Today is the birthday of Horace Heidt (1901-1986). Heidt was a pianist and bandleader whose orchestra Horace Heidt and his Musical Knights started in vaudeville and night clubs and became one of the top radio bands in the country for two decades starting in 1932. Among the band’s famous alumni were Gordon MacRae and Art Carney, who started out with the band as a comedy singer. Here’s Heidt’s band playing “The Wedding of the Painted Doll” in 1929. This song has special significance to me; my performance on stage was set to it (more on that here).
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 please 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