Celina De Dio and Her Dog and Pony Show

Kensico Vaudeville Project #14 Name: Celina De Dio Act: Animal Trainer Born: About 1872, Germany Died: 12 November 1935, Wards Island, Manhattan A dog and pony show is such a common colloquial term today. But this was the act of German-born performer Celina De Dio. After a short career in London variety halls as a dancer, De Dio became an animal trainer. She was always on the bottom tier of vaudeville. For ten years she Continue Reading →

An Acting Family’s Tragedy, Alfred Bardelang, Jr.

Kensico Vaudeville Project #13 Name: Alfred Bardelang, Jr. Act: None Born: March 1929 Died: 4 February 1934 The little boy would have been the fifth generation of his family to enter the theatrical profession. However, tragedy struck the family of Alfred Bardelang, Jr. He died at just four years and five months old. His twin brother only lived to be two and 1/2. Alfred Jr. was the progeny of two actors. His father, Alfred Sr., Continue Reading →

Charles Clair, English Dramatic Actor

Kensico Vaudeville Project #12 Name: Charles Clair Act: Actor Born: 2 February 1871, London Died: 12 Oct 1939, Brooklyn Actor Charles Frederick Clair was born 2 February 1871 in London. He emigrated to the United States when he was 21. He arrived in New York on 11 April 1892 aboard the City of Berlin from Liverpool. His name appears as both Clair and Claire in billings; Clair is on his immigration application. Clair married a Continue Reading →

I Unearth 1933 Radio Show with George Gershwin, Kitty Carlisle, Richy Craig, Jr.

About five years ago I bought a tape on eBay of an NBC radio show from 1933 because it had Heywood Broun and Deems Taylor as guests. Both were members of the Algonquin Round Table, and I was obsessively acquiring as much ephemera as I could. A lot of the material went into my book The Algonquin Round Table New York: A Historical Guide (Lyons Press, 2015). But a lot of it did not. After Continue Reading →

A Life Lost Too Soon, Comedian Richy Craig, Jr.

Kensico Vaudeville Project #11 Name: Richy W. Craig, Jr. Act: Comedian, Dancer, Singer Born: November 17, 1902, Manhattan Died: November 28, 1933, Manhattan What could be worse for a performer: suffering through tuberculosis for seven years, or watching Milton Berle steal your act? To Richy W. Craig, Jr., both happened. When he was buried in the NVA burial ground he was only thirty-one years old. The New York Post called Craig “a vaudevillian of dry Continue Reading →

Kensico Vaudeville Project Updates

The Kensico Vaudeville Project was launched in 2015. After a break it will return with updates in 2017-2018. This project is to document the vaudeville performers who are interred in the National Vaudeville Association burial grounds in Kensico Cemetery in Westchester County. These are individuals who have biographies written so far. More will be added to this list. Kensico Vaudeville Project Updates: Nettie Kelley Adams – Singer Charles Ahearn – Cyclist Anna Bylund Anderson – Continue Reading →

Dorothy Parker Reviews the Ziegfeld Follies

On Saturday I debuted my W.C. Fields History Walking Tour as part of Fields Fest, a 6-week celebration of the life of the great comedian. Dorothy Parker was a huge fan of Fields. In my book The Algonquin Round Table New York: A Historical Guide, I was really happy to be able to include a photo of Parker and Fields together. One of the parts of the tour I wanted to do, but didn’t for Continue Reading →

W.C. Fields Fest Begins November 1 in New York

I love a good festival. In 1999 my friends and I started the long-running Dorothy Parker-theme Parkerfest. Two years ago I was one of the organizers for the Marx Brothers tribute, Marxfest. And now I am getting back into the Jazz Age by becoming part of W.C. Fields and Fields Fest. On Dec. 25 is the 70th anniversary of the death of the great comedian. Fields Fest is being executed by Trav S.D., everyone’s favorite Continue Reading →

Rudolph Carpos, the Clown of Vaudeville Days

Kensico Vaudeville Project #: 10 Name: Rudolph Carpos Act: Clown Born: 9 Sept 1875, Vienna, Austria Died: 4 Nov 1935, New York City There are two different gravestones for Rudolph Carpos, a professional clown who was beloved by vaudeville audiences. He was born Rudolph Karp on 9 September 1875 in Vienna, Austria. In 1914 he toured Sydney and Newcastle, Australia, before sailing to Hawaii aboard the Ventura. During World War I he registered for the Continue Reading →

Follies Girl and Sister Act, Showgirl Victorinne Coscia

Kensico Vaudeville Project #: 9 Name: Victorinne Coscia Act: Dancer Born: 18 April 1898, Pennsylvania Died: 8 May 1961, New York City This is the grave of a Ziegfeld Follies showgirl who was in two of the greatest casts ever assembled, the back-to-back legendary Follies of 1922 and 1923. Dancer Victorine Voltaire was a teenager when Flo Ziegfeld cast her; her two younger sisters, Jeanne and Rita, were also dancers. (Sister acts were a particular Continue Reading →