VAUDEVILLE: Blondie v. Blackie

It was one of the strangest union meetings to be found anywhere. Ranged on one side of a bitter leadership battle was a fading movie actress supported by her floor leader and lieutenant, a goateed mind reader. On the opposite side was a former nightclub pitchman supported by fire-eaters, sword-swallowers and comics. As a flock of Washington reporters perched outside the Pall Mall Room of the Hotel Raleigh, the annual meeting of the American Guild of Variety Artists grew as raucous as anything that ever happened on a carny midway.

At real and serious...

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