The Stars of Vaudeville #468: The Four Fords + 1
The Four Fords, a.k.a. the Four Dancing Fords were a legendary brother and sister dancing act of the early part of the last century. It all appears to have started with the fifth dancing Ford, the oldest brother Johnny (born ca. 1876), who won a prize for buck dancing around the turn of the twentieth century. He remained a soloist and danced in vaudeville and several Broadway shows. He was to become one of the many husbands of Eva Tanguay. The other four Fords danced into the picture on the heels of their brother. Maxie, like Johnny was well respected throughout the industry and actually had several dance steps named after him. The quartet broke up in 1913, and the act became the Ford Sisters. Dora and Mabel were a major big time vaudeville act — headliners — into the 1920. Theirs was a polished, major act performed on a full stage, as opposed to “in one”, i.e. in front of the drop like the majority of dance acts. Dora married juggler Eddie Emerson; their son was the comedy magician Roy Benson.
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.