Friday, April 30, 2021

Z is for Zero,

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter Z

                                                                                Zero Mostel
                                                                                Years lived before 1921: Six
                                                                                Years lived after 1921: Fifty Six

When I think of Zero Mostel, I think of Tevye from Fiddler On The Roof. I never saw him on Broadway and he was not in the motion picture version.  However I listened to the Broadway album many times as a kid and now own it on c.d.  He put his stamp on that role more than any other actor ever had.  

 Born Samuel Joel Mostel, he received the moniker Zero when performing  in the New York night club, cafe society because "he was a guy starting with nothing.  

Besides being a night club comic, he worked on the stage, in movies, and on television.  This career was derailed somewhat in the 40's and 50's as he was blacklisted in Hollywood before there even was a blacklist.  In 1952 he was officially blacklisted by the House of Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) and called to testify in front of HUAC in 1955.  His testimony is very reminiscent of Jim Carey's character's testimony in The Majestic.  One highlight is when he refers to his former employer 20th Century Fox as 19th Century Fox because of (in his opinion) their antiquated views.

By reading this it is pretty easy to infer that Zero Mostel was a little odd.  So it didn't surprise me that his 3 Tony awards were in odd years.  In 1961 He won best actor in a play for Rhinoceros.  In 1963 he won his first Best Actor in a Musical Tony for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Forum, and In 1965 he won his secon Best Actor in a Musical Tony for his career defining role in Fiddle on the Roof.  

Speaking of Broadway, Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder starred together in Mel Brook's movie The Producers which years later became a Broadway smash.  Mostel and Wilder reunited in the famous Electric Company segment Letter Man with Wilder voicing the title hero and Mostel in the role of the evil Spellbinder.  

Mostel also appeared on Sesame Street and the Muppet Show.  He is the only guest star on The Muppet Show who passed away before their episode could be aired.  Mostel is one of at least 3 of my a to z profiles who hosted The Muppet Show, the other two are Peter Ustinov and Ethel Merman.  Now that the A to Z challenge is over, I may watch all 3 of those episodes on the Disney Plus App with the extra time coming my way. 

So that's it 1921 A to Z has come to an end.  I wonder what anybody might say about it 100 years from now.

A To  Z Extra

Some of my Faavorite Electric Company Segments  at Dave Out Loud. This of course includes Mostel as the Spellbinder. 

   After you've looked at the additional content on my other blogs head back to The A to Z challenge and  continue exploring.  

1 comment:

John Holton said...

Congratulations on finishing the Challenge! Yours was an excellent theme!