Marty Feldman

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Marty Feldman

Cut Signature

Bold autograph on 2″ x 5″ paper, affixed to parchment card.

MARTIN ALAN “MARTY” FELDMAN (1934-1982) was an English writer, comedian and actor, notable for bulging eyes, the result of a thyroid condition known as Graves’ disease.

In 1954, Feldman formed a writing partnership with Barry Took. For British television, they wrote situation comedies such as The Army Game, Bootsie and Snudge, and the BBC radio show Round the Horne, which starred Kenneth Horne and Kenneth Williams. This put Feldman and Took “in the front rank of comedy writers.”

The television sketch comedy series At Last the 1948 Show featured Feldman’s first screen performances. The other three performers needed a fourth and Brooke-Taylor and Cleese had Feldman in mind. In one sketch on 1 March 1967, Feldman harassed a patient shop assistant (John Cleese) for a series of fictitious books, achieving success with Ethel the Aardvark Goes Quantity Surveying. The sketch was revived as part of the Monty Python stage show and on Monty Python’s Contractual Obligation Album (both without Feldman).

Marty Feldman was co-author, with John Cleese, Graham Chapman and Tim Brooke-Taylor, of the “Four Yorkshiremen” sketch, which was also written for At Last the 1948 Show. The “Four Yorkshiremen” sketch was performed during Amnesty International concerts (by members of Monty Python – once including Rowan Atkinson in place of Python member Eric Idle), as well as during Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl and other Monty Python shows and records. This has led to the “Four Yorkshiremen” sketch being considered a Python sketch, the origin and co-authorship by non-Python writers Marty Feldman and Tim Brooke-Taylor overlooked or forgotten. Feldman was also script editor on The Frost Report with future members of Monty Python. He wrote the “Class” sketch, Cleese, Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett facing the audience in descending order of height declaring their social status.

Feldman’s performances on American television included The Dean Martin Show and Marty Feldman’s Comedy Machine. On film, he was Igor (pronounced “EYE-gore”) in Young Frankenstein where many lines were improvised. Gene Wilder says he had Feldman in mind when he wrote the part. At one point, Dr Frankenstein (Wilder) scolds Igor with the phrase “Damn your eyes!” Feldman turns to the camera, points to his misaligned eyes, grins and says, “Too late!”

Feldman appeared in The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother and Mel Brooks’ Silent Movie, as well as directing and starring in The Last Remake of Beau Geste. He guest-starred in the “Arabian Nights” episode of The Muppet Show.

Marty Feldman


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