And Now a Bit of Classic Vaudeville
I love researching and studying legendary entertainers, particularly those before my time. One of those who was virtually gone from the scene by the time I was in elementary school was comedian Eddy Cantor, a huge vaudeville star, who also made some early sound musicals — several of them with pioneering color — in the late 20s and 30s. He later became a radio star and early TV star until he had a heart attack and retired from the scene. Cantor was a living cartoon who’d dance around the stage, roll his eyes and clap his hands. If you look at some of the Warner Bros. cartoons you’ll see occasional parodies of him.
If you’re interested in watching, enjoying or studying showmanship here are two gems. Real gems.
First, watch him in a move from the late 40s doing the song that made him famous in vaudeville “If You Knew Susie”. This is in black and white and done twice:
For comedy buffs: the woman in that clip is Joan Davis, a comedienne who made some films with Abbott & Costello and in the 50s had her own show “I Married Joan,” which was along the lines of “I Love Lucy.” She died of a heart attack in her 50s in the early 1960s.
Second, here is a COLOR clip from 1929 of him doing “Making Whoppie” — a song that was considered somewhat risque in his day. Again, watch the way he “sells” his song. This clip by the way is NOT colorized.