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Product Description

This documentary traces the late-19th-century and early-20th-century origins of vaudeville (English music halls, Yiddish theater, minstrel shows) with fast-paced film clips of vaudeville vocalists, acrobats, ethnic comedians, dancers, ukulele players, contortionists, performing animals, and other acts of the period. Interspersed throughout this compilation of clips are contemporary interviews, including {$Studs Terkel} (on the magic of live performances), {$John Lahr} (on his father, {$Bert Lahr}), {$June Havoc} (with numerous personal anecdotes), {$Fayard Nicholas} (on racist attitudes), comedy magician {$Carl Ballantine}, agent {$Coralee Jr}., {$Morey Amsterdam} (comparing performers then and now), {$Bill Irwin}, former child radio vocalist {$Rose Marie}, {$Thelma White}, {$Morton Gould}, {$Bobby Short}, {$Billy Barty}, {$Eddie Lane}, and {$Jack Spoons}. Abbreviated archival footage mixes the mundane and forgotten with legendary talents -- {$Eddie Cantor}, {$W.C. Fields}, {$Fanny Brice}, {$George Burns} & {$Gracie Allen}, {$Eleanor Powell}, the {$Duncan Sisters}, {$Walter Winchell}, {$Hildegarde}, {$Ray Bolger}, {$Mae Murray}, {$Eddie Cantor}, {$Blossom Seeley} & {$Benny Field}, {$Weber & Fields}, {$Molly Picon}, {$Chick Sale}, {$Trixie Friganza}, {$Arthur Tracy}, female impersonator {$Julian Eltinge}, {$Ethel Barrymore} (who did a one-act by {%J.M. Barrie}), the {$Pajama Handkerchief Girls}, {$Zeb Carver & His Country Cousins}, and the table-dancing {$Mayo Brothers}. A segment on the treatment of black performers features {$Pigmeat Markham}, {$Stump & Stumpy}, {$Moms Mabley}, {$Ethel Waters} (singing {&Am I Blue?}), {$Leonard Reed} & {$Willie Bryant}, {$Eubie Blake}, and a 1916 clip of {$Bert Williams}, who managed to break through the period's racial barricades. {$Ben Vereen} narrates. {#Vaudeville} first aired November 26, 1997 as part of the {#American Masters} series on {@PBS}. ~ Bhob Stewart, Rovi

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Technical Details

Starring: Ben Vereen as Narrator

Directed By: Director: Greg Palmer
Producer: Rosemary Garner
Screenwriter: Greg Palmer
Cinematographer: Valerie Vozza
Composer (Music Score): David Duvall
Editor: Greg Day
Editor: Drew Keller
Art Director: Lisa Moore
Executive Producer: Gary Gibson
Executive Producer: Greg Palmer
Sound/Sound Designer: Bill Fast
Sound/Sound Designer: Toy Higashi
Sound/Sound Designer: Dave Howe
Sound/Sound Designer: Mike McAuliffe

Format: DVD

Number of Discs: 1

Studio: WNET

Release Date: 30 May 1997

Run Time: 120

Boxed-Product Weight: -

Quick Code: QCMV17772355

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Item model number: Not Available

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