Seattle is a seaport city on the West Coast of the United States. It is the seat of Washington. With an estimated 730,000 residents as of 2018, Seattle is the largest city in both the state of Washington and the Pacific Northwest region of North America. According to U. S. Census data released in 2018, the Seattle metropolitan area’s population stands at 3.87 million, ranks as the 15th largest in the United States. In July 2013, it was the fastest-growing major city in the United States and remained in the Top 5 in May 2015 with an annual growth rate of 2.1%. In July 2016, Seattle was again the fastest-growing major U. S. city, with a 3.1% annual growth rate. Seattle is the northernmost large city in the United States; the city is situated on an isthmus between Puget Sound and Lake Washington, about 100 miles south of the Canada–United States border. A major gateway for trade with Asia, Seattle is the fourth-largest port in North America in terms of container handling as of 2015; the Seattle area was inhabited by Native Americans for at least 4,000 years before the first permanent European settlers.
Arthur A. Denny and his group of travelers, subsequently known as the Denny Party, arrived from Illinois via Portland, Oregon, on the schooner Exact at Alki Point on November 13, 1851; the settlement was moved to the eastern shore of Elliott Bay and named "Seattle" in 1852, in honor of Chief Si'ahl of the local Duwamish and Suquamish tribes. Today, Seattle has high populations of Native, Scandinavian and Asian Americans, as well as a thriving LGBT community that ranks 6th in the United States for population. Logging was Seattle's first major industry, but by the late 19th century, the city had become a commercial and shipbuilding center as a gateway to Alaska during the Klondike Gold Rush. Growth after World War II was due to the local Boeing company, which established Seattle as a center for aircraft manufacturing; the Seattle area developed into a technology center from the 1980s onwards with companies like Microsoft becoming established in the region. Internet retailer Amazon was founded in Seattle in 1994, major airline Alaska Airlines is based in SeaTac, serving Seattle's international airport, Seattle–Tacoma International Airport.
The stream of new software and Internet companies led to an economic revival, which increased the city's population by 50,000 between 1990 and 2000. Owing to its increasing population in the 21st century and the state of Washington have some of the highest minimum wages in the country, at $15 per hour for smaller businesses and $16 for the city's largest employers. Seattle has a noteworthy musical history. From 1918 to 1951, nearly two dozen jazz nightclubs existed along Jackson Street, from the current Chinatown/International District to the Central District; the jazz scene nurtured the early careers of Ray Charles, Quincy Jones, Ernestine Anderson, others. Seattle is the birthplace of rock musician Jimi Hendrix, as well as the origin of the bands Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Foo Fighters and the alternative rock movement grunge. Archaeological excavations suggest that Native Americans have inhabited the Seattle area for at least 4,000 years. By the time the first European settlers arrived, the people occupied at least seventeen villages in the areas around Elliott Bay.
The first European to visit the Seattle area was George Vancouver, in May 1792 during his 1791–95 expedition to chart the Pacific Northwest. In 1851, a large party led by Luther Collins made a location on land at the mouth of the Duwamish River. Thirteen days members of the Collins Party on the way to their claim passed three scouts of the Denny Party. Members of the Denny Party claimed land on Alki Point on September 28, 1851; the rest of the Denny Party set sail from Portland and landed on Alki point during a rainstorm on November 13, 1851. After a difficult winter, most of the Denny Party relocated across Elliott Bay and claimed land a second time at the site of present-day Pioneer Square, naming this new settlement Duwamps. Charles Terry and John Low remained at the original landing location and reestablished their old land claim and called it "New York", but renamed "New York Alki" in April 1853, from a Chinook word meaning "by and by" or "someday". For the next few years, New York Alki and Duwamps competed for dominance, but in time Alki was abandoned and its residents moved across the bay to join the rest of the settlers.
David Swinson "Doc" Maynard, one of the founders of Duwamps, was the primary advocate to name the settlement after Chief Seattle of the Duwamish and Suquamish tribes. The name "Seattle" appears on official Washington Territory papers dated May 23, 1853, when the first plats for the village were filed. In 1855, nominal land settlements were established. On January 14, 1865, the Legislature of Territorial Washington incorporated the Town of Seattle with a board of trustees managing the city; the Town of Seattle was disincorporated on January 18, 1867, remained a mere precinct of King County until late 1869, when a new petition was filed and the city was re-incorporated December 2, 1869, with a mayor–council government. The corporate seal of the City of Seattle carries the date "1869" and a likeness of Chief Sealth in left profile. Seattle has a history of boom-and-bust cycles, like many other cities near areas of extensive natural and mineral resources. Seattle has risen several times economically gone into precipitous decline, but it has used those periods to rebuild solid infrastructure
Jack Benny was an American comedian, radio and film actor, violinist. Recognized as a leading 20th-century American entertainer, Benny portrayed his character as a miser, playing his violin badly, claiming to be 39 years of age, regardless of his actual age. Benny was known for his comic timing and the ability to cause laughter with a pregnant pause or a single expression, such as his signature exasperated "Well!" His radio and television programs, popular from 1932 until his death in 1974, were a major influence on the sitcom genre. Benny was born in Chicago and grew up in nearby Waukegan, Illinois, he was the son of Jewish immigrants Meyer Kubelsky and Emma Sachs Kubelsky, sometimes called "Naomi." Meyer was a saloon owner and a haberdasher who had emigrated to America from Poland. Emma had emigrated from Lithuania. Benny began studying violin, an instrument that became his trademark, at the age of 6, his parents hoping for him to become a professional violinist, he loved the instrument, but hated practice.
His music teacher was father of Otto Graham of NFL fame. At 14, Benny was playing in his high school orchestra, he was a dreamer and poor at his studies, was expelled from high school. He did poorly in business school and at attempts to join his father's business. In 1911, he began playing the violin in local vaudeville theaters for $7.50 a week. He was joined on the circuit by a young composer and singer; that same year, Benny was playing in the same theater as the young Marx Brothers. Minnie, their mother, enjoyed Benny's violin playing and invited him to accompany her boys in their act. Benny's parents refused to let their son go on the road at 17, but it was the beginning of his long friendship with the Marx Brothers Zeppo Marx; the next year, Benny formed a vaudeville musical duo with pianist Cora Folsom Salisbury, a buxom 45-year-old divorcée who needed a partner for her act. This angered famous violinist Jan Kubelik, who feared that the young vaudevillian with a similar name would damage his reputation.
Under legal pressure, Benjamin Kubelsky agreed to change his name to Ben K. Benny, sometimes spelled Bennie; when Salisbury left the act, Benny found a new pianist, Lyman Woods, renamed the act "From Grand Opera to Ragtime." They worked together for five years and integrated comedy elements into the show. They reached the "Mecca of Vaudeville," and did not do well. Benny left show business in 1917 to join the United States Navy during World War I, entertained the sailors with his violin playing. One evening, his violin performance was booed by the sailors, so with prompting from fellow sailor and actor Pat O'Brien, he ad-libbed his way out of the jam and left them laughing, he received more comedy spots in the revues and did well, earning a reputation as a comedian and musician. Shortly after the war, Benny developed a one-man act, "Ben K. Benny: Fiddle Funology", he received legal pressure from Ben Bernie, a "patter-and-fiddle" performer, regarding his name, so he adopted the sailor's nickname of Jack.
By 1921, the fiddle was more of a prop, the low-key comedy took over. Benny had some romantic encounters, including one with dancer Mary Kelly, whose devoutly Catholic family forced her to turn down his proposal because he was Jewish. Benny was introduced to Kelly by Gracie Allen; some years after their split, Kelly resurfaced as a dowdy fat girl and Jack gave her a part in an act of three girls: one homely, one fat, one who couldn't sing. In 1921, Benny accompanied Zeppo Marx to a Passover seder in Vancouver at the residence where he met 14-year-old Sadie Marks, their first meeting did not go well. They met again in 1926. Jack had not remembered their earlier meeting and fell for her, they married the following year. She was working in the hosiery section of the Hollywood Boulevard branch of the May Company, where Benny courted her. Called on to fill in for the "dumb girl" part in a Benny routine, Sadie proved to be a natural comedienne. Adopting the stage name Mary Livingstone, Sadie collaborated with Benny throughout most of his career.
They adopted a daughter, Joan. In 1929 Benny's agent, Sam Lyons, convinced Irving Thalberg, American film producer at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, to watch Benny at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles. Benny signed a five-year contract with MGM, where his first role was in The Hollywood Revue of 1929; the next movie, Chasing Rainbows, did not do well, after several months Benny was released from his contract and returned to Broadway in Earl Carroll's Vanities. At first dubious about the viability of radio, Benny grew eager to break into the new medium. In 1932, after a four-week nightclub run, he was invited onto Ed Sullivan's radio program, uttering his first radio spiel "This is Jack Benny talking. There will be a slight pause while you say,'Who cares?'..." Benny had been a minor vaudeville performer before becoming a national figure with The Jack Benny Program, a weekly radio show that ran from 1932 to 1948 on NBC and from 1949 to 1955 on CBS. It was among the most rated programs during its run. Benny's long radio career began on April 6, 1932, when the NBC Commercial Program Department auditioned him for the N. W. Ayer & Son agency and their client, Canada Dry, after which Bertha Brainard, head of the division, said, "We think Mr. Benny is excellent for radio and, while the audition was unassisted as far as orchestra was concerned, we believe he would make a great bet for an air program."
Recalling the experience in 1956, Benny said Ed Sullivan had invited him to guest o
Mary Moffat Livingstone
Mary Livingstone was the wife of the Scottish Congregationalist missionary David Livingstone. Her father, Robert Moffat, was a Scottish Congregationalist missionary who worked among the Bechuana people at Kuruman. Mary Moffat was the first of ten children born to Robert Moffat, a Scottish missionary and his wife Mary. Mary was born in Griquatown, about 93 miles north of Kimberley. From 1839 to 1843 she lived in Britain with her parents; when the family returned to South Africa, she taught in the school at Kuruman where she met David Livingstone. She married Livingstone in January 1845, despite her mother's disapproval; the couple lived in Kolobeng, North West Province. She accompanied Livingstone on his two journeys across the Kalahari desert in 1849 and 1850. Two of her six children were delivered by her husband, she did not go on Livingstone's first expedition to the Zambezi, 1853–1856, because she lived in Britain for four years for the sake of the children's education. In 1852 Mary returned to Scotland with her 4 children but staying with relatives proved difficult.
After several moves she moved to Kendal where she lived with Charles and Susanna Brathwwaite who were evangelical Quakers and supporters of the London Missionary Society. Dr Livingstone and Mary's parents were missionaries of this society; when Livingstone returned to England a national hero he stayed with the Braithwaites on a number of occasions. Livingstone joined her in Britain from 1856 to 1858. In 1858 she returned to Africa to accompany Livingstone on the official "Zambezi Expedition" but became pregnant again and left the expedition to go to her parents' home in Kuruman for the birth of the new child. Mary and David had 6 children: Robert Agnes, born in 1847, who married Alexander Low Bruce in 1875, died in 1912. Thomas Elizabeth William Oswell, born in 1851, married Catherine Jane Anderson in 1875, died in 1892. Anna Mary, born in 1858, married Frank Wilson in 1881, died in 1939. Returning to Africa she met Livingstone at the mouth of the Zambezi, but fell ill from malaria in the camp at Shupanga and died there 3 months on 27 April 1862.
Moffat Mission and Mary Moffat Museum near Kuruman, Northern Cape, South Africa
The May Department Stores Company
The May Department Stores Company was an American department store holding company headquartered in downtown St. Louis, Missouri, it was founded in Leadville, Colorado, by David May in 1877, moving to St. Louis in 1905. After many changes in the retail industry, the company merged with Federated Department Stores in 2005; this company was only a holding company that bought and merged regional department stores, such as Foley's and L. S. Ayres. During most of its history, the operations of the various divisions were kept separate and had their own buyers and credit cards; the latter were not accepted at other May-owned stores. At times, two different May's stores operated in the same geographical market, but they were aimed at different customers. Most decisions for each of the regional store companies were made by management at the local headquarters and not by the holding company in St. Louis; some of the regional stores shared names that were similar to the parent company, such as Los Angeles-based May Company California.
All it had in common with the parent was that these stores were headed by a different member of the May family as the president of their respective regional store chain. They were separate legal entities. 1877: Founded in Leadville during the Colorado silver rush. 1889: Headquarters moved to Denver. 1899: May acquires the E. R. Hull & Dutton Co. of Cleveland, renaming it The May Company, Cleveland named the May Company Ohio. 1905: Headquarters moved to St. Louis. 1910: Officially incorporated as The May Department Stores Company. 1911: The Famous Clothing Store and The William Barr Dry Goods Company merged to create Famous-Barr. 1912: May acquires the M. O'Neil Co. department store of Akron, Ohio. 1923: May acquires A. Hamburger & Sons Co. in Los Angeles and renames it May Company California. 1946: May acquires the Kaufmann's chain based in Pittsburgh, retaining it as a separate division. 1947: May acquires Strouss-Hirshberg Co. based in Youngstown, retaining it as a separate division and changing the name to Strouss.
1956: May acquires The Daniels & Fisher Company of Denver, merging it with May stores in the area to create a new May D&F division. 1958: May acquires the Cohen Bros. Department Store in Jacksonville, turning it into the May Cohens chain. 1959: May acquires The Hecht Company of Baltimore, adding it as a new division. 1965: May acquires G. Fox & Co. 1966: May acquires the Meier & Frank chain based in Portland, adding it as a new division. David's grandson Morton May headed the company for 16 years. Morton May was a patron of the St. Louis Art Museum. 1968: Venture Stores was founded when Target co-founder John F. Geisse went to work for May Department Stores. Under an antitrust settlement reached with the Department of Justice, May was unable to acquire any more retail chains at the time, the department store company needed a way to compete against the emerging discount store chains. 1970s: May sold the 70-store Consumers Distributing chain of catalog merchants to the Canadian Consumers Distributing company.
It closed its stores in 1996. 1986: May acquires the Associated Dry Goods holding company and its chains, the largest-ever retail acquisition in history at that time. 1988: May acquires Foley's in Houston and Filene's in Boston from Federated Department Stores. 1993: May Company California and JW Robinsons merged to form Robinsons-May. 1995: May acquires the John Wanamaker chain based in Philadelphia. 1996: May acquires the Strawbridge's chain based in Philadelphia. 1998: May acquires The Jones Store chain based in Kansas City, Missouri. 1999: May acquires Zions Cooperative Mercantile Institution based in Salt Lake City, folding it into the Meier & Frank subsidiary. 2000: May Department Stores purchases David's Bridal 2004: May Department Stores takes over the Marshall Field's chain from Target Corporation. 2005: May is purchased by Federated Department Stores for $11 billion in stock, with all former May divisions being folded into Federated's various Macy's branches. 2006: Over 400 former May stores, with their wide variety of long-standing brand names, are consolidated and renamed as Macy's.
In addition, Federated sells off three former May chains. Around the beginning of the twentieth century, the May Department Stores Company created a real estate division that would handled the purchase of land and the construction of the buildings that would house their new stand-alone department stores. Starting in 1947, May decided to enter the new open-air shopping center development business by the construction of what would became the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza in Los Angeles when they wanted to open a new store for their May Company California division. After that time, May became a major shopping center and mall developer when they began to developed newly malls to house their new proposed department stores. During the mid-1980s, the company noticed that their company's stock was vastly undervalued and that the company was at risk of becoming a hostile takeover target, May Department Stores needed to re-purchase some of its company's stock to increase the share price. To accomplish this, they needed to obtain cash which they did by making a deal with Prudential Insurance in which the insurance company gave May $550 million in exchange for 50% ownership of May Centers.
In 1992, Prudential renamed the company CenterMark. On February 28, 2005, Federated Department Stores, Inc. announced that they would acquire the May company for $11 billion. To help finance the May Company deal, Federated agreed to sell its combined proprietar
The Orpheum is a theatre and music venue in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Along with the Queen Elizabeth Theatre and the Vancouver Playhouse, it is part of the Vancouver Civic Theatres group of live performance venues, it is the permanent home of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. The Orpheum is located on Granville Street near Smithe Street in Vancouver's downtown core; the interior of the theatre was featured prominently in the award-winning 2004 reboot of Battlestar Galactica, where it is dressed to portray a heavenly opera house. Designed by Scottish architect Marcus Priteca, the theatre opened on November 8, 1927 as a vaudeville house, but it hosted its first shows the previous day; the old Orpheum, at 761 Granville Street, was renamed the Vancouver Theatre. The New Orpheum, the biggest theatre in Canada when it opened in 1927, with three thousand seats, cost $1.25 million to construct. The first manager of the theatre was William A. Barnes. Following the end of vaudeville's heyday in the early 1930s, the Orpheum became a movie house under Famous Players ownership, although it would continue to host live events on occasion.
Ivan Ackery managed the Orpheum from 1935 up until his 1969 retirement. In 1973, for economic reasons, Famous Players decided to gut the inside of the Orpheum and change it into a multiplex. A "Save the Orpheum" public protest and fundraising campaign was launched, which Jack Benny flew in to help with, the Orpheum was saved. On March 19, 1974, the City of Vancouver bought the theatre for $7.1 million, with $3.1 million coming from the city itself, $1.5 million from each of the provincial and federal governments. The Orpheum closed on November 23, 1975 and a renovation and restoration was done by the architectural company Thomson, Berwick and Partners, it re-opened on April 2, 1977 and has since been the permanent home of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Tony Heinsbergen, a U. S. designer who chose the color scheme for the interior was brought back, fifty years for the renovation. In 1983, an additional entrance was opened on Smithe Street; the theatre was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1979.
In 2006, the Capitol Residences development was proposed for the old Capitol 6 cinema site adjacent to the Orpheum. The City of Vancouver gave the developer permission for extra height and density on their site in return for a major expansion to the Orpheum, including a long desired back stage area; this was the largest amenities trade in the history of the city, will increase the usability of the facility. The Orpheum's neon sign was donated by Jim Pattison in the 1970s; the theatre and its neon sign have been used as a key location in several episodes of the science-fiction series Battlestar Galactica and Fringe, as well as Highlander: The Series. It was the location of the filming of the Dan Mangan documentary What Happens Next? by Brent Hodge. List of heritage buildings in Vancouver List of concert halls Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage Peter Wall Orpheum Website
The National Broadcasting Company is an American English-language commercial terrestrial television network, a flagship property of NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of Comcast. The network is headquartered at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, with additional major offices near Los Angeles and Philadelphia; the network is one of the Big Three television networks. NBC is sometimes referred to as the "Peacock Network", in reference to its stylized peacock logo, introduced in 1956 to promote the company's innovations in early color broadcasting, it became the network's official emblem in 1979. Founded in 1926 by the Radio Corporation of America, NBC is the oldest major broadcast network in the United States. At that time the parent company of RCA was General Electric. In 1930, GE was forced to sell the companies as a result of antitrust charges. In 1986, control of NBC passed back to General Electric through its $6.4 billion purchase of RCA. Following the acquisition by GE, Bob Wright served as chief executive officer of NBC, remaining in that position until his retirement in 2007, when he was succeeded by Jeff Zucker.
In 2003, French media company Vivendi merged its entertainment assets with GE, forming NBC Universal. Comcast purchased a controlling interest in the company in 2011, acquired General Electric's remaining stake in 2013. Following the Comcast merger, Zucker left NBCUniversal and was replaced as CEO by Comcast executive Steve Burke. NBC has thirteen owned-and-operated stations and nearly 200 affiliates throughout the United States and its territories, some of which are available in Canada and/or Mexico via pay-television providers or in border areas over-the-air. During a period of early broadcast business consolidation, radio manufacturer Radio Corporation of America acquired New York City radio station WEAF from American Telephone & Telegraph. Westinghouse, a shareholder in RCA, had a competing outlet in Newark, New Jersey pioneer station WJZ, which served as the flagship for a loosely structured network; this station was transferred from Westinghouse to RCA in 1923, moved to New York City. WEAF acted as a laboratory for AT&T's manufacturing and supply outlet Western Electric, whose products included transmitters and antennas.
The Bell System, AT&T's telephone utility, was developing technologies to transmit voice- and music-grade audio over short and long distances, using both wireless and wired methods. The 1922 creation of WEAF offered a research-and-development center for those activities. WEAF maintained a regular schedule of radio programs, including some of the first commercially sponsored programs, was an immediate success. In an early example of "chain" or "networking" broadcasting, the station linked with Outlet Company-owned WJAR in Providence, Rhode Island. C. WCAP. New parent RCA saw an advantage in sharing programming, after getting a license for radio station WRC in Washington, D. C. in 1923, attempted to transmit audio between cities via low-quality telegraph lines. AT&T refused outside companies access to its high-quality phone lines; the early effort fared poorly, since the uninsulated telegraph lines were susceptible to atmospheric and other electrical interference. In 1925, AT&T decided that WEAF and its embryonic network were incompatible with the company's primary goal of providing a telephone service.
AT&T offered to sell the station to RCA in a deal that included the right to lease AT&T's phone lines for network transmission. RCA spent $1 million to purchase WEAF and Washington sister station WCAP, shut down the latter station, merged its facilities with surviving station WRC; the division's ownership was split among RCA, its founding corporate parent General Electric and Westinghouse. NBC started broadcasting on November 15, 1926. WEAF and WJZ, the flagships of the two earlier networks, were operated side-by-side for about a year as part of the new NBC. On January 1, 1927, NBC formally divided their respective marketing strategies: the "Red Network" offered commercially sponsored entertainment and music programming. Various histories of NBC suggest the color designations for the two networks came from the color of the pushpins NBC engineers used to designate affiliate stations of WEAF and WJZ, or from the use of double-ended red and blue colored pencils. On April 5, 1927, NBC expanded to the West Coast with the launch of the NBC Orange Network known as the Pacific Coast Network.
This was followed by the debut of the NBC Gold Network known as the Pacific Gold Network, on October 18, 1931. The Orange Network carried Red Network programming, the Gold Network carried programming from the Blue Network; the Orange Network recreated Eastern Red Network programming for West Coast stations at KPO in San Francisco. In 1936, the Orange Network affiliate stations became part of the Red Network, at the same time the Gold Network became part of the Blue Network. In the 1930s, NBC developed a network for shortwave radio stations, called the NBC White Network. In 1927, NBC moved its operations to 711 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, occupying the upper floors of a building de
Vaudeville is a theatrical genre of variety entertainment born in France at the end of the 18th century. A vaudeville was a comedy without psychological or moral intentions, based on a comical situation: a kind of 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. In some ways analogous to music hall from Victorian Britain, a typical American vaudeville performance was made up of a series of separate, unrelated acts grouped together on a common bill. Types of acts have included popular and classical musicians, dancers, trained animals, ventriloquists, strongmen and male impersonators, illustrated songs, one-act plays or scenes from plays, lecturing celebrities and movies. A vaudeville performer is referred to as a "vaudevillian". Vaudeville developed from many sources including the concert saloon, freak shows, dime museums, literary American burlesque.
Called "the heart of American show business", vaudeville was one of the most popular types of entertainment in North America for several decades. The origin of the term is obscure, but is explained as being derived from the French expression voix de ville. A second speculation is that it comes from the 15th-century songs on satire by poet Olivier Basselin, "Vaux de Vire". In his Connections television series, science historian James Burke argues that the term is a corruption of the French "Vau de Vire", an area known for its bawdy drinking songs and where Basselin lived. Some, preferred the earlier term "variety" to what manager Tony Pastor called its "sissy and Frenchified" successor. Thus, vaudeville was marketed as "variety" well into the 20th century. With its first subtle appearances within the early 1860s, vaudeville was not a common form of entertainment; the form evolved from the concert saloon and variety hall into its mature form throughout the 1870s and 1880s. This more gentle form was known as "Polite Vaudeville".
In the years before the American Civil War, entertainment existed on a different scale. Variety theatre existed before 1860 in Europe and elsewhere. In the US, as early as the first decades of the 19th century, theatregoers could enjoy a performance consisting of Shakespeare plays, singing and comedy; as the years progressed, people seeking diversified amusement found an increasing number of ways to be entertained. Vaudeville was characterized by traveling companies touring through towns. A handful of circuses toured the country. In the 1840s, the minstrel show, another type of variety performance, "the first emanation of a pervasive and purely American mass culture", grew to enormous popularity and formed what Nick Tosches called "the heart of 19th-century show business". A significant influence came from Dutch minstrels and comedians. Medicine shows traveled the countryside offering programs of comedy, music and other novelties along with displays of tonics and miracle elixirs, while "Wild West" shows provided romantic vistas of the disappearing frontier, complete with trick riding and drama.
Vaudeville incorporated these various itinerant amusements into a stable, institutionalized form centered in America's growing urban hubs. In the early 1880s, impresario Tony Pastor, a circus ringmaster turned theatre manager, capitalized on middle class sensibilities and spending power when he began to feature "polite" variety programs in several of his New York City theatres; the usual date given for the "birth" of vaudeville is October 24, 1881 at New York's Fourteenth Street Theatre, when Pastor famously staged the first bill of self-proclaimed "clean" vaudeville in New York City. Hoping to draw a potential audience from female and family-based shopping traffic uptown, Pastor barred the sale of liquor in his theatres, eliminated bawdy material from his shows, offered gifts of coal and hams to attendees. Pastor's experiment proved successful, other managers soon followed suit. B. F. Keith took the next step, starting in Boston, where he built an empire of theatres and brought vaudeville to the US and Canada.
E. F. Albee, adoptive grandfather of the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Edward Albee, managed the chain to its greatest success. Circuits such as those managed by Keith-Albee provided vaudeville's greatest economic innovation and the principal source of its industrial strength, they enabled a chain of allied vaudeville houses that remedied the chaos of the single-theatre booking system by contracting acts for regional and national tours. These could be lengthened from a few weeks to two years. Albee gave national prominence to vaudeville's trumpeting "polite" entertainment, a commitment to entertainment inoffensive to men and children. Acts that violated this ethos were admonished and threatened with expulsion from the week's remaining performances or were canceled altogether. In spite of such threats, performers flouted this censorship to the delight of the audience members whose sensibilities were supposedly