The Comedian-Pianist Victor Borge, indescribably famous and beloved in his day, is–as far as I can tell–almost completely forgotten. His concerts–most of them televised in the 1950s/60s–and guest appearances on various TV variety shows gave him a platform to do an act that nobody else did; ‘comedy with music’ as it was often subtitled. Borge was a well-trained, highly gifted concert pianist in his native Denmark who somehow decided to use his pyrotechnical gifts to make audiences laugh. I saw him in concert in the late 1970s in Hollywood at the Pantages theater and cherish the memory. Above is a clip from his first film made in Denmark, the aptly named ‘Frk. Mollers Jubilaeum’ (don’t ask me what it means). This clip appears to be taken from a television show where it was being shown with the older Borge as a guest commentator–the voice speaking French over the beginning is Borge presumably explaining how the hell this appearance came about. Give the routine a minute to get underway. Things begin to cook at around 1:10 when Borge beings to play two pianos simultaneously, one of them behind him without being able to see it. As a pianist I can assure you that the muscle memory this takes is extraordinary.


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