George White's Scandals

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George White's Scandals were a long-running string of Broadway revues produced by George White that ran from 1919–1939, modelled after the Ziegfeld Follies. The "Scandals" launched the careers of many entertainers, including W.C. Fields, the Three Stooges, Ray Bolger, Helen Morgan, Ethel Merman, Ann Miller, Bert Lahr, and Rudy Vallée. Louise Brooks, Alice White, and Eleanor Powell got their show business start as lavishly dressed (or underdressed) chorus girls strutting to the "Scandal Walk". Much of George Gershwin's early work appeared in the 1920-24 editions of Scandals.

George White's Scandals is also the name of several movies set within the Scandals, all of which focus primarily on the show's acts, with a thin backstage plot stringing them all together. The best known of these was 1934's George White's Scandals written by Jack Yellen, which marked the film debut of Alice Faye. Notable Flapper-era cartoonist and designer Russell Patterson worked on Broadway on a number of productions in various capacities, including George White's Scandals of 1936 as Scenic Designer.[1] George White's Scandals of 1920 was featured in an episode of the television series The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.

George White[edit]

Tom Patricola, Ann Pennington & George White

George White (15 April 1891-11 November 1968) was an American theatrical producer and director who also was an actor, choreographer, composer, dancer, dramatist, lyricist and screenwriter, as well as a Broadway theater-owner.

Born Eassy White in New York City (other sources claim his birth name as "George Weitz" and his birthplace as Toronto, Canada; he performed under all three names), White started his career as part of a dance team with partner Benny Ryan, performing in the burlesque circuit. He appeared in supporting roles in many Broadway shows, but it was his appearance in Flo Ziegfeld's Ziegfeld Follies that would provide the impetus for his own theatrical career as a theatrical impresario on the Great White Way.[2] White appeared in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1911 and 1915; in the latter show, he popularized the Turkey Trot dance.[3]

White reportedly was a hands-on producer. In addition to taking tickets at the box office of the theater he owned, he allegedly punched crooner Rudy Vallee during a salary dispute. The story is ironic as White, himself, supposedly was fired by Flo Ziegfeld after the 1915 season when he had demanded a pay raise.

He launched his Ziegfeld Follies imitation, the George White’s Scandals, in 1919. Scandals provided audiences with popular songs, comic sketches, eccentric dancers and his own version of the Ziegfeld girls. Though not as grand as the Ziegfeld Follies, his Scandals were quite successful. The shows, which were micromanaged by White and reflected his tastes, were fast-paced and featured a lot of dancing.

White reached the apogee of his Broadway career with the 1926 edition of Scandals, which racked up 424 performances.[2] The Black Bottom, danced by Ziegfeld Follies star Ann Pennington and Tom Pericola, touched off a national dance craze. However, by the time he produced his last staging of '"Scandals in 1939, the show was derided by critics as being old-fashioned.[3]

In addition to his '"Scandals" and the Scandals knock-off George White's Music Hall Varieties (essentially Scandals under a different name), White also produced several straight musicals and legitimate plays on Broadway.

White also was a movie director, producer and screenwriter. He produced the movies Flying HIgh (1931), George White's Scandals (1934) George White's 1935 Scandals (1935) and George White's Scandals (1945), and directed the 1934 and 1935 celluloid versions of his Scandals. He also appeared in and took screenwriting credit for the 1934 and 1935 pictures. he also received screenwriting credits for the movies Ziegfeld Follies (1945) and Duffy's Tavern (1945).

In 1946, White was involved in a hit-and-run automobile accident in which two people died. He was sentenced to nine months in prison. Freed from jail, White tried to turn Scandals into a show that would tour the nightclub circuit. The venture failed and he went bankrupt. His attempt to open a nightclub in Las Vegas also failed.[3]

George White died from leukemia in 1968 in Hollywood, California and was interred in Pierce Brothers Valhalla Memorial Park in North Hollywood.

The Scandals cast[edit]

1919[edit]

1920[edit]

1921[edit]

1922[edit]

1923[edit]

1924[edit]

1925[edit]

1926[edit]

1928[edit]

1929[edit]

  • Jack Durant
  • Elm City Four
  • Ted and Sally
  • Willie and Eugene Howard
  • Frances Williams
  • The George White Girls

1931[edit]

1932 (Music Hall Varieties)[edit]

1934 (film)[edit]

1935 (film)[edit]

1936[edit]

1939[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Profile, BroadwayWorld International Database; accessed March 30, 2014.
  2. ^ a b Larkin, Colin. "Broadway: The American Musical (George White)". Public Broadcasting Service. Retrieved 22 December 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c Edwards, Bobb. "George White". Find a Grave. Retrieved 22 December 2014. 

External links[edit]