Stars of Vaudeville #854: Myrtle Vail


Today is the birthday of Myrtle Vail (1888-1978), a lady with three interesting legs to her career. The first phase was vaudeville, in which she performed with her husband George Damerel.

In 1931 she created the radio soap opera Myrt and Marge, starring herself and real life daughter Donna Damerel. The show was largely based on Vail’s experiences in vaudeville, casting the women as a couple of chorus girls getting in and out of adventures. The younger Damerel died in 1942. Her role was taken over by Helen Mack, who played it until 1946.

Hear more episodes of Myrt and Marge here.

In 1933, there was even a Myrt and Marge movie co-starring Ted Healy and the Three Stooges!

Nor did Vail’s interesting career end there. For her grandson was Charles B. Griffith, who became a screenwriter and important collaborator of Roger Corman’s. Griffith and Corman cast Vail in two of their best known films, Bucket of Blood (1959) and The Little Shop of Horrors (1978).


As Seymour’s hypochondriac mother in “Little Shop”

Here she is as the ill-fated landlady in A Bucket of Blood:

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.

safe_imageAnd 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 etc etc etc


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