J. Harold Murray: From Broadway to Brewmaster

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Today is the birthday of J. Harold Murray (b. Harold Roulon, 1891-1940). A native of Maine, Murray started out a song plugger, becoming a singer in vaudeville circa 1918. He was such a hit that he was featured in The Passing Show of 1921, and for the next decade he divided his time between Broadway engagements and big time vaudeville. His most legendary live performance was in the show Rio Rita, which was brought to the silver screen more than once, unfortunately without Murray in it. (Wheeler and Woolsey, from the stage version were in the 1929 film; and Abbott and Costello starred in the 1942 remake) But he made some films, nonetheless: a handful of features for Fox starting 1930, and some shorts towards the end of the decade, interspersed with a couple of Broadway shows. Towards the end of his life he was making a very good living as President of his own brewery.

To find out more about vaudeville, including performers like J. Harold Murray, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famousavailable at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold. 

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