October 24, 1881
Tony Pastor presents the first “clean” variety show,
playing to both men and women, in New York. The Bill:

Frank McNish Acrobat
Ferguson & Mack “Rough” Irish act; song, dance, slapstick
The Leland Sisters Song and Dance duo
Lester & Allen Eccentric Blackface comedy
The French Twin Sisters “Class” act; singers with costume changes.
Lillie Western Musician; concertina, banjo and xylophone.
Ella Wesner Male Impersonator; Headliner.
Dan Collyer Character Comedian and Singer.
1885 Benjamin Franklin Keith and Edward Franklin Albee introduce the first “continuous” variety show, open from 10 AM to 11 PM, in Boston.
1894 Keith opens the first true “Vaudeville” house in Boston.
1900 Keith and Albee set up the Vaudeville Managers Association and the United Booking Office, thus consolidating their monopoly on the “big-time” with the Keith/Albee Circuit in the east and the Orpheum Circuit, represented by Martin Beck, in Chicago and points west.
1900 George Fuller Golden organizes the male only “White Rats” (“star” spelled backwards) as an actor’s union to counter Keith/Albee.
1907 Theatrical producers Marc Klaw and Abe Erlanger join forces with the Shubert Brothers to form the National Vaudeville Artists Association to compete with Keith/Albee. (They are bought out three months later.)
1910 Formation of the Associated Actresses of America.


March 25, 1913

The Palace Theatre opens in New York City, playing two shows a day,
with reserved seating. The Bill:
Eight Palace Girls Dancers
Hy Mayer Cartoonist
Ed Wynn Comedian
The Eternal Waltz 30-person “flash” act
Taylor Holmes Monologist
Milton Pollock & Co. Comedy Sketch
The Four Vannis Wire act
Otto Gygi Violinist; Headliner
La Napierkowska Pantomimist and Dancer

1913 United Booking Office is sued by booking agent H.B. Marinelli under the Sherman Antitrust Act. The suit is eventually dismissed in 1924.
1914 B.F. Keith dies, E.F. Albee maintains control of monopoly.
1916 Albee forms the National Vaudeville Artists Association as an alternative to the White Rats.
1919 White Rats and Associated Actresses of America merge with Actors Equity, strike against producers. The strike is not successful.
1920’s Albee goes to four or five shows a day in most of his theatres.
1927 Introduction of talking motion pictures.
1928 Albee sells 200,000 shares of his stock to Joseph P. Kennedy, who eventually begins to convert vaudeville theatres into RKO movie houses. (Ultimately Kennedy will sell out to RCA.)
1930 Edward Albee dies.

May 7, 1932
The Palace Theatre stages its last two-a-day Vaudeville show. The Bill:
Bill Demarest M.C.
Allan Mann & Dorothy Dell with Helen O’Shea Song and Dance
Ada Brown Sepia Warbler
Henry Santry & Band (including a performing parrott)
William Demarest & Estelle Collette Comedians
Floyd Gibbons War Correspondent; talked about the Sino-Japanese War
Frank Mitchell & Jack Durant Knockabout Comedy
Charlie Jordan & Johnny Woods A Burlesque of Radio Features
Dave Apollon with his Filipino Orchestra Headliners
Albertina Rasch Girls Adagio Dancers


November 16, 1932

The Palace Theatre stages its last strictlyVaudeville show.


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