Hundred of friends and fans gathered at the Rampart Casino in Las Vegas on March 23, 2018 to pay tribute to Marty Allen – a true entertainment legend. The date chosen would have been Marty’s 96th birthday. A decorated military veteran, dancer, comedian, actor, and husband, Marty performed with his wife and partner, Karon Kate Blackwell, for more than 30 years.
The day was designed to honor Marty with love and laughter, just the way he wanted it. “He really did look for the funny in everything,” Karon told those gathered for the tribute. The afternoon included the Posting of Colors by the Nellis Honor Guard, clips of some of Marty”s television appearances with stars including Martha Raye, Steve Rossi, and Dean Martin.
Karon and Molly Shields, the niece and god daughter of the couple, entertained the audience with “Son of a Preacher Man”, one of Marty’s favorites.
Anderson drew laughter with his remark that, “He really liked people, a very rare thing for a comedian – or someone from Vegas.” Anderson talked about Allen as an inspiration. “I thank him for helping a fat kid from Minnesota be something.”
Some who could not be there, including Carrot Top and Terry Fator, sent video messages. In the audience we spotted luminaries Murray Sawchuck, Dennis Bono, Rich Little, Jazzin Jeanne Brei, Barbara Brighton, Denise Rose, Peter Pavone, and Jon and Annette Lindquist.
Following the gathering, friends and fans videoed personal recollections as a keepsake in Marty’s honor. I was one of those with a personal story about Marty. He had graciously donated his time and talent to be part of a fund-raiser for SCA-TV in Henderson, Sun City Anthem‘s all volunteer senior citizen television station.
I was back stage as Marty entertained the packed house. He exceeded the time we had asked him to do and the audience loved every minute of it. Marty came off stage, looked at me standing in the wings, and asked, “Did I do good for you?” Yes, Marty, you did good for us and for everyone you touched and entertained during your 95 years on earth. And now, we know you’re giving a big “Hello Dere” to a new audience on high.