Billy Emerson

minstrel / late 1800s




Billy Emerson


Tony Pastor, Father of Vaudeville by Armond Fields (pg.59):

"Billy Emerson, soon to become a minstrel headliner and manager of his own company,
{note: Emerson's California Mintrels: San Francisco, 1870s-80s}
pleased the crowd with his "Negroisms..."


The Cambridge Guide to American Theatre by Don B. Wilmeth, Tice L. Miller (pg. 391):

"The American language was enriched by vaudeville slang: a success was a 'wow,' a 'panic,' or a 'riot;'
a failure was a 'flop,' 'all wet,' or 'you're all washed up...' The minstrel Billy Emerson's 'hoofer'
for dancer became popular, along with the injunction 'Strut your stuff' and "Shuffle off to Buffalo."


The Green Book Magazine, Volume 2 (1909):

"Considering the high estemm in which some of these old-time stars were held, it sees only fitting to say
that such men as Billy Emerson and Billy Rice, who at one time had the public at their feet, should die without
a cent in their pockets or a friend to cheer them in their last moments. Nevertheless, such was their fate."


  • Union Square Theatre (1895)


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