Here’s one from way at the back of the 24/7 Comedy vault. It’s the debut album for two great comedians, George Carlin and Jack Burns. Although this says ‘Playboy Club’ it was actually recorded at Cosmo's Alley in Hollywood not long after the duo arrived in Los Angeles in 1960. It would be several years before the two would record again. George Carlin would pop up next in 1967 after making a name for himself as a solo act with variety show appearances, and Jack Burns would team up with Avery Schreiber for a successful run of Lps in the early ‘70s.
Note that at the first of the bit it’s Jack who’s identifying himself as ‘Biff Burns’, which is a DJ name that Carlin would use for several years later in his WINO radio bits. Even in this early recording you can see the roots of several later characters beginning.
Although some sources put this album release at 1962 or 1963, it’s clear that it’s a 1960 release on Era because it’s Lp #103. The next album release on Era was Lp #104, Mister Larry Verne, which played off of his ‘Mister Custer’ record, one of the biggest comedy hits of 1960.
ORIGINAL LP NOTES:
The world has known many great teams-Adam and Eve, Stanley and Livingstone, Sears and Roebuck, spaghetti and meat- balls. Now, to this lustrous list are added the names of Burns and Carlin.
Burns and Carlin? You don't know?
Well, let it be stated here and now that Burns and Carlin are very well known to their families and a small circle of intimate friends. For those whose lives have not yet been enriched, let us state further that Burns and Carlin are comedians, and twice as funny as most comedians. Because there are two of them.
There is no truth to the rumor that Era Records chose to make an album of Burns and Carlin because they were the only two comedians left. There were other reasons. Like comedians are notorious egomaniacs, so it was safe to assume that Burns and Carlin would themselves buy enough albums to get Era off the hook.
For people around the country who might say, "Where have I heard that name before?" or "Where have l heard that voice before?" (or, heaven forbid, "Where have I heard that joke before?") a few biographical notes might be in order.
Jack Burns is not George Burns, although this wouldn't be such a bad idea for an aspiring young comic. Born in Massachusetts, Jack spent about twenty years reaching the age of twenty and shortly thereafter joined the Marines. Life as a leatherneck gave him courage enough to try anything, so he became a post-war actor in an off-Broadway production of "Tea and Sympathy." It turned out that he needed more tea and sympathy than New York could offer so he returned home to Boston and became a radio announcer.
Meanwhile, back in New York City, George Carlin had been born. He learned how to play one-old-cat, teased girls, survived a case of adolescent pimples, and when the war came he joined the Air Force. By spending most of his time as a commercial disc jockey in Ft. Worth, he managed not to impede the Allied effort and victory soon was ours. For reasons thus far unrevealed, he subsequently moved to Boston.
As the old witch sighed when they set her afire, "'Tis the hand of Fate that rocks the cradle of liberty." Which may explain how Jack and George happened to meet in Boston. Influenced no doubt by the Reverend Edward Payson Steagle who was once heard to say, "East is East and West is West and North is North and South is South," Jack and George migrated to Texas, where they continued their radio careers and collected free drinks by telling jokes out loud in Ft. Worth night clubs.
With Aimee Semple McPherson long gone and artichokes growing like mad up around Santa Cruz, Jack and George figured that California, or more particularly Hollywood, was where they really belonged. So they wrapped up their act and came west. Employed by radio station KDAY as disc jockeys, they escaped the attention of the Federal Communications Commission long enough to jolly up goodly portions of early-rising Los Angeles, including Murray Becker.
Becker heard the boys and quickly concluded that they had a much bigger potential than competing with time signals, freeway reports and stomach tranquilizers. So he became their manager and co-writer (on both material and loans) and booked them into a fashionable beatnik bistro called Cosmo Alley. Here they were an overnight sensation, eliciting such critical responses as "fabulous comic duo," "new comedy team smash hit," "hilarious performance," "dull and disgusting," "scintillating satire marks debut," etc.
Jack Paar’s far-flung scouts lost no time in grabbing Burns and Carlin for the insomnia circuit and then Playboy Magazine (the Good Housekeeping of people who keep houses) adopted young Jack and young George as their very own and now, Directly, from the Playboy Club (whatever and wherever that is) the waiting world can it long last hear the not sick but definitely ailing humor of lnside-out Burns and Outside-in Carlin. Their minds are more unbuttoned than buttoned-down and they agree with Admiral John Sahl Jones who assured his men as they rowed towards the flagship, "ln the future lies ahead."