Publisher description for Vaudeville wars : how the Keith-Albee and Orpheum circuits controlled the big-time and its performers / Arthur Frank Wertheim.

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Vaudeville Wars illuminates the exciting and intriguing story about how the tycoons of the two most powerful circuits, Keith-Albee in the East and the Orpheum in the West, conspired to control the big time. To create their national network of hundreds of vaudeville theaters, B. F. Keith and Edward Albee and the Orpheum's Morris Meyerfeld and Martin Beck, used cutthroat tactics to suppress rival owners and to squash performers' rights and the White Rats union through strikebreaking and blacklisting. After the two circuits merged, Joseph P. Kennedy masterminded its takover through clever stock transactions and then linked the company to RCA to form Radio Keith Orpheum. When the big-time venues, including the famous Palace, became RKO sound movie theaters, the curtain descended on the vaudeville wars. Overall, the big time's heyday from 1890 to 1920 was a trade off--a legacy mixed with delights and duplicity, high points of artistic creation and low points of unending strife. Daring, ingenious impresarios left their mark on the history of show business by developing a coast-to-coast chain of luxurious theaters that presented an exhilarating popular amusement that appealed to a broad range of Americans. At their theaters thousands of talented vaudevillians were given the opportunity to appear on stage before crowds of adoring fans. Despite the battles between the performers and the circuit moguls, the vaudeville wars forged an electrifying entertainment that at its zenith brought joy to millions.

Library of Congress subject headings for this publication:
Vaudeville -- United States -- History -- 19th century.
Vaudeville -- United States -- History -- 20th century.