Today is the birthday of the great midwestern humorist, author and playwright George Ade (1866-1944). I’ve already blogged here about his Fables in Slang and other humor, including his piece “Zoroaster and Zendavesta“, about a couple of vaudevillians. What I didn’t realize at the time, was that Ade had a considerable footprint in vaudeville himself. Like many playwrights, Ade wrote sketches and playlets that were produced in big time vaudeville. In fact, a sketch of his, called “Speaking to Father”, starring Milton Pollack was on the very first bill at the Palace in 1913. His first one-act for vaudeville “Mrs. Peckham’s Carouse” was written for and starred May Irwin; she began touring with it in 1906. Other Ade vaud skits included “Marse Covington”, and “The Mayor and the Manicure”. Some critics panned them; others called them “masterpieces.” Ade himself referred to his weakness for vaudeville, his “life of shame”.
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.