Chevy Chase Folgers Coffee

March 19, 2012 by staff 

Chevy Chase Folgers Coffee, With the words, “Good evening – I’m Chevy Chase, and you’re not,” Cornelius Crane Chase struck a chord with 1970′s era television audiences who delighted each week as the handsome yet accident-prone goofball stumbled his way through sketches on the new late night sensation, “Saturday Night Live” (NBC, 1975- ).

With his aloof wit and detached demeanor, he represented a radical departure from angry comics of the day like George Carlin and Richard Pryor. Leaving “S.N.L.” at the height of his fame, Chase segued smoothly from behind the Weekend Update desk to superstardom on the big screen in such comedy triumphs as “Foul Play” (1975), “Caddyshack” (1980) and “National Lampoon’s Vacation” (1983).

Though his career never again reached the heights of his mid-80s movie fame – almost train-wrecking completely, following a misguided late night talk show effort – and his reported reputation as a not-so-nice guy in real life was chronicled in numerous tell-all “S.N.L.” books, there was no denying Chase’s brilliance as a giant in the pantheon of great twentieth century comedians.

Born Oct. 8, 1943 in Manhattan (though some sources cite Woodstock) to a well-to-do family, the youngster grew up swathed in fine luxuries and pedigree. His father, Edward Chase, was a prominent Manhattan book editor and magazine writer; his mother, Cathalene Parker Browning, was a concert pianist and the daughter of Admiral Miles Browning, who had played a large role in the Battle of Midway during WWII.

A 14th-generation New Yorker who was listed in the Social Register at an early age, Chase’s mother’s ancestors arrived in Manhattan starting as early as 1624 – among them, New York City mayors Stepha**s Van Cortlandt and John Johnstone; General of New York Militia under George Washington, John Morin Scott; and Anne Hutchinson, dissident Puritan preacher and pioneer.

Despite all that an affluent life afforded them, Chase’s parents divorced when he was four years old, with his father remarrying into the Folger coffee family, while his mother’s third marriage was to Juilliard School professor/ composer Lawrence Widdoes. Young Cornelius was given the nickname “Chevy” by his grandmother. As a descendant of the Scottish Clan Douglas, who repelled an English invasion at the Battle of Cheviot Hills (“Chevy Chase”) in 1436, the name “Chevy” seemed appropriate to her.

Gifted both musically and athletically, Chase was also a cut-up, and often found himself suspended or expelled from private schools like New York City’s Dalton School and Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. Still, he managed to graduate valedictorian from NYC’s Riverdale Country School, followed by enrollment at Haverford College, only to be expelled after his first semester. Transferring to Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, he studied pre-med and graduated with a degree in English in 1967. Instead of going to medical school, however, he joined a jazz band with classmates Walter Becker and Donald Fagen.

At the time, Chase called the group “a bad jazz band,” but sans Chase, the group would find later fame later as the successful act, Steely Dan. Gifted with absolute pitch, Chase played drums and keyboards for yet another band, a rock group called Chameleon Church, which recorded one album before disbanding in 1968. Still trying to figure out his life’s plan, by the close of the decade, Chase took on a wide variety of odd jobs, including construction worker, truck driver, motorcycle messenger, audio engineer, wine store salesman, theater usher and supermarket produce manager.

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