Harry Rose: The Broadway Jester

“The Broadway Jester”

Fans of the 1992 PBS documentary “Vaudeville” know that one of its highlights is a very fey, highly energetic singer doing a risque number called “Frankfurter Sandwiches”. The gentleman’s name was Harry Rose and he was born on this day in 1893 in Leeds, U.K. He came to the U.S. with his family in 1905 and made his vaudeville debut in Milwaukee five years later.

The tv doc gives the unfortunate impression that Rose was just some weird, obscure performer when, in reality, he was a popular songwriter, a star of a couple of dozen Broadway shows in the teens and 20s (including George White’s Scandals) and a popular emcee in big time vaudeville and presentation houses (a highly coveted position). You can see him in action as the host of Movietone Revues, available on DVD. But, then, nowadays…they’ve all become obscure. (Sigh). If you’ve missed the notorious clip, you can see it here. Mr. Rose passed away in 1962.

To find out more about variety artists like Harry Rose 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.



  1. The date of Harry Rose’s death is incorrect, he died in 1963 just a few months after his brother, Morris died in New York. Harry didn’t sound very sympathetic to his brother’s death. My father–Harry’s nephew–called to give him the news. The reply my father got from Harry was a curt, “everybody dies”.


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