Marriage and Honeymoon

June 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.

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