July 4, 1872 was the birthdate of Harry Tate (Ronald McDonald Hutchinson), star of the British music hall, who also made some tours of America and Australia. His stage name was taken from his former employer Henry Tate & Sons, Sugar Refiners. Tate began his career in music hall in 1895, doing impressions of George Robey, Dan Leno and other major stars of his day. But he became best known for a series of comedy sketches, based on and centered around particular fads and trends, e.g. “Billiards”, “Fishing”, “Motoring”, “Running an Office”. In so doing, he became a major influence on W.C. Fields who was to develop a series of similar sketches for the Ziegfeld Follies and other Broadway revues. Between 1927 and 1937 he appeared in 18 motion pictures. He passed away in 1940, a much beloved British institution.
For more on vaudeville history, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.
Also 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