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Encyclopedia of Radio 3-Volume Set by Christopher H. Sterling

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V

VARIETY SHOWS

Music and Comedy Formats

Inspired by live stage vaudeville, variety programs on network radio through the 1930s and 1940s — whether oriented to music or comedy—offered significant examples of core network radio programming. Variety programs on network radio proved a powerful lure, but except for the popularity of Arthur Godfrey, they declined and disappeared as radio programming changed in the 1950s.

Origins

Vaudeville started in the late 19th century, and by the early years of the 20th century, it was a staple of mass entertainment in U.S. cities. Jugglers, comics, singers, tumblers, and indeed any talent that could operate in 10- to 20-minute units toured the United States, honing their acts in front of live audiences. This ...

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