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The Encyclopedia of Vaudeville
     

The Encyclopedia of Vaudeville

by Anthony Slide
 

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The Encyclopedia of Vaudeville provides a unique record of what was once America’s preeminent form of popular entertainment from the late 1800s through the early 1930s. It includes entries not only on the entertainers themselves, but also on those who worked behind the scenes, the theatres, genres, and historical terms. Entries on individual

Overview

The Encyclopedia of Vaudeville provides a unique record of what was once America’s preeminent form of popular entertainment from the late 1800s through the early 1930s. It includes entries not only on the entertainers themselves, but also on those who worked behind the scenes, the theatres, genres, and historical terms. Entries on individual vaudevillians include biographical information, samplings of routines and, often, commentary by the performers. Many former vaudevillians were interviewed for the book, including Milton Berle, Block and Sully, Kitty Doner, Fifi D’Orsay, Nick Lucas, Ken Murray, Fayard Nicholas, Olga Petrova, Rose Marie, Arthur Tracy, and Rudy Vallee. Where appropriate, entries also include bibliographies. The volume concludes with a guide to vaudeville resources and a general bibliography.

Aside from its reference value, with its more than five hundred entries, The Encyclopedia of Vaudeville discusses the careers of the famous and the forgotten. Many of the vaudevillians here, including Jack Benny, George Burns and Gracie Allen, Jimmy Durante, W. C. Fields, Bert Lahr, and Mae West, are familiar names today, thanks to their continuing careers on screen. At the same time, and given equal coverage, are forgotten acts: legendary female impersonators Bert Savoy and Jay Brennan, the vulgar Eva Tanguay with her billing as “The I Don’t Care Girl,” male impersonator Kitty Doner, and a host of “freak” acts.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
From the mid-1800s to the early 1930s, vaudeville existed as a dominant form of entertainment. Here, Slide (The Slide Area, LJ 2/15/93) includes biographies, songs, and subjects that give the reader a full concept of this once-important recreation. The theaters and towns where vaudeville was performed are also covered in the readable text. The mostly referenced entries run from only a few lines to three pages and are followed by a resource list. Names are given in alphabetical order by last name, but, with first names preceding last names in the text, some readers may be confused. Still, this much-needed update will be a valuable addition to most libraries, given the breadth of its coverage. Highly recommended.-Ina M. Wise, Daley Community Coll. Lib., Chicago
Zom Zoms
Vaudeville, that uniquely American, turn-of-the-century form of entertainment, launched many a career for now legendary stars of stage and screen. Vaudeville theaters were sources of inexpensive, wholesome variety entertainment. Each act lasted about 30 minutes, and audiences were treated to evenings of performances by jugglers, dancers, singers, acrobats, animal acts, magicians, impersonators, and more. Vaudeville offered something to satisfy nearly everyone's tastes Gypsy Rose Lee, Jack Benny, Milton Berle, Al Jolson, Douglas Fairbanks, Lillian Russell, W. C. Fields, Ethel Waters, Rudy Vallee, Mae West, and Will Rogers are some of the more well known vaudevillians featured in this encyclopedia. The Ziegfeld Follies, Dolly Sisters, and bandleader Little Jack Little are among the many performers brought to life through detailed descriptions and summaries. In addition, managers, composers, troupes, routines, and animal acts are described. The alphabetically arranged entries are historical and biographical in content. Careers are documented in detail, with sample routines included where appropriate. Some entries conclude with references to further reading. Histories of vaudeville theaters and major cities are also provided. Personal commentaries by former vaudevillians and reflections by contemporary performers add to the flavor of this unusual encyclopedia, as does an insert of black-and-white photographs Slide is a well-known writer on film, theater, and other forms of entertainment. His book, which concludes with a list of library and museum resources, a bibliography, and a detailed index, captures and documents the many components of this bygone era of American entertainment. Most libraries with sizable popular performing arts collections will be interested in acquiring "The Encyclopedia of Vaudeville".
Booknews
An encyclopedic guide to vaudeville that includes not only information on performers, but also those active behind the scenes in various support capacities. Beyond biographical data, entries on vaudevillians often include contemporary criticism, a sampling of an act's routines, and an appraisal of the performer's place in vaudeville history. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781617032493
Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
Publication date:
03/12/2012
Pages:
630
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.70(d)

Meet the Author


Anthony Slide is an independent scholar who has published seventy-five books on popular entertainment. He has been a specialist appraiser of entertainment memorabilia for more than thirty years, an associate archivist for the American Film Institute, and the resident film historian of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

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