Strongly Recommended if you can locate a copy as it is (temporarily, we hope) out of print. We suggest that you fax the distributor, Ken Pryse & Associates, Book Distributors of 180 Coventry Street, South Melbourne, Victoria 3205, Australia (fax # 03-9690-2311), or e-mail to:

The title refers to a contractual clause for "standard acts" in variety which stipulates that the act was being booked on its reputation (as known) in the absence of being seen by individual theatre managers.

Its subtitle, Australian Specialty Acts on the World Vaudeville / Variety Circuits from 1900 to 1960, should not discourage non-Australians. In my memory, this is among the very few best books about the vaudeville experience I've ever read. (In some nations it was called variety," in others, "vaudeville.") Ms. Napier, is not only thoroughly knowledgeable about vaudeville / variety in her homeland of Australian, but throughout Great Britain, South Africa, New Zealand, and the United States, and she was active as a performer for many years both in her family's act, in doubles, and as a single. The Napier family careers spanned from the Golden Age of vaudeville through its decline in the 1930s to its revival in England and Australia after the Second World War.

Valantyne Napier tells the story of her family's act, the theatres they played, the agents they worked with, and the impact that family, travel and career had on their lives.

A bonus is that Ms. Napier has filled her book with reproductions of photographs, newspaper reviews, programmes, bills, membership cards, contracts, along with lists of accommodations for theatre folk and a 1920 directory of vaudeville theatres and burlesque houses in the USA and Canada, and a list of all the hundreds of acts she recalls sharing a bill with over the years.

~frank cullen~



compiled by

Valantyne Napier

with technical advice from Jeff Jones

62 pp, paperback, 1996, Enquiries and Orders to:

R.N.R CHARLESWORTH, 39 Clay Close, Dilton Marsh, Westbury Wiltshire,

BA13 4DU, U.K. 10

If you write, teach or study vaudeville, variety or revue, this book is necessary to understand the terms variety artists used. Several books about vaudeville have added modest glossaries, but this is the first definitive glossary. Indeed, nearly the entire book is a glossary, and some definitions are more helpful as they are fleshed out with a photo or drawing.

~frank cullen~



by Valantyne Napier

paperback, 214 pp, 1986, Globe Press Pty Ltd, Brunswick, Victoria, Australia


American Vaudeville Museum

All material 1998-2018 American Museum of Vaudeville, Inc. Page 10

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