Shelley Berman to be Guest of Honor at Doo Dah Parade

Comedian-Movie and TV Actor, Shelley Berman will be the honored guest at the City’s 25th annual Doo Dah Parade set for Sat., April 17 starting at noon. Active in show business for over 60 years, Berman has appeared most recently on TV with roles on numerous shows including Boston Legal, Hannah Montana, CSI-NY and on HBO’S Curb Your Enthusiasm for which he received a 2008 Emmy nomination.

Berman has also been featured in many movies including The Holiday with Cameron Diaz and Jack Black, Meet the Fockers with Robert DeNiro and Ben Stiller and You Don’t Mess with Zohan with Adam Sandler. He has also been in movies with Henry Fonda, Dick Van Dyke, Debbie Reynolds, Marty Feldman, Burt Reynolds and many others.

Berman first soared to fame as a ground breaking comedian. While working in New York as a writer for Steve Allen, Shelley received an invitation to join the Compass Players in Chicago. This group later evolved in the famed Second City ensemble. Here he worked with such legendary performers as Mike Nichols, Elaine May, Darden and Barbara Harris among others.

While performing with the Compass Players, the comedian began developing solo pieces employing an imaginary telephone to take the place of an on stage partner. While watching Mort Sahl’s act at Mister Kelly’s in Chicago, he realized he didn’t have to tell traditional jokes like other comedians of the day. He could just talk to himself. His unusual monologues caught on and soon he was performing throughout the country appearing on national television and recording his routines for Verve Records.

Inside Shelley Berman released in 1959 became the first comedy album awarded a gold record and the first non musical recording to win a Grammy. He would eventually record six albums for Verve, including Outside Shelley Berman and the Edge of Shelley Berman both of which also went gold.

Shelley went on to appear on numerous TV specials and all the major variety shows of the era, including Ed Sullivan, Steve Allen, Jack Paar, Dinah Shore, Perry Como, Andy Williams and Dean Martin. Shelley’s great success as an original comedian enabled him to continue with his first love, acting. He starred on Broadway in A Family Affair, The Odd Couple, Damn Yankees, Where’s Charley, Fiddler on the Roof, I’m Not Rappaport, La Cage Aux Follies, the Prisoner of Second Avenue, Guys and Dolls and many others.

Dramatic and Comedic roles on television also came his way including memorable appearances on Peter Gunn, The Twilight Zone, Rawhide, Bewitched, the Man from U.N.C.L.E, the Mary Tyler Moore Show, St. Elsewhere, Night Court, Walker, Texas Ranger, Friends, The King of Queens, Grey’s Anatomy among many.

Shelley continues to do film and television work, as well as headline in Las Vegas several times a year. He has authored three books, two plays, several TV pilot scripts and numerous poems.

For over 20 years he taught humor writing in the Master of Professional Writing Program at USC, where he is now Lecturer Emeritus. He spends what free time he has volunteering for various charitable organizations.

The City’s 25th Annual Doo Dah Parade will be dedicated to Soupy Sales, a great friend of Ocean City, who passed away late last year. The comedy program held after the Parade will feature a recreation of the Ed Sullivan Toast of Town Show. Berman, impersonators of legendary comedians and others will pay tribute to the irrepressible Soupy. Trudy Sales, Soupy’s wife and a former June Taylor dancer, will be grand marshal of the Parade. That’s on April 17, mark the date on your calendar.

A good way to celebrate VALENTINE’S DAY is to take your wife, girl friend or significant other to A Cabaret of Broadway Love Songs featuring past performers from Michael Hartman’s Ocean City Theater Company. The show is set for Sat., Feb.13 at the Music Pier auditorium, Boardwalk and Moorlyn Terrace, There will be a pre-show dessert reception at 7:15 p.m. with the show beginning at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 if purchased by Feb.12 and $15 the day of show. All tickets include show and reception. Tickets are available at the door, on line at ocnj.us or by calling 609-525-9300.  You can also buy them at City Hall Annex, 901 Asbury Ave., Mon.-Fri. from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

NEWS FROM THE DOG PARK! The Ocean City Dog Park Assn. will run a series of educational seminars to help people and dogs get along and safely enjoy our dog park. The first will be presented by Lee Mann, a Certified Master Trainer. The topic will be Dog Park Rules and Regulations at the Port O’Call, 15th and Boardwalk, on Sat., Feb.20 from 9:30 a.m. to 11a.m. A Continental Breakfast will be served. Please RSVP to ttwags@comcast.net.

CHOCOLATE JAMBOREE: Enjoy delicious chocolates and help a worthy cause. Two causes actually: The Ocean City Key Club Scholarship Club Fund and Manna at the Shore. The date is Thurs., Feb. 11, the time 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Ocean City High School cafeteria. Not only will there be chocolates but entertainment by that lively band 1-2-3 Draw, crafts and vendors from local businesses. Tickets are $6, available at lunch periods or at the door.

BLOOD DRIVE: The American Red Cross will hold a Blood Drive on Tues., Feb. 16 from 9a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Ocean City Sports and Civic Center, 6th and Boardwalk. Appointments are preferred. Please call 609-525-9365 or 609-399-6111.

TRACY GANNON passed away recently. There was a note about it on the obituary page last week. But it didn’t mention that Tracy fought all her life against a debilitating disease that made it necessary to break the bones in both her legs to straighten them out. She was plagued with health problems all of her 43 years because of this. Tracy moved to Ocean City in 1980. It was then that she came into my office and asked about organizing a charity bike-a-thon. She worked hard at it and did a great job. Rather than be concerned about herself, she became constantly involved in helping other people.

Tracy eventually moved to Florida. But she kept in contact with her friends through emails, poems, news about her family and her inspirational writings. Despite her adversities, Tracy raised three healthy daughters and was enjoying the company of a granddaughter, Madison. Tracy died suddenly in December. She was looking forward to returning to Ocean City, a place she truly loved, when she passed away. Her family held a Memorial service for her at the Music Pier because she told them she very much wanted to return here. Tracy’s ashes were buried at sea fifty miles off the shore. She would have liked to be closer, but fifty miles is the law. Somehow I know that Tracy will find a way to always be close to Ocean City.

Leave a Reply