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Urbana in Champaign County, Ohio — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Billy “Single” Clifford /Clifford Theater

 
 
Billy Single Clifford Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Rev. Ronald Irick, November 9, 2015
1. Billy Single Clifford Marker
close up, showing text Side A
Inscription.  
Billy “Single” Clifford
Wm. C. Shyrigh, better known as Billy Clifford, was born in this house on January 24, 1869, to Levi and Sarah Shyrigh. Coming from a musical family, he developed an early interest in music and practiced with the family in the barn behind the house. At the age of ten, Clifford joined the circus when it was in town and played the snare drum, sold tickets, and eventually performed a song and dance routine. A leading vaudevillian of his time, Clifford once performed with Buster Keaton and went on to act with the best troupes in New York City, Baltimore, Norfolk, Richmond, and Europe. Eventually, he created his own company of performers, including an all-girl orchestra. Clifford died in this house on November 20, 1930, and is buried in Oakdale Cemetery in Urbana.

Clifford Theater
In 1905, Billy Clifford built the Clifford Theater, now the Urbana Cinema, on the spot where his
Billy Single Clifford Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Rev. Ronald Irick, November 9, 2015
2. Billy Single Clifford Marker
close up, showing text Side B
Click or scan to see
this page online
family's barn stood on South Main Street. That was the same year motion pictures were first shown in Urbana. Built at a cost of $75,000, the theater was the first building in Urbana constructed solely for theatrical purposes. The ground level was large with an eighty-foot stage; the theater held an audience of 700. The building had three floors each with separate exit doors. While visiting Columbus and Dayton, Clifford and his troupe traveled to Urbana using Clifford's private railcar. A separate railcar transported the scenery and baggage. In addition to Clifford and his troupe, the theater hosted performances by such noted entertainers as John Philip Sousa and his band. Fire destroyed the Clifford Theater years later, taking with it most of Clifford's personal belongings.
 
Erected 2009 by Charles Mott Family and Friends, Champaign County Bicentennial Historical Marker Committee, and The Ohio Historical Society. (Marker Number 29-11.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Entertainment. In addition, it is included in the Ohio Historical Society / The Ohio History Connection
Billy Single Clifford Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Rev. Ronald Irick, November 9, 2015
3. Billy Single Clifford Marker
full view of Side A, with house in back ground
series list.
 
Location. 40° 6.359′ N, 83° 45.197′ W. Marker is in Urbana, Ohio, in Champaign County. Marker is at the intersection of Water Street and Main Street (U.S. 68), on the right when traveling west on Water Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 114 W Water St, Urbana OH 43078, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Dayton, Springfield, and Urbana Electric Railway (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Adam Mosgrove House (about 800 feet away); Champaign County Civil War Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away); This tablet mark's the Site of Doolittle's Tavern (approx. 0.2 miles away); Simon Kenton (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Samuel McCord House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Champaign County World War I Memorial (approx. ¼ mile away); Champaign County Veterans Memorial (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Urbana.
 
Additional commentary.
1. Clifford Theatre Playbill for Saturday, April 27, 1912
Transcription of playbill shown in Photo No. 8.

Mr. Billy (Single) Clifford
Billy Single Clifford Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Rev. Ronald Irick, November 9, 2015
4. Billy Single Clifford Marker
full view, Side B, intersection of Main Street in back ground
Offers “Himself,” His Superb Company and “His Clever Girlie Beauty Chorus” in The Merry Musical Feast (Served in Two Courses.) The Girl, The Man and The Game. The scenes are presumed to take place in Long Branch, N. J. The time is supposed to be the present, and the place is at the home of Charlie’s friend, Dr. Harry Merry.

In presenting this offering, Mr. Clifford desires it taken into consideration that no attempt is made to be serious, as his play is made for laughing purposes only and to provide an evening’s entertainment of a light character, asking his audiences to pardon any short-comings and inconsistencies thst ma seemingly present themselves in “The Girl, the Man and the Game.”

The players responsible in order of appearance upon the scene are:
Girl friends visiting Dorothy while on their vacation are:
Synopsis

FIRST COURSE
  1. ”On the First Dark Night Next Week” . . . . . . Charlie Pointer and the Girlies
  2. “Home-Run Bill” . . . . . .Dorothy Merry and the Girlies
  3. “Sing me an Irish Come All Ye” . . . . . . Elsie Merry and the Girlies
  4. “Hands Up” . . . . . . Dorothy Merry and the Girlies
  5. A FEW SECONDS OF MUSICAL NONSENSE . . . . . . BILLY
    Billy “Single” Clifford House image. Click for full size.
    Photographed By Rev. Ronald Irick, November 9, 2015
    7. Billy “Single” Clifford House
    Single's house at 114 West Water Street, Urbana, Ohio
    S. CLIFFORD

  6. “Mine” . . . . . . George Livingstone
  7. “I want a Girl, Just like the Girl, that Married Dear Old Dad” . . . . . . Livingstone and Pointer
  8. Finale Ensemble . . . . . . Entire Company and Girlies

SECOND COURSE
  1. “Rose Marie” . . . . . . George Livingstone and the Girlies
  2. “Beautiful Love”(duet), introducing the Poem of Dreamy Motion, “The Girl, the Man and the Game Waltz” . . . . . . Dorothy Merry and Charlie Pointer
  3. “Winnie from Winnipeg” . . . . . .Fi-fi and the Girlies
  4. “Mammy’s Sufflin Dance” . . . . . . Eslie Merry
  5. “The Famous Billy Song” . . . . . . Charlie Pointer and the Girlies
  6. A FEW MINUTES WITH BILLY “SINGLE” CLIFFORD AND HIS HAT
  7. “Texas Tommy’s Dance” . . . . . . Charlie Pointer and the Girlies
  8. “Billy Uses an Underwood, Do You?” . . . . . . Charlie Pointer and the Girlies
  9. Finale Ensemble . . . . . . Entire Company

    Wendler’s Furniture Used in this Production.

    EXECUTIVE STAFF
    • Billy S. Clifford . . . . . . Sole Proprietor
    • Bob Le Roy . . . . . . Publicity Promoter
    • Edward
      Playbill for the Clifford Theatre, Saturday, April 27, 1912 image. Click for full size.
      From the Januska Collection, with Permission, 1912
      8. Playbill for the Clifford Theatre, Saturday, April 27, 1912
      See Commentary No. 1 for a transcription of this playbill, or click on the image to zoom in to examine it.
      C. Clifford . . . . . . General Manager
    • Harry Ferguson . . . . . . Musical Director
    • Frank Madden . . . . . . Drummer
    • Jack Trainor . . . . . . Stage Manager
    • Al Blumenstock . . . . . .Master Mechanic
    • Matt Bradley . . . . . . Master Properties
    • Texas Smith . . . . . . Master Electrician
    • Mme. Billings . . . . . . Wardrobe Mistress

      Coming--Al. G. Field’s Minstrels, Friday, May 3rd
          — Submitted February 5, 2023, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
       
      Billy Single Clifford image. Click for full size.
      Photographed By Rev. Ronald Irick, November 9, 2015
      9. Billy Single Clifford
      archived portrait of Single Clifford
       
       
      Credits. This page was last revised on February 6, 2023. It was originally submitted on November 11, 2015, by Rev. Ronald Irick of West Liberty, Ohio. This page has been viewed 554 times since then and 14 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on November 11, 2015, by Rev. Ronald Irick of West Liberty, Ohio.   8. submitted on February 5, 2023, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.   9. submitted on November 11, 2015, by Rev. Ronald Irick of West Liberty, Ohio. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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Feb. 7, 2023