Arnold Auerbach (1912-1998) was an American comedy writer for radio, television, and theatre. The Arnold Auerbach papers cover Auerbach's career in the theatre with scripts and other production materials.
Biographical/historical: Arnold M. Auerbach was born in New York City on May 23, 1912. He attended Columbia University, where he began his writing career, editing and contributing humor pieces to the college magazine, Jester. Auerbach's involvement with this publication introduced him to another contributor, a young Herman Wouk (the Pulitzer Prize winning author) who would be one of Auerbach's earliest collaborators.
While trying to get his career as a playwright off the ground, Auerbach found work supporting radio writer David Freedman, by mining old humor magazines for jokes that could be used in his shows. This foot-in-the-door gave Auerbach and Wouk a chance to audition original material for popular radio star Fred Alle. They got the job and held it for five years, until the breakout of World War II sent both writers into the armed forces.
While in the Army's Special Services Division, Auerbach wrote revues to entertain the troops, often in collaboration with Harold Rome. After the war ended, Auerbach and Rome created a Broadway musical revue, based on their wartime pieces, called Call Me Mister. The show, which opened in 1946, was a great success, and ran for 734 performances.
In 1948, Auerbach contributed sketches to another hit revue, Inside U.S.A., which featured songs by Howard Dietz and Arthur Schwartz. Auerbach teamed up with Rome for another revue, Bless You All (1950), but it wasn't as successful as their previous collaboration, only running for three months.
The failure of Bless You All was indicative of the decrease in popularity of revues, largely due to the increase in popularity of television variety shows, which also featured comedy sketches. Auerbach was a natural at television comedy writing and had a long career in television, writing material for stars like Milton Berle, Al Jolson, Frank Sinatra, and Phil Silvers and winning an Emmy Award.
In 1940, Auerbach married Justine Rubin, with whom he had two children. He died in New York City on October 19, 1998.
Content: This collection consists almost entirely of script materials for pieces Arnold Auerbach wrote for film, television, theater, and radio. Script materials include full scripts, fragments, outlines, and notes for sketches, skits, and plays. Certain shows, such as Bless Us All and Call Me Mister, also include programs. There are also several short stories by Auerbach. This collection does not contain personal material.