Marriage and HoneymoonJune 27, 2009
You know, it’s a real thrill to do these shows from New York. This is my home; I was born here. Of course, Gracie was born in San Francisco. It was really vaudeville that got us together.
I’ll never forget: I was playing the Gem Theatre in San Francisco and my name then was “Smiling Frankie Davis.” In smart songs and syncopated patterns. My opening number was: [singing] “The birds are sweetly singing / and the perfumed flowers are bringing / and the wind is blowing / I’m just passing by… by. [speaking again] I love to sing. And after my opening song I looked out in the audience and I saw Gracie sitting in the tenth row. This wasn’t hard to do: she was the only one left. So I leaned over the footlights and I thanked her for staying and she said, “Now you can do something for me: help me with my dress. It’s caught in the seat.”
I did and that night we had our first date. I was short on money so I went in to see the manager. I walked into his office and I said, “How do you do? I’m Smiling Frankie Davis. How did you like my act?” And he punched me right in the mouth. From then on I was known as “Plain Frankie Davis.”
Anyway three years later we were married in Cleveland. And, um, I’ll never forget, after giving the justice of the peace five dollars I asked Gracie… you know I only gave him two dollars. I still owe Gracie three dollers’ change. I asked Gracie where she’d like to spend her honeymoon. And she said, “I don’t know. Ask my sister Bessie where she’d like to go.”
So I had a talk with her. I explained to her that honeymoon was more fun if there were only two people. And I convinced her. And she and Bessie wrote to me from Niagra Falls every day. Well, I’m just kidding. I only got one letter.