Today is the birthday of Tin Pan Alley songwriter Clarence Gaskill (1892-1947). Born and raised in Philadelphia (where he attended a Quaker school), he began playing piano in theatres when he was 16. After serving as a machine gunner in the First World War he toured vaudeville for many years as “The Melody Monarch”. By 1921 he had joined ASCAP as a songwriter. Of the 100 or so songs he wrote or co-wrote, among the most famous are “Minnie the Moocher” (co-written with Cab Calloway for the latter to perform in 1930) and “Doo Wacka Doo” (1924) a hit for the Paul Whiteman Orchestra. He also composed music for sereral editions of Earl Carroll’s Vanities.
And now, his best known collaboration:
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 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