2 Animation Cel Drawings W.C. Fields Charlie McCarthy
William Claude Dukenfield (January 29, 1880– December 25, 1946), better known as W. C. Fields, was an American comedian, actor, juggler and writer. Fields was known for his comic persona as a misanthropic and hard-drinking egotist who remained a sympathetic character despite his snarling contempt for dogs, children and women. In Mother Goose Goes Hollywood W. C. Fields plays Humpty Dumpty. He inspects a bird’s nest with the words, “My Little Chickadee”, but discovers Charlie McCarthy sitting in it. He insults Fields who tries to attack him but then falls off the wall unto a mushroom which then resembles an egg cup. Later in the finale Fields plays double bass with Charlie McCarthy sitting on the instrument.
Charley McCarthy, a ventriloquist’s dummy (voiced by the comic genius Edgar Bergen) began in vaudeville, went on to radio and films, and became an absolute American icon. The popularity of a ventriloquist on radio, when one could see neither the dummies nor his skill, surprised and puzzled many critics, then and now. Even knowing that Bergen provided the voice, listeners perceived Charlie as a genuine person. Bergen’s skill as an entertainer, especially his characterization of Charlie, carried the show (many of which have survived). As a child and a wooden one at that, Charlie could get away with double entendre which were otherwise impossible under broadcast standards of the time. Nothing on the radio show was more famous or more funny than the “feud” between Charlie McCarthy and W.C. Fields. Many of their exchanges of insults were scripted, but many were ad libbed by Fields and Bergen who both enjoyed comedically challenging and kind of one-upping each other. W.C. Fields: “Well, Charlie McCarthy, the woodpecker’s pinup boy!” Charlie: “Well, if it isn’t W.C. Fields, the man who keeps Seagram’s in business!” Bergen: “Well Charley, W.C. Fields is almost here, I can see his nose just coming through the door.” Charlie: “Then it’ll be 5 minutes before he gets here.”