July 27, 2020 – Video killed the radio star, and the talkies killed Vaudeville, but some legends adapt to changing times. In this episode, we meet one such innovator, who made a series of leaps from New York City’s Hippodrome to Hollywood, with many entertaining stops and in between. Born in the San Francisco of 1883 as Katherine Gertrude Hay, Gertrude Hoffman broke into show business as a mimic, copying highbrow performances from Europe and popularizing them for a broader American audience. She started as a pantomime ballet girl in the Gay Nineties, grew up with Vaudeville, and later worked as a choreographer and teacher, living well into the 1960’s. Joining us in our time machine is the Hargis associate professor of American literature at Auburn University, Sunny Stalter-Pace, who brings us, Imitation Artist: Gertrude Hoffmann’s Life in Vaudeville and Dance. Find our guest online at SunnyStalterPace.com or on Twitter @SLStalter. Podcast: Download (Duration: 1:00:30 — 138.5MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | Google Podcasts | RSS | More
July 13, 2020 – He’s the ultimate Civil War baby gone bad, born in 1866 with the modest handle of Robert Leroy Parker. So how did that dirt-poor son of a Mormon farmer grow up into a horse thief, rustler, and bank robber who ran with the Wild Bunch? Charles Leerhsen explores the origin story of a famous outlaw who never killed a soul in Butch Cassidy: The True Story of an American Outlaw. If you’re familiar with sensationalized, thinly researched Hollywood depictions of Butch, you’ll find the real man even more entertaining and charming. Charles Leerhsen previously joined us to discuss one of my all-time favorite books Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty. In it, he redeems one of baseball’s all-time greats, stripping away the lies of the sensationalist sportswriter, Al Stump, who concocted tales of a brutal, belligerent racist. Now, he aims the same careful eye to Butch, digging through legends and tall tales to paint a complete picture of an American original who just wanted to be liked — and to avoid the 19th Century version of the cubicle life. You’ve Charles Leerhsen’s work everywhere from Sports Illustrated and Esquire to The New York Times Magazine and People….