For someone of my age, Jack Albertson was VERY present in the early 1970s: Grandpa Joe in Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971, pictured above), Manny Rosen in The Poseidon Adventure (1972, the first movie I ever saw in a theatre) and Ed Brown in the hit tv series Chico and the Man (1974-78), which co-starred him with Freddy Prinze. The casting of the latter was a stroke of genius, juxtaposing as it did the new show business with the old.
Albertson had started out with a vaudeville dance act called the Dancing Verselle Sisters (one assumes he wasn’t one of the sisters). In burlesque and in the Catskills he partnered with Phil Silvers, and from there went on to Broadway, films and television. He is one of the few people to win a Tony, an Oscar and an Emmy. He is also one of the few people (George Burns was another) to enjoy his greatest fame as a senior citizen. He passed away in 1981.
To find out about the history of vaudeville, 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 check out 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