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Dickens & Dave
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North Central Florida
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Years ago, I got the book "Memoirs of a Ventriloquist" by John Schaibley, started reading it, but put it away, just recently picking it up again and wading through it.
One thing that definitely stands out in reading that book is the amount of traveling they had to do to play those vaudeville circuits.

But something else also came to mind - how cool it would be to have such theaters again.
To have a place to go to watch a variety of acts, live. I'd be happy to see something like the Ed Sullivan show, basically a TV version of vaudeville, but the theaters would be the best.
But yes, I know, it wouldn't be possible to do anything like either of those now, especially in our current society, at the very least, it definitely wouldn't have the same feel.
(And please, no one say we have such shows with "star search" or "america's got talent" or some other such show - they are definitely NOT the same.)
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marshalldoll
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I'm with you!!There is nothing that can take the place of a live show. Unfortuantely our society today just won't support that type of entertainment. Variety shows went the way of the tube TV.
Dan
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Dickens & Dave
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North Central Florida
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I know. I know.
Longing for such things as live variety shows and shows like Ed Sullivan is just showing my age.
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"Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest."
jhard
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Dallas, TX
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If you are in a city, hire the local theatre (not movie theatre) for a couple of nights, find enough variety talent to fill an hour and a half and produce the show yourself as a fund-raiser with most proceeds going to the fire department, police, hospital, etc. Not only would that be a heck of a lot of fun to do but would also introduce the community to live variety shows that could become an annual event.
Success to all.
Dickens & Dave
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North Central Florida
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That is a good idea. There is a community theater here where such a thing could be done.

Actually, we have an old movie theater here where it could also be done and would be so appropriate. The theater was a movie theater when I was growing up, but before that, it was a vaudeville theater, in fact John Schaibley mentioned appearing there in his book. The movie theater closed down for a number of years, then a few years ago, it was opened back up where they do live shows, but it's musicals and stuff. It'd be really cool, and historical, if they put on vaudeville shows there.
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"Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest."
tacrowl
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Maryland
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Quote:
On 2011-03-07 17:59, marshalldoll wrote:
There is nothing that can take the place of a live show. Unfortuantely our society today just won't support that type of entertainment.


Uh, Dan - isn't there still a magic show near you that actually bought their own theatres and produce live shows? I think it would depend on how it was set up and marketed. Le Grand David would be an excellent example to follow...

Tom
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Servante
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I've actually produced stuff like that.
Here's the deal: Don't make it for a "good cause." First get your ducks in a row...find an hour and a half's worth of variety artists who'd be willing to do this as a benefit FOR THE THEATRE. Most community theatres are non-profits, so there's also the possibility that some of the artists, at least, could write off the work, and the theatre would be more likely to give you the room if they get the money.
But you've got to know what you're doing.
You've got to get your ducks in a row.
You'll also need to have SOME sort of money for advertising (though the community theatre newsletters--most on the Internet these days--go a long way toward that). You can't expect the theatre to foot the bill for newspaper and electronic media ads.

-Philip
Wanlu
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Manila, Philippines
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In my country... town fiestas have shows similar to vaudeville Smile

I remember using a Schaibley figure I used to
own in a few town fiestas. Smile
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CaptKirk
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IF there was something like that in my area and they had an amateur night, I'd certainly be tempted to get on stage and "give it a go".
marshalldoll
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Tom,
Le Grande David is maybe the best magic show done in the old vaudeville tradition that you possible could see. The theatre , backgrounds and costume changes are superlative and the magic is great but it is not a variety show. It is a true magic show of the best old school.
Dan
http://www.ventriloquistcentral.com
tacrowl
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Maryland
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I realize that Dan. My point was that few people would assume a live show like Le Grand David could survive - yet they have been doing it since before I graduated high school! I believe the model could be used to create a live variety show of the vaudeville fashion. It would take entertainers that are dreamers, planners and business-minded to pull it off - but it could be done.
Tom
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Mr. Pitts
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David Pitts
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You're kind of following the tradition Tom, I see traveling fair and festival performing being about as close to vaudeville as it gets. I recently started appearing with a regional variety show called "Deer in the Headlights Theater". They are singers mostly, doo-wop and standards, there's a cowboy poet (the genuine article), a stand-up, and me. The line-up varies show to show so I'm not at every performance. Originally the troupe performed monthly at a small venue in Comfort, TX, but this season we're expanding to a small 'tour' of the Hill Country. Last month we performed in Castroville, this month in Comfort and next month in Boerne. It's a lot of fun and I make gas money and get on a stage. At this point I'm trying to build a new act so the stage time is very valuable and the audiences have been very friendly. The best part is I don't have to organize and promote the show, it's somebody else's baby and I get to just show up and do my 7-10 minutes. At this point we're not in theaters, but maybe soon.
David Pitts
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kidshowvent
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I too did fairs as an opening act for about 8 years with people like Garth Brooks, Reba Macintire, Trace Atkins, etc., until the cost of the major acts got so high that they did away with almost all opening acts, relying now on the local radio station DJ's to do the intros (for free or with a tie in with the station). We traveled all over the country doing these shows. I also worked about 12 years (not in the summer, which was fair time..) with a magician out of Parkersburg, WV who had me, he did the magic, and often had either an animal act or a juggler. These were all hints and small pieces of what Vaudevill was. With the magician we worked many old theatres that were used for Vaudeville, which was kind of the roots of ventriloquism. Oh..those were the days! The magician was at one time doing about 30 dates per year, but due to increased costs, more governmental paperwork, money for licenses and bonding from the Attorney General's office, his glory days are gone as well. Too bad..this was great fun!

Mark
markwade@kidshowvent.com
tacrowl
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Maryland
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True David, and I do enjoy working fairs - sometimes. Although at most, there is a huge difference between being the opening act and a free stage act! Fortunately the one I am currently working has provided my stage with an air-conditioned trailer and hospitality, so there are perks. Those perks are what make the corporate work so enticing!
Tom
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Howie Diddot
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San Francisco & Los Angeles California
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Mark;

Can you elaborate on why a Ventriloquist would be required to pay for licenses and bonding from the Attorney General's office?

Would the licenses and bonding requirement be from the State or Federal Attorney General's office?

Buzz
kidshowvent
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Buzz..the license and bonding was not for me, but for the person who owned the traveling show, the magician I talked about. I have never had to buy any licenses or be bonded as I was a hired act working under the auspices of an agent or sponsoring person like the magician.

I've also done my share of free stages...being put on a platform in the hot sun in the middle of the midway. Sometimes you had three people show up for a 2PM show, and the fair left them no place to sit..they had to stand. The fair wanted the people not to get too comfortable and stay in one place too long..they wanted them walking around and spending money. You could suggest to the fairboard that things could be changed to make the shows better, but they always came back with "We've always done it that way!" True, they did do it that way for a long time..they just did it WRONG for a long time! Smile Pavilions were always a treat or even a tent because you could capture the audience's attention much easier than all the distractions of the fairgrounds. Ah, the glamorous life of us show people! But I did still like doing fairs, especially the opening act part at grandstands. We could have up to 10,000 people watching and we had professional lighting and sound!

Mark
markwade@kidshowvent.com
Servante
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We did a fair show once in some town or other (hard to remember which) where the stage was a huge wagon on big wheels. They didn't adequately chock the thing, and every move we made caused the stage to shift. Showbiz,she be a luxurious life.

-Philip
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