A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from December 15, 2022
Twenty-Minute Actor (vaudevillian)

Vaudeville was popular in America from the 1880s to the 1930s. Vaudeville acts were short, and a vaudeville actor in the theater was called a “twenty-minute actor.”
   
“Twenty-minute actor” was printed in The Daily Picayune (New Orleans, LA) on September 9, 1900. “Vaudevillians are ‘twenty-minute actors’” was printed in an article on theatrical slang in the Boston (MA) Evening Transcript on December 26, 1901. The term “twenty-minute actor” is of historical interest today.
 
   
Wikipedia: Vaudeville
Vaudeville (/ˈvɔːd(ə)vɪl, ˈvoʊ-/; French: [vodvil]) is a theatrical genre of variety entertainment born in France at the end of the 19th century. A vaudeville was originally a comedy without psychological or moral intentions, based on a comical situation: a dramatic composition or light poetry, interspersed with songs or ballets. It became popular in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s, but the idea of vaudeville’s theatre changed radically from its French antecedent.
 
Newspapers.com
9 September 1900, The Daily Picayune (New Orleans, LA), “Green Room Gossip of Plays and the Players,” pg. 6, col. 2:
Whether it is an earnest desire to be remembered as something more noble than a “twenty-minute actor,” or whether it is the flesh pots that made him come back to the old pastures, has not been disclosed.
 
Newspapers.com
26 December 1901, Boston (MA) Evening Transcript, “Theatrical Slang,” pg. 10, col. 2:
Vaudevillians are “twenty-minute actors” and to go on in a vaudeville house is to “do a turn.”
 
Newspapers.com
15 February 1903, Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer, “Gossip among the Players,” second sec., pg. 12, col. 4:
Vaudevillians are “twenty-minute actors,” and to go on in a vaudeville house is to “do a turn.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMusic/Dance/Theatre/Film/Circus • Thursday, December 15, 2022 • Permalink


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