The Forward Vacation Follies
August 29, 1939
From the New York Times, August 30, 1939.
'VACATION FOLLIES' AIDS
The "Vacation Follies," an annual event sponsored by the Yiddish newspaper, The Forward, for the benefit of its summer camp for children, was presented last night at the Yiddish Art Theatre.
The program was varied enough to include opera singers, Sophie Tucker, the Workmen's Circle chorus, and nearly everybody in the Who's Who of the Yiddish Stage was now in town. Moishe Oysher gave the traditional prayer for the dead in effective manner, and Maurice Schwartz offered a monologue on certain dictators. But most of the numbers were given over to comedy, the longest and most ambitious being a sketch in which Yiddish writers of the past sit in judgment on their colleagues, aided and abetted by the characters the latter has created. The new men are sentenced, never to speak ill of each other, and when on appeal the sentence is found to be too harsh, it is reduced to their being stood up against a wall. The capacity audience, with rows of standees, relished the malicious portraits of its favorite authors. -- W.S.
WHEN THE FORWARD SPONSORED SUMMER CAMP
Camp Vacamas, tarted in 1924, is a sleepaway camp for poor kids from the tenements originally located Upstate in the Catskills, in Kingston, N.Y. Founded by several Jewish organizations, including The Forward, the name is an acronym for the East Side Vacation Camp Association. The camp is now located in West Milford, N.J. and is still called Camp Vacamas.
The camp was funded in part by the generosity of Forward readers who responded to The Forward’s appeal for donations to The Forward Vacation Fund.
To fundraise for Camp Vacamas, aside from soliciting donations in the paper, The Forward also supported a theatrical revue called: The Forverts Vacation Follies. In August 1939, these were held at the Yiddish Art Theatre at 932 7th Avenue. It promised a night of massive entertainment with drama, humor, music, song and dance, with a special feature of a movie showing the best of last year’s follies. The Forward Follies ad noted that funds raised by the event would be used to help subsidize the cost of sending hundreds of children to camp for two weeks. Over fifty top artists from both Yiddish and mainstream theatre performed, including Rosemarie Brancato, Jan Peerce, Maurice Schwartz, Sholom Secunda and more. Tickets prices ranged between $1-$3 and were available for purchase at The Forward office.
In 1939, as war loomed in Eastern Europe and the fate of Jews there was being determined, a cottage at the camp was named for Forward General Manager B. C. Vladeck, a major supporter of the camp and City Council member, who had died the year before.
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