Who Knew?

By Franklin Karp
Published on: July 16, 2021

Q: What Jewish performer was the best ventriloquist of his time, and helped create the first artificial heart?

A: At the time, the most famous ventriloquist was Edgar Bergen (he was also the worst). The Best was Paul Wilchinsky, who, as Paul Winchell with his wooden partner Jerry Mahoney, had their own TV Show in the 1950’s and made many appearances on all the popular variety shows of the time…. Paul NEVER moved his lips! Paul was also an inventor and held many medical patents including the device which was the basis of the Jarvik heart.


Q: What Jewish actor was the FIRST bad boy method actor, and, at the time, had the largest funeral of any celebrity since Valentino?

A: Jacob Julius Garfinkle aka John Garfield grew up in poverty on the Lower East Side, and later said “If I hadn’t been an actor I might have become Public Enemy #1.

On Broadway and in the movies, Garfield was an early proponent of the “Method” which was later adopted by Montgomery Clift, Marlon Brando & James Dean. With a bad heart and the stress of possibly losing his career due to being named to the Black List, John Garfield died of a massive heart attack at the age of 39. Over 10,000 people crowded outside the cemetery at his funeral.


Q: What movie of 1942 cast 4 Jews, an Irishman & a German as California Mexicans?

A: “Tortilla Flat”, from the book by John Steinbeck, was a movie about a bunch of poor Monterrey, CA. mexicans who just sit around and kvetch all day. The cast consisted of 4 Jews: Hedy Lamarr a Viennese Jew with a strong German accent, John Garfield & Sheldon Leonard both Jews with strong New York accents, and Akim Tamiroff a Russian Jew with a strong Russian accent. In addition, they cast the very Irish Spencer Tracy and the German-American Frank Morgan!!! Not a decent Mexican accent in the bunch.


Q: What 19 year old Jewish girl hung out with Hitler & Mussolini, married a semi-Nazi munitions dealer, made a semi-porno film that got world wide release, then ran off to Paris & London where she met Louis B. Mayer, eventually becoming one of MGM’s biggest stars?
(She was called The Most Beautiful Woman in the World, and helped invent a process called Frequency Hopping which was used in military code breaking machines, and later in cell phones).

A: Eva Maria Kiesler aka Hedy Lamarr born November 9, 1914 in Austria.


Q: What famous Jewish stand-up comic saw his first movie, as a little kid sitting in the lap of singer Billie Holiday at the Lowes Commodore, NYC.

A: Billy Crystal

Franklin Karp

Franklin Karp

Franklin is the COO for Audio Video Systems in Plainview, NY - one of the premier custom integration technology firms in the country. He was previously the CEO for Harvey Electronics, a leading hi-end consumer technology retail chain in the NYC area.

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