Stars of Vaudeville #770: Charles Coborn


Today is the birthday of music hall star Charles Coborn (Charles Whitton McCallum, 1852-1945). Coborn was largely associated with two songs: “Two Lovely Black Eyes” (1886) and “The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo” (1892), which he sang in the character of a drunken swell. His performance of the song became a phenomenon; he was to sing it a quarter of a million times all over the world in 14 languages. In 1900, he made a tour of American vaudeville with equal success. Unfortunately the song was SUCH a smash that he never got past its shadow. He never found a new song to top it, and was forced to trot it out to the end of his days, both a blessing and a curse. For while he continued to be a star, he was also a star of the past and thus dropped out of his headliner status as time wore on. 

He’s in his eighties when he sang his signature song here (below). He continued to make public appearances into his 90s.

To find out more about  the history of vaudevilleconsult 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 Mediaalso available from etc etc etc


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: