As were the Rogers Brothers and Kolb and Dill to Weber and Fields, so were Dan Avery and Charles Hart to Williams and Walker. In the years leading up to their teaming at the turn of the twentieth century, each man had been flouishing in his own career. Avery had been with Black Patti’s Troubadors; Hart had been with the Walker & Williams show A Lucky Coon. In 1903, the two came together to take the Walker & Williams parts in a touring production of The Sons of Ham, followed by In Dahomey, which brought them to England through 1905. Avery, a dancer, took the dashing, snappy George Walker parts; Hart, a comedian, took the Sad Sack Bert Williams parts. Following these shows they stayed together as a comedy/ song and dance vaudeville team which played mainstream big time vaudeville (i.e., not the segregated black circuits), usually billed as some variation of “another Williams and Walker” or “a second Williams and Walker”. In 1909, J. Rosamond Johnson joined them to form a trio. The sketch they performed eventually turned into a full scale musical revue called Come Over Here, which became a hit of the London stage. In 1912, Dan Avery passed away, and Hart formed a new team with Johnson.
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.