All stories by Trav S.D. on BroadwayStars

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Where Ya Goin’? It’s Harry Bowen by Trav S.D.

Harry Bowen (1888-1941) appeared in nearly 200 films as a bit player and stunt double, most of them comedy shorts of both the silent and talkie era with the likes of Our Gang, Laurel and Har…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 10:43AM
Monday, October 3, 2022

Gore Vidal: Against the Tide by Trav S.D.

Of all those so-called “public intellectuals” of the mid 20th century TV talk show circuit who consistently fail to impress me (Norman Mailer, William F. Buckley, etc), Gore Vidal (1925-…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 01:49PM

R.I.P. Sacheen Littlefeather by Trav S.D.

We were already scheduled to do a post on Sacheen Littlefeather (Mary Louise Cruz, 1946-2022) on her birthday six weeks from now as part of our section on Native American performers and othe…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 01:49PM
Sunday, October 2, 2022

Of Pierrot and Pierrot Shows by Trav S.D.

Rare is it now for us to add new posts to our section on the different forms of variety arts, for there can only be a finite and not very large number. But we recently learned about another …

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 12:33PM

Charles Kellogg: Bird Calls on the Bill by Trav S.D.

Charles Kellogg (1868-1949) was a star of the B.F. Keith vaudeville circuit for decades by virtue of his ability to imitate bird calls, not just by whistling (as was common in his day) but b…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 12:33PM

Coming Soon: The Annotated Abbott and Costello by Trav S.D.

October 2 is the birthday of Bud Abbott, our favorite member of the comedy team of Abbott and Costello. As we have written here a few times, we are fans of the radio and television work of t…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 12:33PM

Will F. Denny: New York’s Favorite Descriptive Vocalist by Trav S.D.

Will F. Denny (ca. 1860-1908) started out performing on the vaudeville stages of his native Boston, firmly in B.F. Keith territory. He specialized in comic songs and parodies sung in a high …

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 12:33PM
Saturday, October 1, 2022

Stanley Holloway: A Little Bit of Luck by Trav S.D.

A tip of the cap today to the great British star Stanley Holloway (1910-1982), who left us 40 years ago this year. Americans know him best from his role as Eliza Doolittle’s cockney father…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 02:49PM
Friday, September 30, 2022

Bertha Levine a.k.a. Madame Spivy by Trav S.D.

Today, a post on the legendary lesbian cabaret singer and screen actress Bertha Levine (1906-1971), variously billed as Spivy, Spivy Levoe, or Madame Spivy. (Pronounced “Spivvy”, i.e., w…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 06:07AM
Thursday, September 29, 2022

The Glorification of Virginia Bruce by Trav S.D.

Born this day the great early Hollywood star Virginia Bruce (Helen Virginia Briggs, 1910-1982). I don’t usually frontload an actor’s credits, but in this case I fear it might be necessar…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 12:33PM

The Lizabeth Scott Centennial by Trav S.D.

Hollywood actress Lizabeth Scott (Emma Matzo, 1922-2015) was born 100 years ago today. In the 1940s there was inexplicable vogue in pop culture for mannish women with deep voices, thick eye …

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 09:13AM
Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Building a New Ruth Stonehouse by Trav S.D.

Born this day 130 years ago, silent screen actress Ruth Stonehouse (1892-1941). Now, while I do bristle whenever the word “historian” is applied to me (not being a professional in a prof…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 12:37PM
Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Penntennial: The Arthur Penn Centennial by Trav S.D.

Born 100 years ago today, stage and screen director Arthur Penn (1922-2010). Penn is widely considered the Father of New Hollywood on account of his breakthrough hit Bonnie and Clyde (1967),…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 11:13AM
Monday, September 26, 2022

The Unlearned Lessons of Wolf Hall by Trav S.D.

Hilary Mantel, author of the Wolf Hall trilogy passed away on September 22 at the age of 70, and perhaps you’ll forgive me if I find myself much more saddened by the loss of a critic of mo…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 12:13PM

Reach Out of the Darkness (R.I.P. Jim Post) by Trav S.D.

Folksinger Jim Post died on September 14 at the age 82, but there is something highly appropriate about the fact that I learned about it yesterday, which was National One Hit Wonder Day. (Th…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 11:07AM
Sunday, September 25, 2022

Your Country Needs You by Trav S.D.

This is a snapshot of near term America if YOU do not lean heavily into the upcoming midterm election to safeguard America’s democratic process. The GOP has made it plain that if they win …

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

Lessons of John Howard Lawson by Trav S.D.

Many years ago I lucked into a treasure trove. One of my first jobs when I moved to New York was painting apartments for a real estate management company between tenants. Most of the propert…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 11:03AM
Saturday, September 24, 2022

I Killed Louise Fletcher! by Trav S.D.

Well, I didn’t, but it sure seems that way. I mentioned her in this post only yesterday and then, boom, she dies! Cause and effect, right? That’s the kind of science that elects Presiden…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 02:03PM

Ben Greet and His Players by Trav S.D.

September 24 was the D.O.B. of the great actor/manager Sir Philip Barling “Ben” Greet (1857-1936). The apex of Greet’s profile no doubt occurred as manager of the Old Vic during the Wo…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 09:49AM
Friday, September 23, 2022

One Week From Today: Join Us At This Amazing Marx Brothers Live Stream Event! by Trav S.D.

One week from today, it’s the final installment in Noah Diamond’s Freedonia Marxonia trilogy!  In Home Again: The Marx Brothers and New York City (2020), Noah looked at the Brothers…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 01:55PM

The Phantom President: Timely, If Not Timeless by Trav S.D.

September 23, 1932 was the release date of an important if currently obscure movie comedy called The Phantom President. Why is it important? Well, for one thing, it’s the only opportunity …

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 11:43AM

The Louise Latham Centennial by Trav S.D.

In a universe that’s got a Louise Lasser, a Louise Dresser, a Louise Carter, a Louise Carver, a Louise Fletcher, and a Luise Rainer, you perhaps can’t be expected to keep track of a Loui…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 09:33AM
Thursday, September 22, 2022

Prying Out the Prior Pryors by Trav S.D.

There were at three generations of performing Pryors. The patriarch Samuel Pryor was a bandmaster in St. Joe, Missouri. His son, Arthur Pyror (1869-1942) was born above a theatre in that tow…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 12:43PM

Grace Kahn: Oh How That Woman Could Write! by Trav S.D.

I first became aware of Grace Leboy Kahn (1890-1983) from Charlotte Chandler’s wonderful book Hello, I Must Be Going: Groucho and His Friends. Grace Kahn was actually Groucho’s in-law: h…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 09:25AM

Sig Sautelle’s Big Shows by Trav S.D.

Sig Sautelle (George Satterly, 1848-1928) was a minor figure to be sure, of regional importance at best, but we offer this brief elucidation for those who chance to encounter the name on eph…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 08:19AM
Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Grace Bradley: More Than Mrs. Hopalong by Trav S.D.

Brooklyn born Grace Bradley (1913-2010) was a child prodigy whose piano skills got her a scholarship to the Eastman School of Music when she was only 12 years old. There, she also learned to…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 07:03AM
Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Times Square Vaudeville Walking Tour! by Trav S.D.

Hey Ho! Now that we in that yearly window when the heat is not oppressive yet we are still pre-sickness-spike season, I’d like to offer the return of my Times Square vaudeville walking tou…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 02:33PM

Born 150 Years Ago Today: Sidney Olcott by Trav S.D.

September 20, 1872 was the natal day of actor, director and producer Sidney Olcott, a major mover and shaker of the silent era, especially the earlier days of the industry. Olcott was essent…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 09:25AM
Monday, September 19, 2022

For Talk Like a Pirate Day: Our Flag Means Death by Trav S.D.

Remembering at the 11th hour that it’s Talk Like a Pirate Day, I was just about to re-share my post on the Five Greatest Pirate Actors Ever, when I suddenly realized that it’s incomplete…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 10:07PM

Joseph Louis Vance: The Lone Wolf by Trav S.D.

We are amused to learn that the author of the Lone Wolf series of mystery novels (oft adapted for the screen) was named Joseph Louis Vance (1879-1933) because of course there was a similar s…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 10:07PM
Sunday, September 18, 2022

30 Years Ago Today: The Premiere of “Picket Fences” by Trav S.D.

September 18, 1992 was the premiere date of the CBS TV show Picket Fences. Believe it or not, I wasn’t particularly aware of this program until I interviewed the delightful Fyvush Finkel s…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 11:19AM

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