DeWolf Hopper: Recited “Casey at the Bat” 10,000 Times in Vaudeville

MV5BOWU1Mjc3NTQtMThkZC00NmQzLWJiMTItM2IyNjFhMDdlM2E5XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMzI5NDcxNzI@._V1_UY317_CR7,0,214,317_AL_

Today is the birthday of DeWolf Hopper (1858-1935), thespian most famous for his 10,000 vaudeville recitations of the poem Casey at the Bat,  which was written by my distant relative Ernest Lawrence Thayer in 1888. Thus Hopper was the person most responsible for its popularization…that is until the later Walt Disney cartoon with the voice of Jerry Colonna).

Hopper was of Philadelphia Quaker stock, but opted to stray in a very different direction from his straight-laced family. He was extremely tall (6’5″), making him hard to cast in straight roles, but his big, booming bass voice was useful in musicals. He starred in over 30 Broadway productions, including comic roles in the Weber and Fields’ shows Fiddle-Dee-Dee (1900) and Hoity Toity (1901) and numerous Gilbert and Sullivan revivals. The third of his six wives was Edna Wallace; the fifth was Hedda Hopper, later to become a notorious Hollywood gossip columnist.

And guess what? You can actually hear a recording of DeWolf Hopper reciting Casey here. Play ball!

aCDlZKc

To find out more about the history of vaudeville including stars like DeWolf Hopperconsult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous

 

One comment

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

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

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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 )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.