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Vaudeville memories

Baltimore radio and broadcast personality Dan Rodricks tells of the death a few weeks ago of Big Little Joey Peske, an old-time vaudevillian who claimed to have worked decades before with the June Taylor Dancers of Jackie Gleason fame.

Peske was a staple on wjz-tv's
Breakfast With Rodricks

show and on his WBAL(AM) radio show before that. Rodricks called him the most talented man he ever knew: "kitschy but hip; Henny Youngman meets Eric Bogosian."

Peske narrated pieces for Rodricks' show but was never seen on camera and, of course, not on radio, either.

That's because Peske wasn't real. He was created by Gary Yealdhall, a graphic artist then in his early 30s, who called Rodricks' radio show as a prank and, after letting Dan in on the joke, provided hundreds of hours of humor and music parody before he died at age 42.