All stories by Trav S.D. on BroadwayStars

Friday, June 2, 2023

Matthias Buchinger: The Little Man from Nuremberg by Trav S.D.

I first learned of the remarkable Matthias Buchinger (1674-1740), it should surprise no one, from Ricky Jay’s Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women, which has an entire section devoted to him. …

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 04:32AM
Thursday, June 1, 2023

For National Accordion Awareness Month: “Squeeze This: A Cultural History of the Accordion in America” by Trav S.D.

June is not only Pride Month but it also happens to be National Accordion Awareness Month. This happy coincidence inevitably reminds me that the first person to ever make me understand the r…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 10:02AM
Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Brooke Shields: “Pretty Baby” by Trav S.D.

You see? Just like Milton Berle and Bob Hope, Brooke Shields (b. 1965) started out as a Charlie Chaplin impersonator. In this photo she’s about five, but then she went and dressed like The…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 08:06AM
Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Benny Goodman: A Thing on the King of Swing by Trav S.D.

BOTD clarinetist and big band leader Benny Goodman (Benjamin Goodman, 1909-1986). The son of Jewish immigrants, Goodman grew up in Chicago, soaking up the jazz music that was only then begin…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 10:24AM
Monday, May 29, 2023

The Harry Smith Centennial by Trav S.D.

The great Bohemian whatsit known as Harry Smith was born 100 years ago today (1923-1991). When Smith passed away, over 30 years ago now, I recall reading an in depth portrait of him in perha…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 09:32AM

On Donna Jean Young and “Vaudeville” by Trav S.D.

Today we treat of two separate but very much related topics of roughly equal obscurity. I can’t recall which one I learned about first, but we start with comedienne Donna Jean Young (1936-…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 08:18AM
Sunday, May 28, 2023

Happy National Vaudeville Day! by Trav S.D.

Today is the birthday of Tony Pastor, Father of Vaudeville, which I am henceforth and unilaterally declaring to be National Vaudeville Day. I hope you will join me in observing it going forw…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 10:06AM

Zelda Rubinstein: Of Poltergeist and Picket Fences by Trav S.D.

Zelda Rubinstein (1933-2010) would have been 90 today, and the reason she’s not around to celebrate it is the same reason we know about her at all, she suffered from a pituitary condition …

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 07:48AM
Saturday, May 27, 2023

The Hill: A Thieves Theatre Podcast by Trav S.D.

This wants to be a much longer think-piece, but it’ll be weeks until I can work such a thing into my schedule. But rather than let this time sensitive bulletin fester, we simplify this int…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 10:06AM

Lee Meriwether: Not Henry Kissinger by Trav S.D.

Henry Kissinger turned 100 today, and I was one of the millions bemoaning the fact that death has taken Tina Turner and not that repulsive old baby murderer. I was going to do a post today o…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 10:06AM
Friday, May 26, 2023

On The Rise and Fall of the Sideshow Geek by Trav S.D.

Coming June 1: the midway history I didn’t know I needed, Nathan Wakefield, The Rise and Fall of the Sideshow Geek, Snake eaters, Human Ostriches and Other Extreme Entertainers. Wakefield …

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 10:06AM
Thursday, May 25, 2023

The Leslie Uggams Show by Trav S.D.

Today is Leslie Uggams’ 80th birthday and I hope you will forgive the joke I invariably think of when I see her name, which is “Would Wes-wee wike a wittoo ‘uggams?” If you’re done…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 06:54AM
Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Gary Burghoff IS W*A*L*T*E*R by Trav S.D.

As we pen these words it is the 80th birthday of actor Gary Burghoff (b.1943), known almost exclusively for playing the character of “Radar” O’Reilley in both the film and television s…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 12:32PM

Mae Dahlberg: Stan Laurel’s Previous Partner by Trav S.D.

This is a tawdry tidbit well known to Laurel and Hardy fans, but not to the general reader: prior to his four legal marriages and prior to his screen teaming with Oliver Hardy, a woman named…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 09:12AM
Tuesday, May 23, 2023

A Real Post on Scatman Crothers by Trav S.D.

We’ve many an occasion to mention Benjamin Sherman “Scatman” Crothers (1910-1986) on this blog, but unconscionably our only post dedicated to him to date has been been very narrowly fo…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 10:24AM
Monday, May 22, 2023

The Reincarnation of Michael Sarrazin by Trav S.D.

Here’s a forgotten star closer to our own time. When I was a kid in the ’70s Michael Sarazin (1940-2011) was everywhere, in all kinds of major screen projects with top actors, and for al…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 08:42AM

Born Today, Two Unique “Fighting Men”: Arthur Cravan and The Great Gama by Trav S.D.

Very much ahead of his time was Arthur Cravan (Fabian Avenarius Lloyd; 1887-1918) a hoaxer, boxer, Dada artist, critic performer, poet, adventurer and nephew of Oscar Wilde. One reads abou…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 07:32AM
Sunday, May 21, 2023

The Rick Jason Centennial by Trav S.D.

Not being a baby boomer, I was unaware of Rick Jason’s most famous role and learned about him in the most unlikely was possible — I got interested in investigating who he was after seein…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 10:06AM
Saturday, May 20, 2023

Patricia Ellis: Of WAMPAS and Warners by Trav S.D.

Classic comedy fans have reason to take note of the name Patricia Ellis (Patricia O’Brien, 1916-1970). She appears opposite Joe E. Brown in Elmer the Great (1933), The Circus Clown (1934) …

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 07:12AM
Friday, May 19, 2023

The Return of Marxfest! by Trav S.D.

Today marks the 99th anniversary of the Marx Brothers’ first Broadway show I’ll Say She Is, which we revived nine years ago in the context of an entire Marx Brothers festival produced by…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 12:32PM

Sabrina: The British Bosom Lady by Trav S.D.

All honor and deference to British stage and screen anomaly Sabrina (Norma Ann Sykes, 1936-2016). We first became aware of her when she sashayed into the middle of Satan in High Heels (1962)…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 07:06AM
Thursday, May 18, 2023

For International Museum Day: On Huber’s Palace by Trav S.D.

May 18 is International Museum Day, which I’m certain is not intended to celebrate the kind of dime museums I normally write about here, but allow me to expand the day’s purpose. I’ve …

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 10:24AM

The Many Shows of Dwayne Hickman by Trav S.D.

Last year, Dwayne Hickman (1934-2022) made the symbolic gesture of dying on Bob Denver’s birthday. This will mean nothing to all but the elderly. I’m only aware of The Many Loves of Dobi…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 07:06AM
Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Born 50 Years Ago Today: Matthew McGrory, the World’s Tallest Actor by Trav S.D.

BOTD 50 years ago, Matthew McGrory (1973-2005), certified by the Guinness Book of World Records to have been the tallest professional actor in its annals (7′ 6″). Sadly, as you see, he i…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 01:02PM

The Mystery of Bob Saget by Trav S.D.

It’s been over a year since Bob Saget’s (1956-2022) sudden and bewildering passing, so I hope it’s not “too soon” (to use a phrase that bedeviled his professional compadres Gilbert…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 11:54AM
Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Tin Pan Alley Continued: Chip Deffaa’s Broadway and Vaudeville Legends by Trav S.D.

In keeping with today’s theme of Tin Pan Alley tunes, a wanna make a little plug for the new CD, Chip Deffaa’s Broadway and Vaudeville Legends. Back when I first started producing vaudev…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 12:24PM

Happy Music Hall and Variety Day by Trav S.D.

Today we invite you to join our friends of the British Music Hall Society in celebrating British Music Hall & Variety Day. How can you do this? Why, you could share your favorite relevan…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 07:06AM
Monday, May 15, 2023

Feg Murray: Seein’ Stars by Trav S.D.

It’s interesting to me that Frederick “Feg” Murray (1894-1973) shares a birthday with Clifton Fadiman, whom we only just wrote about. Both men had hosted radio shows, and Murray turned…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 12:36PM

Clifton Fadiman: This Was Show Business by Trav S.D.

My mind has been fairly blown by learning about Clifton Fadiman (1904-1999), a radio and television personality whose name would have been pretty universally known in America from the late �…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 11:32AM

Walt Disney’s Wizard of Oz by Trav S.D.

Having already written about the visionary author L. Frank Baum and many of the stage and screen adaptations of his works, in our L. Frank Baum section, here’s one which fell through the c…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 09:12AM
Sunday, May 14, 2023

For Mother’s Day: 10 Tin Pan Alley Songs About Mothers by Trav S.D.

Happy Mother’s Day — for those who celebrate. We’ve done a couple of posts here in the past in observance of the holiday, one on some famous vaudeville stage mothers, and another even …

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 08:32AM

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