Today is the birthday of George A. Whiting (George Bernhammer, 1884-1943), the co-writer of the song “My Blue Heaven”. In 1911 he formed a two act in San Francisco with Sadie Burt (1893-1966), who was later to become his wife. (The pair married in 1918 after obtaining divorces from their respective spouses). The singing, dancing, joking couple were in the big time by 1913, when they played the Palace and appeared in the annual Shubert revue The Passing Show. The two were a big time staple until the end of the vaudeville era, and Whiting continued to contribute music to Broadway shows at least through 1933. One or both of them seems to have been contentious sorts:of the couple of references I’ve found to them in old trade magazines, one concerns a dispute between them and another team over the rights to perform a certain “Chinese number”; another concerns their refusal to perform at one theatre because they didn’t like the billing.
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