Frankie "Half Pint" Jaxon was a vaudeville singer, comedian and female impersonator. He was born in Montgomery, Alabama, orphaned, and raised in Kansas City, Missouri. His nickname of "Half Pint" referred to his 5'2" height. He got his start in show business some time around 1910 as a singer in cafes, movie theatres and bars in Kansas City. He traveled extensively throughout the United States between 1916 and 1921 and in the early 1920s he often appeared on the bill with King Oliver and Freddie Keppard in Chicago at the Sunset Cafe (313-17 East 35th Street at the corner of Calmet Street ) and the Plantation Cafe (338 East Thirty-fifth Street at State Street). Throughout the rest of the 1920s and 1930s he continued to tour the vaudeville circuit, and record. Jaxon also seems to have had a side career of providing staging for the lavish musical revues that Bessie Smith and Ethel Waters toured the country with. These shows were quite elaborate and could include comedy routines, dance numbers, multiple costume changes and even acrobats from time to time. Frankie recorded with Tampa Red and Thomas A. Dorsey in the late 1920s under the name of the Black Hillbillies. In the 1930s he frequently was heard on radio in the Chicago area and led his own band called Frankie "Half Pint" Jaxon and his Quarts Of Joy. Jaxon's music is still a lot of fun to listen to. The almost always bawdy comedy is still fresh and filled with sexual double entendre. Jaxon often plays the role of a woman in the songs and one can imagine him being a very funny drag queen. His songOperation Blues is a good example of his kind of risqué hokum. In 1941 he retired from show business and worked at the Pentagon in Washington D.C. and was transferred to Los Angeles in 1944 where he died in the veterans hospital.

Thanks to Uncle Dave Lewis for his help with this page.



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