He started out with
his own band but then he began singing along
with them and before long, Rudy Vallee was
probably the first American "pop"
star – performances were sold out and female
fans went mad. His popularity as a
crooner in the 1930s led to a career on radio
and as an actor.
That's probably why
young women like Betty Baker bought his
sheet music. When she moved to the Bilby area
early in her teaching career
(1930), and married Emil Ulmer, she continued to
add popular music to her music
collection but it seems that her interest turned
more to drama and plays.
Certainly there were plays performed by her
students for festivals, etc., but
there were also plays performed by young people
in the area – probably an
excuse for socializing with other young people
but also used as community fundraisers.
Vallee's huge fan base owed much
to the invention of
the microphone (used in large
concert halls), the growing
popularity of vinyl records
and his radio program.
One Act Plays
groups met to practice and perform
plays in their
halls or schools – entertainment for
The Onoway Museum,
thanks to her daughter Fern Brooks (who
attended school in Onoway while her mother
taught here), has a wide-ranging
collection of the materials that long-time
Onoway teacher Mrs. Caroline (Betty)
Ulmer used in school and at home.
housewives, Mrs. Ulmer took advantage of free
cookbooks offered by food processing companies,
or later on, companies selling
appliances. Yes, International Harvester did
companies gave these away?
tear-out coupons in "Hostess
Delights" that could be used to buy