Showman Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr. Was Born
A charming French-born actress named Anna
Held suggested the idea for the Ziegfeld Follies. Held inspired
Ziegfeld to create a musical revue like the ones she had seen in
Paris, featuring pretty chorus girls, chic costumes, and comedy.
Why not? American girls were "the most beautiful girls in the
world," she said. In New York, Ziegfeld produced the first of
the spectacular Follies, the Follies of 1907, starring--who
other than?-- Anna Held. It was a hit! The popular Follies
continued, updated each year until the Great Depression. Here's
a hit from the Follies of 1913.
The Great Sandow, a
23-year old muscle man, performed with only moderate success in
New York, until Ziegfeld became his manager. He whisked the
young man off to the World's Columbian Exposition (a world's
fair) in 1893 and created a sensation by inviting members of
Chicago's high society backstage to touch Sandow's mighty
muscles. Revenues soared. Ziegfeld's great triumph, the Follies,
came soon after.
Anna Held became one of the first big
"stars," of the era, thanks to Ziegfeld's great publicity.
Ziegfeld went on to create other stars like Will Rogers and, in
1927, produced the musical Show Boat. Some of the traditions of
Ziegfeld and the vaudeville era are still alive in theater
today. Have you seen or been in a musical revue or a musical?
Ask your family if they have heard of the Ziegfeld Follies. They
might enjoy listening with you to this tune from The Follies of