Olsen and Johnson

Definition

Theater

  • The US vaudeville stars Ole Olsen (John Olsen; 1892 - 1963)and Chic Johnson (Harold Johnson; 1892 - 1962), who billed themselvesas the "Comic Nuts, Kings of Cacophony, Unconventionality andConviviality." Their "scream-lined" masterpieceHellzapoppin (1938) still holds the record run for a revue,lasting for 1404 performances before becoming a film in 1942. Despiteits original success, a 1977 revival starring the comedian Jerry Lewisflopped.

    Olsen, who began as a vaudeville pianist, teamed up with Johnson,a violinist, at the 14th Street Music Hall in 1915. By 1922 the pairhad become stars of the Ziegfeld Follies. They appeared onBroadway in Monkey Business of 1926 and had another successwith Atrocities of 1932. After filming three comedies for WarnerBrothers, Olsen and Johnson took Broadway by storm with Hellzapoppinat the 46th Street Theatre. In 1941 they returned with a similar formatin Sons of Fun at the Winter Garden Theatre.

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