Comments from Harlem

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Harlem commented about Teatro Hispano on Apr 28, 2010 at 5:20 pm

The comedian Milton Berle, in a profile interview by Arthur Marx (Groucho’s son) for Cigar Aficionado Magazine reflected on a interesting experience he had at Harlem’s Mt Morris Theater.

‘A man named Schoenstein heard Milton and hired him to sing at the Mt. Morris Theater on 116th Street and Fifth Avenue in Harlem the following Thursday night.

Thursday at Mt. Morris was “songwriters' night,” when composers of pop tunes were encouraged to get up and plug their newest “standards.”

Because Berle was under 16, the rules of the Gerry Society prevented him from performing onstage at night. The organization had been founded to curb the exploitation of child actors by greedy parents. But Schoenstein got around this obstacle by having the young Berle sing while standing in a box at the side of the stage.

The songwriter that evening turned out to be Irving Berlin, who was there to introduce his latest song, “Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning,” which was the big number from his army show, Yip, Yip, Yaphank. Berle sang it while wearing a Boy Scout uniform.'