If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday - Pearl S. Buck


Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Best of Laugh In On OETA with Okie Dan Rowan

The Best of Laugh In will be on OETA tonight at 10:30 pm.  It is being shown as part of the annual fundraiser, AugustFest.
I loved this show as a kid.  I'm sure alot of the jokes were over my head but it was still fun.  I love it even more now that I know Dan Rowan was born in Oklahoma.  When I first learned this I thought well that makes sense there are a ton of Rowans in Oklahoma, but then I found out he was born Daniel Hale David.  He was born on July 22, 1922 in Beggs, Okmulgee County, Oklahoma. His parents were Oscar and Nellie David who were a singing and dancing duet with the carnival.  From what I have read the name "David" may have been a stage name and his parents were a vaudeville act.  Since Mr. Rowan was born on a carnival train and his parents were vaudevillians I don't think he spent much time in Oklahoma.   He was a very interesting and ambitious man.  By age 6 he was performing with his parents.  At age 11 he was orphaned while in Pueblo, Colorado and placed in an orphanage.  It is unclear if his parents died or he was abandoned.  At age 16 he was placed in a foster home where he remained until he graduated from high school in 1940.  He then hitchhiked to Los Angeles and began working in the mailroom at Paramount Studios.  One year later he was the youngest staff writer for Paramount.
Oh my gracious it gets better.
He quit Paramount to join the military becoming a fighter pilot during WWII.  After he shot down two enemy aircrafts over New Guinea his plane was shot down and he was seriously wounded.  One of the many medals he received was a Purple Heart.  Thank you Mr. Rowan for serving our country and protecting our freedom.
After Mr. Rowan was discharged in 1946 he went back to LA and in 1952 he met Dick Martin and they became a comedy team performing in nightclubs.  I bet that was fun to see. 
Jump to 1967 when Rowan & Martin's Laugh In made its debut and made Goldie Hawn and others famous.  Rowan and Martin were not only the hosts of the show but the producers as well.
This is how I remember Dan Rowan.
Sadly he died at the age of 65 of lymphoma while living in Florida.
I hope you watch the show with me and watch a man from such humble beginnings to being a part of millions of people's lives at least once a week.
Have a great day.
Territory Mom

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