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WRITING FOR VAUDEVILLE

WITH NINE COMPLETE EXAMPLES OF VARIOUS VAUDEVILLE FORMS BY RICHARD HARDING DAVIS, AARON HOFFMAN, EDGAR ALLAN WOOLF, TAYLOR GRANVILLE, LOUIS WESLYN, ARTHUR DENVIR, AND JAMES MADISON

BY BRETT PAGE

AUTHOR OF "CLOSE HARMONY," "CAMPING DAYS," "MEMORIES," ETC.

DRAMATIC EDITOR, NEWSPAPER FEATURE SERVICE, NEW YORK

THE WRITER'S LIBRARY EDITED BY J. BERG ESENWEIN

FOREWORD

Can you be taught how to write for vaudeville? If you have the native gift, what experienced writers say about its problems, what they themselves have accomplished, and the means by which it has been wrought, will be of help to you. So much this book offers, and more I would not claim for it.

Although this volume is the first treatise on the subject of which I know, it is less an original offering than a compilation. Growing out of a series of articles written in collaboration with Mr. William C. Lengel for The Green Book Magazine, the subject assumed such bigness in my eyes that when I began the writing of this book, I spent months harvesting the knowledge of others to add to my own experience. With the warm heartedness for which vaudevillians are famous, nearly everyone whose aid I asked lent assistance gladly. "It is vaudeville's first book," said more than one, deprecating the value of his own suggestions, "and we want it right in each slightest particular."

To the following kindly gentlemen I wish to express my especial thanks: Aaron Hoffman, Edwin Hopkins, James Madison, Edgar Allan Woolf, Richard Harding Davis the foremost example of a writer who made a famous name first in literature and afterward in vaudeville Arthur Hopkins, Taylor Granville, Junie McCree, Arthur Denvir, Frank Fogarty, Irving Berlin, Charles K. Harris, L. Wolfe Gilbert, Ballard MacDonald, Louis Bernstein, Joe McCarthy, Joseph Hart, Joseph Maxwell, George A. Gottlieb, Daniel F. Hennessy, Sime Silverman, Thomas J. Gray, William C. Lengel, Miss Nellie Revell, the "big sister of vaudeville," and a host of others whose names space does not permit my naming again here, but whose work is evidenced in the following pages. To Alexander Black, the man who made the first picture play twenty one years ago, I owe thanks for points in the discussion of dramatic values. And for many helpful suggestions, and his kindly editing, I wish to express my gratitude to Dr. J. Berg Esenwein. To these "friends indeed" belongs whatever merit this book possesses.

BRETT PAGE BROOKLYN, NEW YORK August 25, 1915

INTRODUCTION

It falls to the lot of few men in these days to blaze a new trail in Bookland. This Mr. Brett Page has done, with firmness and precision, and with a joy in every stroke that will beget in countless readers that answering joy which is the reward of both him who guides and him who follows. There is but one word for a work so penetrating, so eductive, so clear and that word is masterly . Let no one believe the modest assertion that "Writing for Vaudeville" is "less an original offering than a compilation." I have seen it grow and re grow, section by section, and never have I known an author give more care to the development of his theme in an original way. Mr. Page has worked with fidelity to the convictions gained while himself writing professionally, yet with deference for the opinions of past masters in this field. The result is a book quite unexcelled among manuals of instruction, for authority, full statement, analysis of the sort that leads the reader to see what essentials he must build into his own structures, and sympathetic helpfulness throughout. I count it an honor to have been the editorial sponsor for a pioneer book which will be soon known everywhere.

J. BERG ESENWEIN

WRITING FOR VAUDEVILLE

CHAPTER I

THE WHY OF THE VAUDEVILLE ACT

1. The Rise of Vaudeville

A French workman who lived in the Valley of the Vire in the fourteenth or fifteenth century, is said to be vaudeville's grandparent... Continue reading book >>




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