Portrait of Chic Sale in a Woman's Dress
Usually, rube comics were favored by rural audiences who liked their entertainers down to earth. In Chic’s case, you couldn’t get more down to earth than the outhouses that figured in his storytelling. Despite a preference for sophisticated monologists, Broadway audiences took to two of the cracker barrel types, including Will Rogers and Chic Sale. Sale portrayed a village full of hayseed characters in his storytelling of which “Grandpa” was the most successful. He also wrote a best selling book of outhouse humor called “The Specialist” which is still in print after 80 years. Here he is pictured wearing a woman's wig, dress, and bloomers, holding his skirt up just above the knee to reveal their laced fringe. At first glance, the dress appears patchworked in the detail around the neck and sleeve lines but a closer look reveals an elegant pattern in the fabric. The bust is gathered in the middle, fitting to what would be a woman's breasts, but deflate on Chic's body to make an amusing fit. The photograph appears to be set in a room of a house, where on the wall Chic's shadow is exaggerated and more menacing than his cutesy character.