Vaudeville is a type of theatrical entertainment consisting of variety acts that was popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Student-produced vaudeville shows were popular at Iowa State during that same time period, such as the one shown in the photograph below.
This is from the college’s fourth-annual student vaudeville performance in 1926, called “Going Down.” It followed the round-the-world flight of a high-powered plane, “Daphne,” which visited Alaska, the Indonesian island of Java, and Cairo in Egypt, before finally ending in Spiritland. It featured a ballet and several other musical and dance numbers along the way.
The performance was a hit. According to the 1926 Bomb, the ISU yearbook which was published from 1893 to 1993, the show played to capacity houses for each of its two performances. It raved, “‘Going Down’ has been acclaimed the greatest student vaudeville staged at Iowa State College.”
To browse through copies of the Bomb, or to learn more about student activities throughout ISU history, stop by Special Collections!