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Friday, December 11, 2020

The Executive

Guest Blogger Dept.: We welcome, for his first appearance on this blog, the great juggler and ventriloqist – and he had something to do with radio as well – Fred Allen. He was a great fan of newspaperman-turned-humorist H. Allen Smith (and wrote the forward to Smith’s 1941 debut book, Low Man on a Totem Pole) and enclosed the following doggerel in a letter to Smith written in November 1940 (punctuation per the original).


Fred Allen | Photo by Philippe Halsman
National Portrait Gallery |

The Executive
James Whitcomb Allen

The Executive is
A busy man
Who sits around
On his frustrated can

He presses his buzzer
He jiggles his phone
And barks his commands
In stentorian tone

His every word
Is a slogan ... a phrase
He checks ... He ties in
Buttons-up ... and okays

He mother-hens it
He thinks in the groove
He knows his competitor’s
Every move

He runs with the ball
Hits the nail on the head
And passes all dividends
To keep out of the red

He huddles in conference
With vice-minor officials
And addresses these menials
By their initials

It’s “Yes, C.L.”
And “T.H. is set”
F.O.B ... C.O.D.
The whole alphabet

Yes, the busy Executive
Knows no lull, Sir
His stomach’s a composite
Duodenal ulcer

He fumes in his office
As big as the Roxy
At the stockholders’ meetings
He’s Mr. Proxy

On Wall Street, he’s known
To each brokerage house
As a bull, or a bear
And sometimes ... a louse

Each summer, he cruises
About on his boat
And wails “The New Deal
Is getting my goat”

With his bisodol, aspirin
Phenol ... and pills
The Executive copes with
His executive ills

For Man must toil
And Man must work
And the Executive is
A dynamic jerk

Hail! Neurotic Napoleon
Long may you live
Amok on your buttocks
Bold Ex-ecutive!

– Fred Allen, from fred allen’s letters, Doubleday & Co., Garden City, NY, 1965

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