Alphonse: The Great Drapo

Alphonse Berge’s entire act revolved around taking bolts of fabric and fashioning original gowns out of them on  a couple of onstage models. Also known as The Great Drapo, he could turn out a dress in as little as twenty seconds. Alphonse performed this act in vaudeville, night clubs, Hollywood films — and he made a hit of the Rayon exhibit at the 1939 World’s Fair. Here he is assembling one of his creations in an early Pathe short.

Alphonse was born circa 1895; the Fates snipped his thread in 1955.

To learn more about 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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9 comments

  1. Berg is credited as appearing in a 1957 film (The Helen Morgan Story), which would suggest the 1955 death date commonly listed for him is inaccurate. Can anyone confirm his nationality? Some sources state he started as a window dresser in London; was he British? Thanks.

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    • He was most certainly British! He was my cousin, though I never met him. He used ti do his act accompanied by cousin Jessie playing Home Sweet Home on the violin. I can’t remember his first name precisely but I think it was Alfred. He was born in London and is a descendant of Ellis Berg, a Polish immigrant to London in the 1850’s.

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