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Grandma’s clippings re: singing with comedian Gene Sheldon

My maternal grandmother, née Linda Preston, traveled as a singer with comedian Gene Sheldon in 1941. Unfortunately, it seems her tour with him was cut short when her brother, my Uncle Peter, took a curve too fast while driving her and ran the car into a tree. I remember Grandma told me her leg was broken, and got infected. She told me she begged the doctors in the hospital to save her leg rather than amputate it, and they gave her Sulfa drugs — brand new at the time — to kill the infection. They worked, mostly, but she was prone to getting infections in that leg in her old age.

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Photos by J. M. Shafer, Altoona Mirror staff photographer, 1940

I found these photos among my maternal grandmother’s memoirs of her time as a vaudeville performer. They were all stamped on the back:

J. M. SHAFER
STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
ALTOONA MIRROR

These nine photos were among my grandmother’s photos of her time as a trouper with Egyptian Follies. I searched the Internet for information about J. M. Shafer and found this mention of his time as a staff photographer with the Altoona Mirror in an obituary:

Mr. Shafer retired as photographer on May 21, 1980 [sic. Must have been 1970.], after more than 41 years’ service. He began his service with the Mirror on March 8, 1929, as a messenger to Daniel N. Step, president and publisher.

On March 8, 1933, he became the first staff photographer under the late J. Edward Benney, then city editor.

–Altoona Mirror [edits mine]

References

Altoona Mirror. (1983, August 5). Retired Mirror employee dies. Death Record, p. 4. Altoona, Blair County, PA: Altoona Mirror. Retrieved from http://boards.ancestry.com/surnames.shafer/739/mb.ashx

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When Grandma was a trouper with Egyptian Follies

I found these photos among my maternal grandmother’s memoirs. Her stage name was Linda Preston, and she was a singer who toured with comedian Gene Sheldon. Apparently, she was also a trouper with Egyptian Follies, a vaudeville variety show in 1940. I searched for information about Egyptian Follies, and I found this mention in a master’s thesis:

Throughout the 1931 – 1940 period scattered mention is made of vaudeville programs still being presented in conjunction with the movies. In 1931, a magic company, Rajah Raboid and His Mysteries of 1932, and the Carr Brothers and their musical follies, were presented at the Arcade; in 1932, another magician, Prince Shah Babar, and the company of Trixie Friganza and Her Discoveries; in 1934, Waxo the miracle man; Belle and Bozeman, adagio champions, and Ben Bernie and his orchestra; in 1935, a one-hour vaudeville program Broadway Bandwagon was presented as part of the Wilbur Cushman circuit, The Blue Paradise Revue, six acts of vaudeville, and The Soldiers of Fortune Revue; in 1937, still another magician, in 1939, The Rhythm Boys, RCA recording artists; and finally in 1940, the Egyptian Follies.

Patsy Ruth Heidt

Several of these photos were stamped on the back:

J. M. SHAFER
STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
ALTOONA MIRROR

More on J. M. Shafer in another post. I imagine the other photos were taken by my grandmother and other members of the troupe when they were in different cities.

References

Heidt, P. R. (1951). The history of the theatre in Lake Charles, Louisiana from 1920 to 1950. [Master’s thesis]. Louisiana State University. Retrieved from http://library.mcneese.edu/depts/archive/FTBooks/heidt.htm

Shafer, J. M. (n.d.). [Photographs]. Altoona, PA: Altoona Mirror.

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Singing “Some Other Time” in memory of Mom

My mom, Jonni Greene, died two weeks ago. She was a singer, and singing was something we shared with love. This song came into my head yesterday, and it’s no wonder. The sad thing is, there is no other time after a person is gone. Still, we did spend quality time together before she died, and we did tell each other everything we wanted to– up til then. I’m sure there will be many more things I want to tell or ask my mother as the years go by, and who knows? If there is such a thing as life after death, or reincarnation, we might actually catch up some other time.

The song “Some Other Time” is from the 1944 Broadway musical On the Town, with lyrics by Betty Comden & Adolph Green, and music by Leonard Bernstein.

 

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Singing “Try To Remember” from The Fantasticks in 1996

I put on a one–man cabaret concert in 1996. This is one of the songs I sang— “Try To Remember” from The Fantasticks, lyrics by Tom Jones & music by David Schmidt. This performance was held at A Better Worlde Galleria in the Mission Hills neighborhood of San Diego, California in 1996. My pianist was James Bianchi.

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Singing answering machine greetings

When I was twenty years old, I made up a couple of outgoing greetings for my answering machine based on an old TV show theme song and a showtune from Bye Bye Birdie. The TV show theme song was from I Love Lucy and the song from Bye Bye Birdie was “Talk to Me” which is originally sung from a telephone booth. Anyway, I created these outgoing greetings and I left them on my answering machine for a little while, and then I felt sort of silly about them and afraid of what people might think, so I took them off. But now here we are in the Age of YouTube, and it’s—gosh—almost twenty-five years later, and I figured, “Why not? Just for fun, share them with the world.” So, here are my silly outgoing greeting songs that I created in 1988. Hope you enjoy! (more…)