NATIONAL ZIEGFELD FOLLIES DAY!
Inspired by Paris’ Follies Bergere, showman Florence Ziegfeld conceived and produced lavish revues featuring dozens of beautiful dancers and chorus girls (the legendary Ziegfeld Girls), and featuring the top comic and musical talent of the day, a great many of whom went on to showbiz immortality in movies, nightclubs or the theater.
His costumes were designed by the leading clothiers of the day, also household names. Ziegfeld’s Follies considered itself a higher class entertainment than its Vaudeville competition, and offered more variety (and a lot more T&A) than the musicals of George M. Cohan, Broadway’s other titan at the turn of the last century. Ziegfeld’s stage shows defined visual opulence, so it’s a testament to the power of imagination that Ziegfeld Follies On The Air was such a big radio hit.
When Ziegfeld died in 1932, his widow, actress Billie Burke (Glinda the Good Witch in “The Wizard of Oz”) licensed the Ziegfeld name to future legendary Broadway producer, Jacob Shubert, who produced the Follies for its final 5 years.
Here’s a partial list of the performers who starred in the Ziegfeld Follies: W. C. Fields, Eddie Cantor, Josephine Baker, Fanny Brice, Ann Pennington, Bert Williams, Eva Tanguay, Bob Hope, Will Rogers, Ruth Etting, Ray Bolger, Helen Morgan, Louise Brooks, Marilyn Miller, Ed Wynn, Gilda Gray, Nora Bayes, Sophie Tucker, and a cast of thousands of leggy starlets, all high-kicking in unison in the Great Theater in The Sky.
•Suggested Activities: Playing Stage Door Johnny and Gaiety Girl.