By Robert M. Lewis
Before phonographs and relocating photographs, dwell performances ruled American well known leisure. Carnivals, circuses, dioramas, magicians, mechanical marvels, musicians, and theatrical troupes―all visited rural fairgrounds, small-town opera homes, and big-city palaces round the kingdom, giving hundreds of thousands of individuals an get away from their daily lives for a dime or 1 / 4. In From touring exhibit to Vaudeville, Robert M. Lewis has assembled a striking choice of 19th- and early twentieth-century basic assets that rfile America's age of theatrical spectacle. In 8 components, Lewis explores, in flip, dime museums, minstrelsy, circuses, melodramas, burlesque exhibits, Wild West indicates, leisure parks, and vaudeville.
Included during this compendium are biographies, courses, ephemera produced via theatrical marketers to trap audiences to their indicates, images, scripts, and music lyrics in addition to newspaper debts, studies, and interviews with such figures as P. T. Barnum and Buffalo invoice Cody. Lewis additionally offers us recollections approximately and reactions to varied indicates by means of participants of audiences, together with such fashionable writers as Mark Twain, William Dean Howells, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Carl Sandburg, Walt Whitman, Louisa may perhaps Alcott, Charles Dickens, O. Henry, and Maxim Gorky. every one part additionally features a concise creation that areas the style of spectacle into its old and cultural context and indicates significant interpretive topics. The ebook closes with a bibliographic essay that identifies proper scholarly works.
Many of the items gathered right here haven't been released considering the fact that their first visual appeal, making From touring express to Vaudeville an necessary source for historians of pop culture, theater, and nineteenth-century American society.
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Additional resources for From Traveling Show to Vaudeville: Theatrical Spectacle in America, 1830-1910
In his advertising, Cook emphasized the mixture of sound and vision, with piano and sound effects to complement the silent ﬁlms. 48 In Lexington, Kentucky, a medium-sized market town of 26,000 in 1900, illustrated songs and moving pictures also augmented the standard programs of traveling showmen. ’’ In between acts of The Smugglers, a full-length ‘‘Sensational Melodrama,’’ the repertory company screened a dozen, very brief, ﬂickering scenes of Paris streetcars, waves breaking on a seaside beach, and comical ‘‘pickaninnies’’ bathing.
Unlike many other dwarfs, the General is exquisitely proportioned, his head being not large, but of the proper symmetry, and beautifully developed, and his hands and feet are the prettiest ever seen. His boots are perfect Wellingtons, made of the softest kid, by the most fashionable artists; his clothes are the production of the most distinguished tailors, and his gloves are of necessity furnished to order, for nothing so small and fairylike were ever before manufactured. . The General has a fair complex- 38 Selling and Seeing Curiosities ion, light hair, rosy cheeks, large beautiful dark eyes, a fine forehead, a handsome mouth, and great vivacity of expression and hilarity of manner.
When you to New-York City come, for pleasure or for pelf, Just visit Barnum’s Museum before you homeward turn. ‘‘To see is to believe,’’ you know; if witnessing yourself The wonders of this unique show, the knowledge you thus learn Will serve you in the days to come for story or for song, When, gathered in your happy home, Time gently glides along. For in this famous Museum are wondrous things untold, Here, in the grand Aquaria, are fishes from all seas— The angel fish, so beautiful in colors blue and gold; The sticklebacks, the six-pound trout, gold-fish, or what you please; You’ll find them sportive and at play, as if in native sea They took at ease their random way, conscious they were free.