The actual birth date of that great vaudevillian Eddie Cantor is not definitively known. Although he is more or less known to have been born in 1892, some sources place his birth on January 31, and others sometime in September. Since I don’t know his real birthday any more than any other living person, I’ll just have to post my tributes to ol’ Banjo Eyes on both occasions, starting now with one of his most famous songs.
Whenever he may have been born, Eddie Cantor grew up as Edward Israel “Izzy” Itzkowitz in New York City at the turn of the century. After his parents died when he was a small child, the young Edward was raised by his dearly beloved grandmother, Esther Kantrowitz, from whom he got the name Cantor. He started his career in show business in the late 1910s, and in 1917, Eddie Cantor signed a contract to appear in Flo Ziegfeld’s Follies, which thrust into fame, and made him into one of the only vaudevillians that could rival Al Jolson. Throughout his career of more than fifty years, Cantor accomplished more than could fit on this page, including his well-remembered association with the March of Dimes, a name which he coined (pun intended) for the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis. Cantor died October 10, 1964, two years after passing of his wife Ida.
Victor 21831 was recorded December 18, 1928 at New York City’s Liederkranz Hall by Eddie Cantor, accompanied by Nat Shilkret and the Victor Orchestra. He sings two songs that he originally introduced in Ziegfeld’s musical Whoopee.
The first song on this disc is probably Cantor’s most famous song, Gus Kahn and Walter Donaldson’s “Makin’ Whoopee”.
On the reverse, Cantor bemoans his woes of wooing the women on Jack Yellen and Milton Ager’s “Hungry Women”.