Very likely someone will come up with another date to argue this, but it's good to have a clear
starting point. The word Vaudeville has come to mean an entire era of theatre history and
many people have no idea of a starting or ending. In some ways the basic concept of variety/revue
theatre has existed as long as theatre has, but our popular idea of "Vaudeville" probably begins in
the late 19th century and stumbles to a belated end in the 1950s with the coming of television.
But there is little doubt that Tony Pastor was the father, and one of the masters of modern show business.
From childhood circus performer to New York theater owner, performer, songwriter, and maker of future stars,
Pastor's influence on the stage of his day was enormous -- and his decline will break your heart.