By Henry Wood
Leaving his fatherland of Viroqua, Wisconsin, to trip with a drugs express, twelve-year-old Henry wooden grew to become addicted to exhibit enterprise. He joined a touring theater troupe, and top girl Clarabelle Fendell helped the boy turn into “Jack,” a gentleman and vaudeville performer, so remodeled that he was once slightly famous by means of his personal mom while he again home.
wooden spent the years 1910–1941 in touring drugs and tent indicates that featured quite a few 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 via offended theatergoers not able to differentiate him from the villains he portrayed on degree, Wood’s tale paints a full of life and shiny picture.
whereas so much books in this interval of yank theater historical past specialise in significant names in vaudeville and the leisure undefined, A Sawdust Heart indicates what it used to be like for the genuine show-business staff and the performers who by no means made it vast yet eked out a dwelling doing what they enjoyed on minor phases throughout America.
brought via Wood’s grandson-in-law Michael Fedo with a concise heritage of those touring exhibits, A Sawdust Heart is an fun learn for somebody 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
He was a portly fellow in a dark suit and red tie. He smelled faintly of bay rum and pungently of cigar smoke. A large man with sand-colored hair, he wore flashy rings on his fingers, but his shirt collar was frayed. I said nothing, remembering Gram’s instructions not to talk to strangers, but the man extended a package of mint candy toward me. I thanked him, and he proceeded to tell me that he was in sales and that he sat next to me because I reminded him of his own son, a boy who would have been my age but had drowned two summers ago.
Wherever medicine shows played, there were skeptics, but they usually stayed to listen anyway, and if a man said his elixir would cure blindness and cancer, even a skeptic might buy on the chance that it probably could take care of piles or cold sores. Frank had a smooth line, and soon the distrust gave way. He started out easy, telling the folks to eat properly, get plenty of rest, and avoid riotous living. Then he stopped dead and looked over the crowd. “Friends, you take my advice here and you’ll live longer, more rewarding lives.
Yes,” she said. ” We stood around gawking. It was one of the true moments of magic or miracle I’ve ever seen. Everyone remarked on how wonderful she looked and how they couldn’t believe it. After the congratulations died, she tugged on Frank’s sleeve. “But what am I going to do? ” She giggled and clapped her hands. “Oh, Dr. ” “Well,” Frank began, ever mindful of potential profit, “don’t thank me. Just you come to our show tonight and tell all the people about it. I’m not going to charge you for my services either.
A Sawdust Heart: My Vaudeville Life in Medicine and Tent Shows by Henry Wood