Sixty-five years old, but still alert? My goodness! That was, perhaps, a more impressive state in 1906 when the following article in the Skidmore New Era announced a coming attraction featuring “one of the oldest living comedians on the American stage today.”
From the Skidmore New Era, January 4, 1906, page 1:
Billy and Ella Marble are Coming.
The Veteran Actor is Now Sixty-Five Years Old, But Still Alert
There is an actor with Pilgrim & Elliot’s “For Her Sake” Company, who has the distinction of being one of the oldest living comedians on the American stage today. This is no less a personage than Billy Marble, whom thousands of people like to remember as “Dear old Uncle Billy.” Mr. Marble is 65 years of age, and was, figuratively speaking, born on the stage. He comes of a family genealogy as far back as it can be traced stamps them as actors of the highest type.
Twenty years ago “Billy Marble” was a household word in the central West every year for twenty-five years. “Billy Marble” and his excellent players were billed to appear just as regularly as a circus. During his career, Mr. Marble has been associated with such notable players as Joseph Jefferson, W. J. Florence, Denman Thompson, Maggie Mitchell and numerous others. He has put scores of actors in the business who stand to-day on the upper rung of the ladder of success.
Mrs. Ella Marble, his wife, who is playing Princess Walanoff in “For Her Sake” is an actress of sterling quality, and has always been a useful helpmate to the veteran actor.
“Uncle Billy” will play the part of General Gruffoff, a Russian General, the part he has been playing in “For Her Sake” for the past five seasons and has made the success of his long career.
“For Her Sake” will be presented at the opera house, Thursday evening, January 18, 1906.
How could one resist, really? Elsewhere on page 1, the paper promised not just “Uncle Billy,” but much, much more:
Come and See This.
Russian nobles, soldiers, serfs, members of the secret police and task masters in the Russian mines, together with a number of political convicts, will throng the stage at Opera House, Thursday evening, January 18, 1906.
One of The Best
In the company presenting the Russian melodrama, “For Her Sake,” which will be seen at the Opera House on Thursday evening, January 18, 1906 promises to be the dramatic treat of the season. Wherever it has been presented the press and public generally voice but one opinion: “It is much the best Russian play yet written.” The fact that every stitch of scenery used in its presentation is carried, the costuming is correct, and the company a very capable one, all tend to make it one of the most satisfactory productions of the present season.”