Today is the birthday of George Spencer Melvin (1886-1946). A music hall comedian and pantomime dame from Aberdeen, Scotland, he toured American vaudeville in 1908, 1912, and 1924. Melvin’s father, G.J.,a dance champion, had been a pal of Harry Lauder, and ran a little theatre, along with three touring companies. The younger Melvin’s most famous contribution was the music hall song “I’m Happy When I’m Hiking”,which became a brief national craze in the 30s. Melvin sadly died in a flood in 1946.
Now here he is at work, and I guarantee if you watch it this morning it will make your day. I intend to steal his every move!
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