This gender bending performer is one we are presenting in a series to celebrate NYC Pride Week.
According to vaudeville encyclopediast Anthony Slide, Herbert Charles performed in vaudeville as “The Divine Dodson” wearing a female costume valued at $3,000, and would take off his wig periodically and sing in a rough voice to prove that he was a biological male. When not performing, he ran a store called “The Man Milliner” in Los Angeles.
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