Baby Boomer Alert! How Many Remember Crazy Guggenheim? (PHOTO, VIDEO)
Frank Fontaine was a big, burly handsome Irish baritone who could sing like an angel. Of course this was all hidden under his persona Crazy Guggenheim, the simple, gentle dim wit on the old Jackie Gleason Show.
With Gleason as “Joe the Bartender,” Crazy would saunter in from just off stage and order up a beer. He would then engage Joe in a story that twisted and turned its way to a hilarious ending that would send Gleason off on a roaring tear. It was always a highlight of the show. And then Gleason would ask someone to drop a coin in the jukebox and Crazy would launch into a sweet old favorite (“It Was Mary,” “My Wild Irish Rose,” “I Love You Dearly,” etc.) that would bring a thunderous clap of approval from the live studio audience.
Fontaine got his start on the Jack Benny Show and became a favorite on Gleason’s show for over five years. On the heels of his success on the Gleason show, he released an album of standard songs called Songs I Love To Sing On The Jackie Gleason Show. It went to Number One on the Billboard chart in 1963.
It is an oddity that another famous goofy comic on television was also proven to be a beautiful singer. Yes, I am talking about Jim “Gomer Pyle” Nabors!
He died of a heart attack on August 4, 1978.