A space for students to share questions (and answers) based on their readings and research for the course.
All of the acts shown in the documentary are so entertaining! I wish I lived back then. I wish t.v still showed some of these Vaudeville acts. They're classic! Now reality tv has consumed American television. But the "reality" tv of Vaudville is pure entertainment and live acts! People showcase their talents and actually used SKILLS! Not just whined and made stupid drama! Laughter in the audience was more genuine and acts went on for years and families joined the show biz world together. Today, acts get old. people get old. shows get old. We have the attention span of a goldfish. People need extreme things to stay entertained. I think television was much simpler during Vaudeville times. I love it.
The idea of Vaudeville was perfect for that time in the United States. It was a big, exciting event that came to your town before the cinema and radio. The comedians of that time had to do a complete 180 and change everything they knew and come up with new material at least once a week when they transitioned to radio. But they were truly talented, and were able to produce excellent, and very humorous, radio broadcasts every week. Changing to different mediums proved that only the funny survive, and they were funny. I don't know if actors and comedians today could adjust the way they did. It seems entertainers are a dime a dozen today, while back then, it was an honor to have Jack Benny or Red Skeleton come into your home via radio.
Vaudeville is arguably the true source of all American entertainment. And it's interesting to see how vaudeville manifested itself in new mediums. While the documentary focused on the vaudeville alumni who went into radio or TV, the film does not the other option for vaudeville acts,Burlesque. Vaudeville was originally family oriented content, but to compete with the radio and other entertainment forms, many of the comics when into burlesque and created more bawdy and risque routines. And so I began to wonder, why vaudeville was romanticized whereas burlesque remains mostly forgotten in American entertainment? Why is it that the comics in burlesque could not break also cross over in to radio or tv?
Vaudeville was great then and it is still great. I truly believe that the true measure of entertainment is its timelessness. If you can create something that is funny in its time period and still funny decades later, you must have done something right.It reminds me of something that Dick Van Dyke said in his memoir about the Duck Van Dyke Show. The writers wanted to make a timeless show. Dick said numerous times that he got inspiration for his physical comedy from the vaudeville era. He then said the writers would make sure the scripts would include no history or current event references. This would ensure that the children of the children of the children of the current audience could still watch, understand and appreciate the show.Just as the Dick Van Dyke Show set out to do, Vaudeville incorporate neutral comedy and acts, but was by no means generic. I think that's why someone was able to create a "worshipful," as professor put it" documentary about the genre.