Monday, May 27, 2024

Memorializing Marxfest by Trav S.D.

Well it’s Memorial Day, and this year we unavoidably think of those fallen in the battle between Freedonia and Sylvania in Duck Soup…as well as the many Marxfest events of the past 10 da…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 04:32PM
Sunday, May 26, 2024

Pam Grier Turns 75 by Trav S.D.

A celebration today of actress Pam Grier (b. 1949). Grier was working as a receptionist at American International Pictures when the producers wisely judged that her talents were being wasted…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 08:06AM
Saturday, May 25, 2024

Booking Bennett Cerf by Trav S.D.

Among show biz buffs, Bennett Cerf (1898-1971) has become the poster child for How American Pop Culture Has Changed And Not for the Better. Cerf was the co-founder of the Random House publis…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 08:12AM
Friday, May 24, 2024

The Joan Barry Story by Trav S.D.

Most of us think of Charlie Chaplin’s Waterloo as arriving with the release of Monsieur Verdoux in 1947, or his exile from the U.S. in 1952. But his alienation from the public had commence…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 09:18AM
Thursday, May 23, 2024

For National Taffy Day: The Magic Clown by Trav S.D.

May 23 is National Taffy Day. The word taffy is a variant on the English word toffee, and though today we think of them as quite different candies, both words have always been used with a ce…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 08:12AM
Wednesday, May 22, 2024

The Tragedy of Harvey Milk by Trav S.D.

It’s more than likely that I would have done a post on Harvey Milk (1930-1978) eventually anyway, but a few weeks ago I was reminded of something that pushed it to the top of the agenda: h…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 09:32AM
Tuesday, May 21, 2024

A Century of Leopold and Loeb by Trav S.D.

A century ago today, a couple of rich numbskulls with the erroneous idea that they were somehow superior to the other members of the human race brutally killed a 14 year old boy just to prov…

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

The Peggy Cass Centennial by Trav S.D.

Peggy Cass (Mary Margaret Cass, 1924-1999) would be 100 years old today. Cass was one of the thousand or so older celebrities you’d see on game shows and talk shows as a kid in the ’70s …

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 08:12AM
Monday, May 20, 2024

Estelle Taylor: The Delaware Delilah by Trav S.D.

May 20 was the birthday of of silent and pre-code screen star Estelle Taylor (1894-1958). Taylor was a Wilmington native, raised by grandparents who owned a piano store. She was briefly marr…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 10:18AM
Sunday, May 19, 2024

Of The Elusive Victoria Chaplin and “The Freak” by Trav S.D.

I don’t know if I’ll get around to writing about ALL of Charlie Chaplin’s numerous progeny here but several have interested me, and so we have done posts on Charlie Jr, Sydney the Youn…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 01:42AM
Saturday, May 18, 2024

Tribute to Candice “Candy” Azzara by Trav S.D.

You would have particular cause to know the screen work of Candice “Candy” Azzara (b. 1945) if you were around during the 1970s. That Brooklyn-accented voice, slightly daffy demeanor and…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 07:24AM
Friday, May 17, 2024

On the Arresting Horace McMahon by Trav S.D.

May 17, was the day character Horace McMahon (1906-1971) came into the world. Not to be confused with Horace Mann, where you’ll get an entirely different sort of schooling! The tough looki…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 06:24AM
Thursday, May 16, 2024

A Plug for Music Hall and Variety Day (and the Herring Barrel Revue) by Trav S.D.

We’ve marked Music Hall and Variety Day here in the past because we think it is a marvelous idea. Today, I hope you will forgive me if I hijack the occasion for my own nefarious variety pu…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 07:32AM
Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Canned Laughter: Campbell’s Soup On the Air by Trav S.D.

May 15 was the birthday of Joseph A. Campbell (1817-1900), founder of the Campbell Soup Company (est. 1869). We take the product for granted now, especially since it has been overtaken by be…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 05:32AM
Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Don’t Miss “Cracking Up” (1994) by Trav S.D.

New Yorkers! Tomorrow night, Alamo Drafthouse in Brooklyn is rolling out a rare treat: a 30th anniversary screening of the downtown indie cult film Cracking Up (1994). This is quite a differ…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 10:54AM
Monday, May 13, 2024

Clown Hall of Fame Opens Today by Trav S.D.

Today (May 13) is opening day of the 2024 summer season at The International Clown Hall of Fame and Research Center in Baraboo, Wisconsin. The current season of Top Chef is in Wisconsin this…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 06:36AM
Saturday, May 11, 2024

Bernard Fox: Beyond Bombay by Trav S.D.

Wales has produced some of the world’s finest actors, Richard Burton, Anthony Hopkins, a long list, but surely none more beloved than Bernard Fox (Bernard Lawson, 1927-2016). You can’t i…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 09:18AM
Friday, May 10, 2024

Blansky’s Beauties by Trav S.D.

Well, I’m in a super Las Vegas kinda place at the moment, and I know why. The third season of Hacks is out, and I just posted on Pete Barbutti, who still performs regular shows there, and …

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 07:32AM
Thursday, May 9, 2024

On Ted Edwards and How To Survive the Coming Apocalypse by Trav S.D.

It’s been a while since I have plugged Brent Walker’s indispensable reference book Mack Sennett’s Fun Factory here but I absolutely must do so today for it made possible this post on K…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 09:54AM
Wednesday, May 8, 2024

The William Walker Bicentennial: On Some Destinies That Didn’t Manifest by Trav S.D.

May 8, 1824 was the date of birth of doctor, lawyer, newspaper editor, adventurer, and illegitimate President of Nicaragua William Walker. A nephew of Philadelphia Enquirer founder and U.S. …

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 09:54AM

Coca Cola On the Air by Trav S.D.

May 8, 1886 was the date on which Dr. John Pemberton (1831-1888) first sold Coca-Cola to a local Atlanta drug store, thus marking its debut on the world stage as a publicly available soft dr…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 06:36AM
Tuesday, May 7, 2024

This Friday: A Memoriam for the Astor Place Riots by Trav S.D.

Friday, May 10, 2024 at 5:30pm EDT Admission FREE75 minutes UNDER St. Mark’s Theater94 St. Mark’s Place, just east of 1st Avenue, NYC Every theater-lover should know the story of the Ast…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 08:54AM
Monday, May 6, 2024

Some Hot Air on The Hindenburg by Trav S.D.

May 6, 1937 was the day of the Hindenburg disaster. Your correspondent has always been a big fan of the stately majesty of airship travel. I not only love the beauty of it, I love the PACE o…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 10:06AM
Sunday, May 5, 2024

For National Cartoonists Day: Several Sit-Coms About Cartoonists by Trav S.D.

Happy National Cartoonists Day! A good a time as any to peruse the comics and cartoons section of Travalanche, with its 180 or so posts. It’s not our main bailiwick, so be prepared for a b…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 09:06AM
Saturday, May 4, 2024

Pete Barbutti Turns 90 by Trav S.D.

Never mind Star Wars Day, May the 4th is the birthday of Pete Barbutti (b. 1934). How this performer would have throve in vaudeville! Barbutti is a comedy musician, a raconteur who tells lon…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 01:06PM
Friday, May 3, 2024

The Tom O’Horgan Centennial by Trav S.D.

Born 100 years ago today, the great stage director Tom O’Horgan (1924-2009). Few who emerged from what used to be called Off-Off Broadway flew higher than this man, though his work is bett…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 12:18PM
Thursday, May 2, 2024

A Dozen Women Who Played Catherine the Great by Trav S.D.

May 2 was the birthday of Catherine II of Russia (1729-1796), popularly known as Catherine the Great. Catherine is one of history’s most storied monarchs, renowned as much for her legend a…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 11:24AM
Wednesday, May 1, 2024

For May Day: A Meditation on Hobby Horses by Trav S.D.

Well, it’s May Day! We’ve visited the topic a few times in the past; see links for related writings on: May Poles, May Baskets, the Green Man, Renn Fests, Robin Hood, and May Day Eve. To…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 06:02PM

The Art Fleming Centennial by Trav S.D.

Born 100 years ago today: announcer, quiz show host, news anchor, and actor Art Fleming (Arthur Fleming Fazzin, 1925-1995). It was Fleming’s bad fortune to have his most notable accomplish…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 10:36AM
Tuesday, April 30, 2024

A Variety Arts Weekend for the Ages! by Trav S.D.

I was invited to attend the TCM Festival a few days ago (they screened a bunch of old Vitaphones featuring the original technology) but I wisely opted to pass at the last minute, as I had (a…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 05:06PM

Of Walpurgisnacht and Witches! by Trav S.D.

Gut Walpurgisnacht! I was shocked — shocked! — to discover that I have never even mentioned this holiday on this blog, despite having gotten AWFULLY close, by writing about May Day, whic…

SOURCE: Trav S.D. at 11:36AM

All that Chat

May 30, 2023: Grey House - Lyceum Theatre
Jun 26, 2023: Just For Us - Hudson Theatre
Jul 24, 2023: The Cottage - Hayes Theater
Nov 16, 2023: Spamalot - St. James Theatre
Dec 18, 2023: Appropriate - Hayes Theater
Mar 07, 2024: Doubt - Todd Haimes Theatre
Apr 14, 2024: Lempicka - Longacre Theatre
Apr 17, 2024: The Wiz - Marquis Theatre
Apr 18, 2024: Suffs - Music Box Theatre
Apr 25, 2024: Mother Play - Hayes Theater
Jun 10, 2024: The Drama Desk Awards