Nora Bayes was a very interesting entertainer. I remember first finding out about her when I was a child and watched "Yankee Doodle Dandy." She was the singer played by Frances Langford who sang "Over There" written by George M Cohan. Frances Langford entertained the troops during WWII and after with Bob Hope. Nora Bayes entertained the troops during WWI.
Nora Bayes was portrayed by Ann Sheridan in the movie, "Shine On, Harvest Moon," which song was also written by her husband, Jack Norworth. With Sheridan in the movie was the great Dennis Morgan and his best buddy, Jack Carson. The buddies teamed in several movies. Morgan portrayed Jack Norworth. This movie presented several songs by Norworth and others, songs popular in the early 20th century, although there were some songs written special for the movie.
"Over There" was not only recorded by Enrico Caruso, but also recorded by Billy Murray, another popular singer in the early 20th century. Murray, a baseball fan, had a version of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" recorded but it seems he didn't actually sing it.
Wanting to hear Nora Bayes's voice, I played the recording on her bio site, but it was a recording of Billy Murray and Ada Jones, she using an accent. Billy Murray worked with Ada Jones, who made several recordings, including of "Shine On, Harvest Moon." Her accent on one recording, but not on another, made me want to find out more about her. That's when I read about the "Yama Yama Man."
The title of that song was very familiar. Bessie McCoy's original rendition of it in a clown costume became popular and much imitated, including by Irene Castle and Ginger Rogers, who played Irene Castle in "The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle." In that biopic, Ginger Rogers, portraying a young Irene Foote, performs the "Yama Yama Man" imitating Bessie McCoy's performance. So, Ginger Rogers imitating Irene Foote imitating Bessie McCoy. That's the bizarre song and dance burned into my mind. This was popular? Must have been. I remember cringing as Fred Astaire's did portraying Vernon Castle reaction, trying to be polite and not have his brain hurt too much.
I wish I could watch more of those great old movies again. I have copies of the Astaire/Rogers movies. Don't subscribe to cable any more; hundreds of channels and only a couple worth watching. One of those worth watching is TCM, but no cable, no TCM. Netflix barely has a clue about old movies. Curious, I looked up Dennis Morgan. Nothing. Jack Carson? Nope. Ann Sheridan? "I Was a Male War Bride." That's the only one! These people made a lot of good movies. Where are they? Netflix supposedly has a huge film library, but you can only get them doled out, and not often. Very annoying to a film fan like me.