Michigan’s Love of Vaudeville, 1900-1920s
Unfortunately, vaudeville shows don't exist in the United States anymore.....or do they?
A vaudeville show contained a variety of acts, and could consist of almost anything: comedians, plays, skits, magicians, jugglers, striptease, acrobats, animals, pantomimists, cowboys, clowns, singers, dancers.....acts that were unrelated to each other, but held a special interest for all audience members. It was an entire afternoon - or evening - of entertainment.
So what happened to 'em?
In 1896, vaudeville shows began running motion pictures between shows in order to clear out audiences, making room for a whole new crowd. However, the films began getting more and more popular, and when talking movies kicked in around 1927, the writing was on the wall. The movie became the main attraction and the vaudeville acts were used as "added attractions".
Then, the Great Depression hit in the 1930s.....then radio shows.....then television...and vaudeville programs were now passe'. Now they featured mainly burlesque shows and striptease, appearing in back-alley and smaller theaters.
I consider myself fortunate, for I was able to sit thru a vaudeville show many years ago before they went kaput. I could be wrong, but I don't think today's audiences would have the patience to sit thru an afternoon of vaudeville...but over one hundred years ago, you couldn't keep the customers away. These venues were constantly packed.
Take a look at the gallery below of some of Michigan's vaudeville theaters and performers!
Michigan's Love of Vaudeville, 1900s-1920s
MORE VINTAGE MICHIGAN!