Show Me the Money
Show Me the Money
This chapter discusses ways in which the new class of vaudeville managers set out their plans for the structural reform of show business, especially the specific claims they made for their revolutionary managerial practices, and the principles on which they based those practices. Although contemporary critics have often treated the problems the managers set out to resolve as primarily strategic and self-serving, it is important to place their plans to transform vaudeville within the broader social struggle over the corporate reconstruction of American culture in the progressive period. The reorganization of show business into large-scale, transcontinental vaudeville "combines" was an original contribution to this process. This chapter addresses the principles that the vaudeville managers developed in their efforts to systematize the amusement business and the ways in which they connected their vision of corporate reform with similar changes taking place in other industries, including oil, steel, banking, and transportation. It focuses on the basic administrative practices and values they developed, including their theories about the programming of artists, the publicizing of shows and performers, the relationship with the music publishing companies, and the integration of the performing and dramatic arts into a single, centrally-managed, amusement industry.
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