The Rise and Demise of Vaudeville Essay

766 Words May 17th, 2013 4 Pages
As far as the development and demise of vaudeville, there is much to be said. But to truly understand its rise and fall, first one must understand what vaudeville is. Vaudeville was a theatrical genre of entertainment that was popular in the United States from the early 1880s until the mid 1930s. Each performance consisted of a series of unrelated acts grouped together on a common bill. Types of acts included classical musicians, dancers, comedians, trained animals, magicians, impersonators, acrobats, illustrated songs, jugglers, scenes from plays, athletes, lecturing celebrities, and movies.
Vaudeville developed from many sources, including the concert saloon, freak shows, dime museums, and literary burlesque. Deemed "the heart of
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Although vaudeville seemed to be a long standing staple in our society, like all good things, it must come to an end. the decline and death of vaudeville appears certain, clear and inevitable. From the performers point of view, there was no perspective other than the "here and now" of their lives. Each day seemed to differ little from the previous, and speculation about the future was, as ever, informed by hear say and past experience. As an array of specialty acts, vaudeville was an enterprise without name that, over many years, could be found in the marketplaces of Asia and Europe. It eventually spread around the world to the farthest corners of Australia and Africa. Performers worked when and where they could, quite often in undesired locations. A certain cliché attached to performing in bed and breakfast's, saloons and public houses after their owners added stages and audience pits set apart from the tavern. It soon became quite taxing for performers to not only live the same shows everyday, but to move on and find other work after they were no longer needed in vaudeville shows. Still, this was not the only reason for the demise of vaudeville, although it played a large part. The largest contributing factor was the invention of the motion picture in the 1930's. There was no longer a need for people to be entertained by a comical, musical, circus style side show. Now they found a more intimate and fascinating way of enjoying a performance. The first

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