V is for Vaudeville
Imagine a world without radio - without television, - without talking pictures - without DVD's - with the piano in the parlour as the lure of home entertainment.
You would be living in the world of VAUDEVILLE, - the most popular form of entertainment between 1875 and 1932 where there was a vaudeville house in every town, filled night after night with traveling entertainers skilled in comedy, magic, juggling singing, music and mime, and dancing.
Here is the Vaudeville Theatre in Paris, France.
But not all Vaudeville Houses were so elegant. The word 'Vaudeville' originates from two French phrases 'Val de Vire' which meant valley of the river Vire, and 'voix de ville' which meant voices of the town. "The valley was a place where people would entertain each other in the evenings with ballads, folk songs, and general merry making. In the city streets popular theatre gave rise to the Theatre de Vaudeville in Paris in 1792".
Vaudeville was for everyone, - you didn't have to be rich to buy a ticket, - you only needed the desire to be entertained, and to laugh and be merry.
In the last stages of vaudeville, during the Great Depression when people could no longer afford the luxury of going to a vaudeville show, it was cheaper to listen to the radio, or to go to a movie for fifty-cents and see such vaudeville actors as Jack Benny, Bing Crosby and George Burns performing in a more modern venue.
But I wonder if the magic of participation was gone, - the magic of being part of a vivacious audience indulging in a night of merry entertainment? Alas, we will probably never know. We live in in an age of such sophistication (and I use the word loosely, as The Simpsons spring to mind)!!!!!!
There are many more interpretations of the letter V at ABC Wednesday.