Al Gordon, who wrote sketches for Jack Benny, the Smothers Brothers, and Flip Wilson, passed on 23 May 2012 at the age of 89.
Al Gordon was born on 21 April 1923 in Akron, Ohio. His parents moved to the Bronx in New York City not long after the beginning of the Great Depression. He was still attending Theodore Roosevelt High School in the Bronx when he joined the United States Army Air Forces. While he was station in the Azores an aeroplane carrying a group of entertainers had to make an emergency landing because of problems with the craft's engines. Mr. Gordon became friendly with two of the comedy writers in the troupe. Once World War II ended, one of the group of entertainers offered Al Gordon a job writing in Hollywood.
Following the war Al Gordon became a writing partner to Hal Goldman. The two went to work on The Jack Benny Programme in 1950. The two would write several episodes of the show, both on radio and on television, until it ended its run in 1965. In the Fifties Mr. Gordon would also write for such shows as The Pride of the Family, The Red Skelton Revue, and The Gale Storm Show.
In the Sixties Mr. Gordon wrote for such shows as Get Smart, F Troop, Captain Nice, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hourm and The Carol Burnett Show. He also wrote for several Jack Benny specials. In the Seventies Al Gordon wrote on NBC Follies, The Flip Wilson Show, The Odd Couple, Tony Orlando and Dawn, Carter Country, and Three's Company. In the Eighties he wrote episodes of Too Close for Comfort and 227.
Along with his writing partner Hal Goldman, Al Gordon had a gift for being able to write great material very swiftly. The two men could literally produce sketches ready for broadcast in less than 24 hours. Messrs. Gordon and Goldman worked on some of the funniest episodes of The Jack Benny Programme. In "The Isaac Stern Show," when Jack finally realises he is not a great violinist, Rochester and Mary Livingstone enlist Isaac Stern to convince him otherwise. In "Jack Goes to Doctor," Oscar Levant becomes convinced Jack has had a nervous breakdown and takes him to see a doctor. In "Jack Locked in the Tower of London" Jack is, well, locked in the Tower of London. Many of the great one liners Jack Benny uttered throughout the show were written by Al Gordon. He was quite simply one of the best comedy writers from the early days of television.