The Orpheum Program, Part I

 I was delighted to find this 1908 Orpheum Theatre program (for $10) because it features TWO fascinating acts. The first is the Zancigs, the mentalists I wrote about in my last blog. Look toward the bottom of the program at #8 for their name.

If the print is too hard to read, it says: “THE ZANCIGS  Two minds with but a single thought” In their marvelous demonstration of thought transmition (yes, they spelled it wrong—it isn’t  unusual to find spelling errors in these programs) which has made them the Master Mystics of five continents. The Zancigs offer to forfeit $100 to any person whose name they cannot transmit correctly.”

      We can tell the Zancigs are the headliners here because they are slotted in the next-to-the-last position. In vaudeville, this was the best spot in the program, reserved for the biggest star of that week, known as the “headliner.”

      The last slot was usually a “dumb act”—not dumb as in stupid, dumb as in silent, because the audience would start to leave during the last act and their noise and confusion would have ruined a vocal act. In this case, the Holman Brothers, Swedish gymnasts, had final billing.

COMING NEXT: Which is the other unusual act on this program?

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Published in: on November 20, 2009 at 10:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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