George Mann (vaudeville performer)

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George Kline Mann
Self-portrait, circa 1940
George Kline Mann

December 2, 1905 (1905-12-02)
Hollywood, California
Died22 November 1977(1977-11-22) (aged 71)
Santa Monica, California
Occupation(s)Vaudevillian and Photographer

George Kline Mann (December 2, 1905 – November 22, 1977)[1][2][3] was best known as the taller half of the comedic and acrobatic dance act Barto and Mann.

Early life[edit]

Mann was born in Hollywood, California. His father, Mack Andrew Mann, moved to California from Cassopolis, Michigan, in the late 1800s and worked as a construction superintendent of railroad bridges. His mother, Jean Kline Mann, was also from Cassopolis. Mack and Jean met and married in Los Angeles, California.

George Mann grew up in the Silver Lake area of Los Angeles, moving to Santa Monica as a teenager with his parents. George was listed as the "Snaps Editor" as well as being responsible for all of the photography in the Athletic section of the Venice Union Polytechnic High High School 1925 Annual, The Gondolier.[4] He was Vice President of the Junior A Class that would graduate in June 1926, but didn't graduate with his class. During his junior year, he was vice-president of the drama club and had a leading role in the play, "What Happened to Jones" with Irene Hervey, then Irene Herwick. He played center on the varsity basketball team and was a member of the swimming team.[4]

Early career[edit]

George studied dance with Roy Randolph of the Randolph's La Monica Dance School in Santa Monica, California. Shortly after turning 20, he developed a dance act - Mann & Clark - with his high school friend Lester Clark. Signing with the William Meiklejohn Agency, they performed together in Los Angeles for three or four months before George signed on as a single with Fanchon and Marco enterprises. George (6'6") was soon performing for comedic effect with a much shorter (4'11") Dewey Barto (father of the comedian Nancy Walker). Two days after George turned 21, George and Dewey signed a ten-year contract with Fanchon and Marco as the comedy team Barto and Mann.

Barto and Mann[edit]

During 1926, they performed up and down the west coast until William Morris of the William Morris Agency booked them “cold" (having never appeared on the east coast) into the Palace Theatre on March 14, 1927, during its celebration of vaudeville's 100th anniversary. They were a great success. With offers from all the major vaudeville circuits, they chose to sign with the Orpheum Circuit, with whom they toured across the U.S. until they signed with the Earl Carroll's Vanities from August 1928 to February 1929.[5] They continued touring in the U.S. and Canada, with European tours in the summers of 1931 and 1934.

George met Barbara Bradford, a top model at the John Robert Powers modeling agency, in March 1936. They were married in June 1937. In 1938, George and Barbara appeared in a very short film directed by George starring The Three Stooges.[6] George and Barbara had one son, Brad, born in February 1941. George and Barbara were divorced in June 1943. George never remarried.

As vaudeville faded, Barto & Mann joined the Broadway cast of Ole Olsen and Chic Johnson's Hellzapoppin, with featured billing from 1938 through 1942. The team split up in December 1943 when George began working for Douglas Aircraft Company providing entertainment for Douglas employees, but worked together again briefly to perform with the USO.[7][8]


Following World War II, George acted in small roles in several movies,[9] on the stage,[10] and with Jack Carson's stage revue[11] but primarily devoted himself to making a living with photography, an activity he had pursued actively while in vaudeville when he took about 12,000 black and white photographs,[12][13][14][15] many of them demonstrating an extraordinary skill and aesthetic sensibility.[16] He also took thousands of feet of B&W and color 16mm film.[17][18]

In the late 1940s, George began a period of invention, first designing and obtaining a patent[19] for an endless magnetic loop recording and playback device, elements of which were later incorporated into the Lear Jet Stereo 8 track cartridge player. George and Bill Lear became close friends after George introduced Bill to his future wife, Ole Olsen's daughter Moya. George next turned his inventive and mechanical skills to designing a 3-D viewer that would display the 3-D photographs he was taking with his 35mm Stereo Realist cameras, mostly around Southern California. He leased the viewers to various businesses, including restaurants, and doctor's offices where people sometimes had to wait for service. Every couple of weeks, George would swap out the 3-D photographs of such places as Calico Ghost Town, Catalina Island, Descanso Gardens, Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm, Pacific Ocean Park, Watts Towers, Palm Springs, Salton Sea[20] or Las Vegas.[21] He also leased his viewers to bars in Los Angeles with photographs of nude pinups he had taken.[13]

King Vitaman[edit]

In the early 1970s, George was hired by Quaker Oats to portray King Vitaman in commercials and on the front of the King Vitaman cereal box.[22]

George Mann lived in Santa Monica, California, at the time of his death on November 23, 1977, at age 71.

Selected filmography[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Ex-Broadway Dancer Dies in S[anta] M[onica] Home". Evening Outlook. November 26, 1977.
  2. ^ "George Kline Mann". Variety. November 28, 1977.
  3. ^ "Death: George Kline Mann". The Hollywood Reporter. November 28, 1977.
  4. ^ a b The Gondolier. Venice Union Polytechnic High School. 1925.
  5. ^ Carb, David (September 29, 1928). "Seen on the Stage". Vogue.
  6. ^ "From the George Mann Archives: The Three Stooges on The Steel Pier, 1938". On Bunker Hill. Archived from the original on 20 January 2013. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
  7. ^ "In Short". The Billboard. August 26, 1944. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
  8. ^ "In Short". The Billboard. September 30, 1944. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
  9. ^ "Filmography for George Mann". IMDb. Retrieved September 7, 2012.
  10. ^ The Wizard of Oz. The Billboard. 31 August 1946. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
  11. ^ Woodbury, Mitch. "Mitch Woodbury Reports". Toledo Blade. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
  12. ^ "Junior N[ational] V[audeville] A[Artists]'s". The Vaudeville News and New York Star. New York: Vaudeville News Corporation. 22 October 1927. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
  13. ^ a b Gringeri-Brown, Michelle (Fall 1997). "George Mann: New American Master". Photographer's Forum. 19 (4): 13–18.
  14. ^ Woodard, Josef. "Touching Photographs Capture Vaudeville in Its Dying Days : An exhibit of the work of George Mann takes viewers behind the scenes of a bygone era". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
  15. ^ Aceto, Adam (November–December 2013). "The Amazing Survival of Five Sisters and Their Homes". Theater Organ. 55 (6): 26–35.
  16. ^ "'George Mann: The Vaudeville Years' Opens August 23 at Lawrence Fine Art". ArtfixDaily. August 8, 2014.
  17. ^ Maltin, Leonard. "Real & Faux Silent Footeage Worth Watching". Indiewire. Archived from the original on 23 June 2012. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
  18. ^ Dorman, Trevor (September 2012). "Camera Mann". The Laurel and Hardy Magazine. 8 (10): 5–10.
  19. ^ "Automatic Sound Reproducing Device". United States Patent Office. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
  20. ^ Gringeri-Brown, Michelle (Summer 2004). "Salton Sea". Atomic Ranch (2): 27–31.
  21. ^ Gringeri-Brown, Michelle (Summer 2005). "The Flamingo in '53". Atomic Ranch (6): 34–37.
  22. ^ "Families Enjoy Family Picnic". Chicagoland Quaker. August 4, 1972.

External links[edit]