A Different Danny O’Shea

Boston Irishman Danny O’Shea (1901-79) studied to be an electrical engineer but got pulled into the world of of vaudeville and musical comedy. He toured with a group called the Canadian Kitties and served in Europe during World War One (where he took a bullet), before beginning a brief movie career that lasted from 1925 through 1930.

O’Shea started out with Mack Sennett in 1925, where he was frequently paired with Alice Day and also clowned with people like Ben Turpin, Ralph Graves, Madeline Hurlock, and Barney Hellum, in movies with titles like Hotsy-Totsy and Hotcakes for Two. In 1927 he moved over to F.B.O., where he appeared in two series, The Wisecracker and The Beauty Parlor, the latter co-starring Thelma Hill. By the end of the silent era he had graduated to features, including On the Stroke of Twelve (1927), Dugan of the Dugouts (1928), Manhattan Cocktail (1928), and The Girl Who Wouldn’t Wait (1929). The Vagabond Lover (1929) with Rudy Vallee was his first talkie. A very small role in Lummox (1930) with Lydia Yeamans Titus and Ben Lyons, et al, was his last screen credit. It is thought he may also have been in Eddie Cantor’s Kid Boots (1926). All told, O’Shea was in just over three dozen films.

To learn more about vaudeville, please see No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, and for more on silent film please read Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube.