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FOOTLIGHT NOTES
no. 470

updated
Saturday, 16 September 2006

The Original Eight Berlin Dancing Madcaps
as undergraduates in
A Knight For a Day,
a musical comedy by Robert B. Smith,
with music by Raymond Hubbell and Lyrics by Robert B. Smith,
produced at Wallack's Theatre, New York, 16 December 1907

The Eight Berlin Dancing Madcaps

Seven of the Original Eight Berlin Dancing Madcaps
in A Knight For a Day, Wallack's Theatre, New York, 16 December 1907

(photo: Hall, New York, 1907)

'This scene [above] from A Knight For a Day gives an excellent idea of the liveliness of The Eight Berlin Madcaps. One of the Madcaps missed the picture (count 'em), and yet the pose is so novel that if she were here you don't know where she'd be. (Tut, tut.) But if she missed a performance - well, then The Madcaps wouldn't be over seven and the Gerry Society might stop 'em. Harrowing thought, that. Still, the rest of the show is so blame good you can take a chance on going to Wallack's Theater anyway.'
(The Standard and Vanity Fair, New York, Friday, 15 May 1908, pp.10 and 11)

'The eight dancing madcaps, with the latest musical furore, A Knight for a Day, is an imported acrobatic terpsichorean novelty. And a true, emphatic and striking hit they undoubtedly are. The act is not easy to copy and would have many imitations were it not for the time, trouble and expense in producing one fact, by the way, never included in The Knights management. Laughing at expense and earnestly desiring to please is one motto that repays.'
(The Fort Wayne News, Fort Wayne, Indiana, Friday, 24 April 1908, p.14b)

Helen Hoz

Helen Hoz, the eighth of the Original Eight Berlin Dancing Madcaps
in A Knight For a Day, Wallack's Theatre, New York, 16 December 1907

(photo: De Youngs, New York, 1907)

'From Our New York Dramatic Correspondent.
'At Wallack's theater, New York, is A Knight For a Day, a musical comedy written by Robert R. Smith, the younger brother of the nestor of American librettos, Harry B. Smith, and composed by Raymond Hubbell, who wrote the music for Fantana and who removed from the stage when he married that charming prima donna Helen Lord.
'John Salvin, a small but unctuous comedian, who was one of the strong favorites at the Casino when George W. Lederer in control there and who has since become a bulwark of burlesque in Chicago, heads the company. May Vokes, who has made several successes in eccentric roles hereabout, is likewise in the cast, and Miss Sallie Fisher, who made the song "Dearie" famous, impersonates the gurgling ingenue.
'A Knight For a Day has had a strange and varied career. It was produced a year or so ago at the Grand Opera House and then at the New York theater under the title of Ma'mselle Sallie and was so vigorously condemned that it put its manager, John C. Fisher, once wealthy through Florodora, practically out of business, and the company, in plain language, "busted."
'The production was then galvanized by B.C. Whitney of Detroit and sent to Chicago, where it ran for a long white at Whitney's theater and where, in fact, it is sill in evidence in its thirty-seventh week.
'The play is now greatly improved and is, in fact, a success.'
(Robert Butler, The Evening Telegram, Elyria, Ohio, Saturday, 11 January 1908, p.7c)

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'Chorus Girl Can't Stand Baldheads.
'New York, Jan. 16 [1908]. - Miss Merri Corye has gone to Chicago, whence she came. For months and months until last evening Miss Corye was one of the "wholly Chicago" merry-merry ensemble feminines of A Knight for a Day, the musical comedy at Wallack's.
'Merri, who is nineteen and pretty, cannot abide baldheads. W.M. Hale, the manager of the play, got this note at the theater last night:
'"I am going black to Chicago, where there aren't any baldheaded men except those who come from the East, and where, anyhow, the theatres don't let 'em sit in the front rows to make girls google-eyed. I haven't seen a young man in a front seat since I've been here, and if I stay here any longer I know I shall have to wear specs on the stage or go to a nunnery. A chorus girl has as much chance to win a young husband in a Broadway musical show as a fly has of ticking an elephant."
'The front rows at Wallack's last evening didn't hold as many baldheads as usual, the ushers said. Lobby rumor had it that baldheaded men, unaccompanied by their wives or toupees, were being encouraged to sit in the balcony.'
(The Washington Post, Washington, D.C., Friday, 17 January 1908, p.13e)

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