In his early vaudeville days, long before he became a headliner, Fred Allen worked under the name Fred James.

Once, when he was top play a split week at a theater in a Midwestern city, it occurred to him to make some extra money by playing the remainder of the week at another theater across town.It so happened that the two theater owners were feuding and that neither would hire a performer who had worked for the other. But since they never caught each other's acts, the comedian got himself on the bill at the second theater by calling himself Fred Allen.

At the first theater, where he appeared as Fred James, he was given only a so-so reception. But at thE second, as Fred Allen, he was a hit. So, from then on, that was the name he used.