American Vaudeville Museum

All material 1998-2012 American Museum of Vaudeville, Inc. Page 47

el Barto

El Barto, born in Missouri before the War Between the States, was orphaned as an infant and adopted by a family whose abuse caused him to run away to New York in 1869 when he was 11 and become one of the legions of homeless boys who sold newspapers and did whatever they had to do to survive. Fortunately El Barto was inspired and tutored by a magician and found his avenue in the show biz life. He toured with medicine wagons and side shows in carnivals learning how to juggle and throw his voice as well as perfecting his magic tricks. For 66 years he plied his craft in vaudeville and revues, retiring at the age of 77, shortly before he died.