The Keith-Albee-Orpheum Corporation was the owner of a chain of vaudeville
Vaudeville was a theatrical genre of variety entertainment in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s. Each performance was made up of a series of separate, unrelated acts grouped together on a common bill...

 and motion picture theatres. It was formed by the merger of the holdings of Benjamin Franklin Keith
Benjamin Franklin Keith
Benjamin Franklin Keith was an American vaudeville theatre owner, highly influential in the evolution of variety theater into vaudeville.-Early years:...

 and Edward Franklin Albee II
Edward Franklin Albee II
Edward Franklin Albee II was a vaudeville impresario, and the adoptive grandfather of Edward Franklin Albee III, the playwright.-Biography:He was born on October 8, 1857 in Machias, Maine to Nathaniel Smith Albee....

 and Martin Beck
Martin Beck (vaudeville)
Martin Beck was a vaudeville theatre owner who founded Orpheum Circuit, Inc.-Early Life and Career:Martin Beck was born on 31 July, 1868 at Liptovský Mikuláš, a town in northern Slovakia that at the time of his birth was ruled by the Austro-Hungarian Empire...

's Orpheum Circuit, Inc.
Orpheum Circuit, Inc.
Orpheum Circuit, Inc., was a company started by Martin Beck who owned a series of vaudeville theaters and motion picture theaters.- The company :...



The company was incorporated in Delaware
Delaware is a U.S. state located on the Atlantic Coast in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It is bordered to the south and west by Maryland, and to the north by Pennsylvania...

 on January 28, 1928, to acquire the stocks of the B.F. Keith Corporation; Orpheum Circuit, Inc.
Orpheum Circuit, Inc.
Orpheum Circuit, Inc., was a company started by Martin Beck who owned a series of vaudeville theaters and motion picture theaters.- The company :...

; 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
Film Booking Offices of America
Film Booking Offices of America was an American film studio of the silent era, a producer and distributor of mostly low-budget films. The business began as Robertson-Cole , the American division of a British import–export company...

 (FBO), that created the major motion picture studio
Studio system
The studio system was a means of film production and distribution dominant in Hollywood from the early 1920s through the early 1960s. The term studio system refers to the practice of large motion picture studios producing movies primarily on their own filmmaking lots with creative personnel under...

 Radio-Keith-Orpheum (RKO Radio Pictures
RKO Pictures
RKO Pictures is an American film production and distribution company. As RKO Radio Pictures Inc., it was one of the Big Five studios of Hollywood's Golden Age. The business was formed after the Keith-Albee-Orpheum theater chains and Joseph P...


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 film
Feature film
In the film industry, a feature film is a film production made for initial distribution in theaters and being the main attraction of the screening, rather than a short film screened before it; a full length movie...


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."


  • Keith-Albee Theatre
    Keith-Albee Theatre
    Keith-Albee is a theatre located along Fourth Avenue in downtown Huntington, West Virginia in the United States of America. The Keith-Albee was named after the Keith-Albee-Orpheum Corporation, one of the leading vaudeville performance chains at that time, to convince the directors of...

    , Huntington, West Virginia
    Huntington, West Virginia
    Huntington is a city in Cabell and Wayne counties in the U.S. state of West Virginia, along the Ohio River. Most of the city is in Cabell County, for which it is the county seat. A small portion of the city, mainly the neighborhood of Westmoreland, is in Wayne County. Its population was 49,138 at...

  • Keith-Albee Theater
    Chase's Theater and Riggs Building
    The Chase's Theater and Riggs Building, also known as the Keith-Albee Theater is an historic building located at 1426 G Street and 615-627 15th Street, Northeast, Washington, D.C., in the Downtown neighborhood.-History:...

    , Washington, D.C.
  • Keith-Albee Theatre, Flushing, Queens
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