Harry and Mary Jordan

 

 

Harry Jordan with wife Mary (left), her sister Ida Honig (right), also an actress who lived and performed in New York.
Here they are taking a break during a performance at the Littman's People's Theatre in Detroit, Michigan.
mid to late 1930s

 

Mary Jordan (nee Hoffman) was also in the theatre. Here are some of Mary's recollections:

Rose Glassman had rushed over to Mary's mother's house on Blaine one day to say that they needed chorus girls at the Yiddish theatre. Mary and her sister Ida went, and their father Sam (Solomon) Hoffman had a fit. It was 1932 and Mary was right out of high school. They got $1.50 a performance!

The actor Michal Michalesko was gorgeous! People hung around to see the actors after the show. Michal was a leading man, or the love interest in a play. Celia Pearson was a "glamour girl." In one play she was going to marry Michal. He was blamed for killing someone. She was pregnant by him, but he was in jail. She was ready to marry another man, but at the last minute Michal is freed from jail upon being found innocent. She tells him, "We have a child." In Yiddish she means to tell him that the child is in an orphanage, but she got the words mixed up and mistakenly said, "He's in an old folks' home." There was a moment of silence as the audience digested these words!

Aaron Lebedeff, who came from New York, another well-known actor and entertainer, always had a carnation in lapel and his nails were always manicured. He always played the lead role for an older gentleman. Another man would play the "love interest." Lebedeff used to go to Mount Clemens for the baths. He brought a butler who cared for him. He came ailing and left feeling wonderful.

Mary reminisced how when she and Harry were first married they lived on $7.50 a week. They would entertain every Sunday. Actors from the Yiddish theatre or people from Crawford Clothes where Harry worked, came for dinner. Harry was thrilled to invite all the people for dinner. Mary made all the food from scratch, e.g. borscht.

Around 1940 or so Harry and Mary entertained every night on next to nothing. They bought cakes because you couldn't bake in the apartment's unreliable oven. People used to come over all the time. They enjoyed the most simple pastimes. The streetcar cost six cents and a transfer cost a penny. Their apartment on Pingree was thirty-five dollars a month. The actors from New York who came to call thought Harry and Mary were millionaires because they had grass and trees.

 

 


 



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