Going out : The Rise and Fall of Public Amusements
There was a time not very long ago when "going out" was only for the rich and the reckless. At the turn of the century, "going out" became part of everyday life as vaudeville halls, photograph parlors, penny arcades, nickelodeons, nightclubs, dance halls, world's fair midways, amusement parks, ballparks, and movie palaces opened their doors to the people of the city. The new amusement centers welcomed women, men, and children, native-born and immigrant, rich, poor, and middling. Only African Americans were excluded or segregated in the audience, though they were overrepresented on stage.Going Out chronicles the twentieth-century entertainment revolution that changed forever the ways we live, work, and play. In a matter of decades, a new public world of amusements was created where ethnic, class, and neighborhood differences were subordinated to the common pursuit of a good time. Clerks and bankers, sales girls and society ladies "turkey trotted" to ragtime in nightclubs and dance halls; "shot the chute" and clutched one another in "barrels of love"; visited "Darkest Africa" on the world's fair midways; and sat together in the dark watching pictures move on a screen.In Going Out, we meet the colorful characters who invented show business: Thomas Alva Edison, who was astonished when his phonograph made money playing music (he had designed it to take business dictation); Benjamin Franklin Keith, the circus grifter who opened a dime museum in Boston in the 1880s and within a decade owned the world's largest vaudeville theater circuit; Adolph Zukor and Marcus Loew, the New York furriers who made millions in the early picture-show business; and the dozens of small-time show businessmen who rode the rails with their "shows" in their trunks. And we hear the stories of the early black performers and their struggles to maintain their dignity and livelihood while audiences demanded their public humiliation.Going Out is a history of twentieth-century show business and of the new American public that assembled in the city's wondrous pleasure palaces, parks, and theaters. The book concludes with an account of the fall or relocation of this entertainment world, as central city amusement parks, movie palaces, and ballparks were uprooted and transported to the suburbs in the decades following World War II.
- Hardback | 320 pages
- 154.94 x 246.38 x 30.48mm | 521.63g
- 20 Dec 1993
- BASIC BOOKS
- United States
- illustrations, index