Phelps and Campbell

Blackface Comedians / 1900s

Cambridge Chronicle; October 12, 1901
"...Campbell and Phelps, blackface comedians and dancers..."

Variety - 1907 (Letters to the Editor)

" Marion, Ind., April 27

In your issue of April 20 we were surprised to find a letter by H. B. Campbell
which stated we were doing his act word for word, using all his "gags," etc.
He also says he was a schoolmate of Mr. Willing. Both statements are untruths.

Mr. Willing never went to school with Mr. Campbell, nor have we stolen anything
that belongs to him. Campbell says he "framed the act up" when he was working
with Verne Phelps, seven years ago. It happens Mr. Willing was Mr. Phelps' partner
just seven years ago, and Campbell joined Phelps after Phelps and Willing separated.
The act we are now doing wc put together about three years ago.

Part of the act Mr. Willing did with Phelps seven years ago, the rest we have
originated ourselves and claim the expression 'Oh-Man!' and not 'Ah! Man!' as
Campbell puts it. He says we stole his 'gags.' We don't use any 'gags' in our act
and depend entirely upon our negro dialect and mannerisms to bring us the success
we are now enjoying

. We do not know what kind of an act Mr. Campbell is doing with his new partner,
but we can truthfully say, if he is trying to do an act like ours, he stole it
from us. We trust readers of VARIETY will take Mr. Campbell's letter and compare
it with the facts we mention above. We are willing to leave it to their judgment.

Herbert and Willing.

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