I don’t care a fig for physical feats — those can be achieved by a rhinoceros as much as a man. My idea of Superman is more like Noel Coward (1899-1973): prolific writer of plays, songs, sketches, screenplays, short stories, novels and a three volume autobiography…and an actor and performer (and patriotic citizen) on top of it. The closest he got to variety entertainment were West End Revues and tv variety — but those count, those certainly! Today is his birthday.
To find out more about the variety arts past and present, 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 Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, to be released by Bear Manor Media in 2013.