Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Stars of Woodlawn Cemetery, Part Two

This is Part Two of our post from six months ago, a report of our first excursion out to Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx to pay our respects to the vaudeville stars, et al. Read that account here.
Thanks BronxDawn for taking me around again! As always, click on the highlighted words to learn more about the person in question. You'd be surprised to find out how many people don't know that -- and chagrined to learn how many people know, and don't bother!
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I took this just to show what a beautiful fall day it was. That colonnaded structure to the right is the monument to industrialist Jay Gould, whose plot is about the size of the U.S. Capitol.  I was more impressed by the trees.
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Jack Osterman was a vaudeville Renaissance Man -- but you had to be back in them days! He died tragically young.
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Victor Herbert has a suitably large mausoleum for someone who contributed so much to American musical theatre. I found myself humming "Toyland" the instant I saw this.
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There's nothing wrong with your set. This is the final resting place of Nora Bayes. As you can see, it has no marker. Now, this is a curse of mixed justice. Bayes alienated pretty much every living being she came in contact with during her lifetime. By the time she died, young, of cancer, not only was she broke, but no friend or relative cared to spring for a monument. BUT. There's been a lot of water under the bridge since then, yeah? We get to listen to her records without having to listen to her complain and make demands. So we're coming out ahead on the deal -- and so did her audiences in her heyday, who all loved her performances. I think it's fitting that she be remembered for the joy she gave at least. A crowdfunding campaign, or something of that nature, so we can erect a modest stone? I think so. More to follow, once I learn some of the particulars.
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Florence Mills, another one who died too young, and a great loss it was because by all reports hers was an earth-shaking talent. She was needed as a hero and inspiration in those less enlightened days.
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Clyde Fitch, one of the honest-to-God fathers of the American theatre.  A measure of his success? Look at this monument! You think that comes cheap? I'm astounded to notice I haven't blogged about him yet! May 2 is his birthday, look for it then. Meantime, there is only one man to go to learn about Clyde Fitch and that's Leonard Jacobs who, first named a theatre after him and then name his excellent blog for him. Read Leonard's tribute to him here. IMG_0023
This is why it's good to get a guide. This, my dears, is the final hotel suite for Olive Thomas. I might have guessed that, knowing she was married to that wastrel Jack Pickford, but wouldn't have known. And, ironically, none of the Pickfords are here, they're all out in Hollyweird.
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Here lies circus impresario James A. Bailey! I looked in vain for a dash of circus color in his mausoleum, but nope. Even circus families got all grim back then when it came to gift-wrappin' 'em for God.
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Here's one I spied with eagle eye. John Koster, of Koster and Bial's the most lavish all the great old concert saloons.
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Hoo hoo! Is this cool, or what? The Herrmann Family of magicians! H'm...no sign of Leon (follow the link to get that joke).
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Okay, a little off topic but we must do Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney honor as a patron of the arts. Besides (if I needed to justify it) plenty of performance art has gone down in those museums.
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Joseph Pulitzer! What a prize that guy is!
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James Montgomery Flagg, illustrator of the famous "I Want You" Uncle Sam recruiting poster, and an artist for whom many of the chorus girls and silent film actresses we've written about have modeled for.
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Only our literary hero, Herman Melville.
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The biggest star of her day Lotta Crabtree.  Alongside her rests her mother, who was so crucial to her career.
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 C.F. Zittel of the vaudeville trade paper Zit's Weekly. Look for our blogpost about him here in January.
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The Kliegl Family! You know what they gave show business? Klieg Lights!  Not to be sneezed at  -- unless you stare into them.
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Oscar Hammerstein, founder of a show biz dynasty, along with some of his family, including son Arthur.
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Theatre fans in New York all know the name Vivian Beaumont. 
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 Vernon and Irene Castle! What's strange is that Irene (a cold fish, the way I read her) married three additional times, and one of her subsequent husbands is also interred with her and Vernon here. Off to the side, poor schlub.
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To my astonishment, there are many more we haven't visited. So we will need to go back at least one more time to pay our respects to Marilyn MillerBlack Herrmann, King OliverHarold NicholasDave MontgomeryPigmeat Markham,  Nat M. WillsRicardo Cortez, Gertrude Ederle, Laurette Taylor, Anna Laughlin, Arnold Daly, Frederic Thompson, Lucy Monroe, George McManus, et al.
Please support the good work of the Woodlawn Conservancy here. And read BronxDawn's excellent blog here. 

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