Weiß Ferdl (born June 28, 1883 in Altötting, † June 19, 1949 in Munich; actually Ferdinand Weisheitinger) was a German humorist. He is one of the most famous Bavarian folk singers and folk actors. He remains famous for his singing performance A carriage from line 8, a satire on the Munich tram, which became the anthem of many tram fans.
Grave of the White Ferdl at the forest cemetery in Solln
As a child of a single waitress, he was brought up mainly by his grandmother. In Salzburg he was a cathedral singing boy for a while. In Altötting he completed an apprenticeship as a typesetter. After completing his apprenticeship, he moved to Munich, where he discovered his inclination to the stage among folk singers.
The Munich Platzl, a trendy place for popular entertainment, granted him his first engagement in 1907. He became its director just seven years later. Due to his ever increasing success with the audience, Weiß Ferdl remained loyal to Platzl until the end of his stage work.
During the First World War, the vocal humorist was drafted into the reserve as a non-commissioned officer. His regiment moved to the western front near Arras. To cheer up the soldiers in the grueling trench warfare, White Ferdl soon became the sole entertainer. The distraction from everyday war was sought in the hinterland among other things in front theaters. In March 1916, Weiß Ferdl was head of the twelve-member singing troupe of the 1st Bavarian Reserve Division and proved to be a talent in troop support. Texts he wrote on site tried to counter the murderous everyday life with relaxing scenes and cheerful dreams. The soldiers returning home after the war raved about Platzl in the field, as Weiß Ferdl's troop had been baptized by the public.
The artist resumed his performances in the Platzl in Munich and in 1921 became the director of the restaurant and amusement center. The acting also predestined Weiß Ferdl for film appearances. After two silent film strips (1928 and 1929), his tongue-in-cheek talent came into its own in the sound film. In the 1930s, he starred in around 20 (home) films. Through this he became known throughout the empire and became a wealthy man.
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