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Cal Stewart

Cal Stewart (b. 1856 Charlotte County, Virginia, d. December 7, 1919) was an American comedian and humorist who pioneered in vaudeville and early sound recordings. He is best remembered for his comic monologues in which he played "Uncle Josh" Weathersby, a resident of a mythical New England farming town called "Pumpkin Center" or "Punkin Center", leading to a number of small towns across the U.S. adopting those names.

Born in Charlotte County, Virginia in 1856, Stewart spent his early life working in circuses, medicine shows and vaudeville to great acclaim as "Uncle Josh Weathersby from Way Down East". It was on the road that he befriended Mark Twain and later Will Rogers, two men who shared similar wit in comedy.

Around 1897, Thomas Edison's studios hired him to cut several cylinder recordings of his famous speeches and songs. They were well received by the public, and launched an entire series of recordings based on the Uncle Josh character. Stewart's trademark on these recordings is the easily recognizable laugh that precedes his speeches.

Best-selling recordings included "Uncle Josh’s Arrival in New York" (1898), "I'm Old But I'm Awfully Tough (Laughing Song)" (1898), "Jim Lawson's Horse Trade With Deacon Witherspoon" (1901), "Uncle Josh's Huskin' Bee Dance" (1901), and "Uncle Josh Buys an Automobile" (1903). He wrote the song "Ticklish Reuben" in 1900.

Stewart continued recording on Edison, Columbia, Victor, and independent labels up until his death on December 7, 1919. He also wrote two books based on his monologues and performed in theaters across America with his wife Rossini Vrionides and her brother and sister.

Stewart is represented on the 2007 compilation Actionable Offenses: Indecent Phonograph Recordings from the 1890s.

Birth and Death Data: Born 1856 (Charlotte County), Died December 7, 1919

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1897 - 1928

Roles Represented in DAHR: speaker, author, vocalist, composer, lyricist

= Recordings are available for online listening.
= Recordings were issued from this master. No recordings issued from other masters.

Recordings (Results 101-125 of 574 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor B-564 10-in. 10/20/1903 I'm old but I'm awfully tough Cal Stewart Male vocal solo, with orchestra (except take 1) vocalist, composer, lyricist  
Victor E-564 8-in. 3/12/1907 I'm old but I'm awfully tough Cal Stewart Male vocal solo vocalist, composer, lyricist  
Victor A-565 7-in. 10/20/1903 Uncle Josh on a Fifth Avenue bus Cal Stewart Monologue speaker, author  
Victor B-565 10-in. 10/20/1903 Uncle Josh on a Fifth Avenue bus Cal Stewart Monologue speaker, author  
Victor E-565 8-in. 1/22/1907 Uncle Josh on a Fifth Avenue bus Cal Stewart Monologue speaker, author  
Victor A-566 7-in. 10/20/1903 Uncle Josh and the lightning rod agent Cal Stewart Monologue speaker, author  
Victor E-566 8-in. 1/22/1907 Uncle Josh and the lightning rod agent Cal Stewart Monologue speaker, author  
Victor B-566 10-in. 10/20/1903 Uncle Josh and the lightning rod agent Cal Stewart Monologue speaker, author  
Victor B-567 10-in. 10/20/1903 Uncle Josh at the opera Cal Stewart Monologue speaker, author  
Victor E-567 8-in. 1/23/1907 Uncle Josh at the opera Cal Stewart Monologue speaker, author  
Victor A-568 7-in. 10/20/1903 Baptizing at the Hickory Corners Church Cal Stewart Monologue speaker, author  
Victor B-568 10-in. 10/20/1903 The baptizing at Hickory Corners Cal Stewart Monologue speaker, author  
Victor E-568 8-in. 1/23/1907 The baptizing at Hickory Corners Cal Stewart Monologue speaker, author  
Victor A-569 7-in. 10/20/1903 Meeting at the Ananias Club Cal Stewart Monologue speaker, author  
Victor B-569 10-in. 10/20/1903 Meeting at the Ananias Club Cal Stewart Monologue speaker, author  
Victor E-569 8-in. 1/24/1907 Meeting at the Ananias Club Cal Stewart Monologue speaker, author  
Victor A-570 7-in. 10/20/1903 Jim Lawson's hoss trade Cal Stewart Monologue speaker, author  
Victor B-570 10-in. 12/13/1906 Jim Lawson's hoss trade Cal Stewart Monologue speaker, author  
Victor E-570 8-in. 12/13/1906 Jim Lawson's hoss trade Cal Stewart Monologue speaker, author  
Victor A-571 7-in. 10/20/1903 Uncle Josh at a circus Cal Stewart Monologue speaker, author  
Victor B-571 10-in. 12/13/1906 Uncle Josh at the circus Cal Stewart Monologue speaker, author  
Victor E-571 8-in. 12/13/1906 Uncle Josh at the circus Cal Stewart Monologue speaker, author  
Victor A-572 7-in. 10/20/1903 Uncle Josh and the fire department Cal Stewart Monologue speaker, author  
Victor B-572 10-in. 10/20/1903 Uncle Josh and the fire department Cal Stewart Monologue speaker, author  
Victor E-572 8-in. 12/13/1906 Uncle Josh and the fire department Cal Stewart Monologue speaker, author  
(Results 101-125 of 574 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Stewart, Cal," accessed April 20, 2024, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103525.

Stewart, Cal. (2024). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved April 20, 2024, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103525.

"Stewart, Cal." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2024. Web. 20 April 2024.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103525

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