Wits End* and the Merry Mutes
(Not to be confused comic artist Wally Wood’s magazine Witz End).
When I was in my teen years there was a local group that had a 15 or 30 minute show on a local TV station. I think they called themselves the Merry Mute Players. They did funny skits… a fast pace funny skit thing, sort of like The Committee, but silent.
The two main players were Phil and Nancy Erickson, a married couple. One of their players was a young man named Dick Van Dyke. Dick came and he went, as others did – but, boy was he good, a born mime.
Later, on a date once, Anna and I went to The Wits End* (*Bring Money) Playhouse in Atlanta, on a little side street off Spring Street, near the Biltmore Hotel. They were just as funny as when I saw them on TV… a high energy one skit after another - but this time they had dialog and sung... they had a great song called "They Are Tearing Up Peachtree Again".
The Wits End* (*Bring Money) was a night club. I forgot the details, if you had a drink minimum, or a cover charge, or what, but the show was always great. After we were married, whenever we had guests from out of town, we knew they would like The Wits End*.
They would pick on common situations, politics, national and local, and it was very entertaining. Yes, indeed.
If I remember correctly they moved from their little club off Spring Street and to the top floor of the huge Merchandise Mart, right in the center of downtown Atlanta.
After that it was just too much trouble to get to.
In 1965 when I worked for Atlanta News Agency. On my route out in the southeast rural country side of Dekalb County, Georgia, I saw a farm house that had WITS END* - The Ericksons on the mailbox. I wonder if they had many unannounced visitors?
I think Phil and Nancy would be in their 80s or 90s now, if they are still living. The Wits End* (*Bring Money) probably is gone forever. I Googled The Wits End and also Phil Erickson and came up with nothing. With all that hard work they did, now they are nothing but a memory.