Here are 10 things you should know about the immortal Irving Berlin, born 130 years ago today. The great Jerome Kern once said of Berlin, “Irving Berlin has no place in American music—he is American music,” and we couldn’t agree more. Perhaps no songwriter’s works are heard more often on Cladrite Radio.
The unforgettable James Cagney was born 117 years ago today on New York City’s Lower East Side. Here are ten JC Did-You-Knows:
- Cagney’s first show biz gig was as a female dancer in the chorus line of the 1919 Broadway revue, Every Sailor.
- Cagney was three-quarters Irish and one quarter Norwegian.
- Having grown up on the Lower East Side, Cagney was conversant in Yiddish.
- Cagney’s brother William (actor/producer) and sister Jeanne (actress) both worked in pictures, too.
- Cagney was a Black Belt in Judo.
- Cagney was married to wife Frances for 64 years.
- On March 26, 1984, Cagney was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
- Cagney and his wife, Frances, worked in vaudeville as “Vernon and Nye,” performing comedy routines and musical numbers.
- Cagney once operated a dance school for professional performers.
- Cagney’s first film, Sinner’s Holiday (1930), saw him and Joan Blondell reprising the roles they had played in Penny Arcade, the Broadway play on which the picture was based.
Happy birthday, James Cagney, wherever you may be!
The venerable Katz’s Deli on NYC’s Lower East Side is celebrating 125 years in operation. If you’ve not been there, you should go. End of discussion. Any spot whose motto is “Send a Salami to Your Boy in the Army”—offered with the notion that it rhymes, no less—deserves your patronage.