Being the professional archivist in the family, I’ve inherited a lot of media, mostly small gauge home movies and photographs. Its a fantastic collection of “who the bloody hell is this?” One of those continuing mysteries is Uncle Charlie.
Pictures of Charlie were found in a decaying scrapbook marked with disorganized partial Post-it notes. All of the photos in the book were fairly standard 1910s poses in the back yard, but Charlie’s were a little different.
See what I mean? There are also a number of photos with him doing a handstand while Uncle Henry stands below, holding him up. With no fewer than 5 different of these photos plus others with the descriptor “and cast” it was fairly easy to guess that my family had a tie to Vaudeville.
So far I haven’t found any contemporary papers from that link the brothers to the stage, and an inquiry with with American Vaudeville Museum (awesome people) produced no leads. I did get a small bit of confirmation with a newspaper article from 1967. The Milwaukee Sentinel wrote of the 82 year old former circus and vaudeville acrobat’s past with the Keith, Orpheum, and Pantages circuits. I’m hopeful that continued searches will lead to more information about Uncle Charlie and Uncle Henry.
It just goes to show that the career assessment from junior high really wasn’t that far off when it told me to be a circus clown.