Posted at 12:32 AM on September 7, 2012
by John Birge
Sid Caesar turns 90 tomorrow. He's a legend in comedy, but he started out in music.
When he was 14, he played saxophone in jazz bands in the Catskills. He studied music at Juilliard for a while, but also started incorporating comedy sketches in his band performances.
In 1939 he joined the Coast Guard band and collaborated on military shows with the famous songwriter Vernon Duke (composer of Autumn in New York, April in Paris, and Taking a Chance on Love). Eventually, Sid Caesar's comedy got more applause than his music, and a star was born.
Early live television made Sid Caesar famous around the country for his innovative writing and improvisation, like the famous "Argument to Beethoven's Fifth," in which Sid Caesar and Nannette Fabray play a married couple in a argument pantomimed to classical music. The video is online now at our Classical Notes blog.
Be sure to watch to the very end!
After that you can watch his spoof the Grieg Piano Concerto, and see Sid Caesar and Imogen Coca blow up the 1812 Overture.