John & Emma Ray (fl. late 19th/early 20th Century), American entertainers, ‘eccentric comedy team’ (photo: unknown, USA, circa 1900)
John and Emma Ray and Company in the farce, A Hot Old Time, Bastable Theatre, Syracuse, April 1901
‘Few stars circling in the farcical orbit are more warming in their effect upon an audience than are the Rays, Johnny and Emma, in A Hot Old Time. Their appearance in this now familiar compound of hilarity provoking nonsense at the Bastable last evening was welcomed by an audience whose large size indicated that extravagantly boisterous amusement of this sort is well liked by many local theater goers.
‘There is little rhyme or reason in A Hot Old Time, but the absence of everything that would compel the exercise of one’s intelligence in considering its contents contributes rather than detracts from popular enjoyment of it. Absurdly comical situations are strung together in a sufficiently clever way to enable the Rays and their dozen or more assistants to disport themselves with an energy and vociferousness that are unceasing from the rise until the fall of the curtain and that evoke a rapid fire accompaniment of laughter from the spectators.
‘The Rays are like unto no other farcical comedians on the stage. Johnny Ray is unique in personality, comic resources and humorous method of expression, and he has his audience with him all the time. In her own way Mrs. Ray is equally as exuberant, and their capable company, including J. Bernard Dyllyn, the De Forrests, Hayes and Healey, the Lynn Sisters and the Bright Brothers, ably abets them in the fun-making.
‘The performance will be repeated this and to-morrow evenings and Wednesday afternoon.’ (The Post-Standard, Syracuse, New York, Tuesday, 2 April 1901, p.5a)
‘The popularity of A Hot Old Time in which John and Emma Ray are starring, is enriching those farcical comedians, who only a short time ago were earning comparatively small salaries in vaudeville. Their recent purchase of a handsome and costly residence in Cleveland is one evidence of their prosperity.’ (The Post-Standard, Syracuse, New York, Sunday, 5 May 1901, p.2g)