Today is the birthday of Ernest R. Ball (1878-1927). One of the great songwriters of the tin pan alley era, he was also fortunate in his associations, having co-written “When Irish Eyes are Smiling” with Chauncey Olcott, and “Will You Love Me in December as You Do in May?” with Jimmy Walker, who later became Mayor of New York City. Ball played piano and sang in vaudeville throughout the teens and twenties as venues such as Hammerstein’s Victoria and the Palace, and died in his dressing room at the Yost Theatre in Santa Ana, California when booked there with an octet called Ernie Ball and his Gang in 1927.
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