Showing posts with label Vaudeville. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vaudeville. Show all posts

Sunday, February 19, 2017

February 19, 1922 Ed Wynn became the first vaudeville star to sign a radio contract


On this day in 1922, Ed Wynn became the first vaudeville star to sign a radio contract.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

September 10: Happy Birthday, Adele Astaire

In 1898,three years before her brother, Fred Astaire, was born, Adele Astaire entered the world on Sept 10. A child raised in a New York boardinghouse and educated at the Alviene Master School of the Theatre and Academy of Cultural Arts, Adele began performing on the Vaudeville circuit with her sibling at the tender age of seven.

Astaire appeared on the sustaining program Magic Key on Jan. 12, 1936. The episode also showcased the Pickens Sisters.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

October 29: Happy Birthday, Jack Pearl



Vass You dere, Sharlie?  That was the question, at least from Jack Pearl's Baron Munchhausen character to the straight man, Charlie, brought to life by Ben Bard and the Cliff Hall, who didn't always believe the good Baron's tall tales.

Pearl, born in one of the world's show biz capitals, New York City, started in Vaudeville and took his comedy act to radio in 1932 on The Ziegfeld Follies of the Air.  It was on that program that the outlandish German caricature, Baron Munchhausen, was born.  Let's recall, though, that he also starred as the host of The Lucky Strike Hour from '32-'34.

Today we celebrate the 1894 birth of the comedy star Jack Pearl.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

June, 29: Happy Birthday, Joan Davis

When Joan Davis was born on June 29, 1907, America was blessed with talent that would encompass all avenues of entertainment. This young comedian was going to make her mark on television, radio, vaudeville and in the movies...not in necessarily in that order. he first arena for performing was in vaudeville with her comedian husband Si Willis.

One of her enterprising talents was that of a physical comedian; her size and lanky build was suited for the making the slapstick variety of visual humor. In 1941, Joan Davis entered the radio arena by appearing on the Rudy Vallee Show, where she would become a regular a few months later.

When Vallee left to serve during WWII in 1943, Davis and Jack Haley became co-hosts of the program, The Sealtest Village Store. In 1945 she moved over to CBS and did a radio program centered around owning a tea room. In 1947, the show changed placing her name on the title still with the focus of the tea room and the happenings in Smallville, running until 1948. By July of that same year, Leave it to Joan ran in place of Lux Radio Theatre for the summer.

In August 1949 the program became a yearly diet for america with its run until March of 1950. Her physical comedy was played up on the radio and developed her prowess for that type of comedy. it worked for when NBC took her on television opposite of Jim Backus with I Married Joan. It ran until 1955. In 1961, MS Davis passed away at the age of 53 in Palm Springs, California. Comediennes like Lucille Ball and Eve Arden owe much of their success to the talents pioneered by Joan Davis.

Friday, May 10, 2013

May 10: Happy Birthday, Fred Astaire


"Can't act. Can't sing. Balding. Can dance a little." So read the RKO screen test of none other than...Lassie! No, not really. We're talking about today's birthday boy, Fred Astaire, who soft-shoed into the world today, 1899.

Astaire went into the world of dance with his older sister on the Vaudeville circuit. By 1917 the duo was appearing in big-time musicals on both sides of the Big Pond. Fortunately for all of us, his sister married a British aristocrat and decided there'd be no more professional dancing for her. This left the little brother to re-invent his career. He landed work in a Cole Porter musical, Gay Divorce. From there--failed screen test aside--it was on to celluloid.

As far as the world of radio, in 1936 he hosted the Packard Hour, whose colloquial name was "The Fred Astaire Show." He also graced Bing Crosby's variety program late in his career. Let's salute Fred Astaire!