The Stratford was a well-attended neighborhood vaudeville theater, actually converted from a silent-movie house. They had built an apron out from the regular small stage so that the house could accommodate both a band and dance acts. The Stratford audience consisted mainly of loyal neighborhood people, so their likes and dislikes were unitary. If a performer clicked, "they let him live" and their noisy reception meant that a particular acrobatic dance team, singer, or baggy-pants comic had found a home. It was the sameperhaps even more sowith the emcee.
What the Stratford provided for Hope was the loamy soil for producing the hallmarks of a personal style. He needed the experience of handling jokes of different types, and he got it here.