Thursday, February 22, 2007

"The Grand Old Man Of Vaudeville"

What a checkered job career I've had! Topped by a stint as a stage manager for a 1989 L.A. stage revue featuring senior citizen performers. Sort of a forerunner to the Palm Springs Follies and similar presentations. We had tap dancers, film chorines, legit singers, low comics, a whistler, a “bones”player, former strippers, in fact just about the entire spectrum of vaudeville disciplines. All that was missing were magicians. And previously having worked for a year for the dreaded prestidigitator Richard J. Potash, I'd more than had my fill of that.

Several of the participants were even fairly well-known, most notably singer Art Lund, star of the big band era and the Frank Loesser musical, The Most Happy Fella. Also somewhat recognizable---at least by sight---was comic Mousie Garner. A former member of the Spike Jones crew and of the 1920s Ted Healy's Stooges. Later, he was an interim replacement in several permutations of the The Three Stooges. Thus, he was an offical Stooge and, as such, the last surviving member of the group. Offstage, he was a quiet reflective sort and 180 degrees from the out-of-control wild man seen in this in this clip of his performance in the revue. Like two entirely different people. I believe it's called ACT-ING.

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