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12/22/2009

Arnold Stang's memorable part in "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World"

December 22, 2009 | 11:37 am


 



"It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World," Stanley Kramer's wacky 1963 comedy, featured an incredible ensemble cast on an odyssey to the Big W in search of 350 G's! The movie starred Spencer Tracy, Milton Berle, Sid Caesar, Ethel Merman, Jonathan Winters and more. Sprinkled throughout the film is a who's who of comedy, with cameos by such names as Buster Keaton, Jack Benny, Bob Hope, the Three Stooges and Jerry Lewis. The list goes on and on, and Arnold Stang, who died Sunday at age 91, is on it. He was Ray, who along with Irwin (played by Marvin Kaplan), had just opened a spanking-new service station in the desert that truck driver Lennie Pike (Winters' character) demolishes after becoming enraged by Phil Silvers' Otto Meyer.

It's one of my favorite scenes in a movie that is filled with hilarious bits. What do you remember about the movie? How about Berle's J. Russell Finch ranting to Terry-Thomas' J. Algernon Hawthorne in the jeep about how much America helped out Britain after World War II? Or Melville Crump (Caesar) assuring his wife (Edie Adams), "It's just a little explosion, Monica" in the basement of the hardware store? Or Capt. G.C. Culpepper (Tracy) holding two telephones up to each other so his wife Ginger and daughter Billie Sue can carry on a conversation?

You can read Dennis McLellan's obituary of Arnold Stang here.

-- Claire Noland

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