Vaudeville

Follow these links for blog entries about Vaudeville.

Jack Benny: How Radio Made Comedy Grow Up

In the past 20 years, American humor -- accelerated by radio -- has come out of the barnyard. It has been cleaned up, perfumed and sparked by those unsung heroes, the gag writers. Today, the ether is so full of good gags that even the ghosts have hysterics. I will go out on a limb to say that radio has done for American humor in 10 years what it would have taken vaudeville 50 years to reach. I feel no heartaches over vaudeville's passing, when I think of the way the old-time comic used to ... (read more)

How Fred Allen and Portland Hoffa Fell in Love

Fred Allen and Portland Hoffa on the February 1935 Radio Stars magazine The day of which I write was approximately five years ago. It was behind the scenes of The Passing Show, a fleshy, flashy piece of rhinestone entertainment on pre-Depression Broadway. It was one of those days on which stars have headaches, hoofers get runs in their stockings, and comedians look as full of joie de vivre as Egyptian mummies. It was a day on which a tall young man called Fred Allen, despondently leaning ... (read more)

Judy Canova: The Queen of Hillbilly Hokum

Judy Canova during her radio years When she was a kid, Judy Canova once wrote that she wasn't a happy child. The only thing that could take her mind off herself and her personal unhappiness was music. Born Julietta, she started singing popular songs on a Jacksonville, Florida, radio station together with her brother Zeke and her sister Anne when she was just 12. When she sang she would forget her troubles. Although her mother took her three children to the Carolina hills for the summer, ... (read more)