Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Harry Einstein (1904-1958) was an American comedian and writer, usually known by the name Harry Parke, but who was variously credited as Harry Einstein, Harold Einstein, Harry "Parkyakarkus" Einstein, Parkyakarkus and Parkyarkarkus. He became famous as the character Parkyakarkus (or Parkyarkarkus) — park your carcass; that is, sit down — who garbled Greek on Eddie Cantor's radio show and appeared in eleven films using this name from 1936 to 1945. Harry also was the father of actor Albert Brooks.

Any entertainer will say that they want to die on stage, and Harry nearly did that. Parke died from a heart attack at a Friar's Club Roast of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz on November 24, 1958 in Los Angeles, California. He had just finished his testimonal to a house full of laughter and Art Linkletter's remark, "How come anyone as funny as this isn't on the air?", when Parke slumped onto Milton Berle's lap at the event. Berle asked "Is there a doctor in the house?"; this remark was met with laughter, as the crowd was unaware that Berle was being serious. Emcee Art Linkletter then directed crooner Tony Martin to sing a song to divert the crowd's attention; Martin's unfortunate choice was "There's No Tomorrow." According to the Los Angeles Times account, Desi Arnaz said: "This offering meant so much to me. Now it means nothing. Please, everyone, pray to your God that he will be saved."

He was carried backstage where five specialists who were Friars Club members worked feverishly to save his life. One doctor used his pen knife to make an incision in Parke's chest for open heart massage. Another used the ends of an electric cord as a makeshift defibrillator to shock his heart back to life; only the left side responded with a feeble rhythm. The doctors continued the open heart massage while waiting for the rescue squad. Despite two hours of intense medical effort, Parke was pronounced dead at 1:20 AM local time...

1 comment:

  1. Harry's other son (and Albert Brooks' brother), Bob Einstein, is more popularly known as Super Dave Osborne.