May 7, 1885
|Died||January 3, 1947
Belleville, New Jersey
|Occupation||singer, stage actor, voice actor|
|Years active||1916 - 1944|
Life and career
Wicke was born in Germany and immigrated to the United States with his father, also named August Wicke. He became a U.S. citizen when his father was naturalized before the younger Wicke reached the age of majority. He was living in West New York, New Jersey, when he registered for the World War I draft in 1917, at the age of 33.
Wicke began in the entertainment world as early as August 1916, when he appeared on Broadway in The Big Show, produced by Charles Dillingham at the Hippodrome Theatre, which ran for 425 performances, until May 1917. He was a member of various harmony singing and comedy groups, including The Texas Four, which had broken up by 1926, The Westerners, which became active at around that time, and the Shanley Trio.  He appeared in Boston in Here and There by director and producer R. H. Burnside in 1929, then, less than two years later, Wickie was back on Broadway in the musical comedy Ballyhoo of 1930, which ran for only 68 performances, from December 1930 to February 1931, at Oscar Hammerstein's Hammerstein Theatre.
Wickie was the voice of Bluto in the Fleischer Studios' Popeye cartoons from 1935 until 1938, a year often cited incorrectly as his death. His final performance for Fleischer was as the "Chief" in Big Chief Ugh-Amugh-Ugh. It appears that when the Fleischer Studios moved from New York City to Miami, Florida, in 1938, Wickie stayed behind and continued working in the entertainment industry.
Wickie was known for his nightclub performances around New York City, particularly at Bill's Gay Nineties, a venue run by Bill Hardy, but also at Radio Franks Club. Wicke generally made up a quartet with Spike Harrison, Fred Bishop, and a fourth member who was not permanent. He was listed in Billboard's February 19, 1944, list of performers who appeared under the aegis of the American Theatre Wing to entertain the troops.
- Gerstein, David (November 30, 2013). "Out of the Vaults: From Binko to Bluto". Ramapith: David Gerstein's Prehistoric Pop Culture. Retrieved January 25, 2014.
- Gus Wicke at the Internet Broadway Database
- Gould, Jack (February 13, 1938). "Notes and Reflections on the Night Clubs". New York Times. Retrieved January 4, 2010.
- The Big Show on the Internet Broadway Database
- Ballyhoo of 1930 on the Internet Broadway Database
- Hurwitz, Matt (July 29, 2007). "Utter Genius: Voices That Call Out Still". Washington Post. Retrieved January 4, 2010.
- Erickson, Hal. "Big Chief Ugh-Amugh-Ugh (1938)". New York Times. Retrieved January 4, 2010.
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