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26 January 2012

Zappy Max

Dynamic Zappy Max (1921) was one of the most popular radio hosts in France and Belgium during the 1950’s till the 1970’s. He worked for Radio Luxembourg (now RTL) and Radio Monte Carlo (RMC), and his partner was Mr. Champagne. He also appeared in several French films, often as himself.

Zappy Max
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 613. Photo: Studio Vallois, Paris.

A Passion for the Music-hall
Zappy Max is the pseudonym of Maxime Doucet, who was born in Paris in 1921. His father passed him a passion for the music-hall. There he began his career as a singer at the orchestra of Jacques Hélian, with whom he remained for three years. He then went to the radio, where he hosted many games such as Quitte ou double (Double or Nothing) and Crochet radiophonique for Radio Circus. With Radio Circus, he travelled all over France and Belgium. He made several radio serials: Vas-y Zappy (Go Zappy), Ça va bouillir (It will boil) and C'est parti mon Zappy (It’s gone My Zappy). His presence at Radio Luxembourg ended in 1966 when it became RTL. He continued his radio career at Radio Monte Carlo (RMC) by hosting the game Quitte ou double (Double or Nothing) again from 1974 until 1982/1983.

Dany Carrel
Dany Carrel. French postcard by Editions du Globe, Paris, no. 436. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Double or Nothing
Zappy Max performed in plays and in several films. He made his film debut with a bit part in the anthology film Souvenirs perdus/Lost Souvenirs (1950, Christian Jacque), and appeared as himself in Quitte ou Double/Double or Nothing (1952, Robert Vernay). He had his first leading part in the comedy Faites-Moi Confiance/Trust me (1954, Gilles Grangier). Other films include Les Chiffoniers d'Emmaüs/The Chiffoniers Emmaus (1955, Robert Darène) with Dany Carrel, Les lumières du soir/The Evening Lights (1956, Robert Vernay) with Gaby Morlay, and Printemps à Paris/Spring in Paris (1957, Jean-Claude Roy) starring Dominique Boschero. During the following decades he did a few more performances in films and TV series. His last film appearance was in the drama Outremer/Overseas (1990, Brigitte Roüan) with Nicole Garcia.

Dominique Boschero
Dominique Boschero. German postcard by Krüger, nr. 902/357. Photo: Georg Michalke.

It will boil!
Zappy Max published his memories in Ça va bouillir/It will boil! (2000) and L'âge d'or de la radio/The Golden Age of Radio (2004). He was awarded with the Prix Jean Nohain in 2005. A comic entitled Zappy Max: ça va bouillir/Zappy Max: it's going to boil was designed by Maurice Tillieux for the journal Pilote in 1959, but it was republished in 2010 by Editions de l'Élan. That year Max also published a new book about his passion for the Music-hall: Mes GEANTS du music-hall/My GIANTS of the Music-Hall. Indefatigable, he announced a new book, Mes Z d'or... Mémoires d'un cinéphile/My Golden Z ... Memoirs of a film buff, with portraits of his favorite actors.


Scopitone clip for the song Elle S'était Fait Couper Les Cheveux (She had her hair cut) by accordionist Aimable and Zappy Max. The clip was directed by Claude Lelouch. Source: Music Zone 1 (YouTube).

Sources: Wikipedia (French) and IMDb.

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