Riff Markowitz

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Rafael (Riff) Markowitz (born 1938) is a Canadian-American television and theatre producer,[1] most recently the managing director, MC and co-founder of The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies,[2] which performed at the historic Plaza Theatre in downtown Palm Springs, California until 2014.


Markowitz was born in New York City but grew up in Toronto.[1]

He ran away from home at the age of 15, worked as a clown for a year, then secured a job as a radio announcer on CJKL in Kirkland Lake, Ontario.[1] He later moved into television with CHCH-TV in Hamilton, producing several of the station's early forays into television syndication, including The Randy Dandy Show,[3] The Hilarious House of Frightenstein,[3] and Party Game.[3]

He was also a television personality, both as the titular Randy Dandy in The Randy Dandy Show and as announcer "Gardiner Westbound" on Party Game.

He was also a producer on The Wolfman Jack Show,[4] creator and executive producer of the HBO TV series The Hitchhiker,[1] and a cofounder of the early Canadian pay television movie channel First Choice.[1]

He moved to Palm Springs in 1991 intending to retire, but his continuing interest in theatre led to the offer to restore a vaudeville theatre, which became home to The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d e "One man's unbridled folly: In a 'little jewel box of a theatre,' Torontonian Riff Markowitz has wowed a million-and-a-half visitors with corny jokes and a cancan line-up of knock-out octogenarians." The Globe and Mail, April 18, 1998.
  2. ^ "Long live our lust for lingerie". The Globe and Mail, March 25, 2006.
  3. ^ a b c "How a publicity hunting TV mini-tycoon turns shy". Toronto Star, January 8, 1972.
  4. ^ "Wolfman's show slick and flashy but definitely not Canadian". The Globe and Mail, October 6, 1976.
  5. ^ Biller, Steven; Kleinschmidt, Janice (October 2007). "The Influencers". Palm Springs Life.

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