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Dick Peabody

In 1961, the great team of Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner made a comedy album about the 2000 year old man. Probably the funniest recording ever done, and still available (along with its sequels) on CD from Rhino records. Dick Peabody, who played Littlejohn, and I, whose senses of humor meshed completely, memorized the 2000 year old man cut.

While we would all be waiting on the back lot, way off in the tulles, for the camera to roll and the sound of "action," someone would say "Do 2000 years." One day I’d do Mel Brooks and he’d do the interviewer, Carl Reiner. Another day we’d switch parts. Mostly, I did Brooks because my Jewish accent is better. As our show continued, the two geniuses, Brooks and Reiner, did 2001, then another album, and Dick and I learned all the cuts, including the Two-Hour-Old Baby That Talks. He and I did that for years on the phone with each other, and it always broke us up.

About year three of the show, I started putting on weight and found myself almost on a constant diet. I got in the habit of brown bagging. Millie’s lunches could break down anyone’s resolve, and I mostly had a couple of hard cooked eggs and a few tomatoes and celery. Practical jokes were a common practice with all of us. One day, as I was beginning to enjoy my meal in my trailer on the back lot, there was a knock at the door, and Peabody entered. I offered him a seat across from me at the table.

"How was lunch?" I asked as I cracked the shell on my first egg.

"Great, as usual."

There was a window at the table with a Venetian blind, partly closed, and I had slid the window open a bit for a fresh breeze. I finished the first egg and reached in the bag for the second one as Peabody, fumbling with a few scraps of paper, lost one and it fell to the floor. It was nearer me so I said, "I’ll get it," and I leaned over and picked it up. I then cracked the egg and the craziest thing happened. Raw egg spread all over the table top.

"That’s odd," I said, "I put both of them in the boiling water at the same time, and this one didn’t cook!"

Later, Peabody said he had to almost shoot out of the trailer to keep from laughing hysterically, and about a dozen of the guys had been watching what little they could see through the blinds, but they all had to run like hell to get away far enough before they broke up, too. Millie, of course was in on the gag; she’d supplied the raw egg.

Dick Peabody retired to a small town in Northern California, where for some years he wrote a weekly column for the local paper. In one, he recounted the story of the hard boiled egg that didn’t cook, and the paper got swamped with phone calls and mail lauding his writing and humor.

Peabody died in December of 1999 of prostate cancer.

(Also see Dick Peabody in Combat! at

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