Today is the birthday of Cass Daley (Catherine Dailey, 1915-1975). Daley started out as a teenage singer, accompanying herself with ukulele in New Jersey nightclubs. An enterprising manager encouraged her to stress comedy in her act and by the 30s she had worked her way up to presentation houses, the scattered remnants of vaudeville, revues (Ziegfeld Follies of 1936) and English music hall. The 40s were the peak of her career, when she starred in radio on shows like The Frank Morgan Show and The Fitch Bandwagon (with Phil Harris and Alice Faye), had several hot records, and appeared in several Hollywood movies, in which she usually played a love-starved homely girl in the fashion of Martha Raye or Judy Canova (The Fleet’s In, Star Spangled Rhythm, etc etc). She retired from show business in the early 1950s to raise a family, and then re-emerged in the late 60s to take the occasional bit role.
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 for more on comedy film check out my 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