What is Vaudeville?

There was nothing like a good Vaudeville Show! Popular from 1870-1930, American Vaudeville shows or revues consisted of classical and popular music, singers, instrumentalists, dancers, acrobats, comedians, animal tricks and a variety of other unique acts. The "Polite" Vaudeville Shows were the most popular established by Benjamin Keith in the 1880's.. He maintained a "fixed policy of cleanliness and order" providing only family friendly entertainment. He and others built a network of Vaudeville Theaters across the United States emulating European Palaces with ornate detail and sophistication. For quite some time, the shows would repeat all day long, so one could stop in at anytime to catch a performance.

The Vaudeville Show slowly blended with the silent movies of the day interspersing the movies with live variety acts. The movies also required live musical accompaniment for effect. As the "talking pictures" began in 1927, the movies became more prominent in the theaters and the live variety shows slowly faded away. Interestingly, the early days of television adopted a "vaudeville" type of format with a blossoming of numerous "variety" shows. Even with today's modern music shows we see remnants from the days of vaudeville. The variety show lives on!

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