Welcome to my blog, featuring various pieces from my collection of Oz books, artwork and memorabilia!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Passing Show

The Passing Show of 1913 was one of an annual series of elaborate Broadway reviews, that parodied recent shows as well as presenting extravagant new production numbers. The series ran from 1912 to 1926, (Correction - the show was run by the Shuberts during this period. It started in 1894. See comment below), and was designed to compete with the popular Ziegfield Follies. This is an original stage photo from the production, a fun image that could almost be considered as Oz twice removed.
 One show chosen to lampoon was a hit from the 1912 season, The Lady of the Slipper, which starred Fred Stone and David Montgomery. This was a version of Cinderella, with a score by Victor Herbert. In this version of the story, Cinderella is accompanied to the ball by a pair of attendants, named Punks and Spooks. Punks, played by Montgomery, was a jack o' lantern brought to life, while Spooks was a scarecrow blown in through the window.

Spooks was played by Stone, who took the opportunity to reprise his famous Oz Scarecrow from 10 years earlier. The characters do not remain in these forms for long, being transformed into a coachman and footman. The color images shown here are from a souvenir program for the show, courtesy of Bill Thompson.

The Passing Show opened its first act with a spoof of this story. The top photo shows Freddie Nice, Laura Hamilton and Charles DeHaven as Spooks, Cinderella and Punks. A key sheet of photos from this show is in the New York Public Library's digital archive, and includes this image as well as another from the same segment. It appears that Cinderella's attendants are transformed for the ball, but she remains in her rags!
 The show was large and included in the cast was Grace Kimball, who had played several roles in The Wizard of Oz. Also included was Charlotte Greenwood; she would play Queen Ann of Oogaboo later the same year, in The Tik Tok Man of Oz. The photo on the right shows the actress performing one of her trademark high kicks!


Jerry Prager said...

The Passing Show was running as early as 1894, my great great grandmother was a ballet dancers in it, the Shubert's took in over in 1912, both her daughters were dancers, Jennie and Emma (who married Moses Wise a Shubert Manager) and toured widely Jennie ended up a dancer teacher in early LA.

Bill Campbell said...

Thanks for the information, what a fun connection! I’ll make a correction in the post.

Jerry Prager said...

thank you