This study tells how "show business" was invented - a journey through the vanished pleasure palaces of urban middle-class America. There was a time when "going out" was only for the rich. But at the turn of the century, "going out" became part of everyday life for almost all urban Americans as vaudeville halls, phonograph parlors, penny arcades, nickel theatres, nightclubs, dance halls, ball parks and World's Fair midways cropped up. A new middle-class cosmopolitan culture emerged, Nasaw argues, as barriers of class, ethnicity and religion dissolved. Only blacks were excluded. With many anecdotes, this book chronicles that entertainment revolution and its demise when racial barriers fell.