By Henry Wood
Leaving his place of birth of Viroqua, Wisconsin, to commute with a medication convey, twelve-year-old Henry wooden grew to become addicted to convey enterprise. He joined a touring theater troupe, and best woman Clarabelle Fendell helped the boy turn into “Jack,” a gentleman and vaudeville performer, so reworked that he was once slightly famous by way of his personal mom whilst he back home.
wooden spent the years 1910–1941 in touring medication and tent exhibits that featured quite a few vaudeville acts, from skits to full-length dramatic performs. no matter if recalling his reports skydiving from hot-air balloons, serving within the air strength, or being accosted via indignant theatergoers not able to tell apart him from the villains he portrayed on level, Wood’s tale paints a full of life and shiny picture.
whereas so much books in this interval of yankee theater heritage 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 employees and the performers who by no means made it vast yet eked out a residing doing what they enjoyed on minor levels throughout America.
brought through Wood’s grandson-in-law Michael Fedo with a concise background of those touring exhibits, A Sawdust Heart is an fun learn for a person drawn to early-twentieth-century rural America.
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Additional resources for A Sawdust Heart: My Vaudeville Life in Medicine and Tent Shows
My adolescent mind convinced me that I could reform Dad; maybe then he’d let me go with the Fendells and be less harsh on everyone else too. Where Dad needed reforming most was his fondness for liquor. He was often a secret drinker, keeping his alcohol in the shed. All day he kept a teakettle filled with hot water on the kitchen stove, and periodically he would come into the house with a good third of an old tin mug filled with pure alcohol. He’d pour in some hot water, add three or four teaspoons of sugar, and then drink.
My gosh,” he said, scratching his ear. ” Far from being bloated, the woman was spent and drawn, but she managed to smile. She was fairly pretty too. “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.
The only trouble was that everything was white: the suit, shirt, tie, Panama hat, socks, and shoes. “That’s how my sister wants you, kid,” he said. ” I looked at myself in the mirror and went into mild shock. I no more resembled Henry Wood than the man in the moon. It wasn’t me. My transformation had been so complete that I could easily accept the new name, Jack. When we returned to the tent, Clarabelle saw me and beamed. “Now you look like a new man, Jack,” she said as I sat down on the costume trunk.
A Sawdust Heart: My Vaudeville Life in Medicine and Tent Shows by Henry Wood