Stars of Vaudeville #315: Bud Fisher
A couple of reasons why cartoonist Harry Conway “Bud” Fisher (born this day in 1885) rates a shout out here. One, after his hit comic strip “Mutt and Jeff” became a national sensation in the nineteen teens, silent film versions of the strip, and personal appearances by Fisher himself were big time vaudeville acts. But secondly, the characters themselves — the tall, gangly racetrack habitue Mutt and his diminutive, crazy sidekick Jeff — undoubtedly influenced some two man comedy acts. Considered the first comic strip, “Mutt and Jeff” made Fisher a fortune, allowing to turn over its daily production to assistants while he lived the high life. He passed away in 1954. The strip itself was still being produced and syndicated in the 1980s.
To learn more about vaudeville, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.