Thursday, August 26, 2021

Mont Mettie Munger Vaudevillian


     I have touched on my maternal grand uncle's (through marriage) time on stage, singing and dancing in vaudeville shows.   Curiosity and fascination with the subject have driven me down the proverbial rabbit hole looking for additional vaudeville information.   Subscribing to the historical newspaper option through ancestry has given me the material I needed.  

     I have covered Mont's family life with his parents, wife and children.  Also his two composed, copywritten songs and his book, Song of Heaven in other blogs.  This one focuses on his vaudeville year from June 1907 to June 1908.

     To date I have no known knowledge as to whether Mont sang in the school or church choir, played an instrument in the school or town band or entertained his family, friends or schoolmates with singing and dancing.  At age twenty-two he made the decision to go on the vaudeville circuit, first as a solo act and then joining Charles Hasty's Vaudeville Company for several months.  I have culled the information from various newspaper articles and The Billboard.  I had hoped to add a photo of each theater; however, have not been too successful.  The venues have either burned down or have been renamed.  

     I have mentioned this story my mother told me in a previous blog.  Back in the 1930's, the Stark family would gather at Mom's Aunt Dorothy's apartment and Uncle Mont would entertain singing and running is fingers up and down the player piano while a piano roll was playing.  As a kid, she thought this to be hilarious.  Little did she know Mont WAS an entertainer when he was 22 and 23.

     This is probably a slim outline of Mont's vaudeville career.  He undoubtedly performed in many other venues and most weeks during the year.  This is what I was able to find researching in newspapers and on line.


The Elwood Daily Record, Elwood, Indiana

     Mont Mettie Munger, performing high class singing and dancing at the Crystal Theatre, June 20, 21 and 22, 1907.

The Republic, Columbus, Indiana
July 24, 1907

The Orpheum--A New Bill
     The new bill at The Orpheum tonight will contain some good things.  Mont Mettie Munger, a refined singer and dancer, will be one of the big drawing cards.

The Republic, Columbus, Indiana
June 26, 1907

Identified as The Orpheum Theatre in Columbus, Indiana
Opened as a vaudeville theater on September 3, 1906

     Mont Munger, high class vocalist, performing at The Orpheum Theatre, Columbus, Indiana on June 24, 25 and 26, 1907.

The Billboard
Volume XIX, Number 27
July 6, 1907

Identified as the Opera House in Shelbyville, Indiana
Name changed to The Alhambra

     Mont M. Munger appearing at the City Opera House in Shelbyville, Indiana on July 13, 1907.

     This is the last article I found Mont appearing on his own without a company.  He joined Charles Hasty's Vaudeville Company sometime in July or August, 1907.

The Call Leader
Elwood, Indiana
August 15, 1907

     This article outlines Charles Hasty's vision for his vaudeville company and the first performance at the Crystal Theatre began on August 26, 1907.  Mont Mettie Munger was a featured act.

The Call-Leader, Elwood, Indiana
August 27, 1907

     "The company consists of the following well known vaudeville artists......Mont Munger, he phenomenal baritone singer, comedian and dancer....."

"The novelty number of the bill is the great sermon song, Pictures From the Book of Life, introduced by Mont Munger, the famous baritone.  A complete set of scenery and effects is carried especially for this allegorical production.  Nothing like it ever seen in vaudeville or elsewhere, before.  It is positively new and original."

The Call-Leader, Elwood, Indiana
August 27, 1907

The Call-Leader
Elwood, Indiana
August 28, 1907

     "......and Mont Munger sings Hasty's original song creation, Pictures From the Book or Life, with great success."

The Reporter-Times
Martinsville, Indiana
September 6, 1907
     Mont Munger in Charlie Hasty's all feature vaudeville company appearing at the Star Theatre in Martinsville, Indiana all week, Friday, September 6-Friday, September 13, 1907.

Elkhart Daily Review
Elkhart, Indiana
September 14, 1907

     Mont M. Munger at the Crystal Vaudeville Theatre the week of September 15-September 10, 1907.  Mont continues to be a member of Charles Hasty's company.  Although the internet only provided this small clip of the newspaper article, "Southern Reminscence's" was one of the mentioned acts in another newspaper article.

     There is almost a month and a half from September 10- November 4, 1907, where I was unable to find any mention of Mont and vaudeville.  Perhaps he took a break from the circuit.  Perhaps he left the Hasty Company and was reestablishing himself as a single act.  The next newspaper mention of him is as an act; however, not with the Hasty Company.

The Chattanooga News
Chattanooga, Tennessee
November 4, 1907
page 3

     Mont M. Munger appearing at Automatic Vaudeville in Chattanooga, Tennessee from Monday, November 4-Thursday November 7, 1907, two shows daily.  Mont Munger a cleaver singing and dancing comedian who is real funny.

Pensacola News Journal
Pensacola, Florida
December 15, 1907

     Mont M. Munger, singing and dancing comedian, appearing at the Crescent Theater in Pensacola, Florida, December 15, 1907.

     This is the last article I was able to locate for 1907.  The newspaper subscription from ancestry does not cover all papers in the US; however, it does have a large selection and a good search engine.  Mont could have been performing in small towns, their newspapers not in my subscription or he may have been off the circuit and looking for a more permanent full time job.

     There are two additional shows in 1908 in which he has an act,  both in Ohio.   He is slowly moving east from his mother's home in Frankfort, Indiana to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he will spend the remainder of his life.  

Dayton Herald
Dayton, Ohio
April 2, 1908

     Mr. Mont Mettie Munger, trinier, singing and dancing artist, appearing April 2, 3 and 4 at the Pastime Theatre in Dayton, Ohio

Mansfield, Ohio
June 16, 1908
page 10

     Mont M. Munger, refined singing and dancing performed at the Alvin in Mansfield, Ohio June 15, 16 and 17, 1908.

     Mont made his way to Pittsburgh and in October, 1908, he married my maternal grandaunt, Lucy Wilma Stark.  How and where they met is a story that is lost to the ages.  By 1909, Mont was employed in Pittsburgh as a stenographer.  His vaudeville days were behind him.

Additional Blogs on Flipside for Mont Mettie Munger:

 Mont Mettie Munger and Lucy Wilma Stark Munger

Mont Mettie Munger--Writer, Composer, Musician and Vaudevillian

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