Fred Allen

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Imitation is the sincerest form of television.

Fred Allen (31 May 189417 March 1956), born John Florence Sullivan, was an American comedian and radio host.


  • A molehill man is a pseudo-busy executive who comes to work at 9 am and finds a molehill on his desk. He has until 5 pm to make this molehill into a mountain. An accomplished molehill man will often have his mountain finished even before lunch.
  • A celebrity is a person who works hard all his life to become known, then wears dark glasses to avoid being recognized
    • Treadmill to Oblivion.
  • I'm a little hoarse tonight. I've been living in Chicago for the past two months, and you know how it is, yelling for help on the way home every night. Things are so tough in Chicago that at Easter time, for bunnies the little kids use porcupines.
    • Much Ado About Me (1956).
  • All the sincerity in Hollywood you could stuff in a flea's navel and still have room left to conceal eight caraway seeds and an agent's heart.
    • From a lost letter to Kenny Delmar quoted in Earl Wilson's syndicated column (May 1959).
  • A good comedian can say things funny and other guys just say funny things.
    • Attributed by Robert Lemke in The Sunday Press (Binghamton, NY), “Rock ‘n Roll ‘Musically Horrid” Says Ex-2-a-Dayer,” pg. 2-C, col. 1 (9 August 1959)
  • What does Sullivan do? He points at people. Rub meat on actors and dogs will do the same thing.
    • As quoted in Always On Sunday. Ed Sullivan: An Inside View (1968)
  • Imitation is the sincerest form of television.
    • Attributed in Newsweek, 14 January 1980.
  • California's a wonderful place to live - if you happen to be an orange.
    • Reported in Steven D. Price, 1001 Greatest Things Ever Said About California (2007), p. viii.
  • I have just returned from Boston. It is the only thing to do if you find yourself up there.
    • Letter to Groucho Marx.
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