Posts Tagged ‘vaudeville’

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Adele Purvis Onri, English-born American vaudeville and circus slack wire and globe walker and serpentine dancer

May 4, 2015

Adele Purvis Onri (1859/64-1948), English-born American vaudeville and circus slack wire and globe walker and serpentine dancer
(cabinet photo: Schloss, 54 West 23nd Street, New York, circa 1897)

FIRST APPEARANCE AND INSTANTANEOUS HIT OF
Adele Onri,
IN HER MARVELOUS, BEAUTIFUL AND MAGNIFICENT PRODUCTION AT
ELECTRIC PARK, BALTIMORE
,
Eclipsing everything of the kind ever see in this city. The talk of the town. Four thousand more people paid at the gates Friday night, July 17 [1896], that on the Glorious Fourth. A greater success and draw than the vitascope. The street car companies unable to supply cars enough to convey the thousands of people that flocked out to the park. The Casino not big enough to accommodate the crowd that came to see the beautiful and wondrous spectacle.
FIRST – QUEEN OF NIGHT, ascending and descending at will from the Revolving Globe; floating in space surrounded by brilliant colored light effects.
SECOND – THE LILY AND THE ROSE.
THIRD – QUEEN OF LIGHT
, performed on the electric illuminated revolving globe of 10,000 lights, changing color every instant, terminating with the grandest fire-effect ever invented.
FOURTH – SUNSET, with novel stereopticon effects; suddenly a fountain of water spurts up on the stage, and within its spray Miss Onri is seen to rise and fall, glowing with all the colors of the rainbow. The whole invented, made and produced by JOHN LE CLAIR, Original inventor of the Mirror Dance. This Grand Act can be done anywhere. For terms and open time, address
ADELE ONRI, Electric Park, Baltimore, Md.
(The New York Clipper, New York, Saturday, 25 July 1896, p. 337a)

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May 4, 2015

Adele Purvis Onri (1859/64-1948), English-born American vaudeville and circus slack wire and globe walker and serpentine dancer
(cabinet photo: Schloss, 54 West 23nd Street, New York, circa 1897)

FIRST APPEARANCE AND INSTANTANEOUS HIT OF
Adele Onri,
IN HER MARVELOUS, BEAUTIFUL AND MAGNIFICENT PRODUCTION AT
ELECTRIC PARK, BALTIMORE
,
Eclipsing everything of the kind ever see in this city. The talk of the town. Four thousand more people paid at the gates Friday night, July 17 [1896], that on the Glorious Fourth. A greater success and draw than the vitascope. The street car companies unable to supply cars enough to convey the thousands of people that flocked out to the park. The Casino not big enough to accommodate the crowd that came to see the beautiful and wondrous spectacle.
FIRST – QUEEN OF NIGHT, ascending and descending at will from the Revolving Globe; floating in space surrounded by brilliant colored light effects.
SECOND – THE LILY AND THE ROSE.
THIRD – QUEEN OF LIGHT
, performed on the electric illuminated revolving globe of 10,000 lights, changing color every instant, terminating with the grandest fire-effect ever invented.
FOURTH – SUNSET, with novel stereopticon effects; suddenly a fountain of water spurts up on the stage, and within its spray Miss Onri is seen to rise and fall, glowing with all the colors of the rainbow. The whole invented, made and produced by JOHN LE CLAIR, Original inventor of the Mirror Dance. This Grand Act can be done anywhere. For terms and open time, address
ADELE ONRI, Electric Park, Baltimore, Md.
(The New York Clipper, New York, Saturday, 25 July 1896, p. 337a)

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Gloria Martinez, ‘the Beautiful Cuban,’ American burlesque actress

January 15, 2014

Gloria Martinez (active 1890-1915), American vaudeville/burlesque actress, ‘professionally known as the Beautiful Cuban’
(photo: J.B. Wilson, Chicago, circa 1902; halftone postcard published by the Philadelphia Post Card Co, no. 66, circa 1902)

Gloria Martinez, whose real name was Julia Boyle, appeared in various United States touring vaudeville/burlesque companies, including The Jersey Lilies Company, the New Century Girls and The Midnight Maidens.

The Jersey Lillies this season is playing the same pieces as last season. Both were written by Leon Erroll. Mr. Erroll was with the show last year. His part is now taken by Charlie Howard, who is featured, although James E. (Bluch) Cooper is the owner and plays a principal comedy role… .
‘Marty Regan is the same good ”rube” [hick or redneck] constable and Miss [Lucia] Cooper the same imposing principal woman, perhaps a little too much so in tights.
‘Glora Martinez, however, made such an attractive figure at the head of the chorus in an Amazon March that Miss Cooper might well leave Miss Martinez in full possession of all the honors she has taken in the ”figger” [i.e. figure] division of the performance… .’
(Variety, New York, Saturday, 10 February 1912, p. 25b/c)

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Marie Dainton

April 21, 2013

Marie Dainton (1880?-1938), Russian born English actress, vocalist and mimic, appears at Keith’s Grand Opera House, Indianapolis, November 1909
(photos: Bassano, London, circa 1909)

‘A vaudeville bill full of pleasing features and singularly free from weak points was presented to an enthusiastic matinee audience at the Grand yesterday. While no act on the bill cam be ranked as a sensational headliner, there are three or four whose high average brings it into the list of the banner bills of the season.
‘Marie Dainton, a pretty impersonator of stage celebrities, hailing from the London music halls, has an imitation of Maude Adams in What Every Woman Knows that is a gem. She had caught Miss Adams’s voice exactly, even to the fine twists and turns that have rendered that voice one of the most charming on the stage, and she has also appropriated a number of Miss Adams’s little mannerisms. Glancing away from the stage while Miss Dainton is speaking the closing lines of What Every Woman Knows, it is easy to imagine – it is almost conviction, in fact – that Maude Adams in person is on the stage. In her impersonations Miss Dainton uses no makeup, relying upon voice and manner to create the necessary illusions. This makes her task much harder, of course. Besides Maude Adams, Miss Dainton at the matinee yesterday impersonated Anna Held, Irene Franklin, Bert Williams and Mrs. Leslie Carter, catching the mannerisms of each, without, however, as in the case of Maude Adams, [being] absolutely convincing.
‘Arthur Dunn, the diminutive comedian, and Marie Glasier are back in their sketch, The Messenger Boy. They were given a hearty reception by the matinee audience, and, in spite of Miss Glasier’s overworked laugh, the sketch went with a rush. It has been either brushed up or worked down since it was seen here last season and in consequence is much improved.
‘In addition to Marie Dainton’s act there are three one the bill that are decidedly artistic – Witt’s ”Girls From Melody Lane.” Mr. and Mrs. Erwin Connelly in a sketch entitled Sweethearts, and Miss Winona Winters in songs, impersonations and a ventriloquial offering.
”’The Girls From Melody Lane” are a quartet of High-class singers, whose voices, excellent individuality, blend perfectly. The act throughout is neat and ”classy.” There are no costume changes, no attempts at grotesque comedy, nor anything else of the sort tending to mar an offering of this kind. The feature, if there can be a feature where all are so good, is the fine contralto voice of Miss Nina Barbour. The girls are a little unfortunately in their repertory of songs, there being none that leaves a permanent impression. It is the singing, not the song, that counts.
Sweethearts is a sketch that come close to the ideal vaudeville sketch, dealing simply and effectively with a sing theme. It is decidedly English in both its comedy and its pathos, resembling Dickens somewhat. It is presented in two scenes, forty years elapsing between them. The lapse of time is shown effectively by the growing of a sapling into a great tree. Love remains the same. The playlet is excellently acted.
‘Winona Winters, a pretty and vivacious girl, comically imitates a Swedish servant girl and a negro mammy, besides singing pleasingly some straight songs and giving the ventriloquial act for which she is famous among vaudeville lovers.
‘Elsie Faye, a clever little singer and dancer, Joe Miller and Sam Weston present a good singing and dancing costume act; Martin and Maxmillian open the bill with a magician’s act, where every trick is revealed by the awkwardness of the assistant, and the Walthour Trio of cyclists offer some daring novelties. Both the Kinodrome pictures are comic.’
(The Indianapolis Star, Indianapolis, Indiana, Tuesday, 23 November 1909, p. 6f)

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Mayme Gehrue

February 11, 2013

Mayme Gehrue (1883?-after 1922),
American actress and vaudeville comedienne and dancer
(photo: White, New York, circa 1909)

Johnny Ford and Mayme Gehrue at Keith & Proctor’s Union Square, New York, week beginning, Monday, 5 November 1906
‘John Ford and Mayme Gehrue, lately returned from a season in London, were given a cordial welcome. Miss Gehrue opened the act with a new song called ”Percy,” while Mr. Ford walked up and down the aisles. They then sang as a duet a topical song called ”If the World Were Ruled by Girls” [written and composed by George Arthurs and C.W. Murphy], which has no end of verses. After this they settled down to real work and did some of the dancing for which both are famous, winning several recalls.’
(The New York Dramatic Mirror, New York, Saturday, 17 November 1906, p. 18b)

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January 23, 2013

Nora Bayes (1880-1928)
American vaudeville and musical comedy star,
who introduced George M. Cohan’s 1917 hit, ‘Over There
(photo: unknown, probably New York, 1917;
sheet music published by William Jerome Publishing, New York, 1917,
artwork by ‘Barbelle’)

Nora Bayes, whose real name was Leonora Goldberg, began her highly successful career in vaudeville and musical comedy in Chicago in 1899. Her second of five husbands, Jack Norworth (1879-1962), whom she married in 1908, became her stage partner for a while and together they wrote the lyrics for ‘Shine On, Harvest Moon,’ featured in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1908. It is one of the tragedies of light entertainment history that this recording of their most popular song was a technical failure, deemed unsuitable for issue, when they committed it to disc for the Victor Talking Machine Co in New York on 7 March 1910. Although the couple returned to the same studios several more times that year, they did not attempt ‘Shine On, Harvest Moon’ again.

‘Shine On, Harvest Moon’ has been recorded by many other artists since 1908, one of the earliest being by an unnamed male singer (who sounds very much like Bob Roberts) accompanied by female chorus, from Mark Best’s Old Time Victrola Music Page).

Miss Bayes, who made many records for both Victor and American Columbia, had a string of songs with which her name is connected. ‘How Ya Gonna Keep ’em Down on the Farm,’ George M. Cohan’s ‘Over There,’ and ‘The Japanese Sandman’ are among them.

‘Nora Bayes, with her inimitable foolery and clean fun, her admirable imitations and clever and witty songs, became in a very short time one of the greatest favorites on the American stage, and she continues to hold the attention as well as the admiration of her audiences – through sheer talent. Miss Bayes is the life of every production with which she is connected, and gives a zest to every moment she is on the stage. This talented artist has sung for the Victor [Talking Machine Co.] some of her greatest successes and the records are among the most entertaining in the catalogue.’
(1923 Catalogue of Victor Records, Victor Talking Machine Co., Camden, New Jersey, USA, December 1922)

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‘The town of Great Neck, Long Island, now regarded George M. Cohan, his wife and children, as permanent members of the colony – a colony that included Arthur Hopkins, Gene Buck, Charles King and Lila Rhodes and Sam Harris. Cohan liked Great Neck for his family but he never got used to working there.
‘It was there, however, and let it go into the record, that he got the inspiration for the song that will live as long as this republic [of the United States] stands.
‘America went to war. On April 6, 1917, after Congress had acted, Woodrow Wilson put his signature to the document that declared the United States at war with Germany.
‘In Great Neck that morning Cohan read his newspapers with puckered brow. He rose several times to go to is car for the drive into [Manhattan], but before getting into the car he sat down at his desk, took a pencil, and began scribbling. There was a new melody in his head and he was seeking the words to go with it. He wrote one word, “Chorus,” across the top of a sheet of paper and in less than half an hour he had written these words:

Over there, over there,
Send the word, send the word, over there,
That the Yanks are coming, the Yanks are coming,
The drums rum-tumming everywhere.
So prepare, say a prayer,
Send the word, send the word to beware.
We’ll be over, we’re coming over,
And we won’t come back till
It’s over over there!

‘Now, with that much done, he went quickly to his car and before he reached the Cohan & Harris offices he had written a verse that ran:

Johnnie, get your gun, get your gun, get your gun,
Take it on the run, on the run, on the run;
Hear them calling you and me,
Every son of Liberty.
Hurry right away, no delay, go today.
Make your daddy glad
To have had such a lad,
Tell your sweetheart not to pine,
To be proud her boy’s in line.

‘In later years, in telling me of the writing of that song, Cohan’s exact words were these: “Funny about them giving me a medal. All I wrote was a bugle call. I read those war headlines and I got to thinking and to humming to myself – and for a minute I thought I was going into my dance. I was all finished with both the chorus and the verse by the time I got to town and I also had a title. I tried the thing first on my friend Joe Humphreys (famous ring announcer of Madison Square Garden) and Joe liked it and he never was a fellow for lying. Joe really said he was crazy about it and he said, ‘George, you’ve got a song.’ And it seems I had.”
‘”Over There” swept America and the world. A month after publication it was being sung, hummed, whistled in every corner of the United States. It became the song of the war, and so it is held today. The average song hit of present times will achieve a sale of from one hundred thousand to three hundred thousand copies. “Over There,” first professionally sung by Nora Bayes, reached the million-and-a-half mark in total sales. This was a total considerably in excess of that of Irving Berlin’s “Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning” [of 1918]…’
(Ward Morehouse, George M. Cohan, Prince of the American Theater, J.B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia and New York, 1943, pp.125-127)

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The ‘million-and-a-half mark in total sales’ for ‘Over There’ mentioned above refers to the quantity of its sheet music. Besides the original featuring a tinted half-tone photograph of Nora Bayes in exotic military attire (see above), several other covers were published, including one by the artist Norman Rockwell (‘as sung by’ the celebrated Italian tenor, Enrico Caruso); and another featuring a futuristic design.

Like all popular songs of the period, ‘Over There’ was recorded a number of times. Nora Bayes herself committed the number to disc for the Victor Talking Machine Co (Victor 45130) in New York on 13 July 1917. Another version was made by Caruso on 11 July 1918, again for Victor; and a third, for Edison (50443) in 1917, by the popular recording artist Billy Murray and the American Quartet.

Nora Bayes
(photo: Sarony, New York, circa 1910)

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Happy Fanny Fields, American vaudeville comedienne

January 21, 2013

Happy Fanny Fields (1884-1961),
American vaudeville comedienne,
(photo: Claude Harris, London, 1913;
photograph dedicated by Miss Fields to the
English comedian and pantomime dame, George French and his wife)

Happy Fanny Fields appears in a short film entitled Happy Fanny Fields and the Four Little Dutchmen, 1913 ‘For the first time Happy Fanny Fields, the popular variety artiste, has been ”taken” for pictures, and appears with four little ”Dutch” children in one of her typical dances in a field entitled Happy Fanny Fields and the Four Little Dutchmen, which will be shown at the leading picture houses within a very few days. The film is entirely British, being made not far from London. Many more thousands will now see Happy Fanny Fields, and the four little Dutchmen add materially to the attractiveness of the subject. Specially composed and characteristic Fanny Fields music will be issued to the picture theatres screening the film, which, like other ”Selsior Dancing Films,” is so produced that, when exhibited, any pianist or orchestra can easily synchronise their music with the stops of the dancers by following the bâton of the conductor seen in the corner of the film, and this without any apparatus whatever. The conductor is Geo. R. Hatley, musical-director of the Holborn Empire.
(The Era, London, Wednesday, 16 July 1913, p. 26a)