Leon Errol at right with (fellow Australian-born) Joe Kirkwood Junior at left. Publicity photo for Monogram Pictures’ Gentleman Joe Palooka (1946). By 1946, both men had long since made the USA their home. Author’s Collection. [*Balmain is a well known inner suburb of Sydney]
The Five Second version
Sydney born Leon Errol is remembered today for his comedy work in US films – leading roles in shorts for RKO and supporting roles in features such as the Mexican Spitfire and Joe Palooka series. However he really should be celebrated as a pioneer of the stage. Born in 1881 and arriving in the US in about 1903, in a remarkably busy career he built a reputation in the US as a popular and successful stage comedian, singer, dancer, writer and director. His big breakthrough was a teaming with African-American comedian Bert Williams in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1911 and he continued to appear on the stage until the late 1920s. His two decades of success on Broadway was such (he was in the Ziegfeld Follies for five years) that he convinced his parents and siblings to move permanently to the US in 1913. He moved to Hollywood in about 1930 and appeared in films until his death in 1951.
Unfortunately much that has been written about Leon Errol is plainly incorrect – especially that which recounts the first thirty years of his life. It seems that while talented and hard working, he learned much of what he knew on stage in the US – there was no hidden Australian career. The retelling of his early career is hardly surprising, when we consider this narrative partly dates from the golden age of Hollywood. This was an era when Anglo-Indian Merle Oberon was said to be Tasmanian, and Tasmanian Errol Flynn was usually described as Irish.
(This article does not list all of Leon Errol’s many films, but links to some that are online can be found in the references)
Leon Errol remembers Sydney
Sometime in 1918, 37 year old Broadway star Leon Errol was interviewed by a US magazine about the most striking episode of my life. He chose to recount an event from his childhood, when he was swimming near Iron Cove bridge in Sydney harbour, and a friend named “Jimmy Carter” was killed by a shark.The Theatre (New York) Vol 28, 1918 via Hathitrust.com Doubtless many readers of The Theatre took this account from a well known comedian with a grain of salt. But the story had a firm basis in truth. An 11 year old child named Stephen Carter really had been killed by a shark at Balmain in December 1888 in circumstances identical to Leon Errol’s story.The hideous injuries the child suffered from an unseen shark would have worried every parent in the suburb. See The Sydney Morning Herald, 10 Dec 1888, P5, via National Library of Australia’s … Continue reading Leon Sims, as he was then called, lived only a few streets from Stephen Carter in the inner western Sydney suburb of Balmain, and he would have been 7 years old at the time. Whether he really was there when poor Stephen Carter died or not, the story is one of the few Leon Errol told about his Australian upbringing.
Leon Errol’s family
Born in Sydney in 1881, Leonce Errol Sims was the first born child of Joseph Sims, an accountant,working at one stage for the very large bureaucracy that was the New South Wales Post Office and Elizabeth nee Adams, both originally from Cornwall, England.NSW Births Deaths & Marriages, Birth Certificate for Leonce Errol Sims, 2213/1881 Directories of the 1890s through to the 1910s show the family living in Balmain for over twenty years, most of this time at 74 Glassop Street, not far from the sea. Balmain was then a proudly working class suburb, and its residents were often closely associated with Australia’s feisty labour politics.The suburb was home to a number of Australian Labor Party figures, including State Premier Neville Wran, Prime Minister Billy Hughes, Federal Ministers Tom Uren and Herb Evatt As a child, Errol was also an outstanding swimmer, the passion being encouraged by his father Joseph, who was a leading figure in the Balmain Swimming Club.See Evening News (Syd) 23 Mar 1885, P5 and Balmain Observer and Western Suburbs Advertiser, 31 Mar 1888, P6 via National Library of Australia’s Trove
At least two of Errol’s younger siblings – Othelia (born 1885) and Roy (born 1889) were musically inclined and performed publicly as children. Later, his sister Leda (born 1891) also took a turn on the stage.See Times Union (New York) 24 Mar 1924, P2 But life for the family was not without its challenges. One female and three male children in the family had died at birth or in infancy.As noted on the birth certificate for the youngest member of the family born in 1893. NSW Births, Deaths & Marriages, Birth Certificate for Stuart Trahnver Sims, 5296/1893
Leon Errol did not attend St Joseph’s College, Sydney, as is usually claimed.This was confirmed by the St Joseph’s College archivist to the author in August 2023 Almost certainly he attended Balmain’s Birchgrove Road Superior Public School, which was near the Sims home.NSW’s Public Instruction Act of 1880 made schooling compulsory to age 14. “Superior” schools like Birchgrove combined primary and secondary education It is also likely that he was the “Master L. Sims” who performed in the school’s annual entertainment in December 1895.The Daily Telegraph (Syd) 14 Dec 1895, P10 via National Library of Australia’s Trove
Leon Errol goes on stage in Australia
There are numerous claims about Leon Errol’s activities on the Australian stage, all of which appeared after he gained fame in the US. The only available contemporary Australian sources – newspapers – occasionally record Leon Errolnow using that stage name in a very modest list of Sydney events – performing at smoke nights and benefit concerts between 1899 through to the later part of 1900. These include a performance with the “Balmain Literary and Musical Union” for the Balmain New Ferry Company employees’ excursion in April 1899The Sydney Morning Herald 27 Apr 1899, P6, via National Library of Australia’s Trove and at a fundraiser for Balmain’s Mort Dock Ambulance Corps in November 1899.The Daily Telegraph (Syd) 6 Nov 1899, P3, via National Library of Australia’s Trove After August 1900 he disappears completely from Australian records. There is nothing to verify the claim he appeared at Sydney’s Standard Theatre in 1896, as the usually reliable Hal Porter and others have since claimed.Hal Porter (1965) P134 At the age of only 15, he would have been a performer worthy of notice. The idea that he was an up and coming teenage performer also sits uncomfortably with the oft-repeated but also impossible to verify claim that he commenced a medical degree at the University of Sydney. In another variation of the story written in 1918, The New York Times suggested he had been placed “in a sort of medical apprenticeship, which continued through his school and college days.” But this is unlikely, because by the late 1890s, the University of Sydney’s medical school was well established and there was no other way to become a practitioner.See Milton Lewis (2014) Medicine in Colonial Australia, 1788-1900 This story of Errol’s study of medicine has been so regularly stated it is usually taken as fact in many biographies. To build some space for an emerging Australian stage career alongside medical study and the claimed arrival in the US in 1898, some biographies have incorrectly hinted his birthdate must have been 1876.See The New York Times, 7 July 1918, P36, via newspapers.com for a typical telling of the medical story
There is no evidence that Leon Errol matriculated from a school in 1897-9 and without this he would have been ineligible to study medicine. Not a single contemporary Australian report or memoir exists to support the claim he was a medical student who performed so well on stage, he decided to leave university. And it is also worth noting that his near contemporary, Billy Bevan, was also claimed to have studied at a Sydney University.
The real story is almost certainly much more mundane. Other than 1899-1900, there is no other documentation of Leon Errol as a performer in Australia. Even after his breakthrough in New York in 1911, it took several years for Australian papers to take notice of and “reclaim” him. Finally, in 1915, one Australian newspaper suggested Errol’s experience in Australia had been primarily as “a stage manager.”The Herald (Melb) 24 Nov 1915, P1,via National Library of Australia’s Trove In 1919, The Argus reported that he had once been in a circus in Australia and had performed with the Paul Martinetti touring pantomime company at age 15, before taking other uncredited stage roles.The Argus (Melb) 9 Apr 1919, P9, via Via National Library of Australia’s Trove In 1922, the national weekly newspaper The Bulletin described Errol as only ever having featured in Australia “in a small theatrical way.”The Bulletin 6 July 1922, P36, via National Library of Australia’s Trove In 1925, the same paper reported that he had “worked his passage” to the US, after “he found it hard to get a hearing in Australia.”The Bulletin 30 April 1925, P39, via National Library of Australia’s Trove In a 1934 report, apparently based on an account from someone who had known him, the Melbourne Herald flatly dismissed the study of medicine story, and again stated he had worked his passage to the US.The Herald (Melb) 11 Oct 1934, P20 via National Library of Australia’s Trove
Leon Errol arrives in the US c1903
On his US naturalisation papers, Leon Errol claimed he arrived in the US, aged 17, in 1898 – which in light of the few Australian reports mentioned above, is highly unlikely. While a US ship’s manifest listing Leon Errol’s name is yet to be found, his name can be found in reports of performances in Oregon state as early as June 1903.If he worked his passage to the US, his name would not have appeared on passenger manifests. For the earliest mention of Leon Errol performing in the US, see The Morning Astorian, (Oregon) June 19, … Continue reading By May 1904 he was reported as appearing with the Laurence stock company in Walla Walla, Washington state, in a season that commenced with Jack O’Diamonds, followed by Brother against Brother and The Blue and the Gray. This mix of melodrama and farce was hardly what Errol would be remembered for in later years, but highlights that he was a jobbing actor, taking the work that came his way. With Errol in the Laurence company was at least one other Australian trying his luck in the US, Al Winn, who left some recollections.Everyones (Aust) Vol.10, No.512, P122, 11 December 1929, via National Library of Australia’s Trove It was during this 1904 season that Errol also tried out a short comic “Dutch speciality act,” hinting at the direction his career would later take.The Evening Statesman, (Walla Walla, Wash) May 11, 1904 P4 via newspapers.com It was the start of a busy career and over the next few years Errol teamed with numerous partners.For example, see a photo of him performing with Cliff Trainor in January 1905, in the University of Washington Library, Special Collections, here A year later Errol was performing burlesque at the Star Theatre in Boise, Idaho, in company with Roscoe Arbuckle. Frank Cullen has suggested that Errol was the writer, manager and leading comedian of this troupe, until it went bust.Frank Cullen (2006) P357
Years later, following his success on Broadway, Errol recalled how difficult his early years performing and touring through the US had been. “I’ve had a lot of hardships since I first started, until my present hit… I’ve barnstormedplayed small towns and been stranded many times in Australia and America…I was playing with a comic opera company in San Francisco at the time of the earthquake and for three days I lived in a cemetery.”From an unidentified US newspaper report dated about 1913, part of the Leon Errol collection held by the American Vaudeville Museum Archive at the University of Arizona It’s a good story and he really was in San Francisco on 18 April 18, 1906.See San Francisco Chronicle, April 23 1906, P6 via newspapers.com
On August 10 1907, Leon Errol married fellow performer Stella Chatelaine (Bertha Nelson) in New York. The marriage certificate reveals Errol as a likely author of some of the misinformation about himself. On this document, for reasons unknown, both he and Stella gave incorrect dates and places of birth.We know this is “our” Leon Errol because their marriage date is cited again in other documents and the parent names are correct
Only a month later a significant professional development took place for Leon Errol and Stella Chatelaine – when they both joined the Jersey Lilies Extravaganza Company in Boston. Thereafter, they performed consistently in this company in the major cities on the US east coast, including New York in February 1908. Errol already had a “Dutch comic act”, but he had now morphed to being “a droll German comedian,” with some newspapers implying he really was German. It has been suggested he took on this dialect to disguise a strong Australian accent.Errol himself said the coster/cockney songs he sang in character when he was first in the US were not a success- see The Sun (New York) 28 July 1918, P16 via newspapers.com While this is possible, he would be unique amongst the many Australians working in the US in the early twentieth century if his accent was such a problem. After all, why not simply adopt a US or British accent, if one could do a German one!Notably also, none of the Pollard Opera Company performers – Snub Pollard, Daphne Pollard, Ted McNamara, or Alf Goulding – who came from comparable Australian working class environments … Continue reading
While reviews of his work were increasingly effusive, interviews with Leon Errol never seem to unravel the truth about his Australian experiences. In November 1909 he told a New York paper:
“Whenever I hear stock company actors tell of their hardship because of constant rehearsals… it recalls my experience once in the Northwest. Performances… were continuous, the companies were small and to assume five or six characters was not unusual. We didn’t have to pay royalties for plays because I wrote a new one… every week. I had come from Australia where I had a thorough training in all branches of theatrical life, in dramatic plays, pantomime, comedy and farce, as a song and dance man and as an acrobat. My friends accuse me of being able to play the piano well and of having a fairly good voice so I suppose I was well equipped for the job.” The Brooklyn Daily Eagle 8 Nov 1909, P20 via newspapers.com
In March 1911, Variety complimented Errol for writing, staging and being principal comedian of the latest The Jersey Lillies show. “He is the most clever and versatile player in burlesque… he can dance to the delight of the audience, and ranks with any ‘drunk’ this country has seen.” Errol had “developed into a musical comedy comedian of class.”Variety March 1911, P20 via Lantern Digital History
Leon Errol’s drunk act can be appreciated today by watching The Jitters (1938) (at the Internet Archive, here) – one of his many RKO comedy shorts of the 1930s that liberally borrowed elements of his successful stage acts. A highlight of the film is when his fully inebriated character lurches masterfully down stairs, soon after being mistaken for a premier dance instructor – after which “a roomful of lovely young women slavishly following his every [drunken] step.”Geoff Collins (2008) Rubberlegs
With the Ziegfeld Follies and teaming with Bert Williams
In 1911, a long association with Broadway producer Florenz Ziegfeld began, when he took a part in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1911. Errol appeared in the hugely popular Ziegfeld Follies extravaganzas until 1916, the cast usually also included Bert Williams and often Stella Chatelaine. Williams and Errol worked in stand-out acts, and also alongside other performers of note – W C Fields, Raymond Hitchcock and Fanny Brice.
Historian Frank Cullen has observed that the 1911 teaming of African-American comedian Bert Williams with Leon Errol was a significant first for the US stage. “If there were other black-and-white comedy teams before them or at the same time, [they] remain unknown”Cullen (2006) P358 Williams was widely regarded as the leading comedian of the Follies in 1911, but it was the act he devised and performed with Errol, set in Grand Central Station, that attracted the strongest response from audiences. Errol played the inebriated English tourist Major Waterbrush, while Williams was Rufus Redcap, a station porter, who leads him up and down the half-built station’s girders – with a rope for “safety.” It was absurd and even with the distance of time, the reported dialogue was very funny.Often the skit was stretched out by the two comedians, improvising. For more on the skit see Cullen(2006) P358-9
In the Ziegfeld Follies of 1912, their new skit was based around a hansom-cab driver (Williams), a reluctant panto horse and a very drunken passenger played by Errol – the funny inebriate now being a role Errol was regularly associated with. The relationship between Williams and Errol was apparently a personal as well as professional one. Frank Cullen notes that when Williams died in 1922, Leon Errol was the only white pallbearer.Cullen(2006) P358-9
Errol’s stagecraft was such that he directed the Ziegfeld Follies in 1914 and 1915, and he also directed and appeared in Ziegfeld’s The Century Girl in 1916-17. Amongst other successes, he took the leading role of Duke of Czechogovinio in Ziegfeld’s three act musical Sally – which ran for over 500 performances from late 1920 to April 1922. The Broadway productions he appeared in during the 1910s often went on to tour the larger east coast US cities, further confirming his place as one of the country’s premier comedians.
There were other important milestones in Leon Errol’s life in the 1910s. His youngest sister Leda joined him in New York in May 1912. A year later his parents and three other siblings arrived. Perhaps back in Sydney they really had once dreamed of their oldest son being a successful doctor. We might easily conclude that after ten years separation, Joseph and Elizabeth now wanted to see their son achieving a different type of success – on Broadway. Within a year, the whole family had decided to stay in the US, and Joseph wrote back to Sydney to resign his position as a Justice of the Peace.Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales 22 Jul 1914, No.126, P4186 Government Gazette Appointments and Employment At the time of the 1915 US census, the whole Sims family were living with Leon and Bertha in New York. There was no going back.
“My whole family came over to America in time for the opening of the Follies… It was the first time they had seen me since I left Sydney fifteen years ago. Father and Mother watched us at the first night performance and when the audience began cheering so enthusiastically after our dance, they just sat and cried – they were so happy with our success.”Unidentified US newspaper c1913, American Vaudeville Museum Collection, MS 421 Box 59 Folder 2, Courtesy of University of Arizona Libraries, Special Collections
Following further Broadway successes, particularly the Raymond Hitchcock musical revue Hitchy-Koo, in 1919, Errol took a contract with British producer Albert de Courville, for his new London revue, Joy Bells. He travelled to Britain in February 1919, and the show opened at the Hippodrome in late March – to a very long run. Also featured were Shirley Kellogg, George Robey and fellow Australian Daphne Pollard.
In one skit his character was called “Fuller Beer.” His jokes around drunkenness assume a different meaning when we remember the US was in the process of adopting Prohibition – the Volstead Act being passed in October 1919. Errol is reputed to have told London audiences that the reason he was now in England was because he “wanted a drink.”
A snapshot of his film career
There are 165 film credits to Leon Errol’s name according to the IMDB. Errol first appeared in a film in 1916, in the two reel comedy Nearly Spliced. Variety reported this was “the old story of a ‘boob’ [who arrived] late for his own wedding.”Variety, 26 May 1916 via Lantern Digital History He also appeared in the comedy short Buggins, released in August 1920. Both these early films – like so many silents, are now lost and how seriously he viewed the new medium at the time we do not know – he was still occupied with the stage. However, in 1925, Errol appeared in a feature length version of the play Sally, where he reprised his stage role as the Duke of Czechogovinio. If he had been uncertain of the growing importance of cinema as an entertainment, this experience would have changed his mind. A fan magazine of mid 1925 reported that he “stole” the film, and was almost as funny as he had been in the stage version, even without his voice.Screenland, May-Oct 1925 via Lantern Digital History
Leon Errol was not the only vaudevillian to move from a successful stage career to film comedy. Daphne Pollard‘s career partly mirrors his – with a shift in 1927 to regular film work, following a long period singing, dancing and as a stage comedian in the US and in London. Snub Pollard also began to appear in films in about 1915. As noted, Leon Errol’s speciality became the comedy two-reeler, (an 18 minute short) so often the content of these resembled his stage turns. His final live performance was in Fioretta in 1929, after which Leon and Stella moved across the US to Los Angeles, where his screen career commenced in earnest. In a 1952 obituary Sight and Sound magazine daubed him “the king of two-reel comedies” and it is these film shorts that were amongst his best known.Sight and Sound Jan-March 1952 via Lantern Digital History As Cullen notes, the two-reel length was well suited to his comic talents Cullen (2006) P360 and this matches the length of many of his stage turns. Now in the public domain, many of the RKO two- reelers can be found online or purchased as DVD collections. The plots of these comedies usually revolved around a domestic crisis – almost always caused by Errol’s character.
Slapstick, humorous patter and good looking girls were features – Cullen describes many as “essays of the late middle aged (man in) crisis … trying to recapture his youth.”Cullen (2006) P360 In the beautiful Vitaphone-Warner Brother three strip technicolor short Service with a Smile (1934) he played a grimy service station owner who thinks his business has been destroyed. To the insurance company he describes in preposterous detail what he needs to rebuild – and we see a service station fantasy with its endless rows of immaculate female service attendants, who – Busby Berkeley like – sing and dance as they work. Of course, his grimy station is still there – the report of its destruction was an April Fool’s joke.
In addition to starring roles in the comedy shorts for RKO, he took other roles. In 1939 he took a dual supporting role in The Girl from Mexico, the first of a series of eight comedies with Lupe Velez, or “the Mexican spitfire.” (Errol played both Uncle Matt and Englishman Lord Epping) In 1946 Monogram pictures employed Errol to play manager Knobby Walsh in its Joe Palooka, Champ film and most of the sequels. Errol took a number of supporting roles in other feature films, even while appearing in RKO’s comedies. There were numerous other character roles.
Leon Errol died quite suddenly in October 1951, Stella having predeceased him in 1946. The couple had no children. The Australian press recalled him in obituaries, sometimes highlighting the impressive estate he had left as another example of an Australian success in Hollywood, but otherwise they went along with international press accounts of his life.Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate (NSW), 22 Oct 1951, P1, Via National Library of Australia’s Trove
How much do we really know about Leon Errol? Apparently deeply professional off-stage, and devoted to his wife in private life, there still remains a sense of the unknown about the man. Was he a friend of Australian-born Paul Scardon, who appeared in three of the Palooka films? Or WC Fields, with whom he appears to have an association over a number of years? In April 1926 Errol apparently broke or sprained an ankle so badly it brought the Chicago run of Louie the Fourteenth to a close, but after initial reports, further commentary about the accident was muted. Perhaps this was what actors of the era did – manage their public and private profiles with such great care we have little sense of who they really were at all.
A note on births and deaths
Part of Leonce Errol Sims’ New South Wales birth certificate is shown here, to dispel the myth of an earlier birth, or the story that his real surname was Errol See Parish & Leonard (1979) P243 or Simms.National Film & Sound Archives Australia
According to her 1946 US death certificate, Stella Chatelaine was born Bertha Nelson in Fargo, North Dakota in 1881. There is no evidence she arrived in the US with Errol, as is often claimed, but as already noted, they were working together as early as 1905.
- Thanks to Beverley Malone, Archivist, St Joseph’s College, Sydney.
- National Library of Australia, Trove
- State Library of Victoria
- British Newspaper Archive
- Victoria, Births Deaths & Marriages
- ProQuest Historical Newspapers
- Lantern Digital Media Library@ the Internet Archive
- Frank Cullen (2006) Vaudeville, Old and New, an Encyclopedia of Variety Performers. 2 Vols. Routledge
- Rob King (2017) Hokum! : the early sound slapstick short and Depression-era mass culture. University of California Press
- Milton Lewis (2014) “Medicine in Colonial Australia, 1788-1900” Medical Journal of Australia, Vol 201, Issue 1, Supplement.
- James Robert Parish & William T Leonard, (1979) The Funsters. Arlington House
- Hal Porter (1965) Stars of Australian Stage and Screen. Rigby
- Gale Research (1978) Who was who in the theatre, 1912-1976 : A biographical dictionary of actors, actresses, directors, playwrights, and producers of the English-speaking theatre, Vol 2 D-H. Gale Research Company
- Steve Rattle “Remembering Leon Errol” in On Stage, Theatre Heritage Australia. Vol 13, Number 4, Spring-Summer 2012
- Anthony Slide (1994) The Encyclopedia of Vaudeville. University Press Mississippi.
- Rennold Wolf (1912) “The Greatest Comedian on the American Stage” The Green Book Magazine Vol 7, 1912, P1173-1184
- Adolph Zukor (1953) The Public is Never Wrong. G.P Putman’s Sons
- The American Vaudeville Museum Archive at the University of Arizona. This important collection includes what appears to have been Leon Errol’s own scrapbooks. As can be seen in several of the photos reused here, the scrapbooks have been damaged by damp.
A selection of films available online
There are a large number of Leon Errol comedy shorts from the RKO studio available at the Internet Archive. Unfortunately most are quite low resolution.
- PARAMOUNT ON PARADE (1930) Lulu The Gal Channel Youtube (part reconstruction)
- ONLY SAPS WORK (1930) @ The Internet Archive (mis-titled at the Archive)
- HOLD YOUR TEMPER (1933)@ Laurel & Hardy Channel Youtube
- SERVICE WITH A SMILE (1934) @ TCM Intros and Wrap-Ups Channel Youtube (3 strip Technicolour)
- GOOD MORNING, EVE! @ Bill Green Channel Youtube (fragment of 3 strip technicolour)
- COUNSELITIS (1935)@The Internet Archive
- HONEYMOON BRIDGE (1935) @ Laurel & Hardy Channel Youtube
- DOWN THE RIBBER (1936) @ Classic Comedy Channel Youtube
- ONE LIVE GHOST (1936) @ Geno’s House of Rare Films Youtube
- SHOULD WIVES WORK? (1937)@ The W/O/C Archive Youtube.
- A RENTED RIOT (1937) @The W/O/C Archive Youtube
- THE JITTERS (1938) @ Theshortsdepartment Channel Youtube
- CRIME RAVE (1939)@The Internet Archive
- NEVER GIVE A SUCKER AN EVEN BREAK (1941) @ Philip Lloyd Youtube
- THE INVISIBLE MAN’S REVENGE (1944) @ the Internet Archive
- SECRETARY TROUBLE (1948) @ The W/O/C Archive Youtube
|↑1||The Theatre (New York) Vol 28, 1918 via Hathitrust.com|
|↑2||The hideous injuries the child suffered from an unseen shark would have worried every parent in the suburb. See The Sydney Morning Herald, 10 Dec 1888, P5, via National Library of Australia’s Trove|
|↑3||working at one stage for the very large bureaucracy that was the New South Wales Post Office|
|↑4||NSW Births Deaths & Marriages, Birth Certificate for Leonce Errol Sims, 2213/1881|
|↑5||The suburb was home to a number of Australian Labor Party figures, including State Premier Neville Wran, Prime Minister Billy Hughes, Federal Ministers Tom Uren and Herb Evatt|
|↑6||See Evening News (Syd) 23 Mar 1885, P5 and Balmain Observer and Western Suburbs Advertiser, 31 Mar 1888, P6 via National Library of Australia’s Trove|
|↑7||See Times Union (New York) 24 Mar 1924, P2|
|↑8||As noted on the birth certificate for the youngest member of the family born in 1893. NSW Births, Deaths & Marriages, Birth Certificate for Stuart Trahnver Sims, 5296/1893|
|↑9||American Vaudeville Museum Collection, MS 421 Box 59 Folder 2, Courtesy of University of Arizona Libraries, Special Collections.|
|↑10||This was confirmed by the St Joseph’s College archivist to the author in August 2023|
|↑11||NSW’s Public Instruction Act of 1880 made schooling compulsory to age 14. “Superior” schools like Birchgrove combined primary and secondary education|
|↑12||The Daily Telegraph (Syd) 14 Dec 1895, P10 via National Library of Australia’s Trove|
|↑13||Errol did not perform at this. Table Talk (Melb) March 15, 1923, via National Library of Australia’s Trove|
|↑14||now using that stage name|
|↑15||The Sydney Morning Herald 27 Apr 1899, P6, via National Library of Australia’s Trove|
|↑16||The Daily Telegraph (Syd) 6 Nov 1899, P3, via National Library of Australia’s Trove|
|↑17||Hal Porter (1965) P134|
|↑18||See Milton Lewis (2014) Medicine in Colonial Australia, 1788-1900|
|↑19||See The New York Times, 7 July 1918, P36, via newspapers.com for a typical telling of the medical story|
|↑20||The Herald (Melb) 24 Nov 1915, P1,via National Library of Australia’s Trove|
|↑21||The Argus (Melb) 9 Apr 1919, P9, via Via National Library of Australia’s Trove|
|↑22||The Bulletin 6 July 1922, P36, via National Library of Australia’s Trove|
|↑23||The Bulletin 30 April 1925, P39, via National Library of Australia’s Trove|
|↑24||The Herald (Melb) 11 Oct 1934, P20 via National Library of Australia’s Trove|
|↑25||Exhibitor’s Herald, Jan 16, 1926, P59, via Lantern Digital History|
|↑26||If he worked his passage to the US, his name would not have appeared on passenger manifests. For the earliest mention of Leon Errol performing in the US, see The Morning Astorian, (Oregon) June 19, 1903, P4, via Library of Congress|
|↑27||Everyones (Aust) Vol.10, No.512, P122, 11 December 1929, via National Library of Australia’s Trove|
|↑28||The Evening Statesman, (Walla Walla, Wash) May 11, 1904 P4 via newspapers.com|
|↑29||For example, see a photo of him performing with Cliff Trainor in January 1905, in the University of Washington Library, Special Collections, here|
|↑30||Frank Cullen (2006) P357|
|↑31||The Idaho Statesman (Boise, Idaho),14 Oct 1905 P6 via newspapers.com|
|↑32||played small towns|
|↑33||From an unidentified US newspaper report dated about 1913, part of the Leon Errol collection held by the American Vaudeville Museum Archive at the University of Arizona|
|↑34||See San Francisco Chronicle, April 23 1906, P6 via newspapers.com|
|↑35||American Vaudeville Museum Collection, MS 421 Box 59 Folder 2, Courtesy of University of Arizona Libraries, Special Collections.|
|↑36||The Boston Globe, 22 Sep 1907, P27 via newspapers.com|
|↑37||We know this is “our” Leon Errol because their marriage date is cited again in other documents and the parent names are correct|
|↑38||Errol himself said the coster/cockney songs he sang in character when he was first in the US were not a success- see The Sun (New York) 28 July 1918, P16 via newspapers.com|
|↑39||Notably also, none of the Pollard Opera Company performers – Snub Pollard, Daphne Pollard, Ted McNamara, or Alf Goulding – who came from comparable Australian working class environments – faced this problem|
|↑40||The Buffalo Enquirer (Buffalo, New York), 26 Mar 1910, P7 via newspapers.com|
|↑41||The Brooklyn Daily Eagle 8 Nov 1909, P20 via newspapers.com|
|↑42||Variety March 1911, P20 via Lantern Digital History|
|↑43||Geoff Collins (2008) Rubberlegs|
|↑44||Via the Internet Archive|
|↑45||Cullen (2006) P358|
|↑46||Often the skit was stretched out by the two comedians, improvising. For more on the skit see Cullen(2006) P358-9|
|↑47||The Green Book Magazine, Vol 7, Jan-Jun, 1912, via the Hathitrust|
|↑49||The Green Book Magazine, Vol 9, 1913. Via the Hathitrust|
|↑50||Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales 22 Jul 1914, No.126, P4186 Government Gazette Appointments and Employment|
|↑51||Unidentified US newspaper c1913, American Vaudeville Museum Collection, MS 421 Box 59 Folder 2, Courtesy of University of Arizona Libraries, Special Collections|
|↑52||Variety, 26 May 1916 via Lantern Digital History|
|↑53, ↑54||Screenland, May-Oct 1925 via Lantern Digital History|
|↑55||Sight and Sound Jan-March 1952 via Lantern Digital History|
|↑56, ↑57||Cullen (2006) P360|
|↑58||Cine-Mundial, 1940 via Lantern Digital History|
|↑59||Philip Loyd Channel on Youtube and the Internet Archive|
|↑60||Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate (NSW), 22 Oct 1951, P1, Via National Library of Australia’s Trove|
|↑61||See Parish & Leonard (1979) P243|
|↑62||National Film & Sound Archives Australia|