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Smith & Dale - At The Palace 1961

On: Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Joe Smith
Joseph Sultzer
New York City, New York USA
Feb 16 1884 - Feb 22 1981
Official Site 

Charlie Dale
Charles Marks
New York City, New York USA
Sep 06 1885 - Nov 16 1971
Official Site 

Smith and Dale were the archetypical vaudeville male two-act. When one thinks of a “vaudeville comedy team”, one thinks of something like Smith & Dale. Neil Simon based his play The Sunshine Boys on their act, although their offstage relationship wasn’t as dire as depicted—that part was based on Gallagher and Sheen. 
Joe Smith and Charlie Dale grew up in the Jewish ghettos of New York City Sultzer and Marks met as teenagers in 1898 and formed a partnership. They named their act "Smith and Dale" because a local printer gave them a good deal on business cards reading "Smith and Dale" (intended for a vaudeville team that had dissolved). Joe Sultzer became Joe Smith, and Charlie Marks became Charlie Dale.
By 1902 they joined two singing comedians, Irving Kaufman and Harry Godwin in a team known as The Avon Comedy Four. The act became one of the most successful comedy turns in vaudeville. For over 15 years they were top-of-the-bill performers on Broadway.  
Later, as Smith & Dale, the two used a heavy Jewish dialect, with Smith speaking in a deep, pessimistic voice and Dale in a high, wheedling tenor.
During the 1920s, they became famous for their signature sketch "Doctor Kronkheit and His Only Living Patient," which like "Who's on First?" for Abbott and Costello, became one of the famous comedy sketches of the 20th century. The name of the doctor is an inside joke: Smith and Dale, both being Jewish, named the physician Kronkheit, which is Yiddish (and also German) for sickness. Thus we have that very oddly named medical professional Dr. Sickness. Indeed a hospital in Germany is called a Krankenhaus, or literally a sick house.
Dr. Kronkheit (played by Dale, not Smith as is sometimes reported) is greeted by skeptical patient Smith:
SMITH: Are you a doctor?
DALE: I'm a doctor.
SMITH: I'm dubious.
DALE: I'm glad to know you, Mr. Dubious.
Most of the sketch has Dr. Kronkheit trying to determine the patient's problem:
SMITH: It's terrible. I walk around all night.
DALE: Ah! You're a somnambulist!
SMITH: No, I'm a night watchman.
SMITH: I got rheumatism on the back of my neck.
DALE: Ah, where would you want a better place than on the back of your neck?
SMITH: On the back of your neck.
SMITH: Doctor, it hurts when I do this.
DALE: Don't do that.
The patient explains that he has already seen a doctor:
SMITH: He told me I had snew in my blood.
DALE: What did he told you?
SMITH: He told me I had snew in my blood.
DALE: Snew? What's snew?
SMITH: Nothing. What's new with you?
SMITH (reacting to Dale spitting on his stethoscope:) Doctor, what is that you're doing?
DALE: Sterilization.
DALE: The whole trouble with you is, you need eyeglasses.
SMITH: Eyeglasses?! I suppose if I had a headache, I'd need an umbrella.
Dr. Kronkheit's fee is ten dollars.
SMITH: Ten dollars! For what?!?
DALE: For my advice.
SMITH: Doctor, here is two dollars, take it. That's my advice!
Their act can be seen (to excellent advantage) in the feature film The Heart of New York (1932).
The partnership, known among entertainers as the longest in show-business history, endured until Charlie Marks's death at age 89, on November 16, 1971. Sultzer continued to perform, mainly in guest appearances on television sitcoms, until his death on February 22, 1981, at the age of 97. 
So close were Smith and Dale that they are buried in the same plot, with a common headstone. The gravestone notes the name of the three people buried there, Dale and his wife Mollie and the unmarried Smith. Smith is identified only by his show business name of Joe Smith, while his partner is listed as Charles Dale Marks and Dale's wife is listed as Mollie Dale Marks. The larger printing higher on the stone says SMITH & DALE, to which Smith had added the words BOOKED SOLID. So even in death there is still seen their cleverness and humor.

Source: material snatched, plagiarized, scrambled and reformatted from original, better material posted on Wikipedia and the Travelanche blog.

01 Dr. Kronkite And His Only Living Patient
02 Adventures Of Shnapps And Strudel
03 Tax Consultant
04 The Boss And The Chef

 Vaudeville Skits
Thanks Stephen K!

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