Back about a hundred years ago, vaudeville was the most popular entertainment in America. This family-friendly type of variety show employed about 25,000 performers. Blue Thread‘s Miriam Josefsohn was definitely a fan.
I kept thinking about the strange girl… From the back seat of our Oldsmobile, I saw a sign on the Orpheum Theatre advertising a vaudeville show featuring ragtime piano. Perhaps she was a performer—there were plenty of Jews in vaudeville. I dubbed her Fantastical Fannie from Frisco and began designing a handbill in my head.
Fictional Miriam might have read this real clip from page 9 of the September 24, 1912, issue of The Morning Oregonian:
Fantastical Fannie? I made her up. But the name reminds me of Fanny Brice. Born Fania (Fannie) Borach, she was the child of Jewish Hungarian immigrants in New York City. Fanny was a singer and comedienne, who joined the Ziegfield Follies, starred in movies, and played the radio character “Baby Snooks.” She was in vaudeville shows with W. C. Fields and Will Rogers, among others. The movie Funny Girl is loosely—very loosely—drawn from her life.
Vaudeville. A little of everything and a lot of laughs.