Jane Ace (born Jane Epstein) (
October 12, 1897– November 11, 1974) was the high-voiced, malaprop-mastering wife on legendary, low-keyed American radiocomedy " Easy Aces" (1930-45). Playing herself opposite her real-life husband and the show's creator-writer, Goodman Ace(1899-1982), she sent a truckload of clever malaprops over the air in each episode of the urbane serial comedy, and many became part of the American vernacular.
Born in Kansas City,
Missouri, Jane Epstein met Goodman Ace while both attended the same Kansas City high school and Goodman, hoping to make a writing career, edited the school newspaper. In due course, he became a movie critic and columnist for the Kansas City "Journal-Post". The couple married in 1922 and caught their big break a few years later, while Goodman gave his witty reviews once a week on Kansas City radio station KMBC as well. One night in 1930, the show following his slot failed to feed, and Ace had to fill the fifteen minutes' air time. He invited Jane---who'd accompanied him to the studio that night---to join him on the air chatting about a murder case that had broken locally and a bridge game they played the previous weekend. The couple's witty impromptu (Jane: "Would you like to shoot a game of bridge, dear?") provoked such a response that the station invited them to develop their own domestic comedy.
Conceived and written by Goodman Ace, "Easy Aces" graduated within two years from a strictly local show to a network offering (first from Chicago, then from New York). Goodman played himself as a put-upon realtor, and Jane played "his awfully-wedded wife" (and used the name Sherwood as her on-air character's maiden name) with an endearing mixture of sweet-natured meddlesomeness and language mangling. Her husband once swore that she was a natural malapropper, but in radio character Jane became the unchallenged mistress of the kind of malaprops that (unlike
Gracie Allen's "illogical logic") substituted words in seemingly ordinary phrasing and still made perverse sense, after a fashion. And, after a listener laughed hysterically and invariably.
Many years after "Easy Aces" ended at last, Goodman Ace revealed that Jane had never had any kind of acting experience before the show was born, though she was movie-star pretty as a young woman. (The Aces tried a short-lived, expanded revival on radio in 1948, known as "mr. ace and JANE", before trying a television version of the original "Easy Aces" style in 1949.) A homebody at heart, she sought no further acting work after the show ended at last, mostly retiring to a quiet life, except for a brief spell as what her husband described (in a 1952 essay) as "a comedienne now making her come-down as a disc jockey." Husband Goodman continued a second career as a radio and
televisionwriter and regular essayist for "Saturday Review", and his writings for that magazine frequently referenced Jane's doings, undoings, sayings, and unsayings.
Jane Ace died in
New York Cityin 1974 following a long illness. Goodman Ace composed a beautiful eulogy in a subsequent "Saturday Review" column:
"...now alone at a funeral home...the questions...the softly spoken suggestions...repeated, and repeated... because ...because during all the arrangements, through my mind there ran a constant rerun, a line she spoke on radio...on the brotherhood of man ...in her casual, malapropian style ... "we are all cremated equal" ... they kept urging for an answer...a wooden casket? ... a metal casket? ...it's the name of their game ... a tisket a casket...and then transporting it to Kansas City, Mo."
"...the plane ride..."smoking or non-smoking section?" somebody asked ... the non-thinking section was what I wanted.... ...a soft sprinkle of snow as we huddled around her...the first of the season, they told me ... lasted only through the short service ...snow stopped the instant the last words were spoken. He had the grace to celebrate her arrival with a handful of His confetti ..."
That eulogy provoked hundreds of letters from current readers and old radio fans alike. With several hundred episodes of "Easy Aces" now circulating among old-time radio collectors (these are the episodes the Aces syndicated as successful through the Frederick W. Ziv Company in 1945), Jane Ace has been discovered by fans who weren't even alive before her own death, never mind when she was radio's malaprop mistress. The
Radio Hall of Famehelped make sure of that, inducting "Easy Aces" and its co-stars in 1990.
* "Home wasn't built in a day."
* "Congress is back in season."
* "You could have knocked me down with a fender."
* "Up at the crank of dawn."
* "Time wounds all heels."
* "Now, there's no use crying over spoiled milk."
* "I'm completely uninhabited".
* "Seems like only a year ago they were married nine years!"
* "I am his awfully-wedded wife."
* "I've always wanted to see my name up in tights."
* "He blew up higher than a hall."
* "I look like the wrath of grapes."
* "I wasn't under the impersonation you meant me."
* "He shot out of here like a bat out of a belfry."
* "He has me sitting on pins and cushions waiting."
* "The coffee will be ready in a jitney."
* "This hangnail expression . . ."
* "I'm a member of the weeper sex."
* "I don't drink, I'm a totalitarian."
* "Well, you've got to take the bitter with the better."
* "The way things are these days, a girl's gotta play hard to take."
* [http://www.comedystars.com/Bios/aces.shtml Encyclo Comedia]
* [http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=6845326 Jane Ace's Gravesite]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
ACE, GOODMAN — (1899–1982), U.S. humorist. Born in Kansas City, Mo., as Goodman Aiskowitz, he was an actor, comedian, and writer who supplied dozens of performers with funny things to say but also became well known for the malapropisms he provided for his wife… … Encyclopedia of Judaism
Ace, Goodman — ▪ American writer born Jan. 15, 1899, Kansas City, Mo., U.S. died March 25, 1982, New York, N.Y. American radio writer and performer and producer writer for television, whose literate writing, wry humour, and relaxed style influenced… … Universalium
Ace in the Hole (Cole Porter song) — Ace in the Hole is a 1941 popular song written by Cole Porter, for his musical Let s Face It! , where it was introduced by Mary Jane Walsh, Sunnie O Dea and Nanette Fabray.Notable recordings*Ella Fitzgerald Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter… … Wikipedia
Ace (Doctor Who) — Doctor Who character Dorothy ( Ace ) Affiliated Seventh Doctor Species … Wikipedia
Jane's Attack Squadron — Infobox VG| title = Jane s Attack Squadron developer = Looking Glass Studios Mad Doc Software publisher = Xicat Interactive, Inc. designer = engine = version = 1.01B released = NA March 22, 2002 genre = Simulation modes = Single player,… … Wikipedia
Ace of Wands (Tarot card) — The Ace of Wands is Tarot card of the Minor Arcana. Tarot cards are used throughout much of Europe to play Tarot card gamescite book last = Dummett first = Michael authorlink = Michael Dummett title = The Game of Tarot publisher = Gerald… … Wikipedia
Jane Wagner — Infobox actor name = Jane Wagner imagesize = caption = birthdate = birth date and age|1935|02|02 birthplace = Morristown, Tennessee, USA occupation = Screenwriter, director, producer domesticpartner = nowrap|Lily Tomlin ( ca. 1972 present)… … Wikipedia
Ace Bhatti — Ahsen Ace Bhatti, born 1971 in Nottingham, is a British actor, trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. He starred in the BBC One television series New Street Law and the BBC television miniseries Life Isn t All Ha Ha Hee Hee . He … Wikipedia
Goodman Ace — (born Goodman Aiskowitz (January 15, 1899 – March 25, 1982), was one of the most respected humourists in the 20th Century United States, mostly as a radio writer and comedian, a television writer, and a magazine columnist.In a twist that could… … Wikipedia
List of Ace single volumes — Ace Books began publishing genre fiction in 1952. Initially these were mostly in the attractive dos à dos format, but they also published a few single volumes, in the early years, and that number grew until the doubles stopped appearing in about… … Wikipedia