Keith-Albee-Orpheum

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The Keith-Albee-Orpheum Corporation was the owner of a chain of vaudeville and motion picture theatres. It was formed by the merger of the holdings of Benjamin Franklin Keith and Edward Franklin Albee II and Martin Beck's Orpheum Circuit.

History[edit]

The company was incorporated in Delaware on January 28, 1928, to acquire the stocks of the B.F. Keith Corporation; Orpheum Circuit, Inc.; Vaudeville Collection Agency; B.F. Keith-Albee Vaudeville Exchange; and Greater New York Corporation. The company operated a chain of vaudeville and motion picture theatres in the United States and Canada with a seating capacity of 1,050,000 persons. In May 1928, a controlling portion of stock was sold to Joseph P. Kennedy, from whom it was purchased in October by the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) as part of the deal, along with Film Booking Offices of America (FBO), that created the major motion picture studio Radio Keith Orpheum (RKO Pictures).

After the establishment of RKO, motion pictures became the primary focus of entertainment at the former KAO theaters. Vaudeville survived only as an interlude for feature films.

One of the duos that played the Keith-Albee-Orpheum circuit was "The Howard Sisters" names Rabbit and Jean Howard. Their real names were Garnet and Ruth Folsom who were known for their outlandish dress, singing, and dancing. The following newspaper article in the Owensboro (Kentucky) Inquirer on March 9, 1911, is an example of their novelty: "WHAT A CROWD COME TO SEE; The Misses Howard Appear on Streets in Harem Skirts; GENERAL JAM AND CRUSH; Biggest Throng on Streets of Owensboror Since Ringling's Circus Was Here."

Theaters[edit]

References[edit]