Willie and Joe Mandel: Big Time Comedy Acrobats

Some tidbits today on William and Joe Mandel. The brothers’ original last name was Manetti. They started out as an acrobatic duo, but gradually morphed into a comedy crosstalk and knockabout act. Joe Laurie, Jr called them “one of the finest” acts in their line.  The were part of the summer colony of show biz people at New Jersey’s Lake Hopatcong in the 1920s and ’30s. A 1943 issue of Billboard reports that in 1915 William had been part of an acrobatic teeterboard trio called the Three Alfreds; they were reviving it in ’43 and touring New England towns. William teamed with his brother Joe starting in the early ’20s. The brothers played Keith and Orpheum time in their heyday and even toured the Tivoli Circuit in Australia.

To learn more more about vaudeville please read No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous.