Page 10 - Litteratteur Redefining World December issue
P. 10

Litterateur redefining world                      December 2020



                                     Jack Foley's Father
                                    John Harold Aloysius
                                  ("Jack") Foley: 1895-1967.






                                              Jack Foley about  his father



                   Publicity photo of  young        "you  could  go  ahead  and  smoke."  (I'm  sure  he
             John Harold Aloysius,Jack Foley's Father
                         (on the left).             eventually  discovered  the  meaning  of  the  term:  he
                                                    lived  through  "Prohibition.")  He  also  told  me  of
            This team may have been Foley and Girard.
                                                    being  with  the  songwriter,  Jimmy  McHugh.  They
                                                    were  passing  the  poetry  section  of  a  library  when
                                                    McHugh  turned  to  my  father  and,  pointing  to  the
                                                    section, said, "Jack, it's all in there." In general my
                                                    father  didn't  tell  stories  about  our  family.    He  told
                                                    stories  about  his  friends  in  show  business.  Later  I
                                                    realized  that  the  friends  were  almost  always--
                                                    perhaps always--Irish. The people he knew in show
                                                    business became his real family. He married one of
                                                    them -Laura, one of the dancing Wood Sisters.


                                                    My father left show business when vaudeville, which
                                                    was  his  primary  bread  and  butter,  gave  way  to  the

                                                    movies  and  died.  In  addition,  his  great  mentor  and
                                                    occasional employer, George M. Cohan, lost interest
                                                    in  musicals  and  made  an  ill-fated  attempt  to
                                                    establish  himself  as  a  "straight"  playwright.  My
                                                    father  opened  a  dance  studio.  He  received  a
                                                    telegram  from  Cohan  wishing  him  luck  and
                                                    tendering  "kindest  personal  regards."  The  venture
                                                    failed. He turned to Postal Union- where he had



             worked  as  a  telegrapher  during  the  summers- and  then  to  Western  Union,  which
             eventually made him manager of the Port Chester branch. He claimed that the sound of
             the  telegraph  key  reminded  him  of  tap  dancing.  Recently  I  came  upon  a  clipping,  a
             review of one of his performances it refers to him as a "great" dancer. Since childhood
             I  have  collected  recordings  of  vaudevillians:  Cohan,  Harry  Lauder,  Nora  Bayes  and
             Jack  Norworth,  Gallagher  and  Shean,  many  others.  All  these  recordings  bring  me
             closer to my father, whose performing days were long past when I knew him.











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