Schnozzola - The showbiz nickname
of James "Jimmy" Francis Durante, a popular Italian-American singer/comedian
with the big nose ("Schnozzola") who starred on the comedy
variety program THE JIMMY DURANTE SHOW/NBC/CBS/1954-57 (set in a small nightclub called Club Durant). At the
end of each weekly performance, Jimmy paused to say "And Good night,
Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are" and then slowly exit offstage
following a pathway made from overhead spot lights.
Mrs. Calabash was Jimmy's first wife, Jeanne Olsen. The word
"Calabash" referred to one of their favorite places. (reported as
being a reference to Calabash, a suburb in Chicago and Calabasas,
California where Jeanne Olsen was hospitalized before her death in
Jimmy career spanned vaudeville, radio, movies and finally
television. On TV, he appeared as a regular on the
musical/variety shows ALL STAR REVUE/NBC/1950-53; BUICK CIRCUS
HOUR/NBC/1952-53; THE COLGATE COMEDY HOUR/NBC/1953-54; TEXACO STAR
THEATER/NBC/1954-55; and JIMMY DURANTE PRESENTS THE LENNON
Jimmy also provided narration and song to the perennial favorite
Christmas cartoon "Frosty the Snowman" produced by Rankin and Bass in
Scene from "Frosty the Snowman"
In 1972, Jimmy ("The Schnoz") Durante suffered a stroke (leaving him
wheelchair bound). He died in 1980 and was buried at Holy
Cross Cemetery, Culver City in California.
Durante's catchphrases were "Everybody wants ta get inta
da act!", "I'm mortified!", "It's a catastrophe!", "Surrounded by
assassins!", and "Hotch-cha-cha-cha-cha!" His trademark
song was "Inka Dinka Doo."
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