All stories by Trav S.D. on BroadwayStars

Thursday, August 17, 2017

30 Years Ago in NYC (Because I’ve Now Been Here That Long) by Trav S.D.

I marked this on my calendar to write about today: 30 years ago (yesterday and today) there occurred a curious alignment of stars and planets that New Age people called “the Harmonic C…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 10:48AM
Wednesday, August 16, 2017

How Coney Island Gave Us the First Roller Coasters by Trav S.D.

Today is National Roller Coaster Day! It’s not nearly enough well known that Coney Island was the birthplace of the roller coaster, forgotten mostly because Coney Island amusement par…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 01:42PM
Tuesday, August 15, 2017

28 “Great Hitchcock Movies” Made By Other People by Trav S.D.

This post was originally intended for Alfred Hitchcock’s birthday, but since it’s not actually about the Master of Suspense himself but only some of his imitators, any old day…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 03:04PM
Monday, August 14, 2017

Trav S.D.’s Guide to the Comedies of Wheeler and Woolsey by Trav S.D.

For Bob Woolsey’s birthday, we consolidate all of our previous posts on the films of the comedy team of Wheeler and Woolsey into one big monster post. Looked at all at once, RKO̵…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 12:18PM
Saturday, August 12, 2017

Coney Island Film Clips by Trav S.D.

This is unusual post for is. It’s designed to be a kind of appendix to the talk I am giving at the Coney Island Museum today, Coney Island and the Movies. But if you weren’t at t…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 01:42AM
Friday, August 11, 2017

Norma Shearer: The Subtle Magnet by Trav S.D.

I have a friend — a female friend — who never talks about Norma Shearer (1902-1983) without talking about how ugly and unappealing she finds her. I suppose my friend looks at her…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 12:48PM

Ten Tramp Comedians by Trav S.D.

This weekend is the National Hobo Convention in Britt, Iowa. I have always been partial both to the hobo ethic itself (I’ve been working on an essay about that very thing for a while n…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 09:12AM

The Courtney Sisters (featuring Florence, Georgie Jessel’s First Wife) by Trav S.D.

August 11, 1892 was the birthday of Florence Courtney (Florence Grismer). With her sister Fay, she was one half of the vaudeville singing duo The Courtney Sisters. Joe Laurie, Jr. called the…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 08:06AM
Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Pickens Sisters: Singers of High Society by Trav S.D.

Jane Pickens (1908-1992) of the Pickens Sisters was born on this day. She’s chiefly on my radar because I’ve lived and recreated in Newport, Rhode island, where she was a longtim…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 10:36AM
Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Why My Low Regard for Lou Costello is Not Just “My Opinion” by Trav S.D.

Having re-posted last year’s piece about “When Classic Comedy Died” yesterday and having gotten some of the usual expected chagrined replies, I offer this long-germinating …

Linked From Trav S.D. at 08:42AM
Tuesday, August 8, 2017

R.I.P. Glen Travis Campbell by Trav S.D.

R.I.P. Glen Campbell, who passed away today at the age of 81, and let me tell you something, that ages ME, because well do I remember our family gathered to watch The Glen Campbell Goodtime…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 05:54PM

The Several Stages of Sylvia Sidney by Trav S.D.

Sylvia Sidney (Sophia Kosow, 1910-1999) was born on this day. I’m an enormous fan of this Hollywood screen actress in all her phases (which we’ll describe), but first, her surpri…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 11:33AM
Sunday, August 6, 2017

Stray Thoughts on Andy Warhol by Trav S.D.

Andy Warhol (1928-1987) was a virus, a pseudo-living entity concerned primarily with self-replication and whose effect could be toxic, occasionally even fatal. Speculation that he was of ali…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 10:18AM
Saturday, August 5, 2017

Happy Birthday, WitchiePoo! by Trav S.D.

Billie Hayes was born on August 5, 1932. I am precisely the correct age to be one of the WitchiePoo generation. I was four years old when Sid and Marty Krofft’s H.R. Pufnstuf originall…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 08:36PM
Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Henry Jones: Quietly Indispensable by Trav S.D.

The great character actor Henry Jones (1912-1999) was born on this day. Jones’ laconic manner made him perfect for rural types, though he was from Philadelphia and the grandson of a Co…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 07:36AM
Monday, July 31, 2017

The Rolling Shepard Logbook (R.I.P., Sam) by Trav S.D.

Like almost everybody, I imagine I first knew Sam Shepard as a movie star. My friends and I, as young men of 18, 19, were crazy about The Right Stuff (1983) — we must have watched it 1…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 05:54PM
Saturday, July 29, 2017

How the It Girl Lost It: Clara Bow’s Breakthroughs and Breakdowns by Trav S.D.

It’s true to say I think that Clara Bow (1905-1965) is one those classic early stars whom much larger numbers of people love for backstory and offscreen life and image than know her ac…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 08:32PM

Theda Bara: The Screen’s Premiere Vamp by Trav S.D.

Aw, man, this late in the day this guy can still be properly fooled. I had never probed too deeply into the background of silent screen actress Theda Bara (Theodosia Burr Goodman, 1885-1955)…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 01:42PM

Slapstick Divas: The Women of Silent Comedy by Trav S.D.

Some things are just self-evident; one of these verities is that if Steve Massa has something to say, we want to hear it, and I’m pretty sure our readers do too, whether it’s in…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 10:24AM
Friday, July 28, 2017

Sherry Britton: A Stripteuse with Brains by Trav S.D.

Burlesque performer and actress Sherry Britton (Edith Zack, 1918-2008) was born this day. Originally from New Brunswick, New Jersey, Britton danced during the heyday of the national burlesqu…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 08:12AM
Thursday, July 27, 2017

Three Terrific Trav S.D. Talks on Coney Island by Trav S.D.

Look, Looka, Looka! Come One, Come All! Come to the Coney Island Museum 3 Saturdays in August and Hear 3 Great Trav S.D. Talks! Stay all day at the beach! Go on the rides! And cap off the da…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 10:42AM
Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Vivian Vance of “I Love Lucy”: Gave As Good As She Got by Trav S.D.

Vivian Vance (Vivian Robert Jones, 1909-1979) has a birthday today. I wrote about Vance’s three I Love Lucy co-stars ages ago; there’s a reason I’m only getting around to h…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 01:54PM

Charles Butterworth: Hilarious Hoosier, Sad Suicide? by Trav S.D.

Charles Butterworth (1896-1946) was born on this day. This low-key, subtle comic actor was sort of the quintessential screen Hoosier, playing dry, mild-mannered, vaguely distracted midwester…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 10:48AM
Tuesday, July 25, 2017

R.I.P. Mrs. Zeppo by Trav S.D.

My internet has been out all day or else I would have posted this much earlier. We learned today that the lady best known as Barbara Sinatra died today at age 90 — although to Marx Bro…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 08:33PM

Jack Gilford: A Cracker Jack Performer by Trav S.D.

Happy birthday to Jack Gilford (Jacob Aaron Gellman, 1908-1990). This universally beloved pop culture figure was perhaps more present than ever on the American landscape during his last year…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 06:33PM

Estelle Getty: Comedy’s Grandma Moses by Trav S.D.

We’s in the midst of a Golden Girls Renaissance these days; it seems like entire cable networks are devoted to showing it in reruns. I’m sure this is why it occurred to me to do…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 10:33AM
Monday, July 24, 2017

On Nazi Comedies by Trav S.D.

Good heavens — no! I don’t mean great comedies MADE by the Nazi film studios!  I apologize if I gave you that impression, although if it got you here then it was a good headline…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 12:42PM
Sunday, July 23, 2017

Althea Henley: Almost a Star by Trav S.D.

Chorus girl and actress Althea Henley (Althea Heinley, 1911-1996) was born on this day. As a girl, Henley trained as a dancer in her native Allentown,Pennsylvania. Encouraged by a teacher an…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 08:42AM

Champion Jack Dupree: Seminal Blues Man with a Coney Island Connection by Trav S.D.

July 23 is one of the many possible birth dates given for boogie woogie, blues, and barrelhouse piano player William Thomas “Champion Jack” Dupree (circa 1909 – 1992).  Bo…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 08:42AM
Friday, July 21, 2017

Irene Delroy: A Star That Twinkled Briefly by Trav S.D.

A few notes about performer Irene Delroy (Josephine Sanders), born this day in 1900. She was originally from Bloomington, Indiana; the McLean County Museum of History has a comprehensive co…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 09:04AM
Thursday, July 20, 2017

For National Moon Day: 33 Tin Pan Alley Songs About the Moon by Trav S.D.

It’s National Moon Day — commemorating that day in 1969 when “the Eagle [had] Landed.” Neil Armstrong took his historic stroll the following day. I seem to remember a…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 01:04PM