Vaudeville’s Popularity

th th-1Vaudeville’s heyday lasted from about 1890 to about 1930. During that time, an estimated 2 million people EACH DAY attended a vaudeville show somewhere in the U.S. That’s from a population of about 70 million (in 1900).

For comparison purposes, today 3.6 million people see a movie each day, from a population of 325 million. That works out to 4 1/2 times the population watching about less than twice the number of movies. Why the decline? Surely it’s because there are so many alternatives in entertainment today. Vaudeville’s only competitors for entertainment were theater (called legit, for legitimate theater as opposed to variety), circuses, and musical concerts. Today . . . well, we have radio, television, movies, computer games, and social media in addition to live entertainment and recorded music. 

the-ventIn my mysteries, I depict vaudeville as the major entertainment form of the 1920s. Of course, radio was new then, but it was very expensive and few individuals could afford it. 

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Published in: on January 7, 2017 at 4:37 pm  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Reblogged this on Travalanche and commented:
    Some neat vaudeville facts, figures and fotos from MARY MILEY’S ROARING TWENTIES

  2. You are the most amazing researcher I could possibly magine. That is all so interesting. I can’ t believe the US pop. was only 70 million 100 years ago and is now 325! What an astonishing rate of increase.

  3. Hi Mary, Once again, an interesting blog post. You never fail. This past fall, I had the opportunity to work with others at a fund raiser for a beautiful old local theater here in western PA. It was host to greats such as The Lone Ranger, Tex Ritter, Hoagy Carmichael and the three stooges to name a few. Your posts help me to imagine what it was like, sitting there in front of the stage watching those great entertainers.


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