Frank Tinney

Today is the birthday of vaudeville and Broadway comedian Frank Tinney (1878-1940). His shtick was to tell the corniest of jokes, implicating others (bandleaders, fellow performers, audience members) in the crime by dragging them onstage and making them the feeder. To make it more bizarre, he did this act in blackface** (without accent) for most of his career. A drunkard and womanizer, his career ended in the 1920s after a scandal, else there might have been a cinematic record and he’d be better known today.

To find out more about the history of vaudeville and performers like Frank Tinney, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.

**Obligatory Disclaimer: It is the official position of this blog that Caucasians-in-Blackface is NEVER okay. It was bad then, and it’s bad now. We occasionally show images depicting the practice, or refer to it in our writing, because it is necessary to tell the story of American show business, which like the history of humanity, is a mix of good and bad. 

Advertisements

3 comments

  1. Frank Tinney appeared in many Broadway musicals between 1911 and 1926 and actually scored a Top 10 hit record entitled “Frank Tinney’s First Record” (Columbia 1854) in December 1915.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s