Ziegfeld Follies, 1931

In 1931 Ruth Etting appeared in the very last Follies, which opened at the Ziegfeld Theater on July 1, 1931, and ran through November 21 before heading out on tour, for a total of 164 performances on Broadway.

Ruth Etting revived a song Nora Bayes made famous in The Follies of 1918, Shine On, Harvest Moon. It became one of her biggest hits, and is so closely associated with Ruth Etting, that her recording is considered the definitive version of this standard. In fact, she ended up recording the song again for the film, California Weather in 1933. She also sang another standard, You Made Me Love You and while dressed as a Cigarette Girl, sang Cigarettes, Cigars.

Jack Pearl, Ruth Etting, Helen Morgan and Harry Richmond.“The Etting-Ziegfeld collaboration ran its course with the Follies of 1931, staged shortly before the great producers death, and featuring Etting’s stunning performances of Shine On, Harvest Moon, the Nora Bayes hit of some two decades earlier.” — Let Me Call You Sweetheart, Take Two Records, 1987

The 1931 Follies also starred another very well-known torch singer – Helen Morgan, who sang Noel Coward’s Half-Caste Woman.

Ruth Etting is often called the Queen of the Torch singers, but both Etting and Morgan were considered the top torch singers in their day. Morgan originated the role of Julie La Verne in the original production of Florenz Ziegfeld and Jerome Kern’s Show Boat in 1927, and recorded many of the same songs as Etting, including Mean To Me and Body And Soul. Only Fanny Brice came close in popularity. Brice had introduced a French torch song, My Man, in the 1921 edition of the Follies, and is largely credited with bringing the torch song to America.

Since the torch song was brought to America by the Ziegfeld Follies, it seems only fitting that the two top torch singers, Etting and Morgan, starred together in the very last Follies. They were joined by Jack Pearl, Harry Richmond, Gladys Glad, Dorothy Dell, and tap dancers Hal LeRoy and Mitzi Mayfair. The chorus of dancers, singers, and specialty performers was huge – perhaps the largest cast for any of the Follies. Ziegfeld went out with a bang!

Ziegfeld Follies, 1931

Ziegfeld Follies of 1931 - theatre programZiegfeld Follies, 1931
Ziegfeld Theater, 6th Avenue at 54th Street, New York, NY.
Opened July 1, 1931, ran for 164 performances
Produced by Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr.
Directed by Edward C. Lilley
Musical Director: Oscar Bradley
Music orchestrated by Maurice De Packh, Will Vodery, Howard Jackson and Joe Jordan
Staged by Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr. and Gene Buck
Dialogue staged by Edward Clarke Lilley
Dances staged by Bobby Connolly and Albertina Rasch
Scenic Design by Joseph Urban
Costume Design by John Harkrider

Cast:
A. Samish
Albert Carroll
Albertina Rasch Dancers
Alice Burrage
Anne Lee Patterson
Arthur Campbell
Barbara Smith
Bernice Roberts
Betty Dumbris
Betty Real
Billie Cortez
Billie Seward
Billy Hughes
Blanche Satchel
Blanche Satchell
Boots Mallory
Buck & Bubbles
Caja Eric
Cassie Hanley
Catherine Clark
Christine Maple
Clayton Estes
Cliff Hall
Conrad Sparin
David Drollet
Dennis McCurtin
Dorissa Nelova
Dorothy Dell
Dorothy Dodge
Dorothy Flood
Earl Oxford
Eileen Wenzel
Emmita Casanova
Ernest McChesney
Ethel Borden
Eunice Holmes
Faith Bacon
Frank Britton
Frank Lang
Frank McCormack
Frieda Mierse
Gene Gory
George Lamar
Georgia Ellis
Gladys Glad
Gordon Carper
Grace Moore
Hal Le Roy
Harry Richman
Helen Carson
Helen Hannan
Helen Morgan
Helen Walsh
Herschel Martin
Iris Adrian
Jack Arthur
Jack Bruns
Jack Pearl
Jean Audree
Jean Howard
Jim Moore
Joan Burgess
John Daly Murphy
John Gurney
John W. Bubbles
Joseph Toner
Katherine Burke
Kay English
Lena Thomas
Leonard Stokes
Lorelle McCarver
Marguerite Durand
Marguerite Eisele
Marie Stevens
Marjorie Levoe
Marjorie McLaughlin
Mary Alice Rice
Mildred Borst
Milt Britton
Milton Le Roy
Mitzi Mayfair
Netta Deuschateau
Olive McLay
Pat O’Day
Paul Gursdorff
Pearl Harris
Robert Baldwin
Robert Walker
Robert White
Rosa Fromson
Rose Gale
Russell Johns
Ruth Etting
Ruth Patterson
Sunny Trowbridge
The Collette Sisters
Thomas Arace
Tito
Tom Kendall
Vera Milton
Virginia Bethel
Virginia Biddle
Vivian Porter
William Royal
Yvonne Grey

Gladys Glad, Jack Pearl, Ruth Etting, Helen Morgan, Harry Richman and Dorothy Dell.
Gladys Glad, Jack Pearl, Ruth Etting, Helen Morgan, Harry Richman and Dorothy Dell.

More Promotional Photos from the Ziegfeld Follies or 1931
Ruth Etting Promo Photo


The Albertina Rasch Dancers in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1931.


Florenz Ziegfeld posing with the Follies Girls at a rehearsal in 1931.

7 Responses to Ziegfeld Follies, 1931

  1. Pingback: RuthEtting.com | Vargas and the Ziegfeld Follies

  2. Kathy Donohue says:

    Hi,

    My Great Aunt, Clara Blackath, was in the Ziegfeld Follies, we have pictures of her. At work & elseware. It was before school for me, so she gave me music lessons. She and I were both first sprano’s. She said she wanted to see John McCormack. I went to his home in Ireland, and sang ‘I Hear You Calling Me’ with his grand son. What a nice lad God love him. There is no mention of my Great Aunt at all, this thing keeps getting lager and smaller and I have epilepsy 10 to1 I ‘ll have a seizure ,her name was Clara Blackath.

    God Bless,

    Kathy Donohue

  3. Valerie B. Kaiser, MD says:

    This website is a lie. I intend to reprint it in the Huffinton Post, along with the IBDB, who FORGOT to put MS Etting’s so called contribution on her own page! I know how to prove that Joseph Toner sang You Made Me Love You, and I have 4 YEARS of its being so said by the IBDB.

  4. Kathy, good luck in finding more info on your great-aunt!

    Valerie, it’s entirely possible that someone else also sang “You Made Me Love You” in this version of the Follies. Oftentimes they would reprise a song later in the show, with different singers. And sometimes there would be cast changes, and someone new might do a song previously sung by someone else. Lots of different possible scenarios! As for contacting the Huffington Post, I would love a mention there, so if you can make it happen, great!

  5. Ned Hastings, GA says:

    I found a wonderful photo of Clara Blackath that was taken by Alfred Cheney Johnston. It’s a profile angle of her with a Russian Wolfhound. Here’s the site where I found her identification: http://www.doctormacro.com/Movie%20Star%20Pages/Ziegfeld%20Girls/Ziegfeld%20Girls.htm

  6. Diane Walker says:

    My great aunt is Clara Blackath who was in the Ziegfield follies put the picture with the russian wolfhound does not look like her. My aunt was engaged to Bing Crosby but broke it off to come home when her father became ill.

  7. Pingback: RuthEtting.com | Ziegfeld Follies of 1931, by Nell Brinkley

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