Today is the birthday of the great equestrienne Ella Bradna (1879-1957). The daughter of a circus family from Bohemia, she came to the U.S. with her husband Fred to perform for Barnum and Bailey in 1903. In later years she was to become one of the stars of the circus with her “act beautiful”, in which she emerged in a spectacular chariot drawn by spotless white horses. They were both to perform for the circus for 40 years, with Fred becoming equestrian director in 1912. When not otherwise engaged by the circus, they would take dates in big time vaudeville. Their niece, Olympe Bradna was a film actress.
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.