6 Duos of Vaudeville
The Dolly SistersThe Dolly Sisters were more famous for their looks than talent; though these identical twins were cabaret queens. They were born Yanci and Roszika Deutsch on October 25, 1892 in Budapest, Hungary.
Their parents, Julius (a photographer) and Margarethem, emigrated from Hungary to Brooklyn, New York when the sisters were five. Their mother urged Canada Goose sale them to start ballet training when they were young. When the rest of their family came to America, when they were thirteen their mother had them performing on the American stage. To their American audiences they Canada Goose online were not known as Yanci and Roszika, but as Jenny and Rosie Dolly, their uncle managed them.
They danced on Broadway, in plays and eventually in movies, they were regarded as one of the best sister acts. Their act had them wearing identical clothing and imitating each others movements to perfection; to accomplish the desired affect they would use mirrors, light and shadow techniques. Many said that the act didn’t matter because they were purring mirror images of each other that audiences went wild for. The sisters combined innocence with a seductive racy side with their looks and vibrant personalities, they captivated men all over the world as they climbed from vaudeville to Broadway as a cabaret dancing act.
Their professional dancing career started early in the local beer halls, they debuted in the operetta The Maid and the Millionaire in 1907. Due to their age they had to wait a few more years before they could perform in New York. While they waited to be old enough to perform in New York, they joined the Orpheum vaudeville circuit, where they toured the Midwest until 1909. They took the Dolly name after a friend had told them that “they were cute as dolls.”
Once they returned to New York they worked with the Keith vaudeville circuit. They were billed as “The Dolly Twins” when they joined the Ziegfeld Follies in 1911. During the Follies the sisters performed their dance routine as Siamese twins. Their personal lives buy canada goose jacket became strained when they passed on an important audition for Oscar Hammerstein when they became international headliners. Harry Fox married Jenny Dolly in 1914, and he performed with them in the 1918 Broadway musical Oh, Look; where they sang “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows.”
On August 19, 1916 at the Republic Theatre the sisters starred in His Bridal Night; a farce by Lawrence Rising and Margaret Mayo who revisited and elaborated it. There was one feature length film that the sisters starred in together, The Million Dollar Dollies it was released by Metro in 1917. They were in other films, just separately; Roszika was in The Lily and the Rose in 1915 and Yancsi was in The Call of the Dance also in 1915. They became regulars at the Palace from 1916 on wards, despite the critics complaints of their non existent singing abilities and their lack of change to their dance routines.
They were billed as rivals from time to time to bring in a larger income at the door. The sisters occasionally would team up, separately, with other people. One of the people that Rosie teamed up with was Martin Brown, and together they performed erotic Spanish ballroom dances that audiences adored them for. Though they did team up with people aside from each other those partnerships didn’t last for very long, and it would bring Rosie and Jenny back together and they would be better than before. Most commonly during the 1920s the sisters were performing in music halls throughout Paris and London, instead of performing on New York stages. Sime Silverman had said, “As two dandy looking twins who cannot be told apart, with class and who can dance if they want to, the Dolly Sisters are always worth the price of admission just to look at”; when he wrote a review of one of their Palace appearances for Variety on February 24, 1922.
They married and divorced while they were still very young, and soon they became swamped with many devoted admires who would often become obsessed with the sisters. After their retirement in the late 1920s, the sisters put all of their attention on the social scenes. They became the downfall of many rich men, including Harry Selfridge. Harry Selfridge had proposed to Jenny Dolly at least once every month. When the free money started to dry up during the Depression, it started the sisters downfall. Neither of them had ever truly accepted that being celebrities and having fame could be fleeting.
In 1933 while driving along the French Riviera with her fiance, Max Constant, Jenny Dolly got into a serious automobile accident when they drove over a cliff. She survived the accident but she sustained heavy injuries, including one punctured lung, skull fracture, she displaced her stomach and the right side of her face was torn apart. During the next six weeks she went through many unsuccessful plastic surgeries, she almost died a few times during this. She survived the surgeries and she cursed the doctors for saving her. While she recovered physically, she never truly recovered mentally. She described herself as a broken shell, after everything sadly she was very broken and unhappy in the end. She was found dead in her Hollywood apartment where she had used the drapes to make a noose and h herself on June 1, 1941.
A feature film,loosely based on Rosie and Jenny’s lives, titled The Dolly Sisters starring Betty Grable and June Haver was produced at 20th Century Fox by George Jessel in 1945. Rosie would attempt and fail at suicide in 1962, she would die of a heart attack in New York on February 1, 1970. Variety would report that she told them her one philosophy in life had been “If you drink Scotch, make it Black and White. It will never hang you over.”
George Burns Gracie AllenGeorge Burns had been born as Nathan Birnbaum on January 20, 1896 in New York. His first try at show business was when he was seven years old when he was part of the Pee Wee Quartet after his father’s death. He took the first name George from his elder brother, Isidore, that he admired and who had been called George by his friends. He would later work with Abie Kaplan, and they canada goose coats on sale became known as the Burns Brothers due to their habit of following the Burns Brothers Coal yard truck, hoping to pick up any coal that fell onto the streets from the truck.
He and Mac Fry would form the group Mac Fry and Company, when Burns was only thirteen years old. His next partnership came when he teamed up with Sam Brown in the act named Brown and Williams (named for a previous member of the act). Following that he appeared as Glide in Goldie Fields and Glide, afterwards he participated in the act titled The Fourth of July Kids. He explains why he changed his name so frequently in his autobiography I Love Her, That’s Why!, he had stated that because of a booker for a theatre had threatened to not give him any more jobs if he knew who he was. To further the confusion of his many names, while he was part of an act called Burns and Links he was the one called Links.
Gracie Allen was born on July 26, 1906 in San Francisco, California to the song and dance man Edward Allen. She described her father as “the first and best clog and minstrel man in San Francisco.” She had been on the stage since her childhood appearing with her father first, and then later in an act called Larry Reilly and company with her sisters Bessie, Pearl and Hazel. In that act she performed an Irish jig as well as sang during it.
When Burns was twenty four his fortune with vaudeville started to improve. By this time he was teamed up with Sid Gary, who would later canada goose deals become popular on radio canada goose coats and be www.canadagoosepark.com known for canada goose clearance sale his high sopranos voice. This partnership lasted for two years before they split up, and Burns partnered up with Billy Lorraine. Their act was called Burns and Lorraine Two Broadway Thieves, where they imitated Broadway stars like Al Jolson and Eddie Cantor. While they were working together, Burns was developing an act of his own. The last place they worked together was Union Hill Theatre in New Jersey. While they were there Burns approached the headliner, Rena Arnold, with his plan and a risqu story. The story offended her but she told her friend, Gracie Allen, that Lorraine was looking for a new partner and that she should approach him about it. Allen then watched the act but confused the two men, and asked Burns for a job. It wasn’t until three days later that Allen realized her mistake.
Burns and Allen appeared together for the first time at the Hill Street Theatre in Newark, New Jersey in 1922. They would get married in Cleveland four years later on January 7, 1926. Originally they were billed as George N. Burns and Gracie Allen, with their original roles being Burns as the comedian and her as the straight role. It took very little time for them to change this to Burns being the established cigar chomping straight man and Allen being the dizzy partner. As a team they were unrivaled in show business; and it wasn’t simply based on their talent, though they had talent in spades, it was their ability to understand and utilize each medium of entertainment that they came across.
They started in vaudeville, and then moved on to radio, followed by movies and ending in television. The public, just like now, could make or break a performer; but they are also capable of adoring and cherishing an act. The latter was the case for Burns and Allen. Burns would ask the straight man questions and Allen would give a dizzy response; and no matter what he said she always had a response.
The first success that was big for them was a sketch written for them by Al Boasberg called “Lamb Chops”. “Lamb Chops” was filmed in the summer of 1929, featuring a song titled “Do You Believe Me?” for Warner Brothers, it is now preserved at the UCLA Film and Television Archive. Aside from filing “Lamb Chops” in the summer of 1929 the duo went to England for twenty one weeks. Several of these twenty one weeks were canada goose store spent in London doing performances at both the Holborn Empire and the London Palladium. The English took to the couple, especially Gracie, into their hearts. At their performances they were billed as “The Famous American Comedy Couple”. The couple made a series of radio broadcasts for the BBC Canada Goose Parka while they were in England.
Burns and Allen returned to the Palace in August and December of 1930 and April of 1931. Their BBC radio broadcasts was a happy prerequisite of things that were to canada goose black friday sale come for the couple. CBS made them radio regulars in 1932, when they got signed to appear on the Guy Lombardo program sponsored by Robert Burns cigars at the time. It didn’t take long for the couple to obtain their own show titled The Burns and Allen Show. The original set up of their show was a vaudeville style entertainment show that canada goose clearance would turn into a situation comedy in the early 1940s. The running joke of the show in the early 1930s was about Gracie looking for her lost brother, who was actually an employee of Standard Oil in San Francisco. The studio had them wonder in and out of other shows asking about her brother, who had hurt his leg by falling off an ironing board while he was pressing his pants.
When they filmed “Lamb Chops”, their film career started. buy canada goose jacket cheap After “Lamb Chops” they started to appear in a series of Paramount features; including The Big Broadcast (1932), International House (1933), Six of a Kind (1934), We’re Not Dressing (1934), The Big Broadcast of 1936, The Big Broadcast of 1937, Damsel in Distress (1937) and Honolulu (1939). While more commonly they were seen in films together, Gracie appeared in a few films by herself. The most notable film that she appeared in by herself was The Gracie Allen Murder Case in 1939.
Their radio show was successfully transitioned to television on CBS on October 12, 1950 after eighteen years on the radio. Their television show was thirty minutes long, and it was set up as a situation comedy. George and Gracie played themselves, the announcer Harry VonZell as himself, Ronnie Burns (their adopted son) as himself, Bea Benaderet as Blanche Morton (Gracie’s friend and neighbor) and Larry Keating as Blanche’s husband Harry made up the cast of the show. They would end every episode with one of their vaudeville routines and George’s famous “Say Goodnight, Gracie”. That last line would become one of the best known lines in TV history. The show ended when Gracie announced her retirement in September of 1958. George would continue with his own show featuring all of the same characters as the original show, after Gracie’s retirement.
Gracie Allen died in Hollywood, California on August 8, 1964. After her death George continued his solo career, having success as a leading man in films and on the nightclub circuit. He would win the 1975 Academy Award for the best supporting actor for The Sunshine Boys. He recorded a few albums during his career, the first was “I Wish I Was 18 Again” in 1980 and the second was “As Time Goes By” in 1982. With the first album the title, “I Wish I Was 18 Again” became a hit single. With “As Time Goes By” he had recorded it and worked with Bobby Vinten.
It was July of 1992 when Burns announced his long term commitment he had scheduled for his hundredth birthday was an appearance at the London Palladium. George Burns passed away in Beverly Hills, California on March 9, 1996 at the age of one hundred.
Pat Rooney, Jr. Marion BentPat Rooney, Jr. was born in New York on July 4, 1880 into vaudeville’s great Irish family of entertainers. There was an old vaudeville joke that said “Just because I’m a fool, don’t think I’m Irish”; this joke never seemed to apply to the Rooney family though. Jr’s father, Pat Rooney Sr., was the most famous member of the family in the nineteenth century, though the entire family was talented. They all took canadian goose jacket the Irish stereotype of low brow comedy up to an entirely new level of artistry.
Though he had an Irish name Pat Rooney, Sr. was born in Birmingham, England in 1844. He made songs like “The Old Dinner Pail”, “Katy is a Rogue”, “Pretty Peggy” and “His Old High Hat” famous during his lifetime. In 1892 Patrick James Rooney Sr. died of pneumonia. His son and daughter, Pat and Mattie, were appearing together on the vaudeville stage in a singing and dancing act called Two Chips Off The Old Block by this time.
Pat Rooney, Jr. started professionally dancing at the age of ten, appearing with his father (Pat Rooney Sr.) and mother (Josie Granger). Jr took after his father by becoming a classic clog dancer who was best known for his routine called “The Daughter of Rosie O’Grady” (written by Monty C. Brice and Walter Donaldson). which he performed with his hands in his pockets and hitching up his trousers with a grin on his face. He and his sister, Mattie, advertised themselves as “The Premier Eccentric Dancing Act of the Business Bar None” in 1900. With his height at five foot and three inches, and his pixie like looks he was often compared with a leprechaun. Fields had said, “If you didn’t hear the taps, you would think he was floating”.
Marion Bent was born the daughter of cornet soloist Arthur Bent on December 23, 1879 in New York. Bent and Jr had met when they were both children; when they first appeared on stage together professionally in Mother Goose, “a musical extravaganza” written by J. Hickory Wood and Arthur Collins. It stared Joseph Cawthorn when it opened at the New Amsterdam Theatre on December 2, 1903. It wasn’t long after this production canada goose outlet that Pat and Marion married and became vaudeville’s best loved couple.
While Pat Rooney Sr held the family fame during the nineteenth century; it was Pat Rooney Jr and Marion Bent who delighted audiences in the twentieth century for fifty plus years. When they appeared on stage they would throw in some comedy while they danced and sang. In their sketch “Dances of the Hour”, at the Palace Theatre in May 1925, they were accompanied by a chorus of seven dancing groups; this would occasionally be an occurrence of their acts. Though it was received by Variety almost always the same way as they had noted about “Dances of the Hour” on May 13, 1925 when they said that it was “crammed with superlative action.”
Bent and Rooney Jr had their son Pat Rooney III in 1909. When they performed together as a couple they Canada Goose Jackets would carry their son out on stage with them and he would carry on the Rooney family tradition.
Rooney Jr spent the time between 1915 and 1948 appearing in films and writing songs. Bent officially retired in 1932 due to advancing arthritis, but did come out for a special program at the Capitol Theatre on her wedding anniversary, April 10, 1935, to appear with Rooney. After she retired the couple’s son, Pat Rooney III, replaced his mother and performed Canada Goose Outlet with his father in a double act. They would perform a precision dance while dancing with two men back to back. It had been very extraordinary and it has yet to be successfully copied. Rooney III performed as a single act after World War II.