Cover image for Comedy stars at 78 RPM : biographies and discographies of 89 American and British recording artists, 1896-1946
Comedy stars at 78 RPM : biographies and discographies of 89 American and British recording artists, 1896-1946
Smith, Ronald L., 1952-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland, [1998]

Physical Description:
vi, 225 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN2285 .S546 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



Visit a living room on a Saturday in the 1920s: What you are likely to find is family or friends gathered around the Victrola, laughing at the antics of a comedy routine recorded on a disc, or even a tube, called the 78. Technically, the 78 was produced as late as the 1950s, but the real heyday of the medium ended in the 1940s, as radio variety shows took their cue to air the popular comedians, and to add musicians and singers for variety. The performers of the time are both familiar and foreign. From Amos n Andy to Vesta Victoria, their styles were as varied as the paths they followed. Their careers are encapsulated here with a biography, a discography, a filmography, and even some of the favorite comedy routines of each.

Author Notes

Ronald L. Smith was born in Maine to a miitary family that moved frequently. He is a writer of children's books and won the American Library Association's Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Smith, author of a number of books on comedy, comedians, and comedy recordings (e.g., Cosby: The Life of a Comedy Legend, Prometheus, 1997), has written a guide to the audio (and sometimes video) record of more than 80 famous and forgotten funny folk. Familiar comedy stars like Abbott and Costello, Eddie Cantor, and W.C. Fields take their places alongside lesser luminaries like Flotsam and Jetsam, Monroe Silver, and Vesta Victoria. Don't be fooled by the entries for Lou Holtz, Billy Williams, and the Hoosier Hot ShotsÄthey are comedy, not ball, players! This is not a club for merry men onlyÄMae West, Beatrice Lillie, Fannie Brice, and Sophie Tucker are among the funny females included. Each entry, with birth and death dates, supplies a biographical, and sometimes comedy, sketch, followed by lists of film and audio recordings, television programs, books, and Broadway appearances. Nearly a third of the entries include photos, either publicity stills or record jackets. Performing arts and large reference collections will be the best venues for this production.ÄCarolyn M. Mulac, Chicago P.L. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 1
Abbott and Costellop. 5
Amos 'n' Andyp. 9
Morey Amsterdamp. 13
Arthur Askeyp. 16
Phil Bakerp. 18
Nora Bayesp. 20
Benny Bellp. 22
Billy Bennettp. 24
Barney Bernardp. 28
Fanny Bricep. 30
Burns and Allenp. 32
Butterbeans and Susiep. 35
Marie Cahillp. 37
Eddie Cantorp. 39
Charles Casep. 41
Harry Championp. 44
Albert Chevalierp. 46
Tom Clarep. 50
Duncan Sistersp. 51
Cliff Edwardsp. 53
Gracie Fieldsp. 55
W.C. Fieldsp. 58
Dwight Fiskep. 61
Flanagan and Allenp. 63
Dusty Fletcherp. 65
Flotsam and Jetsamp. 67
George Formby, Jr.p. 69
George Formby, Sr.p. 71
Harry Fragsonp. 73
Irene Franklinp. 76
Will Fyffep. 78
Slim Gaillardp. 80
Gallagher and Sheanp. 82
Reginald Gardinerp. 85
Billy Goldenp. 88
Joe Haymanp. 90
Harry Hershfieldp. 93
Raymond Hitchcockp. 95
Stanley Hollowayp. 97
Lou Holtzp. 100
Hoosier Hotshotsp. 101
DeWolf Hopperp. 103
Willie Howardp. 105
Red Inglep. 107
Elsie Janisp. 109
George Jesselp. 111
Jones and Harep. 114
Spike Jonesp. 116
Mickey Katzp. 119
Danny Kayep. 121
Walter C. Kellyp. 123
Harry Lauderp. 124
Dan Lenop. 127
Sam Levensonp. 132
Beatrice Lilliep. 134
Little Tichp. 136
Marie Lloydp. 139
Cecilia "Cissie" Loftusp. 142
Billy Mersonp. 143
Max Millerp. 145
Miller and Lylesp. 148
Moran and Mackp. 151
Billy Murrayp. 154
Ken Murray and Oswaldp. 157
George Robeyp. 159
Will Rogersp. 161
Julian Rosep. 165
Benny Rubinp. 167
Chic Salep. 170
Mark Sheridanp. 171
Monroe Silverp. 173
Smith and Dalep. 175
Len Spencerp. 179
Cal Stewartp. 181
Eva Tanguayp. 183
Julius Tannenp. 186
Frank Tinneyp. 188
Tommy Trinderp. 191
Sophie Tuckerp. 193
Van and Schenckp. 196
Vesta Victoriap. 199
Nellie Wallacep. 201
Weber and Fieldsp. 203
Joe Welchp. 207
Mae Westp. 209
Robert J. Wildhackp. 213
Bert Williamsp. 214
Billy Williamsp. 217
Nat C. Willsp. 219
Name Indexp. 223