Showman: The Russ Whitebone Story


118 pages
Contains Illustrations
ISBN 0-86492-088-1




Reviewed by Jerry McDonnell

Jerry McDonnell was a teacher and librarian the F.E. Madill Secondary School in Wingham, Ontario.


Many entertainers, who never make it to the big time or even earn a decent living entertaining, usually have an interesting story to tell. Russ Whitebone is one such entertainer.

A native of Saint John, New Brunswick, Whitebone was born into a show business family, so he grew up on the vaudeville and circus circuit. During his childhood he performed as “Baby Russell, World’s Youngest Trapeze Artist.” In adolescence he perfected a ventriloquism act and began to pick up jobs at parties and conventions. With the outbreak of World War II, he joined the army and eventually became part of the Combined Operations Army Show, which toured through Belgium, Holland, and Germany entertaining Allied troops.

His story continues up to 1986, but the best and most tightly written section deals with the war. For example, he writes movingly when he describes a visit to Bergen-Belsen shortly after the liberation of the death camp.

This autobiography is an interesting portrayal of the life of a regional Canadian entertainer.


Whitebone, Russ, “Showman: The Russ Whitebone Story,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 23, 2024,