Press Contact for
Rose Marie:
B. Harlan Boll/BHBPR

Baby Brings Home The Bacon
By Alma Sioux Scarberry
1930 Radio Digest

Baby Rose Marie and her family still ive in the poor downtown district of New York.
She entertains the kids on her block and gives them gifts and toys.

This yarn should really be called Baby Brings Home the Caviar. Bacon? Much too prosaic--and inexpensive. Like reversing the old saw, and craving beer with a champagne pocketbook.

For this is a story of several Radio kiddies whose incomes are more than then thousand dollars a year. Nearly all are the children of foreign born parents whose fathers are incapable of earning more than $35 a week.

At the top of the list is a five year old tenement child whose income will be more than $100,000 a year. $100,000 worth of boop-boop-a doop!

Perhaps you’ve heard of Baby Rose Marie, crooning, coon-shouding Radio child prodigy. Or seen her in vaudeville or the “talkies” and marvelled at her. Then, her story and a look into her home might be of interest to you.

The writer first saw her in vaudeville at the age of three and a half. Rose Marie came out wrapped in a msart little coat--did her number in a hard-boiled, astonishingly coarse shout, calmly and professional removed the coat, hung it up and did two more numbers. When she finished she bowed her way off with the air of a young lady who had been boop-a-dooping for twenty years.

The house was quiet for a second afterward. Then there was very little applause. A strange man turned in his seat and remakred as though talking to himself: “Gosh, I’ll be darned if I know whether to laugh or cry!”

She was clever. But, from the stage there was none of the child about her. She left you with sort of an aching belief that something had been taken from her. A year and a half later I met her and came to know the real Baby Rose Marie.

It was an interview arranged by the National Broadcasting Company, who have her under contract. She came with her father. It was summer and she was dressed in a filmy, stagey dress with her black hair sleeked down and her dark brown eyes sparkling with mischief.

For a little while her father stood close by and answered most of the staid questions that usually go to make up an interview. Then someone came in and he went over in a corner to talk with them.

Rose Marie leaned over suddenly and put her elbows on my knees. For a full minute she played with a necklace of bright beads and tried to make up her mind whether she was among friends. Suddenly she grinned and climber on my lap.

“Ah, ain’t this the old applue sauce!”

“What’s apple sauce?”

“Ah, you know,” she shook her head knowingly, “all these things I’m supposed to say.”

Deciding to let the young lady conduct her own interview after that I cuddled her comfortably and, casting a sly look at her father she began in a low stage whisper:

“Do you know where I live? I live ‘way over on the East Side--you know where the tenement houses are at 616 East 17th Street. Right across from a big city ash dump and I bet I play with a hundred kids ever’ day. You oughta see ‘em. I don’t think they ever wash. And they are ever’ nationality in the world.

“Know what I am? My name ain’t Rose Marie Curley. It’s Mazetta. They say Curley cause it don’t sound like a foreigner. My pop is Italian and my mom Polish. She worked in a restaurant. Pop drove a truck once--but he don’t no more ‘cause I keep ‘em so busy looking after me. I mean he manages my affairs.”

This precicious child mixing big words with childish philosophy went on naively:

“We live in a awful dump--you know a reg’lar tenement, right where I was born. But, it’s swell inside. All modern. We got a piano, victrola, Radio, pretty curtains and flowers and swell stuffed furniture. Grandma--mom’s ma, lives with us and she don’t even speak English. Aint’ that funny?

“You ought to see my kid brother. He is ten months old and--don’t you think I’m lyin’--but, he can sing a jazz song. Not the words. But, I hum and he sings with me and shakes his shoulders. You’d die! He won’t do it for nobody else but me. I guess he’ll be in my act when he’s about two if the kid’s society will let him. The old meddlers! Always stickin’ their nose in our business. His name is Frank, junior.”

A little later when she paused for breath we asked:

“And Rose Marie, what are you going to do with all of your money?”

She put her hand on hip:

“Sa-ay! Ask me! What would a woman do with her money? Spend it on duds, of course. I got about forty-eight dresses.”

“Why not buy an airplane?”

Rose Marie looked astonished.

“Get me up in one of them old crates. Not while I’m right in the bean. I got to live and make lots of money.”

She went on again in her husky little voice:

“I can’t read or write. But, I’m pretty smart. A big professor from Columbia University asked me a lot of questions once and when he got through he told ‘em I was a most unusual kid and that I had brains. I can just print my name. I learned how to spell it from the electric lights at the theatre. Honest I did.”

Here she proceeded to hunt pencil and paper and laboriously prove her point.

“See! Not so bad--not so good. Give me time. I just went to school one day. Mom fixed me up swell--but I had a awful time. I had a nice clean dress on and white shoes. And they made us get in a funny line and there was a nasty boy behind me and I guess it worried him because I was the only kid at kindergarten that had clean shoes. Cause he reached over and rubbed dirt on ‘em. Imagine! I went home and I says to mom that them eggs ain’t civilized and I guessed I’d stay at home. She agreed and I ain’t been back since.”

She paused once for breath and inquired earnestly:

“Anything else you’d like to know?”

Then without waiting for an answer she went on jabbering:

“Oh, dear me, Susie! I forgot one of the most important things they always make me tell. I know more than eighty songs. Jazz and ballads. All the words and the music. I never forget once I’ve learned a number. you know how I was discovered, don’t you?

“Pop come in one day when I was two and I was standing in the middle of the floor singing like Sophie Tucker. He nearly passed out and called Mom and she played the piano for me and they said they guessed they wouldn’t have much to worry about if they could get me booked on the stage. Well, they did. Here I am.

“No I don’t want you to hink I’m braggin’ like a ham actor does but, you know, I was only nine months old when I talked. When I was thirteen months old I carred on a regular conversation. And I won an amateur stage prize when I was two.

A little later she sighed, weary of her monologue:

“Oh, don’t ask me how I got this way. Don’t ask me!”

Let no noe think Baby Rose Marie’s monologue has been elaborated upon. As a matter of fact--it is impossible to do it justice. At times she broke into song and made wise cracks that would sound so blase and impossible in a kiddle of her age that, lest we be accused of having a wild imagination, they have been eliminated.

And, with it all, she is a sweet baby. Not a hardboiled little grown-up baby, but a cuddly, affectionate child when she isn’t “putting on an act” for the benefit of her “public”. Like most stage children she puts on her act at the slightest provocation and any willing listener is her public.

But, later at her tenement home--which by the way is in one of the worst sections of its kind in town--we found her playing in the street, the idol of her block. She had several toy animals beside her and a crowd of youngsters that made it look like the setting for a tenement movie.

Rose Marie is the queen of her block. For doesn’t her own shiny car sit in front of the door? And hasn’t she always plenty of money to treat the other kids to ice cream and lollypops? She is a generous little one--and is unhappy unless she shares with the other boys and girls who aren’t fortunate enough to be Radio headliners.

Often she stands on the back of her car and puts on a show for them. It is an amazing site . . . dozens of kiddies in the street and women of every nationality, shawl-drapped heads shaking approvingly from the windows, keeping time to her boop-boop-a-doop!

At present the Mazetta’s are on the way to Hollywood where Rose Marie will play in Victor Herbert’s Babes in Toyland. She has been touring in vaudeville several weeks en route. “They say” her salary is $1,000 a week--and that with her Radio and movie salary she will bring into the Mazetta coffers well over $100,000 this year.

It will be interesting to watch the Mazetta’s climb to fame and fortune on the shoulders of their first born. They have made no attempt so far to improve their living conditions, even though Rose Marie’s income for a long time would have permitted them to move almost anywhere in New York they might care to live. They seem to be perfectly happy among their old friends in their foreign tenement setting.

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