As one of the richest sources of diversion for the people of Britain between the end of the First World War and the 1960s, the variety theatre emerged from the embers of music hall, a vulgar and rumbustious entertainment that had held the working classes in thrall since the 1840s.
Music hall bosses decided they would do better business if a man going to theatres on his own could take his wife and children with him, knowing they would see or hear nothing that would scandalise them.
So, variety, a gentler, less red-blooded entertainment was gradually established.
At the top of the profession were Gracie Fields, a peerless singer and comedienne, and Max Miller, a comic who was renowned for being risque
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Old Time Variety – An Illustrated History