ONCE UPON A STAGE: The Merry Worm of Vaudeville by Charles & Louise Samuels

ONCE UPON A STAGE: The Merry Worm of Vaudeville

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And a merry world It is. The Samuels survey dozens et headline acts, from vaudville's beginnings (well, it began in prehistory, even before instruments were invented, when man first found pleasure in song and dance) with mimicry and animal acts in ancient Rome, to its death at the hands of radio and movies in 1932 when Times Square's Palace went to an all talking-pictures bill. And it's amazing what genuine art we're missing today. The talents showcased here include Weber and Fields, Eva Tanguay (her Dance of the Seven Veils was banned, since she shed her veils down to her jewels), Mae West who wobbled her goods muscularly, Nora Bayes, Sophie Tucker, Eddie Fey and His Seven Little Foys, George M. Cohan, Buster Keaton, Will Rogers, Eddie Cantor, Frank Fay, Al Jolson, Sarah Bernhardt and many others. Nor are famous entrepreneurs slighted, such as Flo Ziegfeld and Oscar Hammerstein. The anecdotes fly as did the pathetic lives of most of these performers, who hoofed, sang or whirled their ways into eternity. Well done, with love and bounce.

Pub Date: Nov. 4th, 1974
Publisher: Dodd, Mead