The Modesto Bee – Jun 21, 1977
A Man Of Many Voices
Alan Reed, who died the other day at age 69, was one of those actors whose ability to change voices and dialects was so essential to the golden age of radio.
At one time he was appearing on 35 shows a week. As one character or another, he was part of the lives of those who are now middle-aged or older.
Within this distinguished one-man cast of characters, our particular favorite was Falstaff Openshaw, the ham actor whom comedian Fred Allen encountered on his Sunday strolls down “Allen’s Alley.”
The acidic Allen, bemused after coping with Sen. Claghorn (Thass a joke, son!), Titus Moody (Howdy, Bub) and Mrs. Nussbaum (you was expecting maybe Eleanor Rosenfeld?), was never able toget away before Falstaff, in that plump, stagey voice proclaimed:
“I have wrrit-ten a po-em.”
Then, despite Fred Allen's protests he would read it. Worse doggerel you’ve never heard.
That’s the way it went, week after week. It was the comedy of characterization, anticipation, familiarity. It was not mean, or sick, or self-indulgent. It wore well.
That’s why some of us felt we had lost a friend when Alan Reed died.