Today is the birthday of the prototypical American stage Irishman, Chancellor “Chauncey” Olcott (1858-1932). Starting out in minstrel shows, he had moved up to Broadway by the turn of the century, largely with the sponsorship of Lillian Russell. In addition to having been an actor and performer he was also a songwriter. His most lasting legacies are the songs “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling” and “My Wild Irish Rose”.
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