In January, 1950 while reflecting upon a career that had begun in 1909, Eddie Cantor put together a one-man show especially tailored for presentation on the college lecture circuit. Titled My Forty Years in Show Business, this solo revue opened at the University of Maine and was well-received at a number of other schools. On March 21 1950 Cantor brought the show to Carnegie Hall on 7th Avenue in New York City. This booking was instigated by producers Felix Gerstman and Ken Rossey, with substantial financial backing by an 18-year-old Cantor enthusiast named Joe Franklin. Accompanied by pianists Arthur Siegel and George Tibboth, the comedian played to a full house with several hundred seats added on-stage to accommodate as many fans as possible. His autobiographical monologues were interspersed with vintage vaudeville routines, and hit tunes like "Makin' Whoopee," "Ma, He's Makin' Eyes at Me," "Margie," "Dinah," "Ida, Sweet as Apple Cider," and "If You Knew Susie." Critical response was uniformly positive, with several reviewers rating it with the best shows of the season. Rather than opting for what would have been a successful run on Broadway, Cantor chose to hit the road for a long series of one-nighters in more than 30 cities nationwide. A similar tour a couple of years later recycled much of the same material and format, with one poignant philanthropic difference, as the entire run was a benefit for the Red Cross Blood Drive. Anybody wanting to see Cantor on that tour could gain free admission by donating blood. Over the course of 14 days, more than 50,000 pints of plasma were donated to this worthy cause as a direct result of Cantor's efforts. In 1960, Audio Fidelity Records produced an album conveying the false impression that it contained actual footage of Cantor's Carnegie Hall concert. Released in 1962 as A Date with Eddie Cantor, this was a studio-crafted imitation of the concert with laughter and applause dubbed in. Eddie Cantor's 92-minute Complete Original Carnegie Hall Concert soundtrack was eventually unearthed by his grandson Brian Gari and released as a double-CD by Original Cast Records in 1992. While Cantor's older studio recordings might be preferable for those who enjoy that kind of presentation, the expanded theatrical narrative of the Carnegie Hall Concert endures as an excellent way to experience a whimsical account of his life and work, presented by Cantor on the boards and in his element while literally surrounded by a warm and appreciative audience.
AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2