Patrick, Warren A. (ed.) / Show world
(May 22, 1909)
Murdock, J. J.
A timely talk on parallels, p. 12
Chicago vaudeville, p. 12
THE SHOW WORLD A TIMELY TALK ON PARALLELS By J. J. MURDOCK. I ant daily asked as to what I think of the future of the moving picture industry. Not many years ago this saie (I nesCtion i iwas asked ie itt re- card it the InIture 01 titdeville. Vaudeville %\as then inl it', infancy, just as the moving pic- ture indus- t try is to- daLy. 1rememn- her, at the close o season af- ter reatoi of vaudeille, in the early clays, we were in dread as to what the next season imiwrht bring forth. Vaudeville then xwas a turmoil, a strife, a game in which few men had found opportunity to gain that ex- perience necessary to make it a pro- ttotinced success. I had entered the field equippael awith a knoxalederye gleaned fraom the "legitimate" school-a school of hard knocks-a school which rounded off the rough edges and well prepared a mai for other ventures in the anatse- miiit buiiness. inthose early days, vaudeville vas looked upon as a cheap form of amusement, just as moving pictures are totav. Vaudeville was born as a store show. Moving pictures have had aii equally distinguished birth. How Keith Arose. If I may be pardoned for mention- ing him in this connection, 1. F. Keith, a pioner in the adeville fiel, statrtedlawith a store shoxwii B"oost, 'Todacy liepoits withlpindetohis uil- lion dollar palaces of vaudeville. It may be worth aylile to consider just what was the success of vaudeville and how this form of entertainment was lifted front a plane of iiediocrity to its present predominating position in the world of entertainment. Attracted by thel profits being made through the operation of store shows presenting cheap variety, men of brains, standing and enterprise were attracted to the field. Such i men are lever conitent with conaditionts as they fill tihem]. It is tosuch itmen, indeed, that the world is indebted for its in- dustrial. coninercial and sotcial prog- ress. They found "variety' to be an acorit frot -which the mighty oak of "Vaudeville" could be grown. They llanted the seed and iaurrtredthe tree. They iegala by converting the store slts, into a sall. clea rttheater of liimitedl cpacity mud.Icater. a fexw of those pioneers were sufficiently cour- ageoutistl te <fidenut ti erelc tcoae pretentious theaters. itttil by this seeningly slow but saine progress vau- deville has arisen to the throneshlip of entertainrnent and its regal man- siotistire the fitest inthexworld. First Stage of Growth. As these daring pioneers increased the quality of their exhibition room. they also increased the quality of the performance. Where their predeces- sors had hesitated to pay twelse to fifteen dollars for an "act," they were eager to pay fifty, seventy-five or one hundred dollars to obtain something better. For a time, one hundred dol- lars -as considered the top notch price for a vaudeville "turn." I traveled the rough road with the early pioueers of vauleville. I cleaned ip my theaters and, instead of seek- ing to find where I could save fifteen or twenty dollars a week in expenses, I tried to finld where I could spend mle- to pIce-c tle patns. 1 ecarly discovered the vital secret that the public is discriminating and that it is the public which places the value upon ai act atd which chris- tels the playhouse with popularity or failure-- Sotae of the vaudeville managers in tile pioneer days did not discover this secret. They looked upol the public as a imcob ready to be led by the lold- est cry. They persisted itt adheria g to chea-n "variety,' furnished by wild cat booking agents at starvation prices. But awhat has become of those managers today? They have been forced down to the lowest riing of the ladder of showmanship while others have climbed to the top. Glancing backward over a period of five years at the vaudeville theaters in the small- er towns and coiparing them with the theaters of today, the chaige must strike the most casual oaserver as re- narkable. In the place of the store show and its successor-the small, cheap theater-one finds a neat, met- ropolitan playhouse, either operated by the man who originally started the store show or by his iore enterpris- ing successeor. Public Discrimination. It seems but vesterda- that I learned the value daf the public's dis- cruiination between Ia good and poor act and a good and poor show. I re- call how I went in search of a higher form of talent for my patrons, at first timiidly paying two hundred and fifty dollars for an act,-an unheard-of stum at that tinie,-but the success of that venture encouraged le to seek for the five hundred dollar act. I was criti- cized when T first presented ail act costing one thousand dollars, but the aery Iaanagers who questioned miny jtudgmeit at that time caile to tmle later and sought to eigage the saie clt through me. Perhaps you may re- Call selac-i I i"%liti-clI "il, I - "t II it huindred ,ildiar ;lcv that ever plavyed vatudeville? And you may or may not know that the actor had never ob- tained more than two hundred and tifty dollars in the "legitimate"? I tigured out that the act was worth that much to my house and later this judgment was proven correct, for other managers engaged it from me. It is a matter of record that I was supposed to be a fit subject for an in- sane asylum when I paid three thou- sand dollars for a single act in vaude- ville, but that fit of insanity netted me fourteen thousand dollars in profits in oie week. My adventure in this direction not univ encouraged m- fellow managers and increased their profits, but it also brought into being a broader field of operation for the artist. It not only attracted representative artists front the "legitimate" to enter the vaude- ville field, but it had a tendency to increase the income of all meritorious actors appearing upon the variety stage. With this increase of income., actors sought new material, richer wardrobe, expensive scenic effects and gaiued a courage for their talent. It. in fact, gave the vaudeville actor a status in the field of amusement that lie could not otherwise have gained. Look at the stars that have shown in vaudeville through my' introduction. And it is gratifying, indeed, to reflect that I have, in my humble way, been instrumental in bringing the salaries of artists to th eir present high plane. Encourages Exhibitors. I have del\ed this much into iy vaudeville biography to Convince lloving picture men, if possible, that the wise plan for them is to profit by the lesson I have learned in vande- ylle and to avoid the pitfalls into which I have seen others fall. I want to eicourage the exhibitor to strive for better things,-for better service, for better theaters, for better conditions, and for better results. Quality counts, and good thintgs cost good imoney the world over. There is a reason why a house il one CHICAGO VAUDEVILLE American. Jamtecs J. Jeffries remiainas at the Amerian Music iall for a second week and appears to advantage in a sketch from the pen of Helen Green. It is cleverly devised. SIam Berger takes his apapearance first and those who do not know Jeffries think lie is coillitig oin with the rise of the ctir- taii. Another character is introduced alul thie autdieicc speaks thrugh the iewspaper reo-ter which the seconel character r-preseits. The infornlia- tiol that thie first prize ighting char- acter is Sai HIerger, the Califtoriia chatmpioni, is handed out aid later Jef- fries appears and goes through some gy-tiastic stunits to the delight of the Collins & Hart also remain a second wx-eck with their hurlesque-strong-nialn act and core. Alauide Lambert iakes her first aipearance in vautdeville atid is heing well received. IHilly Clifford jollies the audience and has them as- sist in at song which has the title. Oh,. Oh. Oh. The Five Juggling Jor- daIas give a waonderful exhibition of club throaing. Shean and Warren offer Quo Vad is Upside Dont. and Mayme Remington ad ler pickinl- nies please it several numbers. Ros- tow. the Russiaii equilibrist. opens the bill and accomplishes several feats wxhiCih make tihe audience applaud. The Sisters Rappo close the show with their Russian daices. All in all the program is a very satisfying onue. Shuberts Secure Stars. Alessrs. Shubiert are said to have engaged the services of Frank Dan- iels. Ray-nid Iitchcockt and Mrs. vet-r cc' stars ur text seasol. Majestic. It a s i hill of quality that as f- fered at the Majestic this week, aid judging by tie liberal attentidater the public ftiull appreciated thce efforts of the management. Allan Nightnman opened the program with anl exhibi- tion of clay modelig that eariied ijus- tiable applause despite the [itt po- sition oil the bill. lie was followtiax-ed by Otto Ficchtel's Quintette- a ov- ellty ausial act wlich had nto difli- culta ill holdin g the atteition of the uitiene Gcncil il i'trkr catnte t~thisiiithullg'.andiiiltices hat axot heatyx far. Arthur t Rtcaniiud \it- tie NcNaro offered a happy comnhila- titu ii ctr qiacI al song. Vernn. veniltuoq~uist, and his faiutly cif '"atitI- i <tr dumiisan als like. Fairrel- Taylor- tade'omaniy-provxel:I -'ettitae scretam ini their skit, That Miiinstrel Alcn. and were repeatedly encored. Dick Crolitis & Co. followed with an oniginal sketch entitled Shxorty. in which. although Croils himself axas nearly the entire show, his surround- ing company was one of exceptional ierit. The skit belongs aiong the classics of slang. Eddie Leonard as- sisted by the (oirdon Brothers, twxo clever ancers 111l singers. had no little tr bi le il excutsig' himself after hicinitg lbeei forced t a exhalt.i his repertoire oa it tilce and soigs. 1io- let BIlack. assisted b aeiroi Clem- ens. utgeie \cilit a d A. W. Brown presented Iin the Suhwa . a playlet wshicih made a wo derful hit inl Neax- York and ashichi ftully justitled that honor in Chicago. Edna Wallace Ilopper. she of the So)ft voice and inl- sintuating waysx readily crept into her hearers' hearts with a repertoire if clever songs. Seldom's Venus. being poses ii marble, werc so exceptionally ascll chute i.s to command numerous ce ic'res. Pi icures clo'ed tile bill. hl-C - I cost n tllic l thcahotle fin another. There is a rea~otas-he one service should cost more than an other. That reason is quality I have on file letters front certain exchanges, asking us whether we have any old film for sale and stating that it don't make any difference to the how old it is or how much it ha, been used. One of them hoasted i the fact that lie has not purchased a foot of new film in more than a year. What kind of service can exhibitor, expect from such aii exchange and, in turn, what kind of results can a exhibitor expect who is satisfied to exhibit such pictures? The time is fast approaching when the exhibitor who thinks he can hold his trade by utilizing cheap film serv- ice ai who hopes to satisf his Crs- tomners by throwing ini an extra reel of shoddy wornout stuff for extra measure. believing it will suffice to hold his clientele, will be eliminated from the ranks. The honors-the profits-will go to the men who are sufficiently enterprising to want to forge ahead; to the men who realize the importance of good service, to the men who know that a reel of film is the same to the film man as a vaudeville act is to the vaudeville manager, and who have discoveredthe vital secret of public discrininatioe It is to such men that success mu5st come, for the law of success is in- violate. It is quality, and not quan- tity, that counts: it is good judgment. energy and respect for vatronaoc which spells progress: it is honest de- termination which must, in the end, wxin out for the men who want to wvin- If the personal pronotin has oc- curred too often in my timely talk this week, it has not been to air Iy van- litv, btit rather to point aa ioral to a jtale which hac pr-xven profitable to ime. CHILD LABOR LAW LOSES ON CONTRACT, Case Azainst Gretchen Hartman of Mary Pane's Pa Dismissed-She Is a Partner of Savage. The child labor law of Illinoish- proven a source of great vexation t companies appearing itm this city duet- iig the past season, aild such iiotahl examples as Salvation Nell, The Piel Piper, The Traveling Salesnan, and other Itlays, mlitIlt he metnstioned t exemplify the diffictlty which ialna- gers iaxe cicotttered in their effort, to introduce "kiddies" tr their Iar- ductioits inl this city. Ma- have sottit i, vain for intethod to evade this law, but it wa not util Walter I'loyd, ilaiager Alnra-Jatc's Pa. axas aectisedofeitl- 3lyig a child tiaerage it the ier- soil of Gretcent H~artiiant,the Aan Tate of the day. and got his fertik braii to work that a method of "get- tiniz by" was discovered. When Floyd was accused of the dreadful crime lie at oice prodticed papers to show that Gretchen wva' itot p t emplove of the conipany lt was a partner in the manlagemtent: that she -as to receive 10 per cent tle et profits ad was to pay 10 Per celit of the nt losses: and, accorditg to Flo-d's testimol- before Judge Fry ill the AInticipal Court. Gretlcen gets ift- a week "pilnontey< or rather. as ati ad\vance o)n her Coll- tract Adolph Marks argued the Floyd side of thel proposition and, as usual Marks won otit. The case was di iissed and Gretchen may ow Coll itle to delight Chicagoans for soie days to coie. Similar chares acainst G. Kiigshibury and W. B. Kirby. imnagaer of the Chicago opera house anl agent for Henry W. Savage, respect- i-c-I, w-ere conlttiurel to May 24. 12 May22,1909. '-4 '4