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  • Hollywood is a place where people from Iowa mistake each other for movie stars.

    Fred Allen didn't like making movies. Part of the problem was that they made movies in Los Angeles, a town he hated but that gave him some of his sharpest material.

    Fred AllenFred's radio humor was literate and didn't amuse the camera. The disingenuousness that he disliked in radio was an accepted part of the movie business. His films were largely forgettable.

    Love Thy Neighbor (1940) is an attempt to prolong the laughs (and profits) of the famous Fred Allen/Jack Benny mock feud. Both ply their radio personas. Jack Benny has much more success in pictures playing a character other than Jack Benny. Fred seems more mean spirited than is necessary for the laughs the movie is after. Perhaps the less than glowing critical reviews of this film have as much to do with Fred Allen not being credited on the writing staff as the acting.

    It's In the Bag! (1945) is much better received by today's reviewers. The film is based on a Russian novel The Twelve Chairs. Fred plays the owner of a flea circus, Fred Trumble Floogle, who can never quite provide for his family. Suddenly he finds he has an inheritance from a murdered rich uncle. The inheritance turns out to be chairs, which Floogle sells, only to find out that the fortune, along with the evidence of the murder, is hidden in one of the chairs.

    We're Not Married (1952) is actually a quite fun star-filled romp lead by Fred and Ginger (Yes, that Ginger--Ginger Rogers, but not Fred Astaire, Fred Allen.) Also featured is Marilyn Monroe, Mitzi Gaynor, Zsa Zsa Gabor, and Eve Arden. Five couples discover that the Justice of the Peace that married them did so illegally, making their marriages void. Fred and Ginger are the sunny married hosts of a morning radio talk show who loathe each other off mic.

    Filmography

    Date Title Role
    1929 The Installment Collector Newspaper Editor
    1930 The Still Alarm Himself
    1935 Thanks a Million Ned Allen
    1938 Sally, Irene and Mary Gabriel 'Gabby' Green
    1940 Love Thy Neighbor Fred Allen
    1940 Buck Benny Rides Again Voice on Radio Show
    1945 It's In the Bag! Writer & Fred Trumble Floogle
    1947 March of Time Volume 14, No. 1 Himself
    1948 Behind Your Radio Dial Himself
    1951 Chesterfield Sound Off Time Himself
    1951 Your Show of Shows (TV episode) Himself
    1952 We're Not Married Steve Gladwyn
    1953 "Judge for Yourself" Himself / Host
    1953 Jack Benny Program (TV Show) Himself
    1950-1951 Colgate Comedy Hour (7 TV episodes) Himself / Host 
    1952 O. Henry's Full House Sam 'Slick' Brown (Ransom of Red Chief)
    1953-1956 What's My Line (67 TV episodes) Himself / Panelist / Mystery Guest
    1954 Armstrong Circle Theatre (TV episode) Narrarator
    1954 Fred Allen's Sketchbook (TV episode) Narrarator
    1956 The Christophers (TV episode) Narrarator
    1956 "Project XX" Narrarator
    1956 The Jazz Age Narrarator