Brooke Johns: Jazz Banjoist

Vaudeville’s premiere jazz banjoist Brooke Johns (born this day in 1893) was already playing and singing in small time when the First World War broke out. He entertained in the Navy during the conflict, then came back to play night clubs, big time and presentation houses, through 1934 when he retired (for a time) to run a restaurant in the Washington DC area. For a time during his peak years he was partnered with Ann Pennington. In later years he was to host local radio and tv programs. He passed away in 1987.

Here he is with his orchestra performing “Take Oh Take Those Lips Away”

To find out more about  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.


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