I already had this topic picked for today, but decided I didn’t have time to write, until I was inspired by ThePeachtree‘s fantastic treasury featuring one of my cuffs–and I knew it was a sign that the show must go on!
The thing I’m hearting today is Vaudeville, which is defined by wikipedia as :
…a theatrical genre of variety entertainment in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s. Each performance was made up of a series of separate, unrelated acts grouped together on a common bill. Types of acts included popular and classical musicians, dancers, comedians, trained animals, magicians, female and male impersonators, acrobats, illustrated songs, jugglers, one-act plays or scenes from plays, athletes, lecturing celebrities, minstrels, and movies. Vaudeville developed from many sources, including the concert saloon, minstrelsy, freak shows, dime museums, and literary burlesque. Called “the heart of American show business,” vaudeville was one of the most popular types of entertainment in North America for several decades.
My favorite aspects would, of course, include the dancers, musicians, and the more unusual things…side shows, dime museums, and magicians.
Why did it ever die out? I suppose movies and eventually television became the more popular mode of entertainment, and I know there were many concerns with the exploitation of people who were in the “freak shows.” And perhaps, part of vaudeville’s appeal comes from being so very distant, in time and fashion, from our current age.
I have been happily noticing, though, that variety and vaudeville is making a comeback! While it will never the the same, it can still be fun, and I can see how some modern advances might improve it in some areas. (There may even be more posts on this in the distant future, as one of my hopes is to soon be involved in an act myself!)
But for now, I’m going to get some inspiration from the shows of yore…