Don Rickles was at the Kravis Center on January 26, 2011 – at 83, he was still looking fantastic and up to his old tricks. He is known as the master of insults and after 50 years in the business, continues to approach comedy like a matador faces a bull. Last night’s performance was not much different than his long career performances which included his classic one-liners and musical numbers.
He was spot on delivering his punch lines. The event at the Kravis was particularly interesting. After 15 minutes of insulting everyone, but specifically Jews of West Palm Beach, a large number of patrons left while rolling their eyes and calling the performance nothing less than “sad” and “tasteless”. Ironically named “Mr. Warmth”, Rickles saw the folks leaving and grew strength from them. He attacked hecklers directly. Those who stayed were treated to more ad-lib than normal. He talked of his career and being onstage with Johnny Carson over 100 times, his friendship with Bob Newhart and his wife of 40 years. He brought several folks from the audience on stage with him and made them look foolish. Everyone was insulted equally and his energetic performance is just proof that one of the last living legends of comedy lives on.
After the Golden Era of Hollywood ended, Don Rickles is one man still living to tell his tales. One of the most respected talents in entertainment, Rickles got his start in the night clubs, toiling for over 20 years, until 1958, when Don made his film debut in Run Silent Run Deep (1958). The movie was a big hit. Afterward, Rickles continued acting, starring in films like X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes (1963), Bikini Beach (1964), Enter Laughing (1967), and Kelly’s Heroes (1970). In 1973, Don became a regular on Dean Martin’s Celebrity Roasts. From 1973 until 1984, Don appeared frequently on Dean’s show, paying tribute to some of his friends, like Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball, and was even the roast master on the roast for Dean Martin himself. In 1976, Don his own TV series “C.P.O. Sharkey” (1976), which enjoyed a two year run. After 1984, Don began taking it easy, appearing in a few minor film roles. But in 1995, Don made a big comeback, appearing with Tom Hanks and Tim Allen in Toy Story (1995) in the role of the grouchy Mr. Potato Head. In 1999, he returned as Mr. Potato Head in Toy Story 2 (1999). (credit: IMDB online)
The Kravis Center is a success story that provides communities worldwide with an example of a thriving performing arts center and a major community and economic catalyst. Set on 10.6 acres of property at the highest point in the city, the Kravis Center includes three venues – the 2,193-seat Alexander W. Dreyfoos, Jr. Concert Hall, the flexible 300-seat Rinker Playhouse and the outdoor Michael and Andrew Gosman Amphitheatre with a capacity for 1,400 patrons. Additionally, the Kravis Center facilities include the Cohen Pavilion, which houses the Weiner Banquet Center meeting and banquet facility and The Picower Foundation Arts Education Center, along with a five-level parking garage.
Fall 2010 marks the Center’s 19th Anniversary season and the number of events hosted annually has grown to more than 800, with attendance of more than 500,000 patrons. Many regionally based arts organizations call the Kravis Center their home including Miami City Ballet, Palm Beach Opera, and the Palm Beach Pops. During the 2010-2011 season, the Kravis Center itself will present more than 350 performances featuring acclaimed artists from every discipline. Established as a leading force in the social fabric of the community, its many outreach programs are as broad and varied as the community itself. To date, the Center has opened the door to the performing arts for more than 1.1 million school children as well as thousands of economically disadvantaged senior citizens, minorities and community groups.