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Recognize her now? Probably not. But Lottie Collins was the London born, English singer and dancer that introduced the song, Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-ay! to England.
While touring in vaudeville in the United States she heard the song "Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-ay!" After she sang it at the Tivoli Music Hall in London in November 1891, it became her signature piece. She would sing the first verse demurely and then launch into the chorus and an uninhibited and exhausting skirt dance with high kicks (especially on the word "BOOM") that exposed her stockings held up by sparkling garters, and bare thighs. She sang the song at performances of the Gaiety Theatre's burlesque Cinder Ellen up-too-latebeginning on March 14, 1892 [ and according to her obituary, at the height of the craze was performing it five times nightly at different venues in London.
She returned to America in September 1892 to perform "Ta-ra-ra-Boom-de-ay" as an entr'acte at the Standard Theatre, New York, but received a bad review from the critic of the New York Times, who described her as 'a mature woman', referred to her as 'Charlotte Collins' and mentioned she had been detained in quarantine when arriving 'on an infected ship'. Another of Collins's dance sketches in the 1890s was The Little Widow, and she also had a hit with the song Daddy Wouldn't Buy Me A Bow-wow. On 29 November 1897 she opened in New York again at the Garden Theatre, part of a triple bill with two short plays. She became an icon of the "Naughty Nineties" and her risqué style led to some criticism, against which she defended herself. A century later, her garters were sold by auction at Sotheby's.
She died on 1 May 1910 at St Pancras of heart disease and is buried at Saint Pancras and Islington Cemetery, East Finchley, London.
March 30th, 2013
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