Vanderbilt Cup on Broadway


In my blog yesterday I discussed the 105th anniversary of America's first great auto race, the Vanderbilt Cup. This event, ran on Long Island, New York, was wildly popular, attracting by some estimates a quarter of a million people in 1906 and 1910. Evidence of its cultural impact was the 1906 production of a Broadway musical staring a teenage singing and acting sensation, Elsie Janis. Janis was a prodigy who, as a toddler, performed for former US President Grover Cleveland during his term as governor of Ohio. Janis went on to a long career acting, writing screenplays and music before passing away in 1956. One of the great features for the Broadway production was a special effect created by Barney Oldfield which utilized his Green Dragon racer and a treadmill. Check out page two of this six-page PDF document (it's not a great copy, but has interesting information). Oldfield actually fired the engine, ran the car on the treadmill with revolving scenery in the background. Below are two videos, the first of which is music from the play. The second is a recording of Janis singing in 1907.