Monday, May 01, 2006

Silo Circuit Vaudeville

Marguerite Burnet Tambourine All Stars - Roy Studios (Petersborough, Ontario)
I asked my mother recently if movies were ever shown in St. Vincent and Pembina. She said yes, but in town halls, not movie houses.

She also said there were live acts that put on shows in the halls, but wasn't sure if it was strictly amateur, or also professional (vaudeville, etc.)

There very well could have been professional shows. According to Frank Cullen, American Vaudeville Museum, this area "...was on the 'death trail' or 'silo circuit' of vaudeville; an excerpt from my forthcoming two-volume set, Vaudeville: Old & New: an Encyclopedia of Variety Performers in America (to be published by Routledge, September 2006)":
The 'Death Trail' was a patchwork of theatres on several small small-time circuits, such as Ackerman & Harris, and Webster's. George Webster sometimes booked only one live performer and one film and demanded as many as ten shows a day. Among the Canadian outposts on the 'Death Trail' were Winnipeg, Regina, Moose Jaw, Saskatoon, Medicine Hat, Calgary and Edmonton. The situation on the USA side of the border wasn't much better, with dates in garden spots like Fargo, Jamestown and Deadwood in the Dakotas, Duluth in Minnesota, Butte and Missoula in Montana and Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.