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Dusty Fletcher 1900-1954

Dusty Fletcher 1900-1954 

 

Clinton "Dusty" Fletcher got his start in Hollywood in Rufus Jones for President (1933), but it was his role in Open the Door Richard (1945) that served as a showcase for his comedic talents. He would come on stage dressed in rags, acting drunk, muttering and complaining about trying to find his way home. He would then bring out a ladder, and try to set it up so he could get in through a window. Every so often he would crash sprawling on the floor while shouting "Open the Door, Richard !"

Dusty "Open the Door Richard" Fletcher

In fact, Open the Door Richard was such a success that it was made into a popular song and Fletcher began to be billed as Dusty "Open the Door Richard" Fletcher, as he was in 1947's Killer Diller.  

 


Dusty Fletcher in Open the Door Richard (1945)

 

Dusty Fletcher appeared as himself in Bomboola ( 1929), Fast and Furious ( 1931), King for a Day (1934) and Hi-De-Ho (1947).  In 1948, he starred in Boarding House Blues and Killer Diller (1948).

For more than 20 years, Dusty Fletcher was recognized as one of the top black comedians. He had a good voice, excellent delivery and was a talented physical comedian, but he was a secret known only to black audiences. That changed in 1947 with "Open the door, Richard." For a short while, there was no more famous black comedian than Dusty Fletcher. Novelty tunes were all the rage and "Open the door, Richard" became a hit song of 1946-47 and a catchphrase that endured into the civil rights era, when it was revived by editorial writers and social activists to decry segregation in public facilities. 

Unfortunately by 1947, Dusty Fletcher's star had already begun to fade when "Open the door, Richard" temporarily revived it. Fletcher continued to perform the routine, particularly at the Apollo Theatre in New York, until shortly before his death.

 



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Blackface! -- Contents

History of Blackface

Blacks in Blackface

History of Minstrel Shows

Minstrel Show Female Impersonators

Stephen Foster

Origins of Jump Jim Crow

Blackface Origins in Clowning

Blackface History Prior to Minstrel Shows

Excerpts from Monarchs of Minstrelsy (1911)

Famous Blackface Minstrel Performers

Blackface Around the World

About This Web Site


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