American Vaudeville Museum

All material © 1998-2011 American Museum of Vaudeville, Inc.  Page 56

C.A. Wright’s Trained Dogs, Birds and Vaudeville Show

Chet Wright 1890 - 1989

Ola Gay Wright 1874 – 1958

Estelle Wright Rooney 1916

Donald Wright 1913

One of thousands of traveling shows that plied—first by wagon, then by railway—the byways of small town America, the C.A. Wright show toured the Southland during the winters and the Northeast during the warmer weather. Just in northern New England there were 150 such shows. Chet Wright’s carried a gas-fueled motion picture projector, a half dozen dogs rescued from a local pound and turned into well-cared for performers, a bid act, a blackfaced cross-talk act, a Punch & Judy show, a vent act and music, dance and song. And all that performed by father, mother, sister and brother Wright. Often they had a couple of other acts traveling with them, a mentalist and an acrobat, for instance. When Wright began, he had one wagon; toward the end of the family act, it weighed two tons and was transported by railway car.

The family founded the vaudeville colony on Blaisdell Lake that became home to them, the dancing Rooney’s (Estelle Wright married Part Rooney III), the famed vaude act Willie, West & McGinty and eccentric dancer Buster West.