Today is the birthday of Bobby Breen (b. 1927). Breen was all of four years old when he debuted in Toronto nightclubs, vaudeville theatres and on radio as a boy soprano. In 1935 he moved to Hollywood, appearing on Eddie Cantor’s radio show, and then becoming RKO’s principal child actor from 1936 through 1942. After this, as with many child actors, his career declined rapidly when he reached adolescence, He continued to perform in night clubs, make recordings and appear on television through the 1960s although with a good deal less prominence. The name must have still meant something in those later years — my first encounter with his name was on old Lenny Bruce comedy records from the late 50s and early 60s.
To learn more about 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 don’t miss 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