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American ShowmanSamuel "Roxy" Rothafel and the Birth of the Entertainment Industry, 1908-1935$
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Ross Melnick

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231159050

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231159050.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
American Showman

Ross Melnick

Columbia University Press

This book analyzes the career of film exhibitor and radio broadcaster, Samuel Lionel “Roxy” Rothafel (1882–1936), between the years 1908 and 1935. It shows how Roxy did not merely project motion pictures to audiences but presented unitary texts that extended well beyond film exhibition and formed the theoretical basis of his work in broadcasting. This intervention in the nascent field of radio and its programmatic forms led to his development of the variety show format, which he pioneered and promoted over the air. The book also examines Roxy' unique role during World War I as both an exhibitor and a producer of pro-war films and stage shows; his position as one of America's most popular and influential interwar broadcasters; his national stardom and its implications for Jewish visibility and assimilation; and his work in converging film, broadcasting, and music publishing and recording.

Keywords:   Samuel Lionel Roxy Rothafel, film exhibitor, radio broadcaster, radio broadcating, motion picture exhibitors, silent films, variety show

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