If you’ve never seen gymnast and co-inventor of the trampoline Larry Griswold’s comedy diving act, drop everything you’re doing for the next four minutes and check it out. Griswold’s act–he plays a somewhat inebriated man who’s standing in for ‘Larry Griswold, Amateur Diving Champion’ who can’t make the show due to having partied too hard the night before–is both terrifying and hilarious. The props are simple: a diving board and a pool which is, in fact, a trampoline. There’s nothing much else to say about this astounding act–Griswold appeared on Ed Sullivan, Jackie Gleason, all the major variety shows. This clips is from a 1951 Frank Sinatra Show–its probably one of Griswold’s earliest TV appearances if not his first. I would guess he got the gig because Sinatra’s show clearly was a low-budget affair which probably necessitated hiring fringe acts (which Griswold’s was at the time). The athleticism involved in this routine, combined with the comic timing and the all-important element of surprise–the audience is genuinely shocked and awed throughout the routine–makes it truly one-of-a-kind old school show biz entertainment. Griswold retired from doing this act in 1973 when he suffered an injury related to his act but lived on into his nineties, continuing to teach gymnastics well into his old age.


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