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Lives in the Yiddish Theatre

cir 1920
Peoria, Illinois

Harry Jordan in Peoria

Here are bits of information and some anecdotes as told by Harry Jordan to his family:

> Harry Jordan went into theatre at the age of seventeen (cir 1912) with Joe Grossman who later became the company manager of a Yiddish theatre and after that managed Broadway shows.

> Harry played at the Hopkinson Theatre in Brownsville, Brooklyn in 1931.

> One show that Harry was in was called "Ruchel's Children," performed in Detroit (b. 1935-45). This show starred Lucy and Misha German, both well-known in the Yiddish theatre and excellent performers.

> Harry was still dabbling in the theatre cir 1947. One morning Michael Michelesko came to the door and said that one of the actors had an appendicitis attack, and they needed Harry to come to a rehearsal so he could play the matinee that afternoon. He did the show.

> Harry played with Samuel Goldenberg in "Green Fields."

> An aristocrat from Europe was all dressed up in tails with a sash across his chest. He had a cigarette in a holder, but had nothing to light it with except a kitchen match. He started to panic and the prompter whispered, "In she-ech" (shoe), so he lit the match on his shoe and the house came down.

> One actress in a scene was busily straightening up the house--she was very busy, her hands flying here and there, tidying up--hardly paying any attention to the star when he came on. He got so mad at her, he said in Yiddish, "I see you're very busy. I'll come back another time." And he left the stage!

> In Detroit, Herschel Bernardi worked with his brother Jack (who Harry and his wife Mary knew very well) and their mother Helen Bernardi.

> One night, Mary was talking with her daughter about nightgowns and told her this story about the Yiddish theatre. Faigi Bernardi, sister of Jack and Herschel Bernardi, was going to marry a man by the name of Charlie Haberman. Some of the "girls" had a shower for her up at "old lady Haberman's house on Blaine." Dorothy (Baldwin) and Dinah (Bialak) were there as well. The girls gave her a black nightgown as a gift. Then one night in the theatre, there was a wedding scene on stage, as there often was in Yiddish plays. Faigi came out on stage dressed in the nightgown as if it were an evening gown. All the girls who knew, laughed!

>On 12th Street in Detroit toward Clairmont, there was a restaurant called "The Russian Bear." It was where all the stores were. Harry and Mary would go there after the theatre; it was a wonderful place. Of course, Russian food could be ordered; there was dancing too. Jewish people from the theatre would go there frequently
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