Talented Little People were quite a draw for audiences from the early 1920s through the 1950s. Billy Barty was no exception! His talent was musical and comedic. Here he is appearing on the Spike Jones show impersonating the extravagant musical media star Liberace. Along with Sir Frederic Gas (Earl Bennett) performing as Lee’s brother, George. Liberace and George, who played the violin, performed together when they started out. NBC ~ January 30th, 1954.
For more great stories about talented little people grab a copy of the new book from Vaudevisuals Press.
Text by Trav SD and Foreword by James Taylor. Illustrated with over 100 vintage postcards and personal photographs.
Quentin Crisp was born on Christmas Day 1908 in Sutton, a suburb of London. After leaving school he became an illustrator and a designer of book covers before spending the next 35 years of his life as an artists’ model. In 1981 he moved to New York City and became a resident alien, living in a one-bedroom flat in Chelsea which he famously never cleaned (“After the first four years the dirt doesn’t get any worse”), and describing himself as a “resident waif.” He died in 1999, just one month short of his 91st birthday.
“Suffice to say that this unemployed man with little formal education remains a sparkling wit, intellectual, philosopher and style arbiter who is unlikely ever to be matched. Quentin Crisp puts Oscar Wilde to shame”.
“The Tunnel of Terror – “Aura helps Flash to escape as Zarkov is put to work in Ming’s laboratory and Dale is prepared for her wedding to Ming. Flash meets Prince Thun, leader of the Lion Men, and the pair return to the palace to rescue Dale.
October 15 – Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator, a satirical comedy starring him, is released.
November 13 – World premiere of Walt Disney’s Fantasia, the first film to be released in a multi-channel sound format (see Fantasound). The film also marked the first use of the click track while recording the soundtrack, overdubbing of orchestral parts, simultaneous multitrack recording and is cited as a key chapter in the conception and development of the multi-channel surround system.
Chain of Fools traces the art of slapstick comedy from its pre-cinema origins in the ancient pantomime through its silent movie heyday in the teens and twenties, then on to talkies, television, and the Internet. As in his first book, the critically acclaimed No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, author Trav S.D. mixes a wicked wit, a scholar’s curiosity, and a keen critical appreciation for laugh-makers through the ages, from classical clowns like Joseph Grimaldi to comedy kings like Mack Sennett, Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton . . . to more recent figures, from Red Skelton, Sid Caesar and Ernie Kovacs to Adam Sandler, Jim Carrey and Steve Carell . . . all the way down to the teenagers on YouTube whose backyard antics bring us full circle to slapstick’s beginnings. This valentine to the great clowns contains enough insights and surprises to open the eyes of even life-long comedy fans.
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Silent Film Music Composer Ben Model has this to say about the book!
“I have read a lot of books on silent comedy in film. A lot of them. “Chain of Fools” is not like any of these books, and in a refreshing way. Trav S.D. manages to combine a personal journey through the work of the various luminaries of wordless comedy with the act of also laying them chronologically end-to-end, and manages to do so in an entertaining and humorous way. As he did in his book on Vaudeville, “No Applause, Just Throw Money: the Book that Made Vaudeville Famous”, Trav traces the arc of silent comedy back further than most film historians do in their books, and follows it further into the present as well. “Chain of Fools” is not just about silent comedy itself but its place in our culture and how it’s been a consistent part of it. It’s a fun read, and accessible to both novice and seasoned historian. I thoroughly enjoyed it. (And if you’re not aware of it already, do pick up Trav S.D.’s No Applause–Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous)”
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“When I first saw the cover of the book I smiled. This was not Chaplin and Eric Campbell from “Easy Street” or something, it was Author Trav S.D.’s little joke. The principles of the cover were Billy West and Oliver Hardy, THAT introduced me properly to this wonderful book of other film comedians, some famous, some obscure. This is not a reference book, it can be read for pure joy and the author adds his opinions to these characters making them come to life again. You may consider me a fan of Trav from his first book “No Applause Just Throw Money,” for this author brings the same amount of joy and authority to enrich reader’s knowledge of the legacies of the unknown or forgotten. This is pure prose from cover to cover and it could pass for a course study…only this tome is too entertaining for dry lecture. The author has contributed something special in “Chain of Fools,” (Bearmanor Media). This is a five-star rating.” – William Cassara
Richard Valentine Pitchford – presto change-o! Cardini – who does things to a cigarette that no Indian fakir ever did to a rope – was born in Wales in 1898 and could bewitch a pack of cards before he was old enough to talk. Four years overseas in the War left him shell-shocked, and, after eighteen months in a hospital, he was discharged as disabled. Working his way to Australia on a freighter, he made his debut as a sorcerer in Sydney. Since then, Cardini has prestidigitated in twelve countries and was the first magacian to mystify his King and Queen by Royal Command. His vanishing-cigarette trick involves thirty lighted cigarettes, a cigar and a pipe. One the stage, he remains absolutely mute, shunning the patter of magicians and retaining impressive calm. Of late, he has been gathering laurels in the music halls of Manhattan with his cards, his cigarettes and his billiard balls.
1962 Autographed photograph of Cardini inscribed to Dai Vernon.
Publicity photograph for Cardini
Poster for one of Cardini’s appearances at a Keith theater for the Annual IBM Convention.