True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young. Page: 56
66 TRUE STORIES OF OLD
ton. It was located on the corner of Main and Prairie, upstairs,
and was crowded every night.
The Academy proved so great a financial success that Ed
began to get the big head and spoke of himself as an "impressario."
He had looked the word up in a dictionary and, liking
its sound, had adopted it. There was a very large lady, inclined
to what the French call embonpoint, who could sing "Molly
Darling," "Don't You Love Me Darling?" and songs of that
description in the most entrancing way. She had a complete
name, of course, but all the young fellows knew her as "Miss
Joe" and spoke of her in that way so often that her last name
finally became lost in the shuffle. Ed was never guilty of falling
into the popular way of the boys, but always referred to
Miss Joe as the "Charming Cantatrice." After his show got to
making lots of money he grew more ambitious and spoke of
Thuse Donneland, the fiddler, and Charley Finkelman, the piano
player, as "virtuosos." His chorus girls, by the same reasoning,
became "artistes." '
Ed had one man in his company who afterward became famous
as a negro delineator. That was Milt Barlow, the creator
of "Old Black Joe." The song was introduced in Houston by
Barlow and he afterward became famous through that one song
But I did not start out to write anything about Ed and his
Academy of Music. Mention of him is only incidental. What
I wanted to say was that right after the war there were a lot
of fellows in Houston who had the "initiative" and who had
the promoter talent well developed. They would promote anything
from a cock-fight to grand opera. About that time the
father of a young gentleman well known in Houston died and
left him a pot of ready money. The young man at once began
looking around for something to promote. He tried a cockfight,
with only partially satisfactory results. Then he staged
a crazy, stage-struck fellow who gave one of the most outrageously
ridiculous performances ever witnessed. The absurdity of
the whole thing advertised it extensively and a repetition was
demanded by the public. I nor any one else who witnessed it will
ever forget it. The opera house (Perkins Hall) was crowded
from gallery to pit with a male audience at $1 per. From a
financial point it was a grand success and before the close of
the performance everybody there felt that he had his full dollar's
worth. It was a oneman show. The curtain rose to slow
music and the great actor entered. He was going to give a
Shakespearean reading. He came on the stage in a tight-fitting
union suit which fitted him as though he had been melted and
poured into it. He wore high laced shoes and had an immense
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Young, Samuel Oliver. True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young., book, 1913; Galveston, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth24646/m1/56/ocr/: accessed September 27, 2016), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .