The Weber & Fields Music Hall
My name is Sarah Anschell and My Family Story display is called: The Weber & Fields Music Hall, the name of one of the theaters owned by my great, great, great, great uncle, Joe Weber, one of the biggest celebrities of the late 1800s and early 1900s.
But we never would have known any of this if it weren’t for the My Family Story project. It wasn’t until we started doing research for this assignment that we learned about Joe Weber, his Jewish roots and the very Jewish sense of humor that he brought to the American theater.
Joseph Moishe Weber, who began performing at age nine on the Lower East Side of New York with his partner Lew Fields, made his name bringing Yiddish stories to the American stage in the roles of two German immigrants. They were the first to pie someone in the face as a gag. And they were the first to tell a joke that still gets laughs today: “Who was that lady I saw you with last night?” Weber asked. “That was no lady, that was my wife!” Fields replied.
In my display, I am proud to present Weber & Fields, who helped invent the slapstick routines later adopted by generations of comics, including Abbott and Costello, Jerry Lewis, Danny Kaye and countless others.
Behind Weber & Fields, I put me and my family. I added mirrors on the sides and back wall to give a sense of an infinite line of people — my ancestors and the Jewish people as a whole. I left their faces blank on purpose. There are many in my family whose appearance we don’t know. I like to imagine that they all contributed to how I look and who I am.
Through this project, I learned that Jews, including Joe Weber, created and dominated vaudeville. Later, like my 4th great uncle, many of those Jewish entertainers moved to Los Angeles, where they helped shape the entertainment industry and my home town. I am proudto be their descendent.
I am proud to present Weber & Fields, who helped invent the slapstick routines later adopted by generations of comics
Comedy based on deliberately clumsy actions and humorously embarrassing events