All stories by Trav S.D. on BroadwayStars

Saturday, July 31, 2021

You Don’t Have to Be Italian to Like Pat Cooper by Trav S.D.

Today we sprinkle a little Holy Water on comedian Pat Cooper (Pasquale Caputo, b. 1929). I’ve seen it expressed that Cooper “often” uses his Italian American identity in his act. That…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 06:36AM
Friday, July 30, 2021

Huzzah for Hazel Deane by Trav S.D.

A rare but deserved plug for a book besides ones of my own this morning and that’s Steve Massa’s Slapstick Divas: The Women of Silent Comedy, the most authoritive and wide-ranging resour…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 11:03AM
Thursday, July 29, 2021

Booth Tarkington and the Movies by Trav S.D.

I am a huge fan of midwestern authors and poets from a century and more ago, guys like Theodore Dreiser, Frank Norris, Sherwood Anderson, Edgar Lee Masters, Vachel Lindsay, George Ade, and o…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 08:54AM
Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Colin Higgins Would Be 80 Today by Trav S.D.

Of all the priceless lives lost to the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, on my personal short list of those whose deaths were a blow to American film culture was writer-director Colin Higgins (194…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 09:06AM
Tuesday, July 27, 2021

For Bagpipe Appreciation Day: We Appreciate the O’Donnell Brothers by Trav S.D.

According to the old vaudeville quip, the Irish gave the Scots bagpipes for a joke — and the Scots never got the joke. I am a Stewart and was raised to love the sound of pipes, but I can m…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 10:12AM

Stu Gilliam: From the Chitlin’ Circuit to Czechia by Trav S.D.

Before Willie Tyler and Lester, ventriloquism-loving black audiences had another such act they could appreciate, Stu Gilliam (1933-2013) and his partner Oscar. But you had to be there — af…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 08:06AM
Monday, July 26, 2021

Discovering Danny La Rue by Trav S.D.

Thanks be to my intrepid wife who introduced me to British drag star Danny La Rue (Daniel Patrick Carroll, 1927-2009). Sh’d come across a reference to La Rue in a mystery novel she was rea…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 01:32PM

Thoughts on Paul Gallico by Trav S.D.

Around the time I was in Junior High School, circa 1977, I bought a paperback copy of Paul Gallico’s 1969 The Poseidon Adventure. The 1972 film adaptation was (and remains) one of my favor…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 11:18AM
Sunday, July 25, 2021

Remembering Janet Margolin by Trav S.D.

Were she still alive today Janet Margolin (1943-1993) would be nearly 80 years old, but there’s no doubt in my mind she would still be beautiful. What’s especially interesting to me is t…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 01:18PM

Happy National Merry-Go-Round Day by Trav S.D.

I was born in the town with the oldest continuously operating carousel in the U.S. (the Flying Horses of Watch Hill, Rhode Island, est 1876, above), and so you might say I have been remiss i…

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

R.I.P. Jackie Mason by Trav S.D.

Today we report the death of Jacov Moshe Maza (b. 1928), better known to the world as Jackie Mason. Mason was a last link in two very long lines. One: he was a FIFTH generation rabbi. Two: h…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 07:54AM

Arthur Lubin: From Melodrama to “Mr. Ed” by Trav S.D.

The versatile Arthur Lubin (Arthur Lubovsky, 1898-1995) made a success in theatre, movies and television, as an actor, director, and producer. While no relation to the early screen mogul Sig…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 07:54AM
Saturday, July 24, 2021

Henry and Dolly Kramer and Their Big Little Troupes of Little People by Trav S.D.

When working on Rose’s Royal Midgets and Other Little People in Vaudeville I came within a whisker of including mention of a couple of troupes for whom I’d seen lots of pictorial referen…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 08:48AM
Friday, July 23, 2021

Montague Glass and the “Potash and Perlmutter” Phenomenon by Trav S.D.

I’m pretty certain I have never heard a better named for a British-born Jewish guy than Montague Glass (1877-1934). Glass was the son of an English linen merchant; the family moved to New …

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 04:36PM

A Tip of the Topper to Big Tim Sullivan by Trav S.D.

Just a few words of acknowledgement for a character we New York City vaudeville fans are especially fond of, Timothy “Big Tim” Sullivan (1862-1913). The son of Irish immigrants, Sullivan…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 01:18PM

Florence Vidor: From Houston to Heifetz by Trav S.D.

Actress Florence Vidor (Florence Cobb, 1895-1977) was a player in the movie game a scant decade and a half, though that was longer than the marriage to the man whose name she bore, film dire…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 01:18PM
Thursday, July 22, 2021

Phillips Holmes: An American Tragedy by Trav S.D.

The actor Phillips Holmes (1907-1942), both of whose names are so infuriating in the possessive case, came by them honesly, being as he was the son of the actors Edna Phillips and Taylor Hol…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 12:18PM
Wednesday, July 21, 2021

A Headshot of Henrietta Moritz by Trav S.D.

Ordinarily, little people are photographed from head to toe so you can get the full effect of their remarkable size. But I kind of love this framing of the likeness of Berlin-born Henrietta …

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 12:18PM
Tuesday, July 20, 2021

The Life and Death of Natalie Wood by Trav S.D.

The career of Natalie Wood (Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko, 1938-1981) may be divided into four phases: childhood (1943-1955), which includes such films as The Moon is Down (1943), Tomorrow i…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 10:03AM
Monday, July 19, 2021

Fleischer Studios: Out of the Inkwell and Up, Up, and Away by Trav S.D.

It’s a surety I have nothing to teach classic animation nerds about the art and story of Fleischer Studios (1921-1942). But I’ve mentioned that outfit on Travalanche on many occasions an…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 03:24PM
Sunday, July 18, 2021

Richard Dix: Of Westerns and “The Whistler” by Trav S.D.

Most people who know the name Richard Dix (Ernst Brimmer, 1893-1949) today probably know it from a single quip spoken by David Huddleston in Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles. Dix was indeed ass…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 11:03AM

The Sid Gould Salute by Trav S.D.

I was reminded of the existence of Sid Gould (Sydney Greenfader, 1912-1996) during our recent Covid quarantine binging of The Love Boat. He had a recurring role as a waiter on about a half d…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 07:48AM

On Four Funny Fred Sullivans by Trav S.D.

I knew a Fred Sullivan years ago; he’s a longtime (decades long) company member of Trinity Rep in Providence, where I studied, as well as Boston’s Commonwealth Shakespeare Company. (I am…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 05:36AM
Saturday, July 17, 2021

Acquanetta: The Venezuelan Volcano by Trav S.D.

O, if only Acquanetta (1921-2004) had been in vaudeville or burlesque. She had that genius for hype and camp and self-creation. Her real name seems to have been Mildred Davenport but everyth…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 02:36PM

Erle Stanley Gardner and the Many Cases of Perry Mason by Trav S.D.

Erle Stanley Gardner (1889-1970) was one productive S.O.B. Originally a practicing lawyer, he went on to write hundreds of legal dramas and mystery novels and short stories, as well as trave…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 09:06AM
Friday, July 16, 2021

Stanley Clements: From Bowes to the Bowery by Trav S.D.

Stanley Clements (Stanislaw Klimowicz, 1926-1981) is best known to classic comedy fans as “Stash” and “Duke” from the East Side Kids and Bowery Boys franchises, but he’s one of the…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 07:54AM
Thursday, July 15, 2021

Belated Rest in Peace to Don B. Wilmeth by Trav S.D.

We have our finger in many pies here at Travalanche so sometimes we miss major news (e.g. departures from the mortal plane) by people we care about. Thus it is with Don B. Wilmeth, whom we j…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 01:33PM
Wednesday, July 14, 2021

George Tobias: From Broadway to “Bewitched” by Trav S.D.

Today a salute to George Tobias (1901-1980) best remembered for his role as Abner Kravitz, long-suffering neighbor of the Stevens family on the TV sitcom Bewitched (1964-1971). Kravitz was s…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 11:18AM
Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Vera Ralston: Skated Through Life by Trav S.D.

Today, a smattering of applause for classic cinema’s second favorite ice skating movie star, Vera Ralston (Věra Helena Hrubá, ca. 1920-2003) The first is of course Sonja Henie. So don’…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 11:18AM

This was Sidney Blackmer by Trav S.D.

Most of us remember Sidney Blackmer (1895-1973) as Roman Castavet, the nice elderly friend who helps Mia Farrow in her lonely, terrifying predicament in Rosemary’s Baby (1968). Unlike many…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 11:18AM

All that Chat

Sep 14, 2021: Chicago - Ambassador Theatre
Oct 17, 2021: Dana H. - Lyceum Theatre
Mar 28, 2022: Plaza Suite - Hudson Theatre
Apr 07, 2022: The Minutes - Studio 54