Stars of Vaudeville #747: Wormwood’s Dogs and Monkeys
Professor Wormwood’s Dog and Monkey act was a popular vaudeville act of the early 20th century. The act consisted of 31 Monkeys and 24 dogs that rode bicycles, turned somersaults, juggled, engaged in swordplay and portrayed waiters, barbers, and comedians. The monkeys were dressed as old men and women who would obey verbal commands. The dogs were harnessed to small carts and the monkeys would act as drivers.
A 1913 ad from the Pittsburg Press hawks “Wormswood’s Big Monkey Circus” promising “25 educated baboons and dogs”, including the world’s first mind-reading dog.
They perform in this 1903 comedy film by the Edison Company taken at Luna Park, Coney Island:
The act was so legendary that a repertory cinema in Halifax, Noca Scotia is named after it!
To find out more 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