All stories by Trav S.D. on BroadwayStars

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Photos from American Vaudeville WWI Tribute/ Metropolitan Playhouse Gala by Trav S.D.

April 2017 marks the centennial anniversary of America’s involvement in World War One. April also just so happens to be the time of year when one of our favorite theatres, the Metropol…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 06:31PM

When is a Dead End Not a Dead End? by Trav S.D.

Riddle me this: when is a Dead End not a Dead End? Answer: when it’s Sidney Kingsley’s seminal 1935 play, being given an invigorating new revival by the Axis Theatre Company. I w…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 03:06PM
Monday, April 24, 2017

When Did the Circus Become Un-American? (Keynote Speech, Congress of Curious Peoples) by Trav S.D.

This past weekend was the annual Congress of Curious Peoples at Coney Island USA. I was honored to be asked to give the keynote address this year on the topic “When Did the Circus Beco…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 01:02PM

Tomorrow Night: My Vaudeville Salute to World War One by Trav S.D.

April 2017 is the 100th anniversary of America’s involvement in the First World War. Tomorrow night, April 25 at the Metropolitan Playhouse’s 25th Anniversary Gala is April 25 &…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 10:48AM

Stars of Vaudeville #1040: Mayer and Evans by Trav S.D.

April 24 is the birthday of big band and jazz piano player Ray Mayer (Ray Maher, 1901-1949). Originally from Lexington, Nebraska, he started out in circuses and in some bands organized by tr…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 08:42AM
Sunday, April 23, 2017

How Shakespeare May Have Written Many More Plays Than You Probably Know About by Trav S.D.

Today is the traditional birthday of William Shakespeare (see our earlier article about him here). Recent years have been exciting ones for Shakespearean scholarship. Computer analysis has b…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 12:42PM

The Perennial Mystique of Bettie Page by Trav S.D.

April 22 is the birthday of Bettie Page (1923-2008). I feel sort of Bettie Page cult-adjacent, near but not of the intense widespread worship of this iconic pin-up girl of the 1950s. So many…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 09:24AM
Friday, April 21, 2017

Stars of Slapstick #226: Walter Forde by Trav S.D.

April 21 is the natal day of British actor/ comedian/ director Walter Forde (Thomas Seymour Woolford, 1898-1984). Forde was the son of music hall comedian Tom Seymour, joining his father on…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 10:06AM
Thursday, April 20, 2017

Magic at Coney: An Interview with Magician Gary Driefus by Trav S.D.

Sundays at Noon, Gary Dreifus presents his long-running family-oriented magic show at Coney Island USA, featuring a different line-up  of expert illusionists every week. Today, Gary gives u…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 07:54AM
Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Ups and Downs of Lina Basquette by Trav S.D.

Lina Basquette (Lena Copeland Baskette) was born on April 19, 1907. Basquette was a star of stage and screen through several different phases, but is perhaps best remembered today for her ei…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 10:36AM

Stars of Vaudeville #1039: Arthur Pat West by Trav S.D.

April 19 is the birthday of Arthur Pat West (1888-1944). Today West is best remembered among vaudeville fans for his 1929 Vitaphone short Ship Ahoy, in which the stout little man comes out …

Linked From Trav S.D. at 09:31AM
Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Bob Hastings: From Christmasland to Character Man by Trav S.D.

Well, here’s a wonderful surprise: familiar character actor Bob Hastings (1925-2014) had an old school show biz background as a kiddie performer. First: you recognize him, right? The f…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 02:02PM
Monday, April 17, 2017

Señor Wences: S’Alright by Trav S.D.

Born today in 1896 in Salamanca, Spain: the great ventriloquist Wenceslao Moreno, better known to American audiences as Señor Wences. After having written about a couple of thousand var…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 09:31AM
Sunday, April 16, 2017

An Easter Message by Trav S.D.

Holidays in the western world are a Pagan thing, a Roman Thing. The earliest Christians (the last true Christians, the kind of people who gave their lives rather than deviate from their prin…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 09:31AM

The Tax Day March in NYC by Trav S.D.

This year Tax Day fell on Easter Eve, and the timing was fortuitous; the Resistance was in need of some renewal and regeneration. After attending constant protests in the first two months of…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 09:31AM
Saturday, April 15, 2017

Harvey Lembeck: High and Low by Trav S.D.

Harvey Lembeck (1923-1985) was born on April 15.  Lembeck is a wonderful illustration of a transitional time in American show business. As with Gabe Dell of the Dead End Kids, there is surp…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 12:36PM

Thomas Hart Benton and Hollywood by Trav S.D.

Today is the birthday of the great American painter Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975). Benton was the namesake and great grand-nephew of the five term Missouri Senator who was one of America…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 11:48AM

New York and the Titanic by Trav S.D.

Today is the anniversary of the 1912 sinking of the R.M.S. Titanic. The disaster took place in the Atlantic, far from New York City, but NYC has always had a strong connection to the event. …

Linked From Trav S.D. at 10:24AM
Friday, April 14, 2017

Add “Man on the Flying Trapeze” to the National Film Registry! by Trav S.D.

Please join the campaign to vote for Man on the Flying Trapeze as the next W.C. Fields film added to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. Go to to where th…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 04:48PM

The Wild Party’s Over (But Not Really, You Have One More Chance) by Trav S.D.

We have been following the progress of Jennifer Harder’s The Wild Party’s Over with great avidity ever since she won the well-deserved First of May Award from the Bindlestiff F…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 11:24AM
Thursday, April 13, 2017

Stars of Vaudeville #1038: Gene Carroll by Trav S.D.

The career of Gene Carroll (born this day in 1897) is a really good illustration of what happened to the average working vaudevillian after vaudeville went away. The younger brother of Broad…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 08:02AM
Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Many Lives of Jane Withers by Trav S.D.

Happy birthday, Jane Withers (born 1926). Though I had seen many of her performances over the years, I didn’t particularly take notice of her until a year or two ago when I watched the…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 11:06AM

Letterman: The Last Giant of Late Night by Trav S.D.

David Letterman’s birthday is today. We wrote a couple of earlier posts with some thoughts about this influential show biz figure (here and here), so today, I thought I’d plug Ja…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 10:24AM
Tuesday, April 11, 2017

A Bombshell about Barbershop Quartets by Trav S.D.

April 11 is National Barbershop Quartet Day. It commemorates the day on which The Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America was founded in 193…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 11:02AM

Beverly and Betty Mae Crane: Hal Roach’s Twin “Talking Titles” by Trav S.D.

Twin sisters Beverly and Betty Mae Crane were born 100 years ago today on April 11, 1917. Originally from Salt Lake City, the sisters were talented dancers who were hired by Hal Roach to spe…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 09:54AM
Monday, April 10, 2017

For National Siblings Day: Some Classic Show Biz Siblings by Trav S.D.

It’s National Siblings Day, and to my shock I haven’t done a post yet on the countless classic show biz brothers and sisters who either had professional relationships or were in …

Linked From Trav S.D. at 12:24PM
Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Crazy Craft of Sid and Marty Krofft by Trav S.D.

Happy Birthday, Marty Krofft, the younger of the duo invariably known by their trade-name Sid and Marty Krofft. While these amazing television creators downright dominated the entirety of my…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 12:24PM
Saturday, April 8, 2017

Thomas Wolfe on Vaudeville by Trav S.D.

‘Tis well to remember sometimes in this forum that not everyone loved vaudeville back in the day. Some were too elitist, “Victorian”, or bigoted — any number of thing…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 09:06AM
Thursday, April 6, 2017

Spencer Tracy: Working Backwards from “Madness” by Trav S.D.

Just a few words on Spencer Tracy (1900-1967) since I just saw him the other night for maybe the two dozenth time in the first film I ever saw him in (It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World)…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 08:54AM
Wednesday, April 5, 2017

On Another Famous Davis: Jack, of “Our Gang” by Trav S.D.

Jack Davis (1914-1992) has a birthday of April 5. Not to be confused with another famous Jack Davis, the Mad Magazine illustrator, whom we’ll undoubtedly get around to celebrating at…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 05:32PM

On Bette Davis: Because I Just Did Joan by Trav S.D.

Bette Davis (1908-1989) was born on April 5. Having just given a good deal of attention to her rival Joan Crawford (an antagonist beyond the grave thanks to Feud: Bette and Joan) I herewith…

Linked From Trav S.D. at 02:18PM



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