From the 1940s through the 1960s, the Catskill Mountains in upstate New York were a popular summer escape from the city.
Boasting more than 500 hotels, resorts, and bungalow colonies, the region hosted nearly a million yearly visitors at its peak.
The resorts called for entertainment, and talent agents like Jack Segal made their living booking comedians, singers, and novelty acts there.
Jack’s son, Mort Segal, and daughter, Joan Feldman, came to StoryCorps to remember their dad.
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Joan Feldman (JF): He had dog acts.
MS: He had dog acts.
JF: Sometimes the hotels would complain...
JF: Why are you sending me something like that?
MS: Like that...
JF: That's terrible...
JF: But he felt for every person, there was a show somewhere and somebody would like them.
MS: In the heyday of the Catskills, the performers slept on pool tables, on the stage, in the chicken coop, and dad would never have any of that. So, he used to say to the hotels, part of your contract has to be you have to give them the room. And when he went up the first weekend, after he got all the performers situated, he realized he didn't have a place to stay.
JF: Place to stay. That's right.
MS: So, a cop used to stand there to direct the traffic. And dad went up to him and said, "I don't have a place to stay. Lock me up."
MS: He always thought the next performer that he met would make it to the top. Unfortunately, something would always come up where the next step never came about. He had an acrobatic tap dancer out of Florida that was sensational. The guy developed a knee infection.
JF: And he came to live with us.
JF: I gave up my room. But this was my parents. My parents always took in the underdog.
MS: There was always an empty chair available at our kitchen table if somebody needed a meal. And I used to tell friends that the best shows...
JF: Was after...
MS: Were the shows after the shows when they came back to our house.
JF: Isn't where Buddy Hackett took a shower with his clothes on?
MS: Yeah. It was just a fun time.