Vaudeville Vignettes: Step on Up and Feast Your Eyes!

vaudevilleposter
Poster courtesy of Library of Congress

Vaudeville Vignettes: Step on Up and Feast Your Eyes!
by Madame Sinclair

When Vaudeville shows were popping up in every city, people needed to get a glimpse at what each show had to offer. This gave rise to the eye-catching Vaudeville Posters of the time. Just like modern posters, the “when”and “where”needed to be readily visible. The “who”on Vaudeville posters was sometimes the most important part. When Vaudeville was popular, it was just as important who the promoter was as well as the act itself. Promoters scoured the country looking for the next big talent and some of them such as RKO or Ziegfeld had their own loyal followers. When an individual performer was highlighted on a poster, they were the main attraction. Unlike the current trend to keep performer titles short and sweet, Vaudeville was about lengthy descriptions of the acts. Strongest man posters would often include information if there was a reward for besting the performer or what made this act different than all the other ones. Reproductions of many colorful Vaudeville posters are still available online. Even though the shows have long since closed down, people still enjoy the window back in time these posters offer.

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