Vaudeville Deluxe

A collection of 16mm films from local archivist Dennis Nyback’s personal film collection.

Vaudeville was an American art form that flourished on stages throughout the United States and Canada, with excursions into foreign lands, in the latter part of the 19th Century and the much of the first half of the 20th.  It consisted of varied unrelated acts on a common bill.  Those acts could range from singers, dancers and comedians; to animal acts, jugglers, and sword swallowers, with many, many others in between.  “Big Time” Vaudeville could be seen in theaters that seated thousands.  It could also be seen on bills in smaller and  smaller venues down to  ” Opera Houses” and Granges in little towns dotting the country. There has a been a resurgence of interest in Vaudeville, or what is now called NeoVaudeville, by young performers who think there is more to performing than singing on American Idol.

This film program consists of 16mm films from 1925 to 1940.  The earliest is a sound test film featuring Gus Visser and his Singing Duck.  The newest is Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers from the 1941 film Hellzapoppin.  In between are rope skippers, roller skaters, contortionists, Hawaiian musicans, hillbillies, acrobats, CHAZ CHASE who eats anything,  W. C. Fields‘ juggling act, and of course, singers, dancers and comedians.

Dennis Nyback will be in attendance to introduce and provide fascinating additional information.


Thursday, September 4