Stars of Vaudeville #51: Gus Edwards

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Not a vaudeville star himself per se, German-born Gus Edwards was more the father of a hundred stars. He was vaudeville’s premier producer of kiddie acts. Having started out himself at Tony Pastor’s in the Newsboy Quartet, he went on to build a producing machine that developed and presented scores, probably hundreds of pint-sized vaudevillians — many of whom went on to bigger and better things. Famous products of the Gus Edwards mill include: Groucho Marx, Georgie Jessell, Eddie Cantor, Phil Silvers, Walter Winchell, Ray Bolger, Eleanor Powell, Sally Rand, Bert Wheeler, Lillian Roth and the Duncan Sisters. He was also a prolific songwriter (his best known song “School Days” is still known to many). He was born on this day in 1879.

To find out more about these variety artists and the history of vaudevilleconsult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.

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14 Responses to “Stars of Vaudeville #51: Gus Edwards”

  1. [...] day, while clowning around on the beach at Coney Island, he was spotted by Gus Edwards who booked him for his “School Days” revue. The Edwards machine was a well-known commodity; [...]

  2. [...] violinist, but had gradually introduced eccentric comedy into the act. Earlier he had been in Gus Edwards “Newsboy Sextette” with Eddie Cantor, Walter Winchell and George Jessell, and numerous other [...]

  3. [...] the teens, he worked with kids acts like that of E.W. Wolf, one of countless Gus Edwards imitators. He worked principally in the Philadelphia area, to avoid New York’s greater scrutiny [...]

  4. [...] 1912, he got an offer to perform with a Gus Edwards’ revue “Kid Cabaret.” He purposely got himself fired from Bedini’s act so he could take it. [...]

  5. [...] parents put her in ballet lessons to help her get over her shyness. She started out performing in Gus Edwards revues in Atlantic City as a child. Edwards convinced her parents to allow her to travel with the [...]

  6. [...] was clowning, magic, acrobatics andthat staple of vaudeville, the kiddie act. A songwriter named Gus Edwards (most famous for the song “In the Good Old Summertime”), got his start at Tony Pastor’s and [...]

  7. [...] Trio, which sang songs to accompany slides. Then he performed with Winchell and Eddie Cantor in the Gus Edwards sketch “School Boys and Girls”. Joe Smith of Smith and Dale knew Jessel quite well during this [...]

  8. [...] carnivals, where she was an acrobat…to stock companies, where he acted as a teenager…to the Gus Edwards troup…to silent films for Hal Roach and Cecil B. DeMille. She even headlined at the Palace in [...]

  9. [...] power-mad show biz columnist in Sweet Smell of Success, Walter Winchell actually got his start in Gus Edwards’ kiddie vaudeville troupe the “Newsboy Sextette.” He began filing regular pieces to the [...]

  10. [...] born in 1895 in Paterson, New Jersey, started out as a teenager with the Gus Edwards company. he moved on to a two act with his first wife Betty. In 1923 he inked a five year contract [...]

  11. [...] of the take and leaving him the lurch once again. Things looked brighter when he got a job with Gus Edwards’ “Postal Telegraph Boys, and then toured with a legit play “Man of her Choice” for several [...]

  12. [...] the Mezzanine” and “On the Balcony”. He got his start in vaudeville in the Gus Edwards revue “School Days”, later formed a duo with his brother Sammy (best known as the [...]

  13. [...] the premier producer of that wholesome vaudeville staple known as the kiddie act. German-born Gus Edwards had been discovered by Pastor at age 14, and was hired to be a balcony singer. (It was a convention [...]

  14. [...] song-plugging in the mid aughts. It seems he just drifted into show business. He began working for Gus Edwards music publishing company. Towards the end of the decade he was writing a lot of music for Lew [...]

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