"Charles," the great French lover
"Charles," one of Ed Walker's character voices, was patterned after matinee idol Charles Boyer. Boyer (1899-1978) appeared in nearly a hundred movies beginning in the silent films of the 1920s. He became best known as the prototype "French lover." Boyer never said "come with me to zee Casbah" on film, but his 1938 movie Algiers was set in the Casbah district of Algiers (the capital of Algeria, in north Africa).
Ed Walker says we had an album of Charles Boyer reciting poetry over some syrupy background music, and we used to play cuts from that... Willard liked it a lot. We played it mainly as a joke. And that's where the idea for "Charles" came from.
Boyer was always the suave, sophisticated type... the Joy Boys' "Charles"
didn't fare as well. Charles wanted to recite poetry or charm the
ladies, but something usually went wrong in the studio.
We have four of Charles' routines in our on-line collection:
Boyer inspired other comedic French lovers too, including the Warner Brothers cartoon character Pepe Le Pew. Even Pepe's name was a play on Pepe Le Moko, the character Boyer played in Algiers. Pepe Le Pew was created by a great WB animator, the late Chuck Jones. Click on the picture to hear Pepe's voice. (Pepe is, of course, a trademark of Warner Brothers.)
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