Tony Pastor, Father of Vaudeville


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About the Book

Apprenticed at 14 to life in the circus, Tony Pastor seemed destined for a career in show business. Indeed, true to his desire and his rigorous training, Pastor spent his life within the theater milieu. He made significant contributions to both variety and vaudeville as a songwriter, performer and theater owner. With a head for business, a knack for discovering new talent, and a sharp understanding of popular taste, Pastor initiated new business practices in theater and gave audiences what they sought in entertainment.
This book offers a moving and thorough examination of Pastor’s rise and gradual decline during the growth and development of the New York stage. Through the story of his life and career, the reader discovers Pastor’s unique contributions to popular American theater and the performing arts professions.

About the Author(s)

The late Armond Fields was a social historian specializing in American popular theater. The author of numerous books about vaudeville and other early theater figures, he lived in Culver City, California.

Bibliographic Details

Armond Fields
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 216
Bibliographic Info: 46 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012 [2007]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6424-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vi
Introduction      1

1. Family Heritage      3
2. Circus Days      11
3. “444”      19
4. “Greatest Comic Singer of the Age”      29
5. Tony Pastor’s Opera House      41
6. The Elks, John Poole and Touring Success      54
7. Variety’s Triumph      66
8. New Talent and Crowded Houses      82
9. The Emergence of Vaudeville      100
10. The 14th Street Theater      115
11. “The Most Popular Theater in Town”      127
12. Business Challenges and Changing Audiences      136
13. Continuous Vaudeville and Shrinking Profits      151
14. Tony Retires from the Stage      166
15. Struggling to Stay Open      178
16. The Venerable Showman’s Decline      190

Epilogue      194
Chapter Notes      197
Bibliography      201
Index      205

Book Reviews & Awards

“detailed biography…recommended”—Library Journal; “well-documented”—Intellect Journals; “enjoyable”—Early Popular Visual Culture.