It’s no accident that percussive dancer Hal Le Roy (b. John Le Roy Schotte this day in 1913) started off performing as a drummer – – what is tap dancing but drumming the ground with your feet? He learned to dance from his fellow newsboys while peddling papers in Memphis, then moved back to his birthplace Cincinatti, where he won amateur contests.
Then it was on to New York, where he studied with Ned Wayburn and broke into vaudeville. 1931-32 was when he began gain notice, playing both the Palace and the Ziegfeld Follies. (Do the math; he was only about 18 at this point, he started out very young). From here, he continued to play big time vaudeville, presentation houses, the occasional Broadway show, films (through the 30s), and later some television. He passed away in 1985.
To find out more about the history of 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.
And don’t miss my new book Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etc