There was one main reason the Mishler was able to attract the very best in theatrical entertainment – its geographical location on the PRR main line. Altoona was a convenient first day’s stop for road shows coming out of New York and Philadelphia on tour.
The theatre also became known for a discriminating audience, whose attitude toward the production was often a preview of opinion at other stops on the tour. In other words, if the show went well in Altoona, it was a good sign.
George Burns, the famous stand-up comedian with the cigar-chomping monologue and the husky voice, used this idea to form the title of a book of memories They loved me in Altoona.
Information gathered from local newspapers, personal interviews, and surviving Mishler Theatre playbills gives us an overview of the many famous performers who graced the stage of the Mishler.
1908 and 1909 were largely devoted to vaudeville, minstrel and burlesque entertainment that included: