Enrico Banducci

Enrico Banducci

Enrico Banducci - born Harry Banducci - (February 17, 1922 – October 9, 2007) was an impresario who operated the hungry i nightclub in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood. There he launched the careers of Lenny Bruce, Mort Sahl, Bill Cosby, Jonathan Winters, Woody Allen and Barbra Streisand, as well as many folk singers.cite news|publisher=San Francisco Chronicle|accessdate=2007-10-10|title=Enrico Banducci: 1922-2007: the Impresario of North Beach|author=Carl Nolte|date=2007-10-10|url=http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/10/10/MNH4SNBLJ.DTL] The hungry i featured the original brick wall in the stage background, a staple for stand up comedy presentations ever since. Banducci bought the hungry i from its founder, Eric "Big Daddy" Nord, in 1950. Banducci later also started the Clown Alley hamburger stand as well as Enrico's Sidewalk Cafe on Broadway, a restaurant and jazz club that has been in and out of business (as of 2007 it remains in operation under new ownership).

Banducci was born in 1922 in Bakersfield, California. He came to San Francisco at age 13 to study under the concertmaster of the San Francisco Symphony. He changed his first name to "Enrico" after Enrico Caruso. He was married five times, the first to Raimonde Verney, daughter of a symphony violinist. He wore a beret, beginning after a health inspector insisted he wear a hair covering while he was running a food operation and continuing to cover his eventual baldness. He bought the hungry i for $800 in borrowed money in 1948. Although he once calculated that he made over ten million dollars from his various projects, he spent it all. He spent time in jail, and was involved in a number of brawls. The hungry i went bankrupt at least once.

In 1981, Mort Sahl, Jonathan Winters, Irwin Corey, Jackie Vernon and a host of others gathered to film a tribute to Banducci that was nationally televised and called "The hungry i Reunion". The film is intercut with reminiscences by Bill Cosby, Maya Angelou (who started at Banducci's club performing Caribbean songs and patter with a Caribbean accent) and Phyllis Diller.

In 1988, after he lost Enrico's to one of its several closures over the years, he became a hot dog vendor in Richmond, Virginia at the "hungry i hot dog stand", located on property he had purchased for his son years earlier in the city's most upscale restaurant district that he'd, before eventually moving back to San Francisco in the late 1990s.

Notes

ources

* [http://www.coastnews.com/sf/enrico/enrico.htm Enrico Banducci, Bar School, and a Guy From Fresno, via CoastNews.com]
* [http://www.mistersf.com/farewell/index.html?fwhungryi06.htm Farewell Favorites: Enrico Banducci and the hungry i: Five Pages]
* [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0051793/ Internet Movie Database: Enrico Banducci]
* [http://www.dorothyloyd.com/dorothycurrin.html Dorothy Currin at Enrico Banducci's hungry i (scroll down)]
* [http://open.bbc.co.uk/catalogue/infax/contributor/630424 Enrico Banducci and the hungry i - BBC Programme Catalogue]
* [http://www.barbra-archives.com/Performances/streisand_1963_1966.html Barbra Streisand: Early Performances - Live at the hungry i]
* [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9506E6DC123BF933A25751C0A964948260 The New York Times - "The hungry i Reunion" television show]
* [http://www.sfstandup.com/blog/2007/03/27/gerald-nachman-interview/ Interview about the 2007 hungry i exhibit] , currently running at the San Francisco Performing Arts Library & Museum
* [http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfgate/detail?blogid=5&entry_id=14966 San Francisco Chronicle - Podcast Interview with Enrico Banducci]


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