Karl Farkas in 1951
28 October 1893|
|Died||16 May 1971
In accordance with the wishes of his parents, he was to study law, but decided to follow the call of the stage. After attending the Academy of Music and Acting Arts in Vienna, he debuted in Olmütz as Tsarevich, in a play by Gabryela Zapolska.
After various stage appearances in Austria and Moravia, he returned to Vienna in 1921, where he was engaged by Egon Dorn, the director of the Kabarett Simpl. There he worked as a 'Blitzdichter' (nickname: the Tick), and performed together with Fritz Grünbaum in a Doppelconférence, a cabaret number created in Budapest and consisting of a dialogue between two actors, one of whom plays a clever and educated interlocutor while the other has the role of a blunderer.
He married Anny Hán in 1924. Under the Nazi regime in 1938, he was forced to become a refugee because of his Jewish descent, going first to Brno, then Paris and ending up in New York. There he performed for other exiles and wrote his book of poems Farkas entdeckt Amerika (Farkas discovers America). Moreover, he wrote the libretto to Kálmán's operetta Marinka.
In 1946, he returned to Vienna, and from 1950 on, he performed at the Simpl again, now as its director, a role in which he remained until his death.
From 1957 onward, he appeared on a regular basis in broadcasting and later on the Austrian TV channel, ORF. Very popular were his Balances, e.g. balance of the year, balance of the month, etc.
Farkas also is the main character in the Austrian revue comic book Der Bloede und der Gscheite (engl.: The Stupid and the Smart One), released in 2014, drawn by illustrator Reinhard Trinkler and based on the classic 'Doppelconférences' by Hugo Wiener.
- Journal der Liebe. Revue written in 1926 together with Fritz Grünbaum to music by Egon Neumann.
- Wien lacht wieder!. Revue written in 1926 together with Fritz Grünbaum to music by Ralph Benatzky.
- Die Wunder-Bar. Musical comedy written in 1929 together with Géza Herczeg to music by Robert Katscher.
- Der Traumexpreß. Revue written in 1931 together with Fritz Grünbaum to music by Robert Katscher.
- Dixie. Ein Musikalischer Kriminalroman in 5 Kapiteln: Revue written in 1938 together with Adolf Schütz to music by Michael Krasznay-Krausz.
- Marinka. Operetta written in 1945 together with George Marion Jr. to music by Emmerich Kálmán.
- Also sprach Farkas. Heiteres von Karl Farkas. Halm & Goldmann, Vienna 1930, with drawings by Matouschek.
- Farkas entdeckt Amerika. Funny book of poems, Triton Publishing Company, New York 1942, with drawings by Hans Burger
- Zurück ins Morgen. Paramount Printing and Publishing Co., New York 1946, with drawings by Matouschek.
- By Candlelight, directed by James Whale (1933, based on the musical comedy Bei Kerzenlicht)
- Wonder Bar, directed by Lloyd Bacon (1934, based on the musical comedy Die Wunder-Bar)
- Celebrating Democracy?: The U. S. in the Writings of Austrian Refugees from Totalitarianism. Article by Walter Hölbling. (English)
- Biography of Karl Farkas on the website of Vienna Tourist Guide. (German)
- Jewish intellectuals and artists. Article by Alfred Stalzer, Vienna Tourist Board. 2015.
- Larisch-Wallersee, Marie Louise Gräfin. Article on the website Austria Forum. (English).
- Zwei alte Wiener als Gondoliere. (Two old Viennese as gondoliers.) Excerpt of a Doppelconférence with Karl Farkas and Ernst Waldbrunn on the website of Österreischische Mediathek. (German).