All stories by Trav S.D. on BroadwayStars

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Portrait of Richard Benjamin by Trav S.D.

This is our fourth post on Richard Benjamin (b. 1938) and he’s mentioned in 15 others on Travalanche, but we swear we’re not obsessed with him. It just so happens that we’ve written ab…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 10:36AM

The Quinn Martin Centennial by Trav S.D.

Today marks the 100th birthday of famed television producer Quinn Martin (Irving Martin Cohn, 1922-1987). Back in the day the brand “A Quinn Martin Production” was advertised as a mark o…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 08:18AM
Saturday, May 21, 2022

Remembering Al Franken and Tom Davis by Trav S.D.

Continuing what amounts to a random little mini-series on original Saturday Night Live staff that has included Gary Weiss and Alan Zweibel in recent days, today a nod to the unique comedy te…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 11:36AM
Friday, May 20, 2022

Alan Zweibel: Comedy Writer by Trav S.D.

Millions have laughed at the comedy of Alan Zweibel (b. 1950) without ever knowing his name. Zweibel is a practitioner of the humble, thankless craft of comedy writing, one who commendably f…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 01:54PM

Plowing Through Stanley Fields by Trav S.D.

An overdue look today at Stanley Fields (Walter Agnew, 1883-1941). A Greek American from Alleghany, Pennsylvania (catch that surname), he had the bad instincts to adopt a sort of forgettable…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 01:54PM

Of Leon Schlesinger and Warner Brothers’ Cartoons by Trav S.D.

We’ve had many an occasion to mention Warner Brothers cartoons here over the years, as of course we would. They are the favorite Golden Era animation studio of most cartoon buffs, includin…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 11:42AM
Thursday, May 19, 2022

Born This Day, Two Giants by Trav S.D.

Thus far we have written about nearly three dozen persons of gigantic physical stature on Travalanche, but somehow we have heretofore omitted two of the best-known of their number in the wor…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 10:42AM
Wednesday, May 18, 2022

R.I.P. Robert Morse by Trav S.D.

The date of birth of Robert Morse (1931-2022) falling less than a month after that of his passing, we resolved to wait until today to send him off. Whether or not his spirit will return to e…

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

John Pintard: Forgotten Founding Father by Trav S.D.

It’s hard to think of anyone so important to American history yet as obscure as John Pintard (1759-1844). I only know about him because he founded New York’s oldest museum and library, t…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 03:03PM
Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Bob Merrill: From Burlesque to Broadway by Trav S.D.

Today we celebrate songwriter and scriptwriter of stage and screen Bob Merrill (Henry Robert Merrill Levan (1921-1998), not to be confused with operatic tenor Robert Merrill (1917-2004) or c…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 09:12AM
Monday, May 16, 2022

John W. Vogel: Monarch Among Mastodons by Trav S.D.

Brief mention this morning of John W. Vogel (1863-1951). Born in Chillicothe, Ohio just months after the Emancipation Proclamation, Vogel was to succeed J.H. Haverly as America’s pre-emine…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 10:18AM

British Music Hall & 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 10:18AM
Sunday, May 15, 2022

Happy Ride a Unicycle Day! by Trav S.D.

Happy Ride a Unicycle Day, which also happens to be Day One of National Unicycle Week (May 15-22, 2022). Don’t believe me? Looka here. “Ride a unicycle”? Easier said than done, right? …

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 09:18AM
Saturday, May 14, 2022

A Bow Before Bobo Lewis by Trav S.D.

I am amused by an internet reference which claims that Barbara “Bobo” Lewis (1926-1998) is best known for her role as Midge Smoot on Shining Time Station (1989-1995), and for the precise…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 10:18AM
Friday, May 13, 2022

Tomorrow in Queens: Check Out the Omnium Circus! by Trav S.D.

I am so bummed! I was very much looking forward to checking out the Omnium Circus at the Queens Theatre tomorrow, but I am still out of circulation due to the Covid bug. I had planned to rev…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 09:12AM

On W.S. Berger and Vent Haven by Trav S.D.

May 13 was the natal day of William Shakespeare “W.S.” Berger (1878-1972). Berger was not a professional entertainer. In fact, he spent his entire working life at the Cambridge Tile Comp…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 08:07AM
Thursday, May 12, 2022

Why I Have No Use for George Carlin by Trav S.D.

When I was in my late teens, going through an extended patch of misery that lasted several years, a birthday gift from my sister made everything worse. It was kindly intended, of course, by …

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 11:24AM

The Epic Eye-Brows of Lionel Belmore by Trav S.D.

The visage of Lionel Belmore (1867-1953) is one you have surely seen in supporting roles in dozens of classic Hollywood films. Today we are apt to associate him with horror, although that wa…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 09:18AM
Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Allen McQuhae: The Melodic Engineer by Trav S.D.

When I see a name like Allen McQuhae (Charles Allen McQuhae, 1890-1960), I discern with amusement the inadequacy of the Latin Alphabet in attempting to service Gaelic consonants and vowels. …

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 10:24AM
Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Films by Gary Weis by Trav S.D.

Recently cloistered in a sick bed, I found myself binging the first couple of seasons of Saturday Night Live and was delighted to discover that I didn’t know them nearly as well as I thoug…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 10:18PM

Frank Garcia: The Man With the Million Dollar Hands by Trav S.D.

I’m fairly certain that I first learned about Frank Garcia (1927-1993) from either Torkova or Richard Cohn during our recent conversations about old time NYC magic shops for my Chelsea Com…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 04:54PM

Learn About the Astor Place Riot Today! by Trav S.D.

I had intended to blog about the Astor Place Riot today, it being the 173rd anniversary of that looney event, when nativist supporters of actor Edwin Forrest did battle in the streets of New…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 11:33AM
Saturday, May 7, 2022

Malcolm Waite: The Millionaire Extra by Trav S.D.

Briefest of posts this morning on a notable though forgotten supporting actor of the silent era, Malcolm Waite (1892-1949). I’ve not yet stumbled upon what Waite’s pre-movie experience w…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 09:06AM
Friday, May 6, 2022

The Ink-Stained McCutcheons of Indiana by Trav S.D.

We don’t mean to pigeonhole the three estimable McCutcheon Brothers with the title of this post (although they are closely identified with their region), but to separate them from two othe…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 05:48PM
Thursday, May 5, 2022

Two Plays About Women’s Rights by Trav S.D.

When I was down in Nashville 20 years ago covering the local scene for American Theatre magazine, I came across a surprising monument: a plaque near the Tennessee statehouse commemorating th…

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

Remembering Richard Schaal by Trav S.D.

Of course, to remember Richard “Dick” Schaal (1928-2014) you’d have to register who he was. I recall him well from the MTM shows of the ’70s, a comic actor with rugged good looks, ma…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 09:54AM
Wednesday, May 4, 2022

The How and Why of Howard Da Silva by Trav S.D.

Today we treat of the great character actor Howard Da Silva (Howard Greenblatt, 1909-1986), whose stout visage and booming voice were so memorable as the bartender in Lost Weekend (1945), Be…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 01:12PM
Tuesday, May 3, 2022

The Brief on Beulah Bondi by Trav S.D.

So authentic did Beulah Bondi (1889-1981) seem in her often unsophisticated, homely, and rustic characters that it might surprise you to learn that she possessed a master’s degree! Granted…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 10:48AM
Monday, May 2, 2022

The Legend of Lorenzo Music (and Henrietta) by Trav S.D.

There are three fairly discrete phases to the show biz career of multi-talented Lorenzo Music (Gerald Music, 1937-2001): variety/entertainment phase; sit-com phase; and voice-over phase, all…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 09:42AM
Sunday, May 1, 2022

For May Day: A Round-Up of Robin Hoods by Trav S.D.

Happy May Day! In America, May 1 is at best a proto-holiday, identified with two things: 1) International Workers Day, with all of its leftist associations; and 2) the traditional English Pa…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 05:18PM
Saturday, April 30, 2022

Dick Elliott: “Why Don’t You Kiss Her? by Trav S.D.

The 60 year professional career of character actor Dick Elliott (1886-1961) may be neatly divided into two distinct halves: 1) the first three decades, about which very little is known, but …

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 10:54AM