Billy Gallagher’s Funeral – Part 2

The New York Sun published this article about Billy’s funeral on March 7, 1934; p. 14, col. 1; I never really understood how “well-connected” Billy was until I read this article.  It’s not every day you find a write-up about an ancestor’s funeral where so many public officials and celebrities attended.

1934-03-07-throng-at-mass-for-gallagher-p1-1THRONG AT MASS FOR GALLAGHER

Saloon Keeper Has Real Broadway Funeral

OLD FRIENDS ARE IN TEARS

Show World Well Represented at St. Malachy’s Church.

They buried Billy Gallagher today from St. Malachy’s Church in West Forty-ninth street, from the vicinity in which he had spent his life.  He first broke into Broadway as a caterer to the thirsts of that thoroughfare at the northwest corner of Forty-seventh street some thirty-five years ago and during the last fifteen years he lived he conducted a cabaret at 717 Seventh avenue.

It was such a funeral as Billy Gallagher would have desired – a Broadway funeral.  St. Malachy’s, the “actors church,” was the ideal setting for it.  And the services concluded as Billy Gallagher would have had them conclude, with a burst of sunshine illuminating his onyx coffin, while Joe White, the radio singer, known as “The Silver Mask Tenor,” sang a touching farewell and the temperamental mourners sobbed aloud in chorus.

More than any other saloon keeper, Billy Gallagher formed a direct link with the Broadway at the close of the last century.  Jim Churchill, who used to be his competitor, is dead; George Rector has retired. Mike Dowling, whose place at Forty-third street and Seventh avenue was open twenty-four hours a day for years is dead. The Considine boys and Paddy Roche who used to irrigate the south side of Forty-second street at Broadway are dead.  About the only one of Billy Gallagher’s old rivals of a quarter of a century ago who is alive is Tom O’Rourke and The Sun reporter did not see him at the funeral services.

1934-03-07-throng-at-mass-for-gallagher-p1-2-ny-sun-col-1Old Timers Attend

Everybody else who should have been there was there: From the theater came actors, actresses and managers, bill posters and stage hands, advance agents and musicians, all former customers of Billy’s and many of them with memories of the generosity of the old time saloon keeper who never turned down anybody with a hard luck story.

From the night clubs came performers and managers, waiters and headwaiters and here and there in the church could be seen shabby old men who were young “singing waiters” when Billy Gallagher introduced that type of entertainment to what was then Longacre Square.1

All the scrubwomen who were employed by Gallagher to clean up his place every morning were at the funeral and al [sic] wept unceasingly because in Billy Galagher [sic] they lost not only a good employer but a god [sic] friend.  All the members of orchestra and his floor show company were there, wiping tears out of red-rimmed eyes, for few had ben [sic] to bed last night.

Gallagher’s old performers, in years so long that nobody wanted to try to remember them, mingled with the chorus girls who were employed by him at the time of his death.

Jack Sheerin, doorman of Gallagher’s Cabaret, who contributed a blod [sic] transfusion in an effort to save his employer’s life, was a sort of unofficial floor manager and usher, seeing that all the old friends had prominent places in the center aisle.

The Rev. Edward F. Leonard, pastor of St. Malachy’s, sang a requiem high mass.  The Rev. Joseph McKenna and the Rev. Patrick A. Gallagher, his assistants, acted as deacon and sub deacon respectively.  A mixed quartet under the direction of the organist, Joseph Davis, chanted the responses and Joe White rendered solos before and after the mass.

One of the principal mourners was Laura, who has been the hat check girl in Gallagher’s cabaret ever since it opened.  Another who was profoundly grief-stricken was Joe Callahan, formerly a manager for Gallagher and always one of his closest friends.

1934-03-07-throng-at-mass-for-gallagher-p2Sheriff Finn Is Mourner

Others who attended the services were Sheriff Dan Finn, Jay Finn, deputy clerk of the Board of City Magistrates Court; General Sessions Judges George L. Donnellan and Owen Bohan ex-Senator Harry Doll, who succeeded Big Tim Sullivan; Deputy Chief Clerk of the City Court Charles A. Hussey and Mrs. Hussey, Alderman John Mahoney; ex-Alderman John W. McCann, Charles A. Harnett, State Commissioner of Motor Licenses, and Mrs. Harnett; James Thornton, Charles Connington, head waiter in Gallagher’s cabaret; Dick Pritchard, Gertrude Dwyer, Fred McCloy, former manager of the Columbia Burlesque Theater; Herman Beyer, the Republican leader of the Fifth Assembly district; former State Senator Elmer Quinn, Patrick H. Bird, Frank J. Clausman, Kid Broad, the former pugilist; Billy Murphy, Billy and James Fogarty, George W. Pease, Billy Arnold, Joseph W. Falvey, John J. Nevins and Mrs. Nevins Ben Levy, Michael Kennedy, former Detective Mike Quinn, John O’Connor and Tess Dardell.

Mr. Gallagher died last Sunday in the Medical Arts Sanitarium of diabetes, with which he had been a sufferer for years.  At the conclusion of the funeral services the body was taken to the Pennsylvania Station, where it was put aboard a train for Camden, N. J., Mr. Gallagher’s birthplace, where it will be interred.  It was accompanied to Camden by his brother, John Gallagher, and his three sons, Joseph, Walter P. and Bernard Gallagher.

 

  1. Longacre Square was renamed by Mayor George McClellan in 1904 when the New York Times relocated there. See this article.

Billy Gallagher’s Funeral – Part 1

Once again, someone forgot to mention to the newspaper folks that Billy had been married twice more.  This unidentified article announced the funeral, mass, and burial.

1934-03-06-funeral-notice-billy-gallagher-no-date

GALLAGHER — On March 4, 1934, William J., beloved husband of the late Mary, and devoted father of Joseph M., Bernard J., Walter J., and brother of Joseph M., Emma, Frances and Lillian[.]  Funeral from his late residence, 34-51 75th St., Jackson Heights, L. I., Wednesday, 9 A. M. Solemn Requiem Mass St. Malachy’s Church, 10 A. M.  Interment Camden, N. J.


Another announcement from another unidentified newspaper. Whether he had a ton of money or not (but seriously, not), he was certainly popular.

LEADERS ATTEND GALLAGHER MASS

City Officials and Night Life Figures at Services for Cabaret Owner

Many figures prominent in the city’s night life during the last four decades gathered in St. Malachy’s Church on West Forty-ninth Street today at a requiem high mass for William J. Gallagher.

Mr. Gallagher was for fifteen years proprietor of the underground cabaret at 711 Seventh Avenue, near Forty-seventh Street, and had been a cabaret proprietor for more than forty years.  He died Sunday in the Medical Arts Sanitarium.

Joseph White, who, at the age of eighteen, got his first chance in the show business from Mr. Gallagher, sang two offerings at today’s mass.

“It was Billy’s last wish that I sing here,” Mr. White said afterward.  Mr. White is known as the masked tenor on the radio.

Prominent Men Attend

Among the prominent men at the mass were Michael J. Kennedy, City Marshal and leader of the Fifth Assembly District; Judge Owen Bohan; John J. McCann, former Alderman; Commissioner Charles Harnett of the Motor Vehicle Department; John J. Nevins, Deputy Register; Jay Finn, Deputy Chief Clerk of the Magistrates’ Court; Alderman John J. Mahoney; ex-State Senator Harry Doll, and General Sessions Judge George L. Donnelman.

Also present were “Laura,” the hat check girl in Mr. Gallagher’s establishment, and Jack Sheerin, the doorman there.

 

 

R.I.P. Billy Gallagher (1870-1934) – Part 3

Two more unknown newspapers report the death of Billy Gallagher.  The stories presumably ran on 5 Mar 1934, the day after his death.  Note that they refer to his wife dying eight years prior – that was his first wife, whom he divorced around 1903.  He had two subsequent wives: Lotta (from about 1906-1909) and Betty (from about 1920-1929).  He was divorced from them as well.

The second article is likely from a New Jersey newspaper – probably Camden or Bergen County – given the weight of Walter Gallagher’s position that was given (doubtful anyone in New York City would have cared that Walter was a Police Sergeant in Ridgefield).

1934-03-05-billy-gallagher-dies-brooklyn-daily-eagle-p2-col2Billy Gallagher, Cafe Owner, Dies

William Gallagher, Broadway cabaret owner, who ran Billy Gallagher’s, a carbaret [sic] at 711 7th Ave., Manhattan, died yesterday in the Medical Arts Sanitarium, Manhattan.  He was 65 and resided at 3451 75th St., Jackson Heights.  The funeral will be held from the house Wednesday.

Billy Gallagher is said to have formerly had at least $1,000,000 and to have given most of it away to those who had worked for him and others who came to him when they were down on their luck.  He was one of the earliest to introduce singing waiters uptown after they had become popular on the Bowery and his floor shows gave the first chance for many entertainers who later achieved fame.  He is survived by three sons, Joseph, with whom he resided, and Walter P. and Bernard Gallagher, and a brother, Joseph.  His wife died eight years ago.


1934-03-05-complications-fatal-to-ny-club-operatorCOMPLICATIONS FATAL TO N. Y. CLUB OPERATOR

Gallagher, Father Of Ridgefield Cop, Succumbs

SICK SIX WEEKS

William J. Gallagher, father of Sergeant Walter Gallagher of the Ridgefield Police Department and one of the oldest and best known night club owners in New York, died yesterday morning at the Medical Art Hospital, 57 West Fifty-seventh Street, New York.

Although funeral arrangements have not been completed it is believed the funeral will be held Wednesday from the home of a son, Joseph, at 3451 Seventy-fifth Street, Jackson Heights, L. I., followed by burial in Camden.

Mr. Gallagher was admitted to the hospital six weeks ago and during that time underwent two minor operations, one major operation and several blood transfusions.  Until last Friday it was believed that he had a chance to recover but on that day he was afflicted with septic poison and later developed pneumonia from which he finally succumbed.

He was born in Camden, and was about 65 years old when he died.  Mr. Gallagher has been a prominent figure on Broadway for forty years and for the last twenty years had operated the Broadway Gardens, a night club at Forty-seventh Street and Seventh Avenue.

He is survived by three sons, Sergeant Walter Gallagher, Ridgefield; Joseph, of Jackson Heights, L. I., and Bernard, of New York; a brother, Joseph, of New York, and three sisters, Mrs. Emma Wood and Mrs. Michael Durkin of Camden, and Mrs. Joseph Zavorski of Philadelphia.

R.I.P. Billy Gallagher (1870-1934) – Part 1

As we know, Billy Gallagher was somewhat of a celebrity.  His passing and his funeral made the news for a while.  Over the next several posts, I will share all the articles from Pop’s scrapbook and even others I found on my own.  

 

1934 03 05 - Billy Gallagher diesGALLAGHER, OLD RESTAURATEUR, PASSES AT 65

Resort in Seventh Ave. Famed Among Sporting Men, Politicians and Stage Players

Billy Gallagher, who ran what sportsmen called the luckiest restaurant in town, died of diabetes in Medical Arts Sanitarium yesterday.  Three operations and blood transfusions failed.  He was 65 and had been ill six weeks.

Gallagher’s place at 711 7th ave. gained fame among gamblers for the combination of numbers that spell success to crapshooters.

KNEW POLITICIANS.

But he included among his friends politicians of the importance of James J. Walker and Frank Hague and hundreds of theatrical folk.

He had been a restaurateur since boyhood, graduating from the Bowery to Broadway and bringing singing waiters uptown with him.

SOME GAINED FAME.

Some of them developed into vaudeville stars.  Others found fame among the songsters of Tin Pan Alley.

He leaves two sons — Walter, a Ridgewood, N. J., police lieutenant, and Joseph.  Their mother died eight years ago.

Gallagher lived at 34-51 75th st., Jackson Heights.  Funeral services will be held Wednesday morning in St. Malachy’s Church, 49th st.  Burial will be in Camden.

The following is from a separate article of unknown origin

Blood which Broadway pals opened their veins to share with him failed to save the life of Little Billy Gallagher, for 1934 03 05 - Billy Gallagher dies (2)forty years a boniface and the man who brought singing waiters from the Bowery to Broadway many years ago.

Gallagher died yesterday morning in the Medical Arts Sanitorium, where he had been confined for six weeks a victim of diabetes and a glandular condition which had necessitated three operations and many blood transfusions.

Gallagher, a friend of those out of luck and an intimate of scores of the great in the theatre and sporting world, ran Billy Gallagher’s restaurant at 711 Seventh Ave.  The place was once called the Broadway Gardens.  He was only 5 feet 5 inches tall, hence the name of Little Billy.

The funeral is tentatively planned for Wednesday.

 

Four Suspects Nabbed by Cop

This article is from October 1931.  Newspaper unknown.

1931 10 Four Suspects Nabbed by CopFour Suspects Nabbed by Cop

One Picked As Holdup Bandit — 3 in Jail for Investigation

Nabbed as they are alleged to have been attempting to break into a Ridgefield filling station, three New York City men have been committed to jail until their police records can be investigated, and a fourth has been partially identified as a participant in a recent $30 Hackensack store holdup.

The arrest, made early Wednesday morning by Patrolman Paul, of Ridgefield, was disclosed last night when Recorder Harry F. Baker, of that borough, sentenced three of the quartet to 10 days in the Bergen County jail on charges of acting as disorderly persons.

The fourth, who identified himself as Mario Bilello, 20, of 75th street, Ozone Park, Queens, was picked out of a police lineup by a delivery boy employed by the American Stores Co.  Inasmuch as the youth was not certain of the prisoner, the clerk and an assistant will view the suspect today to effect positive identification before Bilello is charged with the robbery.

Police Records Found

The three taken to jail at Hackensack last night gave their identity as Michael Spinelli, 21, of 155 East 110th street; Joseph Guardino, 23, of 147 Elizabeth street, and Charles Bruno, 24, or 238 East 30th street, all Manhattan.

Unable to account for their presence at Quinn’s gasoline station, Broad avenue and Marion place, at 2 o’clock Wednesday morning, the four men were held overnight in Ridgefield cells.  Their photographs, fingerprints, Bertillon measurements and other identification were sent to the New York City police, where it was learned Guardino was arrested in 1928 for robbery, and Bilello was held once before that for grand larceny.

Although partially identified as having participated in the $30 Hackensack robbery October 28 last, the four men have not been definitely connected with other Bergen County holdups committed in the past four months.  None of them is believed to have participated in two recent Palisades Park and Ridgefield offenses of this sort.

———————————-

About the Criminals:

Joseph Guardino can be found on the 1920 U.S. census at age 11 living with his Italian immigrant parents, Frank and Jennie, at 143 Broome Street in Manhattan.  He appears to be an only child, but his parents are aged 60 and 46, so there may be older siblings who no longer live in the household.  In 1930, he is found with his mother, now a widow, and a brother Vincent, who is 2 years older than Joseph, and who I am fairly certain was called “Vinnie.”  One has to wonder where his brother was living during the last enumeration.  In 1940, Joseph is married to Gussie and has 4 children – 3 sons and a daughter.  Under occupation, he is listed as a “new worker,” though he is 33 years old and claims to have been living in the same house in 1935.  I was able to locate Vinnie in 1920 at the New York Catholic Protectory, a home for destitute children and juvenile delinquents that was in operation from 1865 until 1938.  It was located in the area now known as the Parkchester housing development in the Bronx.  Apparently, the whole family led a life of crime.

I was unable to locate any positive information on Mario Bilello, Michael Spinelli, or Charles Bruno.

 

Christmas and Relief Fund Benefit

This is another undated, unidentified article from the scrapbook. I estimate it was published around December 1928.

-1928 Deauville membership donation driveMISS LILLIAN RANDALL, hostess and Walter Gallagher, son of Billy, received at Monte Carlo.  Charley Hanson, Harry Keller, George Metzger, Jimmy Miller and Charley Farrell received and assisted the Deauville membership, and at the Broadway Gardens everybody received magnificently.

***

WALTER GALLAGHER gave $100 at Monte Carlo.  Mr. Hanson gave the same amount at Deauville.  So did Miss Ona Munson, Keith headliner, and at the Broadway Gardens old Billy Gallagher was persuaded to sing a song for the first time in twenty years — for $331 given by the members of the yacht club who had labored long and furiously, and by the waiters, the girls in the show there, the orchestra, even the cigarette girl, Mr. Gallagher’s son and Mrs. Gallagher, who gave $100.  And Mr. Gallagher gave another $100.

And Miss Corinne Barber, attended by Mrs. A. C. Riely, both of whom had previously contributed, gave $50 more.

It was a fine, human and remarkable demonstration — one of the finest incidents in the long and happy career of the Christmas and Relief Fund — the song and the manner in which everybody responded to the suggestion that Mr. Gallagher sing.

High-Class Vaudeville at the Monte Carlo: Bobbie Adams

1922 Bobby Adams Vaudeville photo

Another unidentified and undated article from the scrapbook.  This one is likely from the early 1920s.

The Monte Carlo, with its California Ramblers, an orchestra second to none, its several high-class vaudeville acts, including Bobbie Adams, is doing its share to cheer up Manhattan’s floating population.  Walter Gallagher sees to it that the show is run off like clockwork.

1921+ California Ramblers at Monte Carlo