S: 1900s Entertainment
BC: THE END | Thanks for watching!
FC: My Trip Through 1900s Entertainment
1: By Hannah Sakaluk | Decade Museum 2011 | Feel free to pause video at any time in order to read captions.
2: American vaudeville shows were live performances that were made up of a variety of acts. Some common acts included juggling, acrobatics, singing, dancing, impersonations, and celebrity appearances. The picture on the right shows Julian Eltinge, a famous female impersonator. | Vaudeville | The most famous vaudeville producer was Tony Pastor, known as "The Father of Vaudeville." He helped this form of entertainment to gain popularity by producing shows that were inexpensive to see.
3: Vaudeville influenced many later types of entertainment, especially TV and movies. This is because many vaudeville stars later became screen actors. | Vaudeville became more popular in the 1900s because society was moving further away from formalism. Vaudeville included some very unique acts that may not have been considered appropriate before, like Blatz the Human Fish, who ate, read, and played the trombone underwater and Chung Ling Soo, who caught bullets in his teeth.
4: Other Live Theater | Yiddish-language theater was a common form of entertainment in the decade, especially in New York City. It was brought to the U.S. by European Jewish immigrants. Immigration was another big idea of the 1900s, due to the rise of industry and increase in jobs in the late 1800s. | Yiddish Theater | Bertha Kalich, an actress in Yiddish theater
5: Minstrelsy, which is one of only few truly American entertainment forms, consisted of comic skits, variety acts, dancing, and music. It was usually performed by white men who were made to look like blacks. Many minstrelsy performers decided to switch to vaudeville in the 1900s, and many of them went on to become Broadway or TV actors. | Jim Crow laws were named after a minstrelsy act that made fun of African-Americans. This teasing, along with other forms of discrimination, motivated people like W.E.B. Du Bois to fight for equal rights. | Minstrelsy
6: Ragtime | Ragtime was the most popular piano rhythm of the 1900s. It was sold all over in sheet music and player-piano rolls. | Scott Joplin was an extremely famous ragtime composer, who was known as the "Ragtime King." Most people today have heard of his popular tunes, "Maple Leaf Rag" and "The Entertainer." Joseph Lamb and James Scott were also well-known ragtime composers.
7: As ragtime music became more popular, so did the dance style. Ragtime put an end to the formalism of dance in the U.S. White people began to copy the dance steps blacks had already been doing for a while. The one-step, bunny-hug, grizzly bear, and turkey trot were popular ragtime dances.
8: Tin Pan Alley | Twenty-eighth street in New York City was known as "Tin Pan Alley" in the 1900s because so many musicians worked on songs there. Music could always be heard from open windows, and the Tin Pan Alley songs were very popular. In the 1900s decade alone, almost one hundred Tin Pan Alley songs sold over one million sheet music copies.
9: Many of the Tin Pan Alley songs had to do with recent achievements or advancements. For example, "Meet Me In St. Louis" was inspired by the St. Louis World's Fair. Also, a song called "In My Merry Oldsmobile" celebrated the automobile, which was becoming increasingly more common. Other tunes were about the airplane, telegraph, or telephone. | You have most likely heard one famous song of the 1900s--"Take Me Out to the Ball Game." Most songs of this decade were upbeat and had a happy tone, which shows that Americans at this time were proud of their achievements.
10: Movies | People thought the 1890s had been the decade of the moving picture, but in the 1900s films advanced and became a lot more common and popular. Short movies were shown at the end of vaudeville shows as people were leaving. | The Great Train Robbery was a twelve-minute silent Western movie that sparked a lot of new ideas in the movie industry. It was the first movie to have real action and to include flashbacks. It was made in 1903 by Edwin Porter.
11: The Thomas Edison Motion Picture Company was one of the major film companies of the decade. It eventually combined with nine other companies to form the Motion Picture Patents Company. Also, the companies that became Fox, Universal, and Paramount Studios were all started in the 1900s. Actually, it was Edwin Porter who founded the company that became Paramount.
12: Dances of the 1900s | Cakewalk was one of the new dance styles that gained popularity in this decade. It was a parody of the mannerisms of higher class southern whites. It originated as a slave-time dance contest, but thanks to the popularity of minstrel shows, became on of the nation's most well-known dances of 1900s. This dance style shows the obvious division between blacks and whites at the time.
13: Tap dancing was perfected and professionalized in the 1900s. Originally, it was developed by African-Americans as a combination of traditional African dances, the Irish jig, and the Scottish clog. This shows how immigrants and former slaves in the 1900s helped to shape the entertainment and culture of our country today. | This is Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, one of the most famous tap dancers of the decade. Some other famous tap dancers were Willie Covan, Harland Dixon, and Ulysses "Slow Kid" Thompson.
14: George M. Cohan was the "ultimate song-and-dance man" of the 1900s. Along with performing, he produced and wrote many Broadway shows. | Influential Performers | Most people have heard of the famous deaf-blind girl, Helen Keller and her teacher/friend, Annie Sullivan. Together, they gave lectures and performed in vaudeville. Many people were inspired by Helen's story and wanted to hear what she had to say.
15: Isadora Duncan was an innovator of the dance world. She thought that individual expression very important in dance. Her dances had some ballet elements but were more relaxed. | Duncan's ideas on art, women's issues, and education influenced American thought for a long time.This relates to the big idea of the progressive era, because Duncan also wanted the U.S. to move forward and solve the problems that still remained in the country.
16: L iterature | One of the most popular novels of the 1900s was Jack London's The Call of the Wild. This book connects to another big idea of the decade---nature. During this time, John Muir and others were fighting for protection of the environment, as a part of the progressive movement.
17: The Jungle was a very influential novel by Upton Sinclair that shocked America. It told the truth about what was going on in the meatpacking industry at the time and helped to get the Pure Food and Drugs Act and the Meat Inspection Act passed. | The Jungle included a lot of horrifying descriptions of how the beef trust really made their products in the 1900s. Here is a "recipe" that is included in the book: "Carcasses of unborn calves are used to make veal-loaf."