Wow…I can’t believe I haven’t gotten around to plugging this book or even rating it on Goodreads (a lapse which I just addressed). I guess I first read this book in the early 1990s. Its influence on me has been INCALCULABLE. Initially as a performer. It’s where I first learned about people like Bobby Clark and Joe Cook and Willie Howard and the Broadway revues of Ed Wynn. (And also tells of folks I of course already knew something about like W.C. Fields, Fanny Brice and Jimmy Durante. Later, I’m sure I referred to it again when I was writing No Applause. I can’t remember particularly how WELL it’s written but the subject it depicts is EVERYTHING to me. It’s the peculiar American art form that has withered on the vine, and I really want to see return….broad, grotesque BIG comedians, nurtured in vaudeville, and then let loose on the legitimate stage in their own vehicles. This, too, is Broadway, you tyrants of the formulaic modern musical!
This is the Bible. These are the Gods. To get your copy of Stanley Green’s 1984 book The Great Clowns of Broadway, go here.
For more on show business history, consult my own No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.
For more on comedy film history 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