Friday, December 5, 2014

Robert Orben's Gag, Joke and Patter Pamphlets

Robert Orben
In 1946, an 18 year old aspiring comedy writer and magician named Robert Orben, self-published his first "Gag book", a pamphlet called The Encyclopedia of Patter, and sold it in the magic/conjuror's shop in New York where he was working demonstrating magic tricks. Professional magicians who patronized the store began using his gags to add humor material to their acts, as well as professional comedians who would occasionally come into the store. The book also caught on with fledgling magicians and comics, (a young Steve Martin was an Orben fan), and with emcees.

Orben's first book

Orben photographed in the 1970's

Robert Orben also wrote material for comedians, among them Dick Gregory, Jack Paar, (for the Tonight Show), and for the 1960's Red Skelton show. Orben was hired as a consultant for Vice President Gerald Ford in 1973, and when Ford became President, Orben became his head speechwriter.

                                                   Special thanks to John Wendler

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