Jack Pearl

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Jack Pearl
Jack Pearl (1952).jpg
Pearl in 1952
Jack Perlman

(1894-10-29)October 29, 1894
New York City, U.S.
DiedDecember 25, 1982(1982-12-25) (aged 88)
New York City, U.S.
Resting placeMount Hebron Cemetery
  • Actor
  • Vaudevillian
Years active1932–1952
Spouse(s)Winnie Desbrought

Jack Pearl (born Jack Perlman; October 29, 1894 – December 25, 1982) was a vaudeville performer and a star of early radio. He was best known for his character Baron Munchausen.[1]

Vaudeville and early films[edit]

Poster for Meet the Baron (1933)

Born in New York, Pearl debuted as an entertainer in School Days, Gus Edwards's vaudeville act.[2]

He made the transition from vaudeville to broadcasting when he introduced his character Baron Munchausen on The Ziegfeld Follies of the Air in 1932. His creation was loosely based on the Baron Munchausen literary character. As the Baron, Pearl would tell far-fetched stories with a comic German accent. When the straight man (originally Ben Bard, but later Cliff Hall) expressed skepticism, the Baron replied with his familiar tagline and punchline: "Vass you dere, Sharlie?" ("Was you there, Charlie?"). This catch phrase soon became part of the national lexicon.

Typical of the dialogue:

Hall: You seem to be effervescent tonight.
Munchausen: Haff you effer seen me ven I effer vasn't?

Pearl played this character and others in Broadway musical revues of the 1920s and 1930s: The Dancing Girl (1923), Topics of 1923 (1923–1924), A Night in Paris (1926), Artists and Models (1927–1928), Pleasure Bound (1929), International Review (1930), Ziegfeld Follies of 1931, Pardon My English (1933) and All for All (1943).[3]

In 1923, Pearl and Wilkie Bard appeared in early tests of the Lee DeForest sound-on-film process Phonofilm which are now in the UCLA Film and Television Archive.


Jack Pearl's 1934 book based on his radio scripts

Pearl's radio career included stints as the host of The Lucky Strike Hour (1932–34) and The Jack Pearl Show,[4]: 170  which ran from late 1936 through early 1937, sponsored by Raleigh and Kool Cigarettes.[5]

The success of his first radio series brought him to the attention of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. He starred as his character in one feature film, Meet the Baron (1933)[2] with Jimmy Durante, Edna May Oliver, ZaSu Pitts and the Three Stooges. He also appears in Ben Bard and Jack Pearl (1926), a film of their vaudeville act made in the DeForest Phonofilm sound-on-film process, and Hollywood Party (1934).

With the cancellation of his second radio series, Pearl found himself struggling to find work. He continued in radio with shows like, Jack and Cliff (1948),[4]: 166-167  The Pet Milk Show (1950),[4]: 269  and The Baron and the Bee (1952), a quiz show,[4] but he never recaptured his mid-1930s fame.

In 1934, a juvenile novel, Jack Pearl as Detective Baron Munchausen, was based on his radio scripts. On February 8, 1960, he received a star at 1680 Vine Street on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his radio work.[6] Pearl died in New York in 1982.

He was an uncle to the agent and producer Bernie Brillstein.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Pearl was married to Winifred Desborough.[8]


Year Title Role Notes
1927 Two Flaming Youths Pearl
1933 Meet the Baron The Famous Baron Munchausen of the Air
1934 Hollywood Party Baron Munchausen

Listen to[edit]


  1. ^ Rayno, Don (2003). Paul Whiteman: Pioneer in American Music. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 365. ISBN 9780810882041. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Erickson, Hal (2014). From Radio to the Big Screen: Hollywood Films Featuring Broadcast Personalities and Programs. McFarland. pp. 50–53. ISBN 9781476615585. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
  3. ^ "Jack Pearl". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Archived from the original on July 7, 2018. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d Terrace, Vincent (1999). Radio Programs, 1924-1984: A Catalog of More Than 1800 Shows. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 33. ISBN 978-0-7864-4513-4.
  5. ^ "The Jack Pearl Show". OTRRpedia. Retrieved April 6, 2011.
  6. ^ "Jack Pearl". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Archived from the original on July 7, 2018. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
  7. ^ Frank Rose, The Agency: William Morris and the Hidden History of Show Business, 1995, New York: Harper, p. 261.
  8. ^ Albert, Dora (March 7, 1937). "Why Jack Pearl Came Back". Detroit Free Press. Michigan, Detroit. p. 100. Retrieved July 6, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. open access

External links[edit]