By Henry Wood
Leaving his homeland of Viroqua, Wisconsin, to go back and forth with a medication express, twelve-year-old Henry wooden turned addicted to express enterprise. He joined a touring theater troupe, and best woman Clarabelle Fendell helped the boy turn into “Jack,” a gentleman and vaudeville performer, so remodeled that he was once slightly famous via his personal mom whilst he again home.
wooden spent the years 1910–1941 in touring medication and tent indicates that featured various vaudeville acts, from skits to full-length dramatic performs. even if recalling his reviews skydiving from hot-air balloons, serving within the air strength, or being accosted by means of indignant theatergoers not able to tell apart him from the villains he portrayed on degree, Wood’s tale paints a full of life and brilliant picture.
whereas such a lot books in this interval of yank theater historical past concentrate on significant names in vaudeville and the leisure undefined, A Sawdust Heart indicates what it used to be like for the true show-business employees and the performers who by no means made it tremendous yet eked out a dwelling doing what they enjoyed on minor phases throughout America.
brought through Wood’s grandson-in-law Michael Fedo with a concise heritage of those touring exhibits, A Sawdust Heart is an fun learn for someone attracted to early-twentieth-century rural America.
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Additional resources for A Sawdust Heart: My Vaudeville Life in Medicine and Tent Shows
When our actors got off the train, the routine of life in the hamlet would abruptly halt. The show folks always wore flashy clothes. Men wore Panama hats and carried carved walking sticks. They smoked cigarettes through long holders. The ladies were painted and powdered and jeweled. This colorful presence quickened the pace of small towns and set the local gentry buzzing about the show people who’d just arrived. On occasion a local German band might greet us and a brief impromptu performance might be given on the railroad platform, with Dan Fendell acting as barker and emcee, promising much, much more that evening at the best show ever to hit this neck of the woods.
The day before I was to leave, my scarred-back friend was gone from the pool. He’d forsaken the security of the small pool, the easy eats, and set out on his own. It was time that I did the same. 2 Big Doings in Budd When I joined the medicine show I assumed I’d just be an extra hand, but I was quickly given the most important task: I was to make the medicine. Until then I really believed the blarney of the pitchmen about the wondrous cures in Dr. Kilmer’s Swamp Root Remedy and similar medicines.
I’d never been to a city of any size, and Boston was worlds away. “Gee, that sounds great, Bernie. ” Bernie’s face fell. It had a long ways to fall, too, because he was as bald as Yul Brynner, and when he raised his eyebrows 26 l e av ing home ag a in they seemed to almost disappear over the top of his head. ” Bernie told me then that old Bill bought a car when he got back to La Crosse. A few days later it stalled on the Burlington railroad tracks, and he was killed by a train. I was sorry to hear of Bill’s death, but couldn’t resist asking if Dr.
A Sawdust Heart: My Vaudeville Life in Medicine and Tent Shows by Henry Wood