No comedian upset the conventions of his day and paved the way for the comedy of the future more than W.C. Fields. In a time when all comedians would do their show biz best to ingratiate themselves with their audience, Fields created a public persona in firm keeping with his own personal outlook that stood all such performing niceties on their collective ear. He absolutely detested marriage, singing, children, mother-in-laws, dogs, sentiment of any kind (especially when attached to commercial holidays like Christmas), and was highly suspicious of society in general. He was mean, he was jealous, he was selfish, and all of this invective was firmly couched in Fields' best-known trait -- both on-stage and off -- as an inveterate drinker of legendary proportions. There was nothing funny about him if you were looking for a jolly-spirited comedian who just told jokes or did pratfalls. Fields was a mean-spirited, irascible old crab who didn't really seem to give a damm whether or not his audience ever "got" what he was doing, and indeed, the man derived great pleasure every time he thought he was putting something over, whether it was on a director, movie studio hierarchy, radio executive, or the poor, unsuspecting sap on the street.