Sunday, August 13, 2006
This is one of several Press Photos that Bill and Gen Lerche used over the years. This particular shot was printed in Southern Sawdust in 1975. Bill Lerche started in show business in 1916 doing comedy routines, traps and rings. He toured on the Hagenbeck-Wallace show, John Robinson, M.L.Clark and Sons, Campbell Bros., and Harris Bros. Shows as well as smaller dog and pony shows, vaudeville dates, and fairs before even meeting Gen in 1924.
This is Bill and Genieve Lerche. Bill met Gen in Upper Sandusky, Ohio on July 4th, 1924 while he was performing with another performer named Betty Zenaro. Betty and Gen had grown up together. Bill and Gen were married in January of 1926. Betty later married Fred Leonard. Betty Leonard and Gen Lerche remained close friends throughout the rest of their lives. Bill and Gen performed up till 1941 when the depression had hurt everyone the worst and settled in Bellevue, Ohio.
This is Bill and Gen working their ring act on the fair circuit around the late 1930's I believe. They offered the clowning routines, the Comedy Table Rock and the Ring act on various shows such as Cooper Bros. ,Haag Bros., Conroy Bros., Zellmar Bros., Cole and Rogers. They also made a living working the vaudeville circuit, fairs and festivals, theaters and night clubs.
This is Billy Lerche doing his Comedy table rock on the fair circuit. The table rock was a comedy of errors in assemblying these four tables on top of each other. We still have them in the barn and trust me they are not light. Once on top of each other, Billy crawled in and out of each one until he reached the top while sitting on a chair and getting the tables rocking back and forth. When they finally were going to fall, Billy rode the chair all the way down, did a somersault with the chair and finished the routine sitting in the chair to the howls and laughter from the entire audience.