Douglas Wellman and John Byner – The Man of 1,000 Voices
Legendary actor, comedian and impressionist John Byner joins us along with Douglas Wellman, who authored a book on Byner’s life and career. Then in Hour 2, Doug will continue with us to discuss the compelling true story Surviving Hiroshima.
The proud owner of tons of dialects and hundreds of uncanny impersonations, the short (5’7″), slight, deadpan, rubber-faced, fair-haired funnyman John Byner is the forerunner to such latter-day gifted comic impressionists as Dana Carvey, Frank Caliendo and Jim Carrey. Byner’s spot-on impressions have run the entertainment and historical gamut – from John Wayne, Ed Sullivan, Walter Brennan and George Jessel to U.S. Presidents Richard Nixon and Lyndon Johnson. As icing on the cake, he hilariously unleashed over-done singing vocals to such stylists as Johnny Mathis and Dean Martin. At his heyday in the late 60s and early 70s, John and Rich Little were the cream of the mimicking crop – he is deservedly recognized as the “Men of 1,000 Impressions.”
Douglas Wellman was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota and studied television broadcasting at the University of Minnesota. After working at television stations in Minneapolis-St. Paul, he moved to Los Angeles where he had a 35-year career as an award-winning television producer-director. He worked primarily in comedy on shows such as The Facts of Life, Gimme a Break, Comic Strip Live, An Evening at the Improv and Comedy on the Road. Concurrent with the last 17 years of his career, he taught sitcom production at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts and also served as Assistant Dean at that school.
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