FOLLIES of the DOLLY SISTERS
- uploaded: Nov 19, 2011
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Julius and Margarthe's decision to move their young daughters to America and actually getting there were two different things.
Leaving Budapesht was HARD. Separating from friends and family left them all emotional wrecks, the journey to Italy left them so drained that Julius considered just staying in Rome, where life was not so different from Budapesht.
But Jenny and Rose were set on getting to America. It was all they ever spoke about, all they ever thought about, so Julius was never allowed to lapse into complacency and just accept living the slow Italian Life. Reluctantly, they left Italy and began traveling toward America.
It took another 3 years. The Deutsch family finally arrived in New York in late 1904. Jenny and Rose were now 12 years old and starting to come into the good looks that were destined to make them international stars.
Men were already paying close attention to them. In Paris, Julius feared greatly for their safety, for the men there were not content to just look at them....
New York at the turn of the last century was the most magnificent city on Earth, full of bright lights, beautiful people, incredible Art Deco architecture. ELECTRICITY. A glittering, spectacular
lure of the FUTURE.
The farms of America were emptying out, and every eye and ambition was turned towards the Skyscrapers of Manhattan.
America was the land of DREAMS.
America was the land of NIGHTMARES for Jenny and Rose.
If they were close before, you could not fit a knife blade in between them now. They spoke not a word of English. The smatterings of Italian and French they had picked up over the last few years, delivered with a thick Hungarian accent, did nothing but make people laugh at them.
They were not well liked at school, the other girls laughed at their clothes and their ways. Since the events in Budapesht, parents Julius and Margarethe had instilled a new rectitude in their daughters, and it did nothing but stifle Jenny and Rose's natural effervescence.
They became depressed, somber, moody.
Margarethe feared that her beloved daughter Jenny was becoming somewhat fatalistic and suicidal....
The twins grew to hate America and all that it stood for. But, the American boys seemed to like them well enough.
It was only natural. The only thing that Jenny and Rose considered to be NORMAL. Members of the opposite sex had ALWAYS vied for their attention, and the men and boys of this new world were no different.
Julius was deeply concerned with the complete change in his daughters and was willing to try anything to get them to return to the happy, talkative girls that they once used to be.
So, when Jenny and Rose approached him about taking dancing lessons, he quickly approved. After all, they were older now and the dances of America seemed to be more sedate than the scandalous dances of Berlin.
The wife of one of their dancing instructors walked in one day and immediately christened them "The Little Dolls", and Jenny and Rose began calling themselves "The Dolly Sisters".
It had more of a ring to it than 'The Deutsch Sisters"....
They begged their American dance instructor to teach them English, which they quickly picked up. Within two years, their english was FLAWLESS.
Julius had a brother, Max, already living in America. Maximillian Deutsch took one look at his young nieces dancing together and the lights went on ...
They had the LOOK.
They had the NAME.
They spoke flawless ENGLISH, something that even HE could not do.
He knew a few people from the stages of Broadway....
Max contacted the famous impresario Gertrude Hoffman. Hoffman was none-too-impressed with the twins' dancing efforts, but she could not fail to notice the effect that they had on an audience. Men and Women seemed to simply adore them, were totally captivated and charmed by them and they way they behaved together.
Hoffman signed them and they were on their way, touring the entire East Coast. Curiously, by 1906, the twins were becoming so well known that they were asked to dance in Cuba, where they became SUPERSTARS.
But, only in Cuba.
In America, competition was fierce.
Hoffman was able to secure a spot for them in a new thing that was happening atop the High-rises of New York: Elegant Garden Parties. They first appeared before New York High Society in 1907, in the Madison Square Roof Garden. They caused a sensation, naturally.
Beautiful, sexual, mirror images gliding across a darkened stage, duplicating each other's movements so well that most that beheld them assumed that they were looking at some sort of mirror trick.
They were spotted by the famous LEE SHUBERT, whose theaters are still going strong today, who earmarked them for his next show "Midnight Sons", which debuted in 1909.
It was said that you could not tell one DOLLY SISTER from the other. They were always identified as Jenny and Rose Dolly, so it may be assumed that Jenny is always on the left, Rose on the right in photographs. They were the most charming, bewitching women of their time. They completed each other's thoughts and sentences.
It has been said that their conversational abilities considerably outstripped their dancing abilities.
People delighted in simply listening to them talk and interact with each other.
In 1910, Florenz Ziegfeld hired them for his "FOLLIES" and their fame was assured. Ziegfeld didn't think much of their dancing ability.
Florenz Ziegfeld could not sing. He could not write music. He could not dance a step. But, like Steve Jobs, he was one HELL of a marketer/promoter.
Ziegfeld knew a million dollar act when he saw one, and if the Dolly Sisters were anything at ALL, they were a billion dollar act.
Jenny and Rose had the hit song of the year 1912 with a song from one of Ziegfeld's shows, "The Winsome Widow". The tune was called "Be My Little Baby Bumble Bee", and a more infectious tune has never been written.
The most famous man in New York, Diamond Jim Brady, a man that strode the dangerous streets of the Bowery festooned in jewelry, took the twins under his wing. Read that as "PROTECTION". A strictly platonic relationship, Brady said several times that he would have adopted them if they did not have two perfectly good parents waiting at home for them. Brady saw it as his job to protect them from the cads and stage door Johnnies that haunted the New York stage....
But, he could not protect them from THEMSELVES....
The Dolly Sisters had a FATAL flaw. One could not function without the other....
-End part two-