Fred Allen was a baggy-eyed radio and television comedian whose dry barbs at the times and the manners were sometimes compared with those of Will Rogers.
One of his chief targets was the hand that fed him — radio. He held out for a long time against television but in 1952 signed on for a series of TV programs.
In a radio career starting in 1932, Allen treated in an irreverent and satirical manner various aspects of American life, aided and abetted by a galaxy of zanies such as those he interviewed on that imaginary thoroughfare of the air, "Allen's Alley."
His shows usually had a close-to-the-news angle, a reflection of the numerous daily newspapers and weekly magazines he read regularly. While he employed writers to produce ideas and sketches, he was writing comedian himself and the gags and scripts bore the unmistakable Allen stamp.
Allen once said he was "probably the only writer in the world who has written more than he can lift."