Van and Schenck
Van and Schenck were popular United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 entertainers in the 1910s and 1920s: Gus Van (born August Von Glahn, August 12, 1886 – March 12, 1968), baritone
Baritone is a type of male singing voice that lies between the bass and tenor voices. It is the most common male voice. Originally from the Greek , meaning deep sounding, music for this voice is typically written in the range from the second F below middle C to the F above middle C Baritone (or...

 and Joe Schenck , tenor
The tenor is a type of male singing voice and is the highest male voice within the modal register. The typical tenor voice lies between C3, the C one octave below middle C, to the A above middle C in choral music, and up to high C in solo work. The low extreme for tenors is roughly B2...

. They were vaudeville
Vaudeville was a theatrical genre of variety entertainment in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s. Each performance was made up of a series of separate, unrelated acts grouped together on a common bill...

 stars and made appearances in the Ziegfeld Follies
Ziegfeld Follies
The Ziegfeld Follies were a series of elaborate theatrical productions on Broadway in New York City from 1907 through 1931. They became a radio program in 1932 and 1936 as The Ziegfeld Follies of the Air....

 of 1918, 1919, 1920 and 1921. They made numerous phonograph records
Gramophone record
A gramophone record, commonly known as a phonograph record , vinyl record , or colloquially, a record, is an analog sound storage medium consisting of a flat disc with an inscribed, modulated spiral groove...

 for the Emerson
Emerson Records
Emerson Records was a record label active in the United States between 1916 to 1928. Emerson Records produced between the 1910s and early 1920s offered generally above average audio fidelity for the era, pressed in high quality shellac. The fidelity of the later issues compares less...

, Victor
Victor Talking Machine Company
The Victor Talking Machine Company was an American corporation, the leading American producer of phonographs and phonograph records and one of the leading phonograph companies in the world at the time. It was headquartered in Camden, New Jersey....

, and Columbia
Columbia Records
Columbia Records is an American record label, owned by Japan's Sony Music Entertainment, operating under the Columbia Music Group with Aware Records. It was founded in 1888, evolving from an earlier enterprise, the American Graphophone Company — successor to the Volta Graphophone Company...

 record companies.

With Schenck on piano, the duo sang and performed comedy
Comedy , as a popular meaning, is any humorous discourse or work generally intended to amuse by creating laughter, especially in television, film, and stand-up comedy. This must be carefully distinguished from its academic definition, namely the comic theatre, whose Western origins are found in...

 routines. Van was especially adept at dialect humor, and could imitate any number of regional and continental accents. One of the team's typical novelty hits was Pastafazoola
Pastafazoola is a 1927 novelty song written by the early 20th century American songwriting duo of Van and Schenck...

in praise of Italian food and sung in the appropriate style. Van's hearty baritone and Schenck's high tenor harmonized well, and the team became known as "the pennant-winning battery of songland." They performed on radio
Radio is the transmission of signals through free space by modulation of electromagnetic waves with frequencies below those of visible light. Electromagnetic radiation travels by means of oscillating electromagnetic fields that pass through the air and the vacuum of space...

 shows and appeared in early talking motion pictures, including several musical shorts—in both Vitaphone
Vitaphone was a sound film process used on feature films and nearly 1,000 short subjects produced by Warner Bros. and its sister studio First National from 1926 to 1930. Vitaphone was the last, but most successful, of the sound-on-disc processes...

 and MGM Movietone
Movietone sound system
The Movietone sound system is a sound-on-film method of recording sound for motion pictures that guarantees synchronization between sound and picture. It achieves this by recording the sound as a variable-density optical track on the same strip of film that records the pictures...

—and one feature, the MGM film They Learned About Women
They Learned About Women
They Learned About Women is a 1930 American black and white sports drama musical film. Though this film is a "talkie", MGM also issued this movie in a silent version, with Alfred Block writing the titles. The film was remade in 1949 as Take Me Out to the Ball Game...


During the first world war, they recorded humorous songs such as "I Don't Want to Get Well" which told the tale of a wounded soldier who did not want to recover, as he was comfortable in hospital and in love with a nurse.

After Schenck's death, Van continued to perform as a solo artist on stage, screen, and radio. He appeared in many New York-produced Soundies
Soundies were an early version of the music video: three-minute musical films, produced in New York City, Chicago, and Hollywood between 1940 and 1946, often including short dance sequences. The completed Soundies were generally released within a few months of their filming; the last group was...

 in 1941. Schenck was buried in The Cemetery of the Evergreens in Brooklyn.

External links

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