your organization be one of Master Plumbers, or a convention of the medical arts, I feel certain I will be able to prepare a comedy address for it, and put it over in a big way. In any event, I should sincerely appreciate hearing from you, and being given an opportunity to apply my knowledge of the laugh industry to the particular problems of your organization. Of course, I also sell laughs and entertainment, with the label right on the goods, where I am frankly programmed as an entertainer. In fact, for over 27 years, I have sold entertainment this way in vaudeville, lyceum, chautauqua and radio work. I have also done much work as a toastmaster and master of ceremonies. Reviews of this work which give my Dunn and Bradstreet rating in the field are listed on the following pages. COMMENTS ON AXEL CHRISTENSEN'S ENTERTAINMENT WORK For the Track Supply Association, Secretary-treasurer L. C. Ryan wrote: Wish to take this opportunity of thanking you for the services you rendered and will say that everyone attending the banquet were more than pleased and delighted by the entertainment you furnished them. (September 19th, 1930.) Figure For the Chicago and Cook County Bankers' Association, Secretary E. N. Baty wrote: Largely due to your splendid efforts, our members are unanimous in their belief that our 1930 Annual Party was by far our most successful. We are indeed grateful to you. (May 9th, 1930.) ELMER, radio critic of the Chicago Daily Tribune, says: Some six years ago, in my early radio listening days, I laughed till I was weak over Christensen's monologue concerning the one dozen bottles of champagne water, and I was able to find much amusement out of the same corking uncorker as repeated last evening … Mr. Christensen proved himself an admirable announcer-entertainer, and were he to confine his talents to announcing only, he would stand ace high as such …. Axel Christensen in the capacity of story teller and special announcer molded a quaint and peppy framework for the dance and otherwise popular musical programme from WGN, 8 to 8:30 P. M. Over One Hundred Reasons Why You Should Engage Axel Christensen are Listed on the Next Page PLEASED AUDIENCES Ad-Sell Club, Omaha, Neb. Advertising Club, Milwaukee, Wis. American Bridge Co., Gary, Ind. American Legion: Chicago DeWitt, la. Kenosha, Wis. Lake Forest, III. Maquoketa, la. Winnetka, III. Arcady Farms Milling Co. Beechwood Club, Chicago Bethlehem Lutheran School, Evanston, III. Biltmore Country Club, Barrington, III. Bohemian Club, Chicago Bryn Mawr Mens Club, Chicago Butterfield Golf Club Burlington (la.) Shippers Ass'n Calumet Commercial Club, Chicago Chambers of Commerce: Aurora, III. Danville, III. East Chicago, III. Joliet, III. Sandwich, III. Chicago Council of Engineers Chicago Furniture Movers Assn. Chicago Telephone Company Commercial Photographers Assn. Consolidated Employment Agencies, Chicago Cressmore Country Club, Gary, Ind. DeWitt Observer, DeWitt, la. Druggist's Convention, Green Lake, Wis. Elkhorn County (Wis.) Bankers' Assn. Elks Lodges: Chicago Dixon, III. Harvey, III. Lake Forest, III. Oak Park, III. Valparaiso, Ind. Kewanee, III. Emanuel Methodist Church, Evanston, III. Executives Club, Chicago Farm Equipment Associations: Chicago Lansing, Mich. Milwaukee, Wis. Fisher Body Co., Lansing, Mich. Florists Telegraph Association, Chicago Friars Club, Chicago General Refrigerator Co., Beloit, Wis. Goodson & Wilson Co., Realtors, Chicago Grand Rapids Transportation Club Grenada Hotel, Chicago Ike Walton League Illinois Press Association Illinois Society of Public Accountants Independent Grocers Assn., West Baden, Ind. Indiana Bankers Assn., Indianapolis, Ind. John Sexton Company, Chicago Keith-Albee Circuit of Theaters Kenilworth (III.) Club Kiwanis Clubs: Downtown, Chicago Lancaster, Wis. Macomb, III. Melrose Park, III. Milwaukee, Wis. North Central, Chicago Rochester, Minn. Rockford, III. San Diego, Cal. Knights of Columbus Lions Clubs: Grand Rapids, Mich. Northwest, Chicago West Center, Chicago Logan Square Masonic Lodge, Chicago Lutheran Church, Clinton, la. Luther League, Capron, III. Lyceum & Chautauqua Assn., Winona Lake, Ind. Lyon & Healy, Chicago Masonic: Chicago & Vicinity Crawford Lodge Danville, III. Fair Oaks Lodge Harbor Lodge Logan Square Lodge McKinley Lodge Oak Park Lodge River Forest, III. Riverside Lodge Woodlawn Park Lodge Master Plumbers' Assn. of Illinois Medinah Temple Shrine, Chicago Michigan Teachers' Assn. Monarch Laundry Co., Chicago Moody & Waters Pie Co., Chicago National Commercial Teachers' Federation National Music Merchants Assn., Chicago National Retail Lumber Assn., Chicago Nixon Real Estate Co., Chicago North Oak Park Amusement Assn. Old Guards' Society of the Canning Industry Olds Motor Works, Lansing, Mich. Optimists Club, Sherman Hotel, Chicago Optimists Club, Columbus, Ohio Orpheum Circuit of Theaters Our Lady of Peace Parish, Chicago Pantages Circuit of Theaters Paul Revere Masonic Lodge, Chicago Peerless Paper Co., Chicago Perfumerer's Association, Chicago Phoenix Chair Co., Sheboygan, Wis. Piano Club, Chicago Piano Tuners Assn., Chicago Press Club, Chicago Printers & Supplymens Guild, Chicago Prosperity Club, Chicago Radio Stations: Columbia Broadcasting System W.G.N., Chicago W. B. B. M., Chicago Riverside Men's Club Rockford Teachers' Assn. Rotary Clubs: Albion, Mich. Albuquerque, New Mexico Beloit, Wis. Chicago Cleveland, Ohio Elkhart, Ind. Highland Park, III. Ironwood, Mich. Grand Rapids, Mich. Kankakee, III. Kansas City, Mo. Lancaster, Ohio Macomb, III. Manitowoc, Wis. Oak Park, III. Peoria, III. Phoenix, Ariz. Pueblo, Colo. Quincy, III. Santa Fe, New Mexico Stockton, Cal. Two Rivers, Wis. Waukesha, Wis. Wausau, Wis. Royal Arch Lodge, Kenosha, Wis. Sherwin-Williams Get-together Club Shrine Temples: Chicago Peoria, III. Simonds Saw Co., Chicago Skokie Country Club South Park Masonic Lodge, Chicago Sylvania Products Co., Chicago Tenninga Bros. & Co., Roseland, Chicago Track Supply Assn., Chicago Travelers Protective Assn., Champaign, III. Unity Nurses' Assn., Chicago Viking Temple, Chicago Wagon Men's Distributing Assn. Wanzer Milk Co., Chicago Western Electric Company, Chicago Western Railway Club, Chicago Western Vaudeville Circuit of Theaters Wisconsin Retail Market Men's Assn. Women's Clubs: Aurora, III. Chicago, Arche Chicago, Catholic Chicago, Northshore Edison Park, III. Joilet, III. Naperville, III. River Forest, III. Yellowstone Park Recreation Halls AXEL CHRISTENSEN HAS NEVER FAILED TO FULFILL AN ENGAGEMENT —HAS NEVER DISAPPOINTED AN AUDIENCE—HAS NEVER FAILED TO MAKE GOOD Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Further Comments FOR COMMERCIAL RADIO PROGRAMS Axel Christensen is especially equipped to serve commercial radio accounts. Giving a one-man show he enables the advertiser to save much on the talent cost of a radio campaign. During 1929 he gave nearly 100 15-minute programs on WGN, Chicago. At the time this is written he is engaged in giving a weekly noonday program over the Columbia Farm Network, through WBBM, Chicago. FOR RECORDING RADIO PROGRAMS He has done a great deal of recording and is prepared to furnish the material and record up to 100 15-minute programs on short notice. At KDKA, Pittsburgh: Axel Christensen, American king of syncopation, was one of the special features on the midnight program broadcast from the Pittsburgh Post Studio of Westinghouse Radio Station, KDKA, last night. Christensen, who is one of the first pianists to adopt the ragtime or syncopated style of playing, is a real attraction when it comes to broadcasting for the radio, as he has played for the leading stations of the country.— Pittsburgh Post. Regarding Mr. Christensen's Vaudeville Work: Laugh-making versatility is a strong point which the audience at the Hippodrome theater offering for the first half of this week appreciated to the evident satisfaction of Axel Christensen, styling himself a character pianologist, in the opener yesterday. Axel, in addition to shaking a mean finger on the piano, mightily amused the crowd with a series of character impersonations in dialect, and added to the fun in his self-appointed post of announcer for the balance of the show in a Bah Jove English accent.— Sacramento Union. Axel Christensen the headline act on the program at the Rialto is the same Christensen who has been heard on phonograph records, over the radio and who is also well known through the player piano rolls he has recorded. In Phoenix this is his second visit, and he was a bigger hit this time than before, which is 'saying a mouthful.' His pianologue is bright and snappy and his monologue great and his comedy utterly inescapable.— Phoenix Republican. Some of the leading lights of symphonic music have come out openly and declared Mr. Christensen's style of playing as the real American way of playing a number. To quote Modest Altschuler of the Boston Symphony Orchestra: 'There is no question but what the style of music Axel Christensen uses in his act is what the American audience wants to hear, for it is full of the typical pep, not to be found in any other race.'— Louisville Courier-Journal. Once before in our existence we heard Axel Christensen massage piano keys, and since then it has been one of our desires to hear him again. Last night it was granted. His debut came over radio, in the wee small hours, sometime last winter, in just such a program as he offers at the Palace; jazz with the Christensen touch. Axel need not depend on his radio reputation to secure him bookings for he is an artist. Red hot lively music is what he plays.— Rockford (Ill.) Morning Star. Axel Christensen made one of the biggest hits of the evening.— Ogden (Utah) Standard.
|Title||A Critical Survey of the Laugh Industry: with suggestions for your coming convention, banquet or entertainment, by Axel Christensen|
|Topical Subject (LCSH)||
|Personal Name Subject||Christensen, Axel|
|Digital Collection||Traveling Culture: Circuit Chautauqua in the Twentieth Century|
|Contributing Institution||University of Iowa. Libraries. Special Collections Dept.|
|Archival Collection||Redpath Chautauqua Collection|
|Rights Management||Educational use only, no other permissions given. U.S. and international copyright laws may protect this digital image. Commercial use or distribution of the image is not permitted without prior permission of the copyright holder.|
|Contact Information||Contact the Special Collections Dept. at The University of Iowa Libraries: http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/spec-coll/contact/index/|
|Number of Pages||6|
|Digitization Specifications||Scanned at 600 dpi, 32-bit color. Master image available in tiff format.|