22. Every Vaudevillian Breeze whispered Louise

Like many many vaudevillians, Louise Dresser went into the business because of the need to avoid starvation. For 30,000 vaudevillians who toured the Continent at any one time, it was a job. In spite of the arduous and sometimes humiliating slog up the vaudevillian ladder to bigger money, it became a lifestyle that they learned to love. And even though the money was low at the entry level, it was usually a lot more than the average wage-earner in the real world made.

My pal Howie Swan tells me when he entered vaudeville in 1939, his trio made $45 per week, which was split evenly. He said a good wage in the real world was $12 per week and the average much lower. The vaudeville wage didn’t look bad at all to him. When I told him that I would pay him $20 per week to do shows with me – he said “SOLD!!!” Even at 99, Howie loves performing and driving to gigs with gig meals between shows and meeting new people all the time.

Louise Dresser had a tough start as you’ll hear on this episode of the Vaudecast, but she had a helping hand by a good person who helped her get started and rise to be one of the biggest stars in Vaudeville.

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On our Website: http://www.prairievaudeville.com

With Will Rogers – one of her closest pals
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