Monday, April 16, 2012

Lou Goldstein, 1921-2012.

Lou Goldstein, a man who beat me--and nearly everyone else--in Simon Sez died on April 2. You can read his "New York Times" obituary here:

For those of you not Jewish and not from New York, Goldstein worked at Grossinger's--a fancy, almost exclusively Jewish Catskill resort, as a tummler. The Times defined a tummler this way: "A tummler (pronounced TOOM-ler) is someone who stirs up tumult or excitement. He was a jack-of-all-trades social director who was supposed to amuse the hotel guests with jokes, songs and shtick that might be better described as slapshtick, as they sat by the pool, emerged from lunch or headed for bingo.

"Perhaps the classic illustration was given by Mel Brooks, himself a former tummler.

“A tummler wakes up the Jews when they fall asleep around the pool after lunch...One of the things I had to do as the pool tummler was, I used to do an act. I wore a derby and an alpaca coat, and I would carry two rock-laden cardboard suitcases and go to the edge of the diving board and say, ‘Business is no good!’ and jump off.”

The part that really got me from Goldstein's obit was his "exit line" which is simply a joke Goldstein used to tell:  There's a wife who tells her husband after a bitter argument that when he dies, she's going to dance on his grave. The husband goes to his lawyer the next day and adds a new clause in his will. He wants to be buried at sea.

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