The Friday Flashback: Bob Newhart

Today we'd like to offer belated birthday greetings to Bob Newhart, who turned 79 last Friday. Mr. Newhart, an Oak Park native, came to comedy via careers as an accountant and a copywriter. He also claimed to have been a clerk in the unemployment office who made $60 a week but who quit upon learning weekly unemployment benefits were $55 a week and "they only had to come in to the office one day a week to collect it."

Mr. Newhart's comedy bit often utilized telephone conversations, a technique he honed while working as a copywriter taping absurd phone calls with a co-worker. His mastery of the pregnant pause later allowed Mr. Newhart to act as the straight man and foil for his bits. This morning, we're featuring one of Mr. Newhart's most popular routines, "Abe Lincoln vs. Madison Ave."

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