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Mike Pierceall

Joseph Cawthra In The 1890s

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Joseph Bridger Cawthorn is the man. He was born in New York in 1868 and began acting on stage at the age of four. His parents were both from England, where he then began performing in the musical halls there at the age of nine. He then returned to the U.S. where he performed on stage in variety shows and, later, motion pictures. According to the 1910 census, he was living on Bangs Avenue in New Jersy. His wife, Queenie, was born in Scotland and was an actor as well.

Mike,

 

In that case; on the 1901 Census he was staying at the St. Ermin's Hotel, Westminster, London, age 33, single, and gave his occupation as Actor, born United States. Whilst four lines above him may well be his future bride (?); Queenie Vassar, 30, widow, Actress, born Scotland. (If you let me have your email address, I can send you the Census return.)

 

And he was living in LA in 1930:

 

Name: Joseph Cawthorn

Spouse: Queenie

Birth: abt 1868 - location

Residence: 1930 - city, Los Angeles, California

 

The California Death Index, 1940-1997 Record lists his death in 1949:

 

Name: JOSEPH BRIDGER CAWTHORN

Birth: date - NEW YORK

Death: dd mm 1949 - city

And I can now confirm that he was indeed married to Queenie Vassar (1870-1960). She was born in Glasgow and first went to the United States in 1884.

 

Joseph Cawthorn was born on 29th March 1867/8, and died on 21st January 1949 following a stroke at his Beverly Hills home. He had moved to Hollywood in 1927, to begin a career as a character actor. There's a good resume of his career here, though no mention of his having played any sort of concertina. :(

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As he was a concertina player, he must be the one who is grey haired and bald! :D If anyone thinks that is too much guessing, check out the photos someone posted on the Forum of the attendees at Jody Kruskal's workshops in England earlier this month. I rest my case. :lol:

I guess there's no hope for me then, being of a hairy disposition. :(

 

Maybe I should get my head shaved? :o

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As he was a concertina player, he must be the one who is grey haired and bald! :D If anyone thinks that is too much guessing, check out the photos someone posted on the Forum of the attendees at Jody Kruskal's workshops in England earlier this month. I rest my case. :lol:

I guess there's no hope for me then, being of a hairy disposition. :(

 

Maybe I should get my head shaved? :o

I just listened to a recording (sans concertina) of Cawthorn singing "I Can Dance With Everyone But My Wife" 1916, for which he wrote the lyrics. He was a tenor. No success finding a recording with his concertina, though, yet. Mike

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His parents were both from England ...

Father: ALFRED CAWTHORNE

Mother: SARAH E. WILLETT

 

Alfred Joseph Chittenden Cawthorn was born on 11th April 1825 in Islington, London (father: Robert Cawthorn, Mother: Susan or Susanna) and christened on 24th May 1826 at Saint Luke Old Street, Finsbury, London.

 

Sarah Elizabeth Willett was christened on 15th March 1826 at Saint Mary Magdalene, Bermondsey, London (Father: Thomas Willett, Mother: Ann).

 

They married on 12th April 1849 at Saint Michael Paternoster, London.

 

On the 1851 Census the couple were living at 2, Alfred Place, Bermondsey, and Alfred Cawthorn's occupation was given as Stock Broker's Clerk. It appears that a daughter, Emma Louise, was born in Bermondsey during the second quarter of that year.

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As he was a concertina player, he must be the one who is grey haired and bald! :D If anyone thinks that is too much guessing, check out the photos someone posted on the Forum of the attendees at Jody Kruskal's workshops in England earlier this month. I rest my case. :lol:

I guess there's no hope for me then, being of a hairy disposition. :(

 

Maybe I should get my head shaved? :o

I still have my hair, too. But then, I play anglo..... :rolleyes:

 

One more interesting factoid I picked up from Randy, who seems to know a lot about Mr. Cawthorne, our putative English system concertinist. It seems he also had a brief stint on Broadway, where he starred in "Mother Goose". He played Mother Goose, in drag.

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MIKE: you might also try looking him up in:

 

G.C.D. Odell, Annals of the New York Stage, 15 vols. (New York, 1927-49; reprint: New York, 1970). . . . .

 

allan

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I still have my hair, too. But then, I play anglo..... :rolleyes:

Didn't the people at Jody Kruskal's workshops? :huh: :blink: :unsure:

 

And I thought I still had all mine from playing the English - you know, all that clean living! ;) B) :P

 

One more interesting factoid I picked up from Randy, who seems to know a lot about Mr. Cawthorne, our putative English system concertinist. It seems he also had a brief stint on Broadway, where he starred in "Mother Goose". He played Mother Goose, in drag.

I guess you're not familiar with our strange English pantomime customs then? That would be normal for the "Dame" in any pantomime, and the "Principal Boy" is always a pretty girl in tights! (Very daring in the 19th century! :blink: )

 

The Music Hall star Dan Leno was a famous Mother Goose, around the same time.

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It seems he also had a brief stint on Broadway, where he starred in "Mother Goose".

Oh, and I meant to mention that Joseph Cawthorn first appeared on Broadway in the 1895 musical Excelsior Jr, and two years later he got his biggest break when he replaced William Collier as principal comedian in Miss Philadelphia (1897). Other Broadway appearances included The Fortune Teller (1898), The Rounders (1899), The Singing Girl (1899 - 1900), The Sleeping Beauty and the Beast (1901 - 1902), Mother Goose (1903 - 1904), Fritz in Tammany Hall (1905), The Free Lance (1906), The Hoyden (1907 - 1908), Little Nemo (1908 - 1909), Girlies (1910), The Slim Princess (1911), The Sunshine Girl (1913), The Girl from Utah (1914), Sybil (1916), Rambler Rose (1917), The Canary (1918 - 1919), The Half Moon (1920) and The Blue Kitten (1922). But by the time he appeared in the 1925 Marilyn Miller vehicle Sally, he was being written off as a "fading star" (after 30 years on Broadway), hence his move to Hollywood in 1927, where he began a whole new career as a character actor in films.

 

I wonder what they were performing in London in 1901, when he was staying in the same hotel as Queenie Vassar and several other American actors/actresses?

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Well, not so brief a Braodway stint, then!

 

Thanks for the panto links....I had no idea! Interesting that Mother Goose was being played in London just a couple of years before, likewise with a drag 'dame'. It seems the play Cawthorne was in must have been a UK import, not unlike those of recent years on Broadway. BTW, George M. Cohan also was in the 1903 production with Cawthorn.

 

Since we are being so complete with his acting history, here are his Hollywood film credits, along with the characters he played in them. EC players must have lots of energy:

 

The Postman Didn't Ring (1942) .... Silas Harwood

So Ends Our Night (1941) .... Leopold Potzloch

Scatterbrain (1940) .... Nicholas Raptis

Lillian Russell (1940) .... Leopold Damrosch

Hot Money (1936) .... Max Dourfuss

One Rainy Afternoon (1936) .... Monsieur Pelerin

... aka Matinee Scandal (USA: reissue title)

Brides Are Like That (1936) .... Uncle Fred Schultz

The Great Ziegfeld (1936) .... Dr. Florenz Ziegfeld Sr.

Freshman Love (1936) (as Joe Cawthorn) .... Robert C. Wilson

... aka Rhythm on the River

Crime Over London (1936) .... Mr. Sherwood

Harmony Lane (1935) .... Professor Henry Kleber

Page Miss Glory (1935) .... Mr. J. Horace Freischutz

Bright Lights (1935) .... Oscar Schlemmer

... aka Funny Face (UK)

Smart Girl (1935) .... Karl Krausemeyer

Gold Diggers of 1935 (1935) .... August Schultz

Naughty Marietta (1935) (as Joseph Cawthorne) .... Herr 'Schumie' Schuman

Sweet Music (1935) .... Sidney Selzer

Maybe It's Love (1935) .... Adolph J. Mengle Sr.

Sweet Adeline (1934) .... Oscar Schmidt

Music in the Air (1934) .... Hans Uppman

Young and Beautiful (1934) .... Herman Cline

The Human Side (1934) .... Fritz Speigal

Housewife (1934) (as Joe Cawthorne) .... Krueger

The Last Gentleman (1934) .... Dr. Wilson

Twenty Million Sweethearts (1934) (as Joseph Cawthorne) .... Mr. Herbert 'Herbie' Brokman

Glamour (1934) .... Ibsen

Lazy River (1934) .... Mr. Julius Ambrose

The Cat and the Fiddle (1934) .... Rodolphe 'Rudy' Brieux

Broken Dreams (1933) .... Pop

Made on Broadway (1933) .... Maxie Schultz

... aka The Girl I Made (USA)

Best of Enemies (1933) .... Gus Schneider

Blondie Johnson (1933) .... Manager

Grand Slam (1933) (uncredited) .... Alex Alexandrovitch (Peter's Investor)

Whistling in the Dark (1933) .... Otto Barfuss

... aka Scared! (USA: TV title)

Men Are Such Fools (1932) .... Werner

They Call It Sin (1932) (as Joe Cawthorne) .... Mr. Robert A. Hollister

... aka The Way of Life (UK)

Love Me Tonight (1932) (as Joseph Cawthorne) .... Dr. Armand de Fontinac

White Zombie (1932) .... Dr. Bruner (missionary)

Peach-O-Reno (1931) .... Joe Bruno

The Runaround (1931) .... Lou

... aka Lovable and Sweet

... aka Waiting at the Church

... aka Waiting for the Bride (UK)

A Tailor Made Man (1931) .... Huber

Kiki (1931) .... Alfred Rapp

Princess and the Plumber (1930) .... Merkl

Dixiana (1930) .... Cornelius Van Horn, Carl's Father

Dance Hall (1929) .... Bremmer

Jazz Heaven (1929) .... Herman Kemple

The Taming of the Shrew (1929) .... Gremio

Street Girl (1929) .... Keppel (cafe owner)

... aka Barber John's Boy (USA)

Speakeasy (1929) .... Yokel

Hold 'Em Yale (1928) .... Professor

... aka At Yale

Silk Legs (1927) .... Ezra Fulton

Very Confidential (1927) .... Donald Allen

Two Girls Wanted (1927) .... Philip Hancock

Secret Studio (1927) .... Pa Merton

 

It's a pity there are no records found (yet) on his vaudeville/music hall/opera house concertina material...such is much more difficult to come by. I did briefly check the minstrel collection at the University of Texas Ransom Center; nothing. Somewhere in the US there will be similar collections of vaudeville stuff, and his concertina photo will be there....any leads, Michael?

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This might be appropriate, maybe not. Maybe too late in time?? At worst I hope it's the right guy?? But here's something:

 

One of his movies is in the public domain. "White Zombie". He plays a missionary. It's on Google Video here:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=84...eph+cawthorn%22

 

Or this might interest you Audio:

http://www.archive.org/details/JosephCawthorn

 

Another short clip half way down the page under Hit Broadway shows:

http://www.archeophone.com/product_info.php?products_id=63

 

Some Sheet Music. Apparently he wrote the above song:

http://scriptorium.lib.duke.edu/sheetmusic/n/n01/n0198/

 

More sheet music by, about, or performed by Joseph Cawthorn with pictures. 2 pages:

http://levysheetmusic.mse.jhu.edu/otcgi/llscgi60

(unfortunately won't allow direct link. Click new search, then in top left block type Cawthorn {search for block}, then search will bring them up).

 

Picture of him and Queenie, and where they are burried:

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?p...emPhotos=Y&

 

But alas nothing concertina...................................yet.

 

Thanks

Leo

Edited by Leo

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This might be appropriate, maybe not. Maybe too late in time?? At worst I hope it's the right guy?? But here's something:

 

Hi Joseph Cawthorn and Queenie Vassart are my great grand mother and great grand father if you woul dlike to contact me. Karin

One of his movies is in the public domain. "White Zombie". He plays a missionary. It's on Google Video here:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=84...eph+cawthorn%22

 

Or this might interest you Audio:

http://www.archive.org/details/JosephCawthorn

 

Another short clip half way down the page under Hit Broadway shows:

http://www.archeophone.com/product_info.php?products_id=63

 

Some Sheet Music. Apparently he wrote the above song:

http://scriptorium.lib.duke.edu/sheetmusic/n/n01/n0198/

 

More sheet music by, about, or performed by Joseph Cawthorn with pictures. 2 pages:

http://levysheetmusic.mse.jhu.edu/otcgi/llscgi60

(unfortunately won't allow direct link. Click new search, then in top left block type Cawthorn {search for block}, then search will bring them up).

 

Picture of him and Queenie, and where they are burried:

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?p...emPhotos=Y&

 

But alas nothing concertina...................................yet.

 

Thanks

Leo

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Hi

Joseph Cawthorne and Queenien Vassar are my grand mother and Grand father if you wish to contact me

Karin

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Hi

Joseph Cawthorne and Queenien Vassar are my grand mother and Grand father if you wish to contact me

Karin

Karin,

 

As the one who opened this thread on your Grandfather, I'm pleased to welcome you to Cnet. How did you come to hear about us? I'm sure we'd all like know more about your grandparents and especially your grandfather's association with the concertina. Mike

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I just found you on the interent by doing a search for links to joe cawthorne

K

post-6385-1198037943_thumb.jpg

Hi

Joseph Cawthorne and Queenien Vassar are my grand mother and Grand father if you wish to contact me

Karin

Karin,

 

As the one who opened this thread on your Grandfather, I'm pleased to welcome you to Cnet. How did you come to hear about us? I'm sure we'd all like know more about your grandparents and especially your grandfather's association with the concertina. Mike

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