In a career of about 50 years, Bert Davis did earn money from the art of telling jokes. He used to do “Saturday Night Live” and his show “Dumb Comedy.” His most famous show of all was “Dick’s Sporting Goods Superstore.”
That show, according to the actor he portrayed in the show, featured his voice as the voice of a fictional car salesman. Davis earned $1,000 a week. He was only ever on the show for about two and a half minutes each night, but that was enough for two large advertisements on television.
When people ask if there is an ideal income level, the question often comes back like this: if you made $1,000 a week doing voice-overs (which is what you were doing as “Fred”) wouldn’t you want to make more money?
And he had a point. With his voice, he could sell things, like his books. So he went from a single episode a year, a year to sell, five years, to a series of about six to 12 episodes. And he made far more than most “Dick” performers, like Richard Pryor and George Carlin. In fact, it was even rumored that Davis would pay his own rent for his studio in his home.
To be honest, Davis had a very easy life before the show. He owned a small clothing store in New Jersey. But he was married and had a young boy at the time he took over the show. (Although, he would later divorce his wife on the show.)
Davis wasn’t always famous as a voice-over artist, but he did make money doing “Dumb Comedy.”
“I never had anything of it,” he told The New York Times in 1975, “I was always getting the tips. When I had the right show, those tips were $100 to $250 a session. But a lot of times it would be $80, $100, $150, sometimes twice, and I’m still getting the tips.”
In the late 1950s, Davis bought himself a house in California, built for a studio, and called it “Studio 33A.” He eventually moved there from a home he owned in New Jersey.
“Studio 33A” was on the air for about a year and a half. From then on, many of the “Dumb” commercials were done in the same office next door to where Davis is now.
Then, in early 1963,
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