Showman (1937)

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SHOWMAN general hullabaloo. Cabbages were flying toward the end. During the graveyard scene, the Count picked up a cabbage instead of Yorick's skull, held it out to- ward the audience and amended Shakespeare for the customers: "Alas, poor cabbagehead," he said, "gaze upon thy brothers out there!" That drew fish-heads, riper eggs and more cabbages. The Bowery hadn't had such a swell time since the Civil War draft riots. Night after night the Count played Hamlet and the boys kept up the fun. They were happy and so was the Count, because his Hamlet was actually outdrawing Edwin Booth's playing in competition at the Academy of Music. A swell specula- tion for him and the management both. He made such a good thing out of being a theatrical Aunt Sally that he had imitators—a Dr. Landis who specialized in "Richard III" behind a net, and another named James Owen O'Connor—I guess O'Connor wasn't altogether faking it, since he proved his having a screw loose by dying in an insane asylum. The famous Cherry Sisters act of a later day, as well as the old-fashioned amateur night—revived last year by Major Bowes—was just a de- velopment of the gags the Count started. He died rich, they tell me. He was a gold-mine for me as well as for himself. Every evening I'd lay in a big basket of defunct vege- tables and eggs down at the produce-markets for prac- tically nothing and then go work the sidewalk in front of the Old Bowery entrance: "Here y'are, gents—fruit, 21