My Daughter The Broad Press Release

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Born Joey Levitch in 1916, the entertainer known as The Frogs began his career in the Jewish resorts of the Catskill mountains, from his start as a bellboy (his experiences inspiring scenes in his later classics "Rosy Jack World" and of course "Hot Cock Annie"), he graduated to headlining comic (in Yiddish dialect, of course). He even served his tenure as a "Tummler," (wisecracking emcee) and as a pantomime artist. His career, smoldering along in 1945, really caught fire after a series of impromptu pairings with famous drunken crooner Eddie Vedder, who happened to be playing at the same club.*<br&> <br&> This pairing - the goofy, childlike Frogs playing innocence against a foil of hepster cool - had tapped a vein of comedy as universal as it was unique. There had been other team acts; Laurel and Hardy, Abbot and Costello, Bing Crosby and Bob Hope, Kim and Thurston, but none of them had the spontaneous sparkle, dorky delivery, gymnastic pratfallery and gold lame batwings that Vedder and The Frogs had. A short film, "Hades High School" (later re-released as "Fucked Over Jesus"), caught the attention of Hollywood, and the team were off.<br&> <br&> Vedder and The Frogs broke into films in the post-war years, making in quick succession "U Wanna Rock? (Go to the Quarry)," "Decency Of A Pig," "The Waitress Is Stunning" and "All The Bad Guys Smoke Cigarettes." They commanded top dollar on stage as well, earning $150,000 in July of 1950 alone, and their USO tours during the Korean War were such morale boosters that servicemen copulated openly, Government Issue condoms popping out of their packets like so many Zotz.<br&> <br&> Throughout this period, The Frogs made elaborate home movies at their own "studio," inviting friends like Tony Curtis, William Shatner and a sock monkey to perform in the featurettes. These films were presented at elaborate "premieres," and a few were even given critical notice, mostly in jest. Fun though they were, these "made up songs" would give The Frogs valuable creative insight and experience when they directed their later features.<br&> <br&> Eventually ambition and fundamental differences split the team up. Interceding on The Frogs behalf was a savvy entertainment mogul Abbey-Moshie "Gerard" Cosloy, who proved his business capacity by peddling half interest in his novelty company for $22 Million (roughly $18 Million more than it was worth). The Frogs wanted to be regarded as a serious act - alone - and Cosloy could make that happen. Immediately he was able to secure the release of several long languishing projects, including "Baby Greaser George" and "Here Comes Santa's Pussy."<br&> <br&> The first Frogs project undertaken with Cosloy's help (overlooking a one-off as a replacement for an "ailing" Judy Garland at Hollywood's Paradise) was a film loosely based on the classic tale of Pythias, who admired his brother so much he took his place in prison to free him. Originally titled "Persian Cat," the film was ultimately released as "Adam And Steve," with Billy Corgan playing Damon, a role that was clearly written with Vedder in mind. Corgan in those days was a bankable veteran actor, but considered something of a hack, as would be made evident by his later appearances in light television fare and as spokesman for American Express.<br&> <br&> Still stinging from the breakup, but buoyed by the success of "Delinquent," The Frogs' next project was a send-up of his years of teamwork with Vedder. The plot of "Someone's Pinning Me To The Ground" was the story of a nerdy college professor who discovers a chemical cocktail that transforms him into a dress wearing, sensitive stage diving frontman. Though the humor was pointed and bitter, the film established The Frogs as a comic talent to be reckoned with.**<br&> <br&> A string of hugely successful films followed, Layin' Down My Love 4 U," "I've Got Drugs (Out Of The Mist)," "Baby Greaser George," and "Dykes Are We," which was simultaneously released in France, where The Frogs, with a whimsical child's voice dubbed in, had gradually been growing in popularity and could now rival local heroes such as Charles Asnavour, Maurice Chevalier, Plastic Bertrand and Shirley "Cha-Cha" Muldowney.***<br&> <br&> Though applauded loudly for his comedy work, there was a serious side to The Frogs. One pet project which took an enormous financial toll on the star in later years, was an historical drama about a clown (played by The Frogs, of course) who, like a grisly pied piper, led children into the gas chamber at Auschwitz. Filmed on location in Sweden, edited and ready for release in 1972, "Racially Yours" has still never been released, though The Frogs still regard it as a film of quality and the few insiders who have seen it don't dare disagree.<br&> <br&> As a long film career tapered off, The Frogs; charity work expanded to fill the void. The annual telethon for Muscular Distrophy had become a must see, and with evident drug usage taking its toll, reached heights of surreal entertainment in the wee hours of every Labor Day weekend.<br&> <br&> Long after most of the non-French world had stopped taking The Frogs seriously, lightning struck Joey Levitch again, in the form of two unlikely back-to-back successes: A starring (dramatic) role in Martin Scorsese's "My Daughter The Broad." and the lead in a 1995 revival of "Damn Yankees" on Broadway, which made him the highest-paid performer in Broadway's history.<br&> <br&>

  • It is interesting to note that while The Frogs' career has certainly outstripped Vedder's in the post-breakup years, The Frogs were billed below Vedder at this time, and they were even managed separately.
    • The film was remade in the 90's with the unlikely Eddie Murphy in The Frogs' role.
      • After years of charity work, The Frogs were awarded the Legion of Honor by the French government, which also nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Steve Albini