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Patrick, Warren A. (ed.) / Show world
(September 21, 1907)

Penny arcade is rapidly growing in popular favor,   p. 6

Page 6

W. S. Mills Tells of Phenomenal Advancement Made by
This Attractive Amusement.
S'ri.' \ii'1N  "  Iwre is nothingn sy
inder the sun," but if Solomon should
happen into an ordinary Penny Ar-
;,tdo and see the wonderful manner in
wlich the bright young Twentieth Cen-
it y amusement promoter has planned,
tilt and equipped this little theater for
1I.. people, he would change his mind.
The Penny Arcade is, in point of time,
In infant in arms in comparison with
i  aged grandparent, the theater, yet in
int of fact, it is a sturdy young strip-
o and growing every day.
\s an amusement enterprise, it is al-
I at idle to say that it has come to
ny, the fact is so apparent. Although
was at first looked upon as a fad, its
irinsic merit as a means of entertain-
at immediately put it upon a sound
Iing among amusement enterprises and
mitd plenty of old experienced amuse-
nt men who were ready to back it as
winning proposition. Nor has their
1gment been found wanting.
The Penny Arcade is in ninety-nine
s's out of a hundred a success. Like
theater, there have been cases known
* .rn it did not pay, but like the theater,
tie crowds passing for twelve hours, and
to sure thbat it isa continuous crowd,
and not the crowd going or coming from
business or the theater. The location
which is most desirable for an Arcade
isw here therekisiantall-day run of pelop
from 8 o'clock in the morning until 11
o'clock at night.
"Do not hesitate to pay a high rental
or a bonus to get the right location.
The ren t  ould not be high if the loca-
tion were not a good one. Bear in mind
that the more people who visit an Arcade
the more money it will make, and that
more people will enter its doors if it is
located where people continually pass and
congregate than would otherwise be the
Another requisite to success is cleani-
ness. It seems almost ridiculous to sug-
gest to any man who is running an
amusement venture in which he caters to
the general public that he ought to keel
his place scrubbed out and have his ma-
chines rubbed down with oil or some sort
of furniture polish at least once a week.
Clean Place Essential.
The better practice is, of course, to em-
ploy a porter or a scrub-woman to db
this work daily. This keeps the Arcade
lwusE. In f"el, "      -iisrg that has been
suggested ( inl the above costs more than
an  extremely moderate amount. The
margin of expense between a well-man-
aged Arcade and one that is poorly man-
aged is almost negligible. Thought and
attention bring almost as good results as
the lavish expenditure of money. Need-
Iss expense is the bane of any well
oinducted business.
A small amount can be well invested in
keeping an attendant in uniform stationed
near the entrance. A few dollars a week
mean the difference between an agree-
able, well-bred woman and a cheap,
frowsy girl as cashier. A few dollars a
wecok for potter t,) lv((J the Ar-cade
.'irt.iterinore, the public has c e to a-
cept the Arcade as a legitimate formvi0
amusement, the same as the theater, the
circus, etc., and have become regual
patrons just as they patronize thevaud
ville theaters for the new attractions,
'The Ruick opera house at La Grain
Ind., is being remodeled into a mnoder
A six-story building which is to contai
a  t,,itrr  with  sating  rapaity  of  1,
1 AM
Ncll t.ptlihed and shining is money well
spunt and returns many, many times over
in increased patronage.
To run an Arcade and keep it as one
of the city's amusement places, which
thousands of people will patronize every
year, should be the aim of the Arcade
proprietor. The owner who aims to make
all he can without the expenditure of a
dollar or a moment's thought will make
money, but far less than lie might by
giving his property the right kind of at-
The really surprising part about the Ar-
cade business is that it pays under most
any conditions. Arcades that seem hope-
l-ssly located and conducted in a st p-
Stied, spiritless maniner seem to thrive
and make money in spite of such severe
taxes on their earning power.
Outlasts Ordinary Shows.
This, of course, speaks better than
will be ercctcd at Grand avenue, near Sev-
enth street, Los Angeles, Cal., by Georg
L. Walker of that city at a cost of ('l5,-
000. Emil Olcovich has leased the theate.
Messrs. Frew, of Charlerol, Pa., and Maz-
lett, of Connellsville, Pa., are looking over
sites in Lonsconing, Md., for a new the-
ater which they intend to erect in that
W. J. Michael, of Morgantown, W. Va,
plans the erection of a vaudeville house o
Main street.    The structure will be two
stories high.
Work on the new opera house for Pales
tine, Tex., is progressing, and W. E.cSif
the owner, expects to have it consplree
within sixty days.
Plans for tile new vaudeville theate:
which the Atlas Dramatic and Amusemen
Ie muswas directly traceable to some
ult either in the location or the man-
In spite of all that is said to the con-
n try, an Arcade, to produce the best re-
tilts, must have proper thought and at-
lention. Like anything else, it grows
nwilb cultivation. To their credit be it
aid that most Arcades will make money
e on under such  severe handicaps as
rWk street locations, dirt and neglect.
They will thrive even in places where a
ieater would be starved out. But this
to their credit and not to the credit
t the owners who are too short-sighted
- see where their negligence and disre-
cird for their own interests are costing
tiim hundreds of dollars every month.
An Arcade, to produce the largest in-
'ate, must be located first of all where
it will get all the patronage possible.
I-it is a matter of ratio; high rent
nmcans, generally, good location and big
Kiciness; cheaprent means poorrlocation
,,d poor business. In other words, You
nnt only get what you pay for but as
\rir expenditure for rent increases, the
.n-t'entage of your income increases.
Location Most Important.
This is what H. S. Mills, who operates,
probably, more Arcades in this country
nd abroad than any one man, has to
<sy about location:
"One of the most essential features to
thte success of an Arcade is location,
which should be absolutely the best ob-
:ninable. It should be on a prominent
thoroughfare or on a corner, at a street
-ar transfer point, at an amusement park
cr anywhere people are either passing or
-re compelled to wait.
Alwais select the busy side of a
rr   \ Whtei e-rlecting a Iantion, wttli
bright and shining and invites patronage.
If the room is well lighted, as it should
be, passers-by will be attracted by thc
clean, pleasant appearance of the place
and step in out of curiosity. No one
likes a dark, forbidding, dirty unkempt
place, and even though an Arcade will
succeed and make money in spite of such
shiftless management, it speaks only for
the extreme popularity of this form of
A final fact bearing on the success of
the Arcade venture is the big question
of attractions. Every man, whether he
is in the Arcade business or any other
business, knows that if he intends to
succeed, he must offer some kind of bait
to purchasers. His goods must be made
attractive. The same holds good with
the Arcade-only more so. Not only
must the attractions be fresh, but they
should be displayed in such a manner as
to interest and invite the attention of
the public. When a set of pictures are
old, theynot only  ill otbepatronized,
but they affect all the pictures in their
immediate neighborhood. Once "stung"
by seeing an old set of pictures under a
new or misleading name, the purchaser
fights shy of patronizing any other ma-
chines under the impression that all the
exhibits are old and worn out. The same
holds good with the phonographs. No
one cares to hear an old worn out record
although the sign on the machine affirms
that it is positively the newest and most
popular hit of the day. On the other
hand, unless the new    attractions are
properly displayed and featured in some
way, the patron is apt to miss them or
fail to find anything of interest in the
There are many vays of making an
Are-not  arttrnliv-  :it  a  vr  sligit  ex
words for the success, from  a business
standpoint. of the Arcade as an amuse-
ment   enterprise.  Unlike many low-
priced, popular forms of amusement, the
Arcade is based upon a sound business
principle ana will outlast the hundred and
one other kinds of shows which after a
season's popularity hase to be discarded
and the expensive equipment sold for
According to the statements of some
of the oldest Arcade men in the country.
the Penny Arcade is more popujar today
than ever before. The reason they give,
and it seems perfectly logical, is that the
preinidice of the "'Mrs. Grundy'' elemlenrt
 ig t'  tttlli'  lin-  I  1n-o1e1nt
Cuiairy will erect at cieniie, Wo
trave been completed.
The Lyric theater, which opened Lai
Day with high-class vaudeville aodm ovie
pictures, takves its place anlioag tire tsar,
soice  otessin  picture tieateoa of Chicag
and its environs.  The theater is situate
at 115th street and Michigan avenue, and
nmanaged by Ben Snyder.
Hundreds of workmen are scurrying wit
iaight and main, working at top speed, 
that the new Forrest theater at Broad an
Walnut streets, Philadelphia, Pa., may ope
at the appointed date.   The theater wi
omrlplet  l  will  lie  e  of ter   l it' rest  pla
September 21, 1907,

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