Open the Door, Richard!


Clinton “Dusty” Fletcher* was born on July 7, 1900 in El Dorado, Arkansas. He got his start in Rufus Jones for President (1933) but it wasn’t until his role in Open the Door Richard (1945) where people took note of his comedic talent, particularly his physical comedy. He would come on stage dressed in ragged clothing as a drunk who would mutter and complain about needing to get home. Using a ladder, he’d set it up as if he were going to climb through a window, eventually falling to the ground and shouting, “Open the Door, Richard!”

Dusty Fletcher was recognized as one of the top black comedians for more than 20 years; however, his good voice, spot-on delivery, and incredible physical comedy was known only to black audiences. In 1947 this changed when a wider audiences saw Open the Door Richard, temporarily reviving his already fading star. He would continue to perform the routine until shortly before his death on March 15, 1954.

Here is the film short Open the Door Richard:

Here is audio of Open the Door Richard with Jimmy Jones and His Band accompanying him (1947):

* Biographical information gathered from here and here.


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