Thursday, August 27, 2015

A Note on the Samuel Goldman Papers and The Authorship of "Slowly I Turned"


Samuel Goldman has been cited in articles as a potential originator of the famous "Slowly I Turned" burlesque routine.  Goldman's authorship of the routine is based solely on an undated, handwritten script included in papers donated by Goldman's wife to the University of Chicago. 

The script is by no means proof that Goldman created the routine.  Actors and producers in vaudeville and burlesque were required to know stock routines.  They couldn't commit all of the dialogue and stage business to memory, which meant that they had to keep a written record of the routines.  Since these routines were not published, an actor had to create his own personal transcripts.  A classical actor will maintain a complete library of Shakespeare's plays so that he can be prepared to perform any of these plays when the occasion arises.  But the fact that an actor has a copy of "Hamlet" in his personal effects does not mean that the actor wrote "Hamlet."  By all indication, Goldman had an undistinguished career in the theatre.  This is Goldman's obituary as it appeared in Billboard on May 19, 1945.

I can find no record that Goldman ever appeared in the Broadway productions of “Cocoanuts” and “Animal Crackers.”  The truth is that I can find nothing on Goldman in my usual research sources.

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