Belle Barth

QUESTION:  Belle Barth's controversial style was compared to what stand-up comedian?
A). Lenny Bruce
B). Robin Williams
C). Mel Brooks
D). Bob Saget

The Music Room here at the American Treasure Tour is home to hundreds of record albums of all sorts and varieties, displayed on the wall, hanging from the infrastructure, pretty much wherever we can fit them. Opposite some of our favorite Sesame Street records is one few people ever notice. It is a stand-up comedy album by Belle Barth. Few people remember Belle today, but her influence is undeniable. Born Annabelle Salzman in 1911, she had a gift for entertaining. She started very young, touring the 'borscht belt' circuit of Jewish comedy clubs and vaudeville performance sites, also must have been a very alluring woman, as she was married five times during her life. Her first husband was Peter Barth, and the only long-lasting part of their marriage was that she kept his last name. Her fourth husband was George B. Martin.  Who also happened to have been her fifth husband. 

What made Belle hugely popular in her day was also what made her highly unacceptable in some circles. Her humor was raunchy and defiant. She was an expert at offending people, and once was confronted with a $1.6 million lawsuit by two teachers who claimed Belle had morally corrupted them and harmed their health with her humor.  Belle learned from this experience and only intensified her jokes against tradition. She owned a club in Florida's Miami Beach, and often performed in Las Vegas as well, alongside friends including Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr. Although she died in 1971 at the age of 59, Belle's influence on the likes of Madelaine Kahn, Joan Rivers and Gilda Radner is undeniable. Her album In Person, recorded live at the Roundtable in 1961, is displayed alongside tomorrow's blog subject.  See if you can find it in the Tour!

ANSWER:  A). Lenny Bruce