I don’t feel like putting actual work into the Flotsam this Friday. Instead, since It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World came up on work chat this week, I thought I’d do a quick rundown of some of the most notable comedians who weren’t in that film and why.
1. Charlie Chaplin: Had expatriated himself to Switzerland due to his Socialist views and wouldn’t return to the United States until 1971.
2. Harold Lloyd: Was happily retired and didn’t want to go back to work.
3. Stan Laurel: Refused to work without Ollie, who had died in 1957. He swore he’d never perform again and he never did.
4. Bob Hope: Under contract with another studio, which refused to loan him out as he was in a dispute with them at the time.
5. Groucho Marx: Originally slated to be in the film, but ended up not making it (the reason is unclear; likely scheduling conflicts)
6. Don Rickles: Inexplicably never asked (something he roasted Stanley Kramer about for the rest of his life)
7. Peter Sellers: Demanded too large a paycheck, so Terry-Thomas got the role instead
8. Special case: Ernie Kovacs was going to be in the film opposite his wife, Edie Adams, but died in a car accident before production. She nearly dropped out, but on discovering that he had died heavily in debt vowed that she would pay off all his creditors and so stayed on for the paycheck (she made good on the promise, by the way).