Comedian and singer Red Newman was the only original member of the Dumbells who was not born in Canada. Originally from Dover, England, Newman later moved to Swift Current, Saskatchewan. He served with the Canadian Army during the First World War in France, becoming a star with the Y Emmas concert party before being seconded to the Dumbells in July 1918. He toured with the Dumbells in Canada and the United States from 1919, and by June 1922 was making recordings of his Dumbells' successes with His Master's Voice, including "I'm a Daddy," and "Oh! Start the War Again."
Newman split from Mert Plunkett's Dumbells in 1922 and starred with the Originals (the offshoot group made up of former Dumbells) in the revues Full O'Pep (1923) and Rapid Fire (1924), but rejoined the Plunkett Dumbells a few years later. His trademark comic sketch included the song "Oh, It's a Lovely War."
After the Dumbells disbanded in 1932, Newman bought a hotel at Wasaga Beach, Ontario. The former singer and comedian passed away in 1952.
Selected recordings available
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- Braithwaite, Max. "The rise and fall of the Dumbells." Maclean's. (January 1, 1952). AMICUS 88134
- "The Dumbells." Encyclopedia of Music in Canada. Edited by Helmut Kallmann et al. 2nd ed. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1992. xxxii, 1524 p. AMICUS 12048560