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With the Kids

Vaudeville fantasy

September 16, 2004|Susan Carpenter

It's rare enough to find authentic vaudeville these days, but vaudeville in a 1920s theater? Now that's something special.

Whether it's a dancing "rainbow" of poodles or the "fastest pickpocket in the West," old-timey "ukulele chanteuse" Janet Klein or a triptych of classic film shorts, this weekend's Vaudeville Extravaganza at Glendale's Alex Theatre is a high-spirited throwback to that time when live variety shows reigned supreme.

In true vaudeville tradition, the fifth annual event kicks off with an hour of music, magic, dancing and comedy, followed by the sing-along Betty Boop cartoon "Let Me Call You Sweetheart," the Friz Freleng Vitaphone film "She Was an Acrobat's Daughter," the 1932 W.C. Fields comedy "The Dentist" and a Movietone newsreel from the same year.

"So many of the great classic film performers started in vaudeville," said Brian Ellis, president of the Alex Film Society, a nonprofit dedicated to the preservation and presentation of classic movies. "W.C. Fields was a giant hit in vaudeville before he ever made a movie, so I think it goes along with our mission of presenting films that were meant to be seen on the big screen. They were meant to be screened in a vaudeville environment."

Vaudeville Extravaganza, Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale. 8 p.m. Saturday. $19.50 adults; $15 seniors; $12.50 children. www.alexfimsociety.org or (818) 243-2539.

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