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An Annotated Bibliography of Commedia, Music Hall, Panto, Vaudeville, and ever so much More.

Alright then, you may well ask yourself, what is this site? Well, rather an opinionated selection of books on a variety of theatre forms that have fallen from grace and off the screen of all except historians, students, the rare practitioners of each form, and the curious avocational.  Such as myself.  These books are linked, where possible, to amazon.com (or, for our UK visitors, please search for them at amazon.co.uk) to facilitate their purchase as expeditiously as possible, because we here at 214b.com fervently believe in two-business-day, if not immediate, gratification.

So, what's on the bill of fare chez 214b?

Commedia dell'arte, where wearing leather masks isn't limited to politicians on their nights off.  (ba-da-boom.)

Panto, that quintessentially British of forms and the commedia's blushing stepchild.

Drag, now I'm not dumb but I can't understand/why she walked like a woman and talked like a man, to quote Ray Davies.

Music hall, born somewhere between Covent Garden and Lambeth, but peopled by the leather-lunged sons and daughters of hamlets from Baltimore to Melbourne.

Minstrelsy, ebony, ivory, living in perfect harmony. Or not.

Vaudeville and Burlesque. Or "vaude and burley-cue" if you were beaten with a rolled-up copy of Variety as a child.

And, hey, while you're here, visit Sounds of the Music Hall, an annotated discography of music hall recordings on CD.  Because, as the man said, writing about music is like dancing about architecture.  And dancing about architecture, particularly at lunch hour, is what mimes all too often do.

 

Commedia dell'arte

IMPRO, Improvisation and the Theatre, Keith Johnstone, Routledge, 1992.
What better way to open a bibliography on the classical theatre of improvisation than with the Bible of improvisational theatre?  I read Johnstone's book and walked away with nuggets that informed my creative and social lives for days and weeks.  Read his section on 'Status' theatre exercises and see your workplace and watering hole in a new light.

The Italian Comedy, Pierre Louis Duchartre, Dover, 1966.
Perhaps the best-illustrated work on the commedia dell'arte I've seen, the 1929 Duchartre is also the best overview of the form.  He outlines the origins of commedia and its masks, as well as its staging, theaters, actors, and troupes.  Following a history of the rise of the French comedy and the later Italian is a character-by-character genealogy of the masks.  While not the most recent work on the commedia dell'arte, Duchartre's is the volume to own.

Lazzi, Mel Gordon, Performing Arts Journal Publications, 1992.
Essentially a listing of the various bits and shticks used in the commedia dell'arte, grouped according to their performance type, e.g. Food Lazzi, Sexual/Scatological Lazzi, Word Play Lazzi, along with a character glossary and two scenarios from the di Lucca collection.  Gordon draws on Scala, di Lucca, and several others to compile his list of lazzi. Interesting for reference purposes.

The Triumph of Pierrot, The Commedia dell'Arte and the Modern Imagination, Martin Green and John Swan, rev.ed. 1993, Penn State Press.
A good survey of the impact of the commedia dell'arte on 20th-century culture. The authors' touch on the obvious connections (Chaplin, Diaghilev, Picasso) as well as the less-obvious--to this reader, anyway--(Hockney, Nabokov, Orton) to trace the influences of the form on Western theatre, literature, and music.  Whether or not one agrees with all their conclusions, Green and Swan make a lot of smart connections. The best on this topic that I've read.

Italian Popular Comedy, Kathleen M. Lea, Russell & Russell, 1962.
A cornerstone text, in two volumes, on the commedia dell'arte.  Originally published in 1934, the first volume discusses the history and development of the masks, the scenari, the form itself, and the companies.  The second volume discusses the impact of the commedia on Elizabethan drama and contains a number of appendices, most useful of which are a list of 16th and 17th century actors and the roles they originated or played, a handlist of scenari from Italian and French sources, and a "Specimen Scenari", in Italian and English.  While its occasional dryness recommends against its habitual use as bedtime reading, there is a wealth of information in this work.  Long out-of-print, I scored a copy at a second-hand bookstore. I have also seen individual volumes for sale.

Masks, Mimes, and Miracles, Allardyce Nicoll, Cooper Square Publishers, 1963.
The World of Harlequin, Allardyce Nicoll, Cambridge University Press, 1986.
Two landmark texts, both out-of-print, the first written in 1931, the second in 1963.  Serious scholarship, despite Nicoll's disclaimers to the contrary.   '3M' starts with a discussion of Dorian mimes, Greek mimes, and the Phlyakes, before digging into the Atellanae.  A discussion of medieval mime opens into an analysis of secular and, particularly, religious drama of the middle ages--hence the 'miracles' of the title--before discussing the history of the commedia dell'arte by character and company.  A fascinating work that places the commedia in a rich historical context.  Some glazing of the eyes may occur during the discussion of the Greek theater, but soldier on for real rewards.  Good illustrations throughout help break up the pages and elucidate points occasionally obliquely made in the text.

'The World of Harlequin' builds on the third section of 3M and is a better text for those specifically interested in commedia dell arte with little or no reference to its classical antecedents.   The well-illustrated 'Harlequin' focuses on the development and analysis of the characters, specifically what Nicoll calls the 'Four Masks'--Arlecchino, Pantalone, Il Dottore, Scapino--as well as the 'lesser' masks.  While some space is dedicated to discussing the various troupes and actors, the emphasis in this valuable work is the relationship and dynamic among the masks, emphasizing Harlequin as the pivotal persona.   Essential.

Commedia dell'Arte, An Actor's Handbook, John Rudlin, Routledge, 1994.
Written, as one might surmise, as a manual for the working actor or aspirant, this is nonetheless an extremely handy reference for anyone interested in the commedia. Along with a brief early history of the form and an interesting overview of commedia dell'arte in the 20th century, the meat of the book is a character-by-character analysis of each of the masks.  So, to illustrate, Arlecchino is discussed by Name (etymology), Status (within the commedia universe), Origin, Costume, Mask, Props, Stance, Walk, Movements, Gestures, Speech, Characteristics, Animal (analogue), Relationships (among the commedia characters), Relationship to Audience, Plot Function.  Additionally, improvisation exercises are included, along with sample monologues and dialogues from a variety of sources.  Worthwhile.

Scenarios of the Commedia dell'Arte, Flaminio Scala's Il teatro delle favole rappresentative, translated and edited by Henry F. Salerno, NYU Press, 1967.
Aside from a brief foreword, this volume is scenarios, scenarios, scenarios.   Fifty of them, in the format most likely used by the troupes.  Skeletal outlines that list the characters, the plot, and the various bits of business, act-by-act. Not exactly compelling reading, but a fount of information on the construction of the performances.  More for the actor or specialist than for the general reader.  A recent paperback edition exists.

The History of the Harlequinade, Maurice Sand, Benjamin Blom, 1958.
Originally published in 1915, this two-volume history by George Sand's son is, apart from a brief introduction, organized around the masks and their history.  Deftly written, it remains a personal favorite (it was the first book on the commedia dell'arte I encountered) for its readability and generous citation of French and other critical sources not otherwise easily available to the casual reader.   Each character is discussed in depth, including the development of the mask, a history of its role in the theater as well as of its male and female interpreters through the years.  Sand himself contributes pen-and-ink drawings of each of the character.  Highly recommended for reading enjoyment, if not as the definitive work on the topic.


Now, building from the above works are primary texts that feed, or branch from, the commedia genealogical tree.  I would first point the reader back to the plays of Plautus.  Although there are a number of fine translations available, hunt down Erich Segal's (yes, Erich "What-can-you-say-about-a-twenty-five-year-old-girl-who-died?" Segal) contemporary vernacular Plautus (Harper Colophon, 1969) and, for that matter, his "Roman Laughter, The Comedy of Plautus" (Oxford University Press, 1987).  As someone who'd only encountered Plautus in the fairly-dry Penguin editions, I found the Segal translations informed by a more modern sensibility of what reads and plays as 'funny'.  Which is, after all, the whole point of this, ain't it?  Plautus' Euclio the miser in the Aulularia, the slaves Palaestrio and Pseudolus in Miles Gloriosus and Pseudolus, respectively, and Pyropolinices the soldier in Miles Gloriosus, to name only a few, are adumbrations of Pantaloon, Harlequin, and the Captain of the commedia dell'arte, not to mention most of the cast of "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum". "Forum", aside from sporting a Sondheim score--and worthy of veneration for this alone--itself can, consequently, be read as a typical commedia dell'arte scenario and its book is a worthwhile read in this light, full of scheming slaves, hapless masters, swooning lovers, swell-headed soldiers, and plenty of what used to be called "bawdy" humor, but, for the sake of a neologism, I'll call "baggy-toga" humor.

From Plautus, it's an easy leapfrog over commedia dell'arte to Goldoni and Moliere.  Goldoni's Il Servitore Di Due Padroni openly employed classic commedia characters such as Pantalone, Il Dottore, Brighella, and Truffaldino in a play that sets down the jokes and dueling dialects of the form.  Other plays, such as La Locandiera, more consciously transcended what some consider the constraints of the genre.  Moliere's "The Miser" takes on (or off) Plautus' "Aulularia", while "The Mischievous Machinations of Scapin"--a reworking of Terence's "Phormio" with a Plautine schmeer--invokes the spirit of the commedia dell'arte; its title, after all, alludes to one of its principal zanni.   The preceding lists only the commedia dell'arte literary offshoots that sprang to my mind.  There are plenty more out there, so hunt 'em down, collect 'em, trade 'em with your friends!

Another commedia dell'arte theatrical spinoff is the Punch-and-Judy show.  These performances, apparently no longer as popular and widespread even in their native England as was once the case, preserve a good bit of the knockabout and pointedly-unsweetened humor of the commedia dell'arte in the savage antics of Mr. Punch.  I know of no books currently available in the U.S. on the history of Punch-and-Judy shows, but some excellent texts have been written in the last quarter-century, including George Speaight's Punch & Judy, A History, Peter Fraser's hands-on (pun narrowly averted) puppetry text Punch and Judy, and the 1971 reprint of George Cruikshank's Punch and Judy.  There's also a brilliant book, from which I photocopied great bits--except, of course, the title page (there's a clever lad!)--which has a good assortment of P'n'J texts from the 18th-century proto-Punch play "The Song of Zeza" through late-19th and early-20th century scripts, up to a 1966 performance transcript.  Be sure to look for Conversations With Punch, compiled and edited by Geoff Felix. It's an entertaining and very informative set of interviews with Punchmen of two generations.  Highly recommended.  And, while we're on the topic, read Mr. Punch by Sandman author Neil Gaiman and artist Dave McKean.  It's beautifully written and illustrated and can't be recommended highly enough. For more information on modern-day Punch-related activities and research, check out Punch and Judy on the Web and The Worldwide Friends of Punch and Judy.   And, transition-hopping as we are, is it that far a conceptual jump from Mister Punch to old Pere Ubu?  I think not.  Start with the Collège de 'Pataphysique and then hop around the Web, as there isn't a single centralized site for Ubu or his genius creator, Alfred Jarry, absinthe-sucking, ether-huffing ink monkey.

 

Panto

The definitive, copiously-illustrated, thick-enough-to-stun-a-bull-in-mid-charge, coffee-table history of panto remains to be written.  Theatre historians, the gauntlet she has been flung.  That said, even more modest histories and analyses of the form are extremely few and far between.  Run 'panto' through the Search at amazon.co.uk and one's little boat of research is swamped by eighteen scripts for 'Aladdin' and eleven for 'Puss in Boots' and ten for 'Babes in the Woods', not to mention such non-enduring novelties as 'Dracula, the Panto', a charming bit of sanguinary psychosexuality destined to make Boxing Day just that extra bit more special.  But little like a true history in print.  So, we make do.

A History of Pantomime, R.J.Broadbent, Citadel Press, 1965 edition.
A broad overview of pantomime that covers some of the same ground as Allardyce Nicoll's "Masks, Mimes, and Miracles" (vide supra).  Broadbent traces the origins of the commedia, Greek and Roman mimes, miracle plays, and Italian and French pantomimes, before settling into the development of the Panto, the life of Grimaldi, and a discussion of the classic Panto libretti.  A quick read, valuable as an overview but not particularly strong in any one category.

The Pantomime Book, Paul Harris, Peter Owen Publishers, 1996.
A collection of pantomime gags, sketches, and "business"--some as performed in Victoria's day, others revised and updated for the modern Panto stage--and something of a "how-to" as well. Anecdotal reminiscences introduce the various bits, along with historical and theatrical tips and trivia.   Great to dip into at random or read straight through, useful for those considering staging their own Panto.

Pantomime, A Story In Pictures, Raymond Mander and Joe Mitchenson, Taplinger, 1973.
Mander and Mitchenson rock. For the record.  Both this, their illustrated history of Panto, and their similar treatment of Music Hall (below) give the reader at a century's remove a real taste for the look of the actors, their costumes, and their sets.  Each volume begins with a short but comprehensive history of the form, and then, on to the pictures!  Such beautiful illustrations as the 1825 cast of "The White Cat, or Harlequin In Fairy Wood" and the legendary Clown, Grimaldi, or rare photos of Vesta Tilley as Robinson Crusoe and Marie Lloyd as Dick Whittington or the one, the only, Binnie Hale in "Jack and the Beanstalk".  Great.  Make that double-great.

Memoirs of Joseph Grimaldi, Charles Dickens, edited, annoted, and introduction by Richard Findlater, Stein and Day.
Joe Grimaldi, His life and theatre, 2nd ed., Richard Findlater, Cambridge University Press, 1978.
Twice pared down, once by Thomas Egerton Wilks during Grimaldi's lifetime, once by Dickens posthumously, the original manuscript long vanished, the memoirs of Joseph "Joey" Grimaldi (neither a member of the Gotti crime family, nor the "endearingly-stupid one" on "Friends") are fascinating and annoying both.  As much is concealed, glossed over, or finessed as is presented in the form of canned anecdotes written in an annoyingly-stilted third person: "He was so exceedingly successful in the first-mentioned part, that Mr Sheridan wished him to preserve the character throughout--a suggestion which he was compelled resolutely to oppose.", and that's pretty zippy prose compared to some of the rest.  But, there is no better source of information on Grimaldi, except Findlater's own bio, wherein the meat of the Memoirs is plucked from the carcase of the bloated bird whilst said author does render the dish even tastier by adroitly applying condimentation of his own devising.  And like that.  Read both, Dickens first.  Essential to understand the development of the harlequinade under Grimaldi.

Harlequin in His Element, The English Pantomime, 1806-1836, David Mayer III, Harvard University Press, 1969.
An enjoyable academic analysis, there's an oxymoron for you and no mistake, Mister Frodo! (must...stop...watching...LOTR...)  Mayer takes the early panto stage and views it from a variety of perspectives, contextualizes it vis-a-vis the economics and society of the day, illustrates it intelligently, and provides about as informative a view of the development of this form as one could ask.  C'mon now, wouldn't you have liked to have been in that 1830 audience for Cowardy, Cowardy, Custard; or, Harlequin Jim Crow and the Magic Mustard Pot?  Can you imagine?  I'd link the title to the minstrelsy section below, but, after all this excitement, I must plead an attach of the vapours.

And then there's Brandreth.  Gyles Daubeney Brandreth.   Noted raconteur, radio and stage personality, Tory politico, author of that childhood classic, "The Bedside Book of Great Sexual Disasters" among many, many, many other immediately-disposable make-work volumes of riddles, puzzles, and Rainy-Day Fun, and, according to anagramgenius.com, a "seedy grubby neanderthal" (oh, work it out if you don't believe me; I mean, ghod, the internet doesn't lie!).  GDB, in those spare moments between devising practicable cold fusion and scaling Everest blindfolded, has penned a number of volumes germane to our interests.  Like what, you ask, Tonstant Weader? Well, there's

The Funniest Man on Earth: The Story of Dan Leno, Hamish Hamilton, 1977.
A short bio of a storied figure in panto and music hall, who, like all great clowns of legend and cliche, had a wretched sort of life, was never quite happy, and died quite young only to be forgotten by everyone except you and me.  Well-illustrated, enjoyably-larded with excerpts from Leno's routinees and songs, a good quick read drawn in great part from Hickory Wood's (God willing a nom de plume) long-out-of-print 1905 bio.  What may be more available, however, is a great novel from Peter Ackroyd (more from him below) titled Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem which is essential fictional reading for fans both of the music hall world as well as of the Jack-the-Ripper school of fog-enshrouded-disembowelment murder mystery. I found a '94 edition remaindered in paperback. Good stuff, full of period color.  Hey, while you're there, pick up his London: The Biography, 'cause it's hella good, to quote Gwen Stefani.  Tho' not about Ackroyd's book.  Necessarily, anyway.

Discovering Pantomime, Shire Publications Ltd., 1973.
Shorter still, an intro to panto tracing its history and describing its repertoire and some of its notables. 

I Scream For Ice Cream, Eyre Methuen, 1974.
More like it, then...a longer work that presents panto routines and introduces the principal character-types, such as the Dame, the Principal Boy and Girl, and the second bananas, like Aladdin's Wishee Washee and Cinderella's Buttons, who provide much of the fun.  An enjoyable read, copiously-illoed with photos, ads, and posters.

Mother Goose, Dan Leno's Drury Lane Pantomime of 1902 by J. Hickory Wood, adapted and introduced by Gyles Brandreth, Macmillan, 1973.
An interesting artefact and great fun to read is this Leno panto by the now-legendary Hickory Wood (and not his sister, Maple, as previously rumored).  The extent of Brandreth's "adaptation" is uncertain, although he notes that his aim was "to make the script as flexible as possible" , i.e., make it performable by a cast of a dozen or hundreds.  At any rate, it's a healthy slice of Edwardian panto, good for what ails you or double your money.  Whiche'er comes first.

 

Drag

And from the world of Panto Dames and Principal Boys--neither of whom were--it's a quick stumble in these size eleven Jimmy Choos to a magical world where men hide their candy and women slap their thighs inordinately.  Now, there are two schools of books about drag, three maybe.  Like the sexes.  There's the "My First Picture Book of Transvestism" approach which is all pretty snaps of Julian Eltinge and RuPaul in fetching gowns.  There's the "Lacanian Ontologies in His-and-Heuristical Gender Studies" style of crushing, relentless, wall-to-wall prose thick enough to stand rebar in, and about as close to the spirit of drag as Dubya is to Thomas Jefferson.  Which, children, is vewwy vewwy faw away indeed.  And finally there's the infrequent first-person "My Left Foot (In A Strappy Sandal)" narrative.  Fascinatingly, most of the books I list below are some hybrid of two or more of these, so my too-clever construct isn't too-terribly-useful.  But it was fun to write, so bear with me.

Vested Interests, Cross-Dressing & Cultural Anxiety, Marjorie Garber, Routledge, 1992.
Readable academic prose, always a treat.  Garber raises questions about gender and Western assumptions then hies herself down multi-disciplinary approaches to the answer, or, at least, another interesting question.  Tootsie meets the ubiquitous Lacan meets Peter Pan and M.Butterfly, while T.E. Lawrence swans about the dunes in a white dress.  Fun to read and thought-provoking.

Great Pretenders, A History of Female and Male Impersonation in the Performing Arts, Anthony Slide, Wallace-Homestead, 1986.
Slide is a prolific author on film, gay studies, and theater.  Quantity and quality not always helpmates.  Here, Slide presents a generously-illustrated (appropriate, given the primacy of the visual in theatrical transvestism; a radio transvestite makes more sense than a radio ventriloquist, but not much more) but shallow treatment of the topic.  The expected bases are touched; the Pantomime Dame section includes Principal Boys, and name-checks Dan Leno and Danny LaRue, Dorothy Ward and Harry Randall, with bio sketches of each.  But there isn't a lot of there there, said Gertrude Stein about Oakland.  So, enjoy the pix and skim the text if you must.

Drag Diaries, Chermayeff, David, Richardson, Chronicle Books, 1995.
This is a fun book. Flashy, funky, layout reminiscent of old Raygun magazine, but actually, you know, legible.  Skewed to funny, touching, and revealing (gosh, I could write for People!) interviews with contemporary drag artistes like Lypsinka, Joey Arias, and Lady Bunny, but with a cute "Drag History" section.  Much more in the spirit of drag than other books on this list, but not all meringue'n'chiffon.  A good bibliography and filmography close this coffee-table cutie.

Mother Camp, Female Impersonators in America, Esther Newton, University of Chicago Press, 1979.
Somewhat dated but interesting analysis of drag queens in performance and societal milieux (not to be confused with Yvette Mimieux).  The book started life as a doctoral diss--an exercise in ethnography, tho' not quite Margaret Mead among the Trobriand islanders--and retains a bit of its academic formality, but the transcripts of the drag shows, banter, bits, and all, are priceless.  Written before Stonewall, but published subsequently, it's a snapshot of a lost world, a bit dated, as noted, but prescient and insightful in its proto-gender/queer studies approach.  Well worth the read.

Dressing Up, Transvestism and Drag: The History of an Obsession, Peter Ackroyd, Simon and Schuster, 1979.
More a sociological survey than a theatre history, this slim, well-illoed volume, something of a one-off for novelist and literary biographer Ackroyd, is a smart and pithy overview.  Historical cross-dressers like the Chevalier d'Eon (after whom the unsuccessful neologism for transvestism, 'eonism') and the Abbot de Choisy are profiled, and acceptance or rejection of transvestism in a wide variety of societies is discussed in brief.  But the lengthiest section discusses transvestism in performance, including Kabuki and Noh, most relevant regarding the role and makeup (psychological, not pancake) of the panto dame.  Nothing in too great a depth, but enjoyable and erudite.  It's a short evening's read and worth it for that.

The Changing Room, Sex, Drag and Theatre, Laurence Senelick, Routledge, 2000.
Senelick, a theatre historian who also edited the fab Cabaret Performance, Volume I: Europe 1890-1920, and Cabaret Performance, Volume II: Europe 1920-1940--great, essential compilations of "songs, sketches, monologues, memoirs" from the fin de siècle/Great War (you remember...the great one?...and not Jackie Gleason neither) period, and from the inter-war period, respectively--has written as comprehensive an overview as one could want of the intertwining of the threads in his subtitle.  That said, Senelick assumes a certain familiarity on the part of his reader regarding Gender Studies and more, at least to grasp fully his elaboration of his thesis.  Me, I like a book that leads you to other books and disciplines while laying out a banquet that awaits your return from each informational foray.  This is just that sort of book.  Highly recommended.

Drag! Male and Female Impersonators on Stage, Screen and Television, F. Michael Moore, McFarland & Co., 1994.
Not as analytical as Senelick's by a long shot, this volume is more encyclopedic in approach. While some chapters are devoted to individual artistes such as Eltinge and Barbette (and, by the way, no-one really dedicates enough print inches, so to speak, to female drag artists, be they Vesta Tilley, Japanese takarazuka, or your local Drag King troupe; it's been over a hundred years, folks, let's see some dust now with that pen...), others focus on categories: Impersonators of the Great Female Stars, or Prima Donnas of Minstrelsy.  The book gets into some interesting, unlit corners, but tends to read as "this, then this, then that, then this" cataloguing.  Which isn't a terrible idea per se; it just doesn't read particularly smoothly or well.   Some items are fleshed out a bit strangely, such as Moore's account in "Drag in the Clubs" of the rise of drag beauty pageants in the 1970s, which reads like gisted newspaper articles picked more for availability than significance of material.  That said, it's an interesting jumble, not particularly authoritative but a fun browse.

Music Hall

It used to be that finding anything in print in the U.S. on the Music Hall and Panto was nigh unto impossible, unless you happened to live near a very well-stocked specialty theatrical bookstore.  Almost every book I own or have read on the topic has come to me courtesy of second-hand bookstores and public libraries.  That said, with the advent of the on-line Amazons, pickings are considerably less slim.  To speak litotically.  Then neologistically.

A Brief Aside: The Music Hall on CD
Similarly, recordings of music hall performances used to be quite hard to come by in the U.S., despite the fact that there are several good compilations currently in print.   (Visit A CD Discography of the Music Hall.)   After the online Amazons, I would recommend a specialist retailer such as Footlight Records
in New York where I've found several discs.   A good-sized Tower Records can also occasionally surprise you with a disc or two tucked in amongst the World Music/Britain or in the Nostalgia sections

It's A Book, It's A CD, It's Two, Two Media In One!: Before launching into the bibliography proper, a recent issue from the completist's friends over at Bear Family in Germany merits its own discussion.  Round The Town: Following Grandfather's Footsteps is a four-CD set that combines familiar and obscure recordings and garnishes the music with a lavishly-illustrated 132-page hardbound book.  With lyrics for every song yet!  And generous samples of label art, artists photos, and sheet-music illos!  While the cognoscenti can argue as to which 106 recordings they would've included in their four-CD dream box, this is currently the set to beat.

 

Sing Us One of the Old Songs, A Guide to Popular Song 1860-1920, Michael Kilgarriff, Oxford Univ. Press, 1999
Michael Kilgarriff is the rare bird who both practices and chronicles traditional music hall (and panto, as well).  This book is a valuable reference of the songs in the music hall repertoire during the Victorian and Edwardian eras, sliced and diced in a number of interesting ways, including by Artistes' Repertoire (brief bio date on each performer, then a listing of the songs most closely associated with him or her), by Lyricists and Composers, by show and by year, etcetera.  All indexed, then cross-indexed in ways that recontextualize the information in various useful ways.  The thoughtful Mr Kilgarriff then provides additions and errata on his home page.  Such after-sales service you should get from Sears!  Great.

It Gives Me Great Pleasure, The Complete Vade Mecum for The Old Time Music Hall Chairman, Michael Kilgarriff, Samuel French, 1972.
Basically, in the year 2525, if man is still alive, a copy of this book will allow our brain-heavy, vestigial-limbed descendants to stage a music hall performance.  The first part of the book contains punchy how-to's for everything from advertising the performance through controlling the house lights and scoring the music to, most importantly, structuring, that is, balancing the program or bill.  The second part focuses on the Chairman's business as compere.  Band and performer intros and exits, groaners of every description, e.g., "now we come to the climax of our entertainment this evening with the welcome appearance of Miss N, and I am reliably informed that Miss N is no slouch when it comes to climaxes..."  Ba-da-boom!  Sadly out of print, as is its sequel, It Gives Me Further Pleasure, further ruminations upon the art of the music hall chairman, plus over six hundred ready-made song introductions.

Grace, Beauty & Banjos, Peculiar Lives and Strange Times of Music Hall and Variety Artistes, Michael Kilgarriff, Oberon Books, 1999.
A sort of biographic dictionary of these performers, this book collects interesting anecdotes and tidbits from the lives it catalogues to provide thumbnail views.  Fun to flip through and peck, magpie-style, at snatches of these public lives.  And who wouldn't want to acquaint him or herself with the Laughing Cavalier of Song, the Garrick of Animal Mimes, or the Slow-Witted Droll from Yeardon?  Hmmm?

Roy Hudd's Cavalcade of Variety Acts, Roy Hudd with Philip Hindin, Robson Books, 1998.
Along the lines of Anthony Slide's Encyclopedia of Vaudeville (vide infra), its subtitle "A Who Was Who of Light Entertainment 1945-60" says most of it.  Nicely illustrated in b/w, each entry describes a variety performer by category (musical duo, comedy double act, card manipulator, etc.) and provides both biographical info and performance history, in some cases leavened by Hudd's own recollections of the performer or venue.

The Last Empires, A Music Hall Companion, Benny Greed (ed.), Pavilion Books, 1986.
Great fun to read good writing on the music hall.  Green compiles articles, reviews, reminiscences, and assorted words from writers (Beerbohm, Dickens, Shaw, Huxley, and a score of lesser lights), and performers (Chaplin, Leno, Stanley Holloway, et.al.).  From a half-dozen lines to several pages in length, each is a fragment of literary or personal experience of the music hall in its prime.  A cold night, the beverage of one's choice, and immersion in this world.  Can't beat it with two sticks.

Music Hall In Britain, D.F. Cheshire, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1974.
A slim volume which traces the rise and fall of Music Hall.  Its longest chapter is a useful collection of mini-bios of the principal stars of the genre, which include contemporary commentary--including theatrical reviews and profiles--on the personages and their acts.  Cheshire uses this informative technique of mixing his analysis with historical documentation throughout the book.  Interesting but not essential.

Songs of the British Music Hall, Peter Davison, Oak Publications, 1971.
Songs, in sheet music and lyric form, representing the principal proponents of the Music Hall, from Marie Lloyd through Albert Chevalier and Vesta Tilley to the great Dan Leno.  Each song is framed by a bio and a slice of theater history.  A great read, useful for those handy on the eighty-eight, and fun to browse.

Bawdy Songs of the Early Music Hall, George Speaight, Pan Books, 1975.
And, of course, the other songs that made the music hall great.  With titles such as "He'll No More Grind Again", "The Drummer's Stick", and "The W-hole of the Ladies", I think you can pretty much get a sense of the tone and content.  Sheet music included for a number of these ditties from the days of overstuffed bodices.  Entertain family and friends at your next church social.  Become a pariah within your community.

Working the Halls, Peter Honri, 1973.
A family history, "The Honris in One Hundred Years of British Music Hall", that also introduces many of the principal players and venues from a more personal, backstage perspective.  Good illustrations, some in color.

British Music Hall, A Story In Pictures, Raymond Mander and Joe Mitchenson, London House, 1965.
This book and its panto sib are my absolute, no-holds-barred, unqualified favorites on the topics.  Both volumes are profusely illustrated--as one might infer from the subtitle--and the text is intelligent and readable.  While other texts offer more in-depth information and more extensive overviews on the history and development of these genres, particularly on the Music Hall, none approaches the wealth of photos and pictures of the stars and venues offered by Mander and Mitchenson.  Hunt these down.

They Were Singing, Christopher Pulling, Harrap & Co., 1952.
Although Pulling dedicates 70-odd pages of this book to a formal--and well-written--history of the Music Hall, per se (and the book would be valuable for this alone), his focus is on the types and places that inspired the music.  The river, the seaside, the war, marriage, "gay young blades" (in its more archaic sense), police and cab drivers are all celebrated in the songs he analyzes and from which he quotes extensively.  Too dense to be read at one sitting, Pulling's valuable book--as much social history as theater history--is a rich immersion into the musical spheres of the Music Hall.

The Early Doors, Origins of the Music Hall, Harold Scott, Nicholson & Watson, 1946.
The focus is squarely on Music Hall in the 19th century in this well-written history.  Many of the performers in Scott's work will be unfamiliar to those of us who have relied on recordings made in the early part of this century for our flavor of Music Hall. Sparsely illustrated.

The Crazy Gang, A Personal Reminiscence, Maureen Owen, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1986.
From a bit later in the British theatre chronology comes this account by the great-niece of one of the stage comedians who banded together in 1931 after mixed success as solo or double acts to form a freewheeling and fractious institution of sorts within the revue form of theatre.  Affectionate and interesting, the narrative describes not only these actors' careers before, during, and after the Crazy Gang, but also the other voices and places of British popular theatre between the wars and in the post-war period as well.  As much for themselves as for the audience, these men translated the practical jokes of their off-hours into often-disruptive performance pieces, and back again.  (Eagle-eyed viewers will note that it is, in fact, the Crazy Gang, possibly in their show "Crazy Month", that is featured on the marquee of the theater in which Hitchcock's "The 39 Steps" climaxes.)

Minstrelsy

A white man with a black face.  For most of the 19th century and well into the 20th, this was as close to a guaranteed rib-tickler as, well, a white man in a dress.  For similar reasons, I think; most of which have to do with the incongruity of the Massa of Western Civilization in the garb of his putative inferiors, both racial and sexual. (Imagine, then, the laff-riot combo of a white man dressed as a black woman.  Radio audiences did, every week when they tuned that cat whisker to hear Marlin Hurt as "Beulah" on Fibber McGee and Molly.)  After 1950, scholarly and generalist writing on minstrelsy or "blackface" mirrored the sea changes in attitude toward the issue of race in America, from early and mid-century celebrations of the all-American fun of Caucasians corking up to whitewash the lives of rural African-Americans, through the peak years of the civil rights struggle and polemical denunciations of America's once-favorite mass entertainment as racist and reactionary, to a fin de siecle wave of new criticism and analysis.  Yet, over a century-and-a-half after the first flowering of American minstrelsy, Spike Lee's film "Bamboozled"--a blackface satire in a modern-day setting--still generated controversy and division among theatre-goers undecided whether to praise the filmmaker's courage or damn his exploitation of a shameful episode in American culture.

Gentlemen, Be Seated, Dailey Paskman, Clarkson Potter, Inc., 1976
In the line of blissful (or clueless, depending on one's penchant for charity) nostalgia, comes this book reprinting (and updating) a 1928 overview of the genre.  The author, himself the host of "Dailey Paskman's Radio Minstrels", is knowledgeable and, unsurprisingly, uncritical of minstrelsy.  Useful source material (sheet music, performer photos and bios, a "working model" of a complete performance, including musical interludes) outweighs the gee-whiz unselfconsciousness which allows the author to use phrases like "shuffling old darky" without a hint of irony.

Tambo and Bones, A History of the American Minstrel Stage, Carl Wittke, Ph.D., Duke University Press, 1930
Wittke's is the earliest serious academic treatment of minstrelsy that I've found, and continues to be cited on the Web and elsewhere.   His primary sources included newspapers of the mid- to late-19th-century, as well as the books and pamphlets written by the first generation of blackface entertainers, and, as such, lend his book immediacy and richness. A well-detailed description of the origins, rise, and decline of the minstrel theatre, descriptions of minstrel show performances and the material presented therein, and pocket biographies of the "Knights of the Burnt Cork", as he dubs early minstrel performers, make this a very useful historical, if not sociological, treatment.

This Grotesque Essence, Plays from the American Minstrel Stage, Gary D. Engle, Louisiana State University Press, 1978
With a brief introduction, Engle jumps into the task of presenting the texts of short blackface burlesques and travesties performed on the minstrel stage. Shakespeare appears to have been a particular favorite (Desdemonum, Shylock, Hamlet the Dainty, and Julius the Snoozer, among others), along with parodies of then-popular melodramas. Engle introduces each piece with helpful information regarding relevant dates, performers, and sources for the burlesques. Enjoyable to read and a valuable compilation of mid-19th-century performance material beyond the "Mister Interlocutor" jokebook chestnuts.

Dan Emmett and the Rise of Early Negro Minstrelsy, Hans Nathan, Univ. of Oklahoma Press, 1962.
The book that launched the first wave of serious minstrelsy scholarship. To present an early history of the form and one of its principal voices, Nathan delved extensively into 19th-century sources, including manuscripts he himself uncovered by Dan Emmett, writer of 'Dixie' and many other songs. Well-written history, well researched and copiously illustrated with over one hundred short musical examples, over sixty songs (most with piano score), a short play, and numerous illustrations. Everyone cites Nathan, with good reason.

Blacking Up, The Minstrel Show in Nineteenth-Century America, Robert Toll, Oxford Univ. Press, 1974.
After Nathan, came Toll, more explicitly critical and more focused on minstrelsy as a mass cultural phenomenon. Toll traces the history of this cultural medium by first describing the emergence of popular, i.e. urban and proto-urban, culture of the early- and mid-1800's as an explicit reflection of the turbulent economic, social, and political times. He then charts the development of white minstrelsy, the impact of the Civil War on the form, and then the advent of black minstrelsy. While Toll's history is not as comprehensive or as descriptively illustrated as, say, Nathan's, it is even more thoroughly researched in primary sources of every type, including jokebooks, songbooks, plays, and autobiographies of the time.

Raising Cain, W. T. Lhamon, Jr., Harvard Univ. Press, 1998.
Back to the realm of books in print. Lhamon expands and refines Toll's 'popular culture' theory of minstrelsy's origins and development. He focuses on blackface as the most potent of the popular forms that emerged during the culture wars of the 1830's in New York City, as the urban working class nurtured and supported cultural forms that expressed their experience of recent immigration and socio-economic marginalization, against the objections and efforts of groups that sought either to "improve" them through evangelization or to repress them in language and attitude familiar to anyone who's defended comic books, rock'n'roll, video games, or hip-hop. The book's subtitle: Blackface Performance from Jim Crow to Hip Hop, is somewhat misleading, as only a few pages near the end describe M.C. Hammer as a modern interpreter of the physical codes of blackface. While interesting, it whets the appetite for a book, perhaps as yet unwritten, that traces the migration of African-American performance styles, and especially minstrelsy, in both black and white entertainment media. (A good start is Jazz Dance, vide infra.) This quibble aside, "Raising Cain" is well-written. Its thesis of blackface as initially an urban underclass cultural medium that spoke, not with a racist voice, but with an underdog's voice is convincing, particularly given the author's extensive demographic research.

Love & Theft, Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class, Eric Lott, Oxford University Press, 1995.
In his Introduction, Lott states his desire to "reorient the traditions of American Studies by asking questions about the role of culture in the political development of a specific national entity".  That's his axe to grind and, if you're a fan of writing that namechecks Althusser, Gramsci, and "modes of production", this is just your meat.  It's well-researched--which one might expect from a doctoral diss, somewhat combative in tone--which lends it a strong authorial voice, and occasionally mired in jargon, neo-Marxist and otherwise, e.g., "the production of the minstrel show out of gendered commodity exchanges".  Uh-huh.  I won't fault it for what it is--academic writing--just note it and praise the wealth of good information studded generously throughout.

Demons of Disorder, Early Blackface Minstrels and Their World, Dale Cockrell, Cambridge University Press, 1997.
Then the Cantabrigienses down the road publish their own tuppence on the topic.  A smoother read by a country mile.  Cockrell invokes Russian language theorist Mikhail Bakhtin at book's start but leaves the jargon at home to provide an entertaining account, drawn from out-of-the-way sources, of the loam of pop culture out of which blackface minstrelsy and its practitioners developed.  Interesting, engaging, and fun.

Behind the Burnt Cork Mask, William J. Mahar, Univ. of Illinois Press, 1999.
Instead of presenting a comprehensive history of blackface minstrelsy, Mahar sets out to establish blackface's place in Western theatrical tradition, as well as to find the genre's place in the seam between "popular" and "elite" cultures of the time.

Blackface, White Noise, Michael Rogin, Univ. of California Press, 1996.
A different take on minstrelsy: that of immigrants, particularly Jews and most particularly Al Jolson, as perpetuators and perpetrators of the institutionalization of media racism.

The Ghost Walks: a chronological history of blacks in show business, 1865-1910, Henry T. Sampson, The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1988.
With the exception of brief historical introductions at the beginning of each chapter, the author stays somewhere just above and beyond of the text and presents a fascinating primary sourcebook that draws on U.S., U.K., and Australian writing.   Although inclusive of African-Americans working outside minstrelsy, much of the material does focus on actors in the genre. Excerpts from newspaper reviews and editorials convey not only contemporary critical views of the performances themselves, but also the political consciousness of African-Americans during and after Reconstruction.  One example: a complaint to the 'Indianapolis Freeman', a periodical frequently cited in the book, that New York song publishers were reneging on an earlier agreement, requested by African-Americans, to omit the word 'nigger' from ragtime songs.  Says the writer, "And now comes a second dose of the word 'nigger' from Chicago. Will Rossiter has published 'If the Man in the Moon Was a Coon.' The poem is a common mess of rot, including the word 'nigger,' which, if we are to pattern after the sensitiveness of the Irish, now grossly insults the colored race."  Obituaries, playbills, programmes, advertisements, and photos enliven and deepen what could have been a dry-as-dust chronology.  Sprinkled throughout are telling tidbits, such as this entry for March 8, 1902: "Billy McClain, en route to New York City with Ernest Hogan, is arrested in Kansas City for having too much jewelry for a colored man. He is eventually released after he proves ownership to the authorities."  A reasonably-complete index completes the package.   A great document, and a testimony to the author's sleuthing.

From Cakewalks to Concert Halls, An Illustrated History of African American Popular Music from 1895 to 1930, Thomas Morgan, William Barlow, Elliott & Clark Publishing, 1992.
An eye-catching history, heavy on artist photographs, as well as color reproductions of sheet music from "Oh Dem Golden Slippers" to "Mood Indigo".   While the main text anecdotally traces the development of African-American pop, the separate artist profiles are particularly useful and interesting.   It's enjoyable as a visual document alone, and worth hunting down; I lucked into a remaindered copy.  Winner of a 1993 Ralph Gleason Music Book Award.

Inside The Minstrel Mask, Bean, Hatch, McNamara, eds., Wesleyan Univ. Press, 1996.
Mel Watkins (below) did the foreword for this collection and no surprise.  A thorough and readable history of minstrelsy in the 19th century.  An ideal starting-point for anyone interested in the genre, or in the development of ethnic humor in the United States.  Good illustrations and copious examples make this the one volume to own on the topic.

On The Real Side, Mel Watkins, Simon & Schuster, 1994.
A great history of African-American humor, from slavery through minstrelsy, vaudeville, radio, and film to TV.  Eminently readable, stocked with many examples and excerpted bits.  It's recently back in print.  Read it with Henry Louis Gates' The Signifying Monkey.

Vaudeville, Burlesque, and the Rest

There are, gratefully, a number of books in print or otherwise readily available on our own home-grown entertainments.   The ones I list are simply favorites.  Or I may have forgotten the titles, authors, and publishers of some books I've enjoyed.  I leave it to the discerning reader to ascertain which, in fact, is the case.

The Entertainers, Clive Unger-Hamilton, ed., St. Martin's Press, 1980.
Hard to know where to list this beautifully-illustrated volume. It's a chronologically-arranged encyclopedia of theatre that starts in the misty horizon of early civilization and ends with Mamet and Streep. Sandwiched are hundreds of entries for the famous, lesser-known, and occasionally downright-obscure of world theatre history. Elizabethan playwright Robert Greene (no apparent relation to Lorne) who 'died penniless, after a surfeit of pickled herrings and Rhenish wine'. Wow, it's like they filmed our dinner, Friday last. John Barrymore who was "sexually initiated, he claimed, at fourteen". Uh-huh. Surprisingly not at the hands of granddaughter Drew. Ba-da-bing with the time travel paradox already. Anyhoo, I can't vouch for the exactitude of each of these entries. If you want times-of-death and hat sizes, this is not the reference for you. But it's rainy-day fun and worth it for that.

Glossary of Terms Used in Variety, Vaudeville, Revue & Pantomime, Valantyne Napier, ed., The Badger Press, 1996.
Sure, you want to know what a "diabolo act" is, but whom to ask? Why, the compiler of this slim but useful volume (foreworded by Lord Delfont, born Bernard Grade of the theatre Grades). A "jumping act"? Uh-huh. The "prompt side"? Right here. A "Risley act"? Page 43. The author is herself a wartime Gaiety Girl and longtime panto, variety, and revue performer, apparently in the balancing and contortion line, who has written on Australian specialty acts among other theatrical topics. It's not a definitive reference, but a handy one.

Dance of the Sleepwalkers: The Dance Marathon Fad, Frank Calabria, Bowling Green State Univ. Popular Press, 1993.
For those who've seen "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" and ask themselves, "How the heck did this particular manifestation of the American cultural consciousness come to be?". A nicely-researched and quite-readable history of the development of a fad that combines the more reprehensible aspects of television's Survivor and American Idol in a setting of stale sweat, cigarette smoke, and crumpling bodies. Kinda makes you appreciate "I'm A Celebrity - Get Me Out Of Here!", don't it? The development of dance marathon from a fad feeding off the sensation-hunger of the hyperactive Twenties to panem et circenses for the bleak Depression Thirties is a fascinating progression. Calbaria writes clean prose veined with contemporary accounts and thumbnails of the crazed who crowded the hardwood. It's an effortless, enjoyable read on a topic generally ignored by theatre and cultural historians. Recommended.

The Encyclopedia of Vaudeville, Anthony Slide, Greenwood Press, 1994.
A great reference, a great browse.  Slide is a prolific writer on show business, but this, pace his other work, must be his crowning achievement.   Over six hundred pages of fact, shtick, trivia, and mini-bibliography on the great and near-great (and not-so-great) vaudevillians and vaudeville houses.  Not cheap, but why quibble at this point?

TAP!, The Greatest Tap Dance Stars and their Stories, 1900-1955, Rusty Frank, Da Capo, 1994.
Fleshing out some of the entries in Slide's book is this collection of bios of and interviews with thirty of the best tapdancers of the first half of this century.  Life on TOBA time, Buddy Ebsen's sister Vilma, and the Chinese Astaire and Rogers. Aces.

Jazz Dance, The Story of American Vernacular Dance, Marshall and Jean Stearns, Da Capo, 1994.
Talk about a dream team...pair this volume with Rusty Frank's "Tap", and you've got the history of American popular and theatrical dance in this century.  A fascinating lesson in the debt owed African dance by virtually every popular dance craze since the cakewalk, as well as a history of African-American show business, analysis of the major vernacular dance forms, and biographies of vernacular dance pioneers and standouts.  Long out-of-print, but, thanks to Da Capo Press, back in a revised edition.  This is a must-read for any student/fan of American popular dance, theater history, or show biz, in general.

Learned Pigs & Fireproof Women, Ricky Jay, Warner Books, 1986.
From polymath Ricky Jay (last seen in "Magnolia" and "The X-Files"; recently on Broadway with a one-man show of sleight-of-hand), a classic book on, as he puts it, unique, eccentric, and amazing entertainers.  To say the least. "Armless Wonders", "Sapient Pigs", "Incombustible Men", and the "Human Card Index".  One of the best books you'll find on novelty entertainment. Classic.

Jay's Journal of Anomalies, Ricky Jay, Farrar Straus Giroux, 2001
A gorgeous facsimile collection of the sixteen issues of the aforementioned Mr. Jay's Journal of Anomalies expanded from the original with the addition of new material and illos Fascinating theatrical history ranging over three hundred years of performers on, off, and around the fringes of "straight" theater, including Matthew Buchinger, the armless, legless bowling hustler, the Aztec Lilliputians, and Morimoto the Japanese gurner.  A tribute to Jay's depth and breadth of knowledge, as well as to his keen graphic sensibility.  My highest recommendation.

Horrible Prettiness: Burlesque and American Culture, Robert C. Allen, Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1991.
A strong history of burlesque from the mid-19th century to the turn of the 20th.  As ever, a chance to be amazed and dumbfounded at what it was that earlier generations found titillating.  Or even attractive.

The Best Burlesque Sketches, Ralph Allen, Applause Books, 1995.
A great resource for fans of blackout comedy, specifically, and burlesque generally. Allen authored Broadway's "Sugar Babies" and is no mean hand with rimshot humor.  A brief history of the genre leads into two hundred pages of sketches and skits. Similar in presentation to Paul Harris' Pantomime Book (vide supra). I read them concurrently and was amazed at the similarity in tone (and even a few shared bits) between the two art forms. Good stuff.

Comedy Stars at 78 RPM, Ronald L. Smith, McFarland and Co., 1998.
A thoroughly enjoyable set of 89 biographies and discographies of 89 American and British recording artists from 1896-1949.  From Little Tich and Dan Leno through Butterbeans and Susie and Morey Amsterdam.  Comic business and anecdotes pepper most entries, along with some photos.

Revue, Robert Baral, Fleet, 1962.
A fan's-eye view of the revue stage by a Variety alum. Breathlessly-written and well-illustrated, "Revue" is a useful, if uncritical, reference and reverie.  Chapters are dedicated to chronological histories of the great revues--the Follies, George White's Scandals, Earl Carroll Vanities, among others--and a hefty Appendix lists detailed info on revues from 1903 to 1958.  A fun read, particularly if you're a fan of Variety-ese.

Show Biz, From Vaude To Video, Abel Green and Joe Laurie, Jr., Doubleday Permabook, 1953
The "Video" referred to in the title refers to TV, but the snappiness of the title presages the tone one encounters throughout.  This is Variety's view of the first half-century of American entertainment.  Suitably, it's written in, to paraphrase Kate Hepburn in "The Philadelphia Story", the corkscrew English self-consciously beloved by the boys at Variety.  To the point where a Glossary is included to help the reader with such unenduring neologisms as "dansapation" for "syncopated music" and "Coffee Pot Canyon" for "Times Square.  That said, you can't put it down.  It's a treasure trove of forgotten show biz history.  Boffo, to coin a phrase.

Vaudeville: From the Honky Tonks to the Palace, Joe Laurie Jr., Holt and Company, 1953
In the same vein, one of the preceding's authors, in that same year, compiled a survey of vaudeville.  The first third is framed as "Lefty's Letters"--Lefty being a fictional vaude trouper straight out of Central Casting--to Laurie, detailing the history of the form.  Split into categories--Animal Acts, Blackface Acts, Two-man Acts, and so forth--each early chapter describes the specialty, then lists its foremost practicioners in a paragraph apiece, then its second-tier practitioners in a sentence apiece, then almost everyone else who ever flogged that specialty on the boards in a thick paragraph of names. It's all good.  Even the chunks memorializing a boarding-house's worth of prestidigitators or mimics. If only because this may be the only place in America where you can read the names of these long-gone and mostly-forgotten entertainers back-to-back-to-back. The second third offers bios of the leading producers of the two-a-day: Tony Pastor, B.F. Keith, Albee, Beck, Loew, Pantages, and others. Laurie closes with examples of the different acts' material. A Man and a Woman Act, Double Wop Act, Double Dutch Act, the Straight and the Jew, the School Act.  (The observant reader will note that dialect humor of the sort no longer favored in these, our more-sensitive times abounds.)   Classic and so wonderfully of its time.  If you like this stuff, it's just the stuff you'll like.


The preceding, including but not limited to content(s), design(s), and concept(s), is entirely the intellectual property of Jose Garriga, © 1998-2006 unless explicitly stated otherwise, and may not be copied or reproduced without his express permission.


Last revised: 17 October2006.
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