Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Life as a family vaudeville act...
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Photo information reads:
Capps family at Columbia vaudeville.
Baby of 21 months (been on stage for 6 months).
Girl of 5 years (been on stage for 2 years).
Boy of 7 years (been on stage for 1 year).
Girl of 8 years (been on stage for 5 years).
Boy of 12 years (been on stage for 8 years).
Boy of 14 years (been on stage for 9 years).
Oldest boy is acrobat, contortionist, etc. All do singing and dancing acts except baby, who appears in final scene as Charlie Chaplin. They appear 3 or 4 times a day--sometimes 7 days in the week, usually coming last on program (as a feature), which means they do not leave dressing room until nearly 11 p.m. Then, in addition, the life in cheap hotels and on the road "making new towns" is very unsettling. It was very touching to see the little ones curled up back of the scenes waiting for their act and getting 40 winks or the mother nursing the baby just before it was poked out onto the stage to do his little "turn."
In spite of their stage life, their manners are good. They are quiet, well-appearing children, and the parents are kind and sympathetic. The father acts as nursemaid to the baby, and the mother dresses and changes the others and appears herself. She said: "They're never sick. It's the healthiest kind of life." The 8-year-old girl said: "I don't like it--the men in some places are so rough." There was some familiarity shown to them, but not much.
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Photo from Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.