Frank Crumit was a popular American singer and songwriter. Crumit was born in Jackson, Ohio, the son of Frank and Mary Poore Crumit, and he died of a heart attack in New York City at the age of 53.
Attending local schools, Crumit graduated from high school in 1907. After briefly attending an Indiana military academy, he entered Ohio University and later Ohio State. His primary purpose for entering Ohio University was to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather, Dr. C. K. Crumit, who had been a medical doctor. However, he instead graduated Ohio University with a degree in electrical engineering. This career did not last long, as his passion seemed to be music and the old ballads of the 19th century; his love of music and theater dated back to his early years in the Methodist Church choir, and led him to pursue a musical career. He studied voice in Cincinnati and then tried out unsuccessfully for opera in New York City.
By 1913, he performed on the vaudeville stage, first with a trio and then a year later on his own, playing ukulele and singing his favorite songs; he was referred to as “the one-man glee club” in New York City’s night spots. He moved up to Broadway in 1918 to appear in the musical Betty Be Good. He was a big success there and went on to Greenwich Village Follies of 1920, which featured his hit song, “Sweet Lady.”
Crumit began making records for American Columbia in 1919, using the acoustic, or “horn,” method of recording. Unfortunately, the broad and pleasant overtones of his voice were not suited to this technology. This changed after 1925, with the industry’s introduction of the microphone. By this time, Crumit was singing at Victor Talking Machine.