Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Why oh why oh why oh! Burleycue in Ohio.


This picture looked to me like a rather nice American girlie entertainment from the 'twenties.

Wonder what it is, thought I. Cleveland, Ohio. 1922. The Bandbox Revue. Yes, well 'revue' in America means and meant something different to what it did in Europe and Britain. A sort of a mixture of burleycue and variety show. With one 'straight' man to serenade the ladies with singing spots, and be dummy to the comics. And not always in such tasteful productions as this ... nice, simple, cheesy variety programming, with lots of pretty chorines, for the tired office-working man. 

OK. The photo says it is Manheim's production. The review says it is a Vail/Manheim show. Well, Willy Vail had been the head honcho at the Cleveland Star burlesque house previously. Where did Mr Manheim come in? Just thought I'd check.

Samuel William Manheim was the Ohio-born son of central European immigrant Jews. Born ... wait for it ... 28 April 1893. In the 1920 census he desribes himself as a 26 year-old 'theatre owner'. Here he is, in that year, with wife, posed for passport.

And here is his advertisement of 1922

I wonder whence the money came! Apparently they got an interest in a dozen or so. Briefly. Manheim is still 'Manheim Productions' in 1925. But his name disappears soon from the public eye, and by the 1930 census he is no longer an 'owner' (what did he own?) but a 'theatre operator'. By 1940, he is 'manager for a theatrical equipment firm'. I think perhaps the tale of the bullfrog might be relevant. 

One of the little notices of the Star burleycue shows noticed that the chorus girls were the prettiest lot in years. So I looked a little closer. And by gosh, they were right. I'd take most of them. Except the one in the middle on the right who can't keep in line. And maybe the mature blonde on the front end of the line. Give the smiling bowling girl kneeling on the right hand end $1 a week extra and a step-out ...

98 years ago, this photo was taken. I love it. This is theatre for the people ...

Oh, I see Mr Manheim died in 1969. I wonder if he got into movies, I wonder if he stuck it in show business, I wonder if it was he who picked those chorus girls. You never know: after all it was my job for some years to pick chorus girls ...

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