The New York Clipper (January 1920)

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January 7, 1920 THE NEW YORK CLIPPER FEAR A. J. SMALL HAS BEEN MUR DERED O R KIDNAPPED Canadian Theatre Man Strangely Missing for Five Weeks After Selling String of Theatres and Depositing $1,000,000 in Banks ToBONTO, Can., Jan. 3.—After a five . weeks' search of both this country and the United States, detectives, friends, attorneys and relatives of A. J. Small, the Canadian theatre man, are completely mystified over his sadden disappearance early in. Decem- ber. At the present time there are checks aggregating nearly $2,000,000 awaiting him here and be deposited $1,000,000 in the hank the day he sold his theatre holdings, valued at several millions of dollars to the Trans-Canada Theatres, Ltd., a newly or- ganized corporation. E. W. M. Flack, of London, Cut, Small's attorney, expressed the fear today that his client had been either murdered or is being held a prisoner, possibly for ransom. Mrs. Small, who has steadfastly main- tained during the search that she knew the whereabouts of her husband, today acknowledged that no trace of him can be found, and adds an appeal that friends in the United States join with those in Can- ada in finding him. Five detective agen- cies have already searched every hotel, hos- pital and private sanitarium on both sides of the International border, but without re- sult. George Driseoll, of Montreal, vice-presi- dent of the Trans-Canada Theatres, who was prominently connected with the pur- chase of Small's holdings, said today he had no idea where Small it. "He told me, while the deal was being completed, that he had thought of taking a holiday, of going to Europe, or California, or to the woods for a long rest. But nobody knows what he has done," said Mr. Driseoll. "Be has just disappeared." It Is declared that after banking the $1,- 000,000 check Small went to the Grand Opera House, and later met Mrs. Small downtown, having lunch with her. After lnnch he walked a short distance with her, and returned to his offices in the Opera House, where he met his attorney, Mr. Flock. Leaving Flock, Small left his of- fices at 5.30 o'clock, and since that time nothing can be learned of his movements. His business associates supposed that he hod gone to New York or to Montreal to check up further details of the transfer, since he had once before disappeared for a few days, finally being located in Mon- treal with other theatrical men, but no trace of him could be found in. either of these two cities. Theories that Small has been murdered or is being held for ransom are being ad- vanced by many who point out the fact that the theatrical manager had little cash on his person when last seen, and no checks have been drawn on his Toronto bank. Theatrical men say the first clue will come in the form of demands for a huge ran- som. Telegrams have been sent to Ha- vana and to New Orleans, where friends have personally hunted for him, but with- out finding any trace. According to Attorney Flock, Small was in a cheerful mood when the theatrical deal was closed. He is described as about fifty yean old, S feet 7 or 8 inches tall and weighing about 135 pounds. He is dark haired and wears a closely trimmed dark mustache. The missing man started life as a news- boy and launched into the theatrical busi- ness, eventually winning control of the legitimate, picture and vaudeville bouses of Eastern Canada. Last Summer a deal was reported to be on by which his bouses were to have be- come a part of the Pantages string through affiliation with the Miles houses, of De- troit and Cleveland, but it never went through, and the one with the Trans- Canada Corporation was later consum- mated. A!, C. FIELDS WELL AGAIN Columbus, O., Jan. 2.—Al, G. Fields, who baa been absent from h'is company for several weeks owing to illness, has com- pletely recovered, and is again directing nadir's with his old-time vigor. He has also been elected for the tenth consecutive year as director of the Central National Bank of this city. Mr. Fields has ordered the scenery for his next season's production. Ray Zirkel, who has been in the home office daring the minstrel's absence, has joined the show, and is at work on several new numbers for next season. PLAN SOUTHERN "CONEY ISLAND" IilLOXI, Miss., Jon, 4.—Several hun- dred thousand dollars will be expended here on an amusement park to be opened next spring, and to be patterned after the Steeplechase of Coney Island. There will be more than 200 concessions, together with a large theatre and a 742-foot steel pier. The project is backed by the Biloxi Amusement Corporation, recently organ- ized by P. Moses, Walter Moses, A. Good and G. T. Overling, of New Orleans, who have been identified, with several amuse- ment projects in that city. INDOOR CIRCUS ROUTED The B. T. Richards Indoor Circus, which opened last Monday at the Mayflower Theatre, Providence, has been routed to tour the New England States. Included in the cast are the Scigrist SUben Troupe, Hilliary Long, Mme. Bradna'a Troupe, the Ducas Brothers and James and Teddy Davis. The production is under the direc- tion of Fred Bradna and W. J. Conway, formerly with the Ringling Brothers' Show. It has been booked and routed by H. Blumentbal. NEW COMEDY OPENED IN STOCK Kkadino, Pa., Dec. 31.—"The Indian Giver," presented here last night for the first time by the Orpheum Players, is a comedy in three acts by Don Borroaghs, leading man of the stock company. Like most new plays, this one is a trifle rough and, in, parts, the construction is dis- jointed. However, with revision and pruning, this piece ought to find favor in the eyes of some New York producer. The story begins with one love story; soon 'there is another and then a third one develops. There are nnusual situations, a mixture of comedy, pathos and almost trag- edy, when a wealthy old editor dies and wills his paper to a young authoress, not knowing that he is thus depriving bis aged widow of ber rights to the property. The authoress does not want the property, and decides to hand it over to a nephew of the dead man. The nephew is persuaded to come to live in the town, and with him comes a "quack" vendor of patent medi- cines. Upon the arrival of these two, things be- gin to happen and around their escapades are woven the various incidents connected with, the working out of the piece. Don Burroughs has the role of the nephew, which, although more than difficult, he handled in an admirable manner. The comedy part, in the hands of Dan Davis, and Ottola Nesmith is all that can be de- sired in the role of the authoress. Others in the cast were J. Irving White and Frank Charlton. VILLAGE FOLLIES CLOSING SET The Greenwich Village Follies is sched- uled to close at the Nora. Bayes Theatre March 6, opening the folowing Monday in Boston, from which city it proceeds to Philadelphia and then to Chicago. If the show closes here at the time scheduled, it will have had a run of approximately thirty-two weeks since it opened at the Greenwich Village Theatre last July 16. Judging from the business the show has played to during the twenty-five weeks of its existence, upwards of $325,- 000, or an average of $13,000 a week, It Is quite probable that the gross on its run here will pass the £400,000 mark. This will mean that the show's produce™, J. Murray Anderson, Mrs. Haiwkeeworth, Morris Green and those wbo got in on it later, Joe Le Blang, Al Jones and Charlie Levy, will have realized- a considerable profit over and above the $38,000 it coat to produce. The theatre in which the show is now housed was leased from the Shuberts for a term that does not expire until next October. The Bohemians, Inc., the corpor- ate name under which the show was pro- duced, paid the Shuberts $1,000 a week during the first seven weeks. But the rental is now $1,500 weekly, under the terms of the lease, the Shuberts furnish- ing nothing but light and heat for the house. Thus, the Greenwich Village Fol- lies does not cost its producers more than $8,000 or $9,000 a week to run, so that all money taken in above that sum may be considered velvet. . Last week Anderson finished easting his principals for the newest musical show which he is producing, and which is sched- uled to open Friday, Feb. 13, at the Greenwich Village Theatre. The show is to be called "What's in a Name?" and, besides staging it Anderson is also co- author of the book with Anna, Wynn O'Kyan, sister of General CRyan. Jack Yellen has written the lyrics and Milton Ager is responsible for the score. A corporation called John Murray An- derson, Inc., with a capitalization of $50,000, has been organized to produce this show, LeBlang, Jones and Levy not being in it. The officers are J. Murray Anderson, president; Mrs. Beat* Hawlcea- worth, vice-president; Meyer Simon, a wealthy mercantile man, treasurer, and Morris Green, secretary. This show will cost at least $60,000 to produce. The following players have been signed to appear as principals in the show: Olin Howland, Williams and Wolfua, Ed Ford, lioecoe Ails, Alice liegeman, Sinclair and Casper, Gloria. Foy, Mildred Holliday, Beatrice Herford, Rosalind Fuller, Honey Kay Cooper, Vera Myers, Ula Robinson, June Korl, Komaki Kimura, Allen Kearns, Sam Moore, Rex Dantzler, Billy Hoi brook, Phil White, Josephine McNicoll, Janet O'Dette, Dorothy Smoller and Margaret Irving. Beulah Livingston has been ap- pointed press representative. CIRCUS PLAYS TO $100,000 Mme. Pubillone's Cuban Circus, accord- ing to reports received here by the Wirth-. Blumenthal office, has just closed a five- week stand in Havana, playing to more than $100,000. HELD FOR COMMISSIONS Harry Pauley and Freddy Hyder of the "Listen Lester' company, got into trouble last week when the show played in Cleve- land. Following the afternoon perform- ance of the show, they were met at the stage door by process servers, and each was served with a "body attachment" upon the complaint -of Leslie Morosco, who alleges that Pauley owes him $400 booking commission and Hyder $450. The two were taken to their hotel by the au- thorities, where, under tbe Ohio State law, they were deprived of all their personal belongings, -including their clothes. According to A. H. Goodman, attorney for Morosco, the two were held at the hotel until time for the evening perform- ance, when they each gave tbe authorities $100 and their clothes were returned in time to prevent the attraction from losing a performance. Mooraeo claims that Pauley owes him commission as his personal manager, and, although Hyder is under a five-year con- tract with the John Cort Company, be is also under tbe direct personal ment of Morosco. "READY TO OCCUPY" FUNNY SnUNQFiELD, Mass., Jan. 1.—"Ready to Occupy," a farce by Otto Harbach, ia get- ting ready for Broadway and had its pre- miere performance here last week at the Court Square Theatre.. The play is well cast and is entertaining, despite a thin plot that might be cracked at prac- tically any minute during the action if the playwright didn't make ell his charac- ters follow an oblique path instead of going after their predicaments by the moat direct route. But, put Ernest Truex in the leading role with a situation that makes his troubles too much of a burden for his limited weight, and the result la bound to be a laughing scream. And this is the sort of role that is his in "Ready to Occupy." The .play starts oft by showing that all doesn't run smoothly on the sea of matri- mony. It tells of the troubles of two mar- ried couples, both of which start their troubles with a quarrel. James Howells (Ernest Truex) finds that his troubles start upon bis very wedding day. In an effort to straighten matters out, a friend of his sends him to a beautifully furnished house, ready to occupy. In fact, the house even includes a -corps of ser- vants. He ia forced to go to the house without his bride, because of the quarrel. That night the wife of the owner of the house, who has also quarrelled with her husband, returns and staya all night. The butler is the villain, and he holds the two for $1,000 ransom each. Others also fail into the butler's net and each unfortunate is held for $1,000. And when all is finally explained, everyone ia happy and prosper- ous except the villain. Dallas Welford runs Truex a close race for honors. Welford is the villain of the piece and has a part that fits him to a tee. Others in the cast are Muriel Hope, Leo Donnelly, Nancy Fair, Alice Belmore Cliffe, Elizabeth Gorgely, EUeen Wilson, Frank Allsworth, Edwin Walter, Edward Douglas, and Yvonne Gouraud. HILL GIVING GOOD SHOW Jacksonville, Jan. 1.—Gua Hill's Min- strels, which played here last week at the Duval, offered a program that ia a well balanced combination of comedy bits, music, dancing and vaudeville. There are a num- ber of good popular songs, with several un- usually good solos and some perfect har mony in the chorus numbers. The sliow is led off by Herbert WOliaon, with "Silvery Moon," "Sleep Baby Sleep" and "Sweet Molly Oh." His even voiced yodelling of the Tyrolean variety scored one of the biggest hits of the evening. Lee Edmunds, in his comedy songs, was also good. Carl Graves, Fred Freddy, J. Fran- cis Breening, Howard Neillng and Frank Delena all made individual hits with their separate vocal offerings. The Three Musical Cates and the Mark with Brothers scored heavily with a saxo- phone sextette offering, which included some real comedy, as well as ont-of-the-ordinar - music. Jimmie Wall went well with his skilfully presented comedy and proved to be- quite a favorite with the audience. But the comedy climax was secured and held by George Wilson, -who, with his dry man- nerisms and clever gaga, proved himself to be a performer par excellence. There ia plenty of dancing, well taken care of by Jack Kennedy, Jimmy Brady, Jack Hayes, Joe RUey, Jigger Marr, Joe Clooney, Harry Harvey, Eddie Gallagher, John Buekley and George Pitchett. "The Blackville Hyflyera," presented in the second part, is a short, snappy and well-staged afterpiece, and closes the show. Howard Neiling, wbo, as the queen of the "highflyers'" club, gives a clever female impersonation that Is almost flawless. The. production was staged by Jim 1 Gorman, and much credit must go to him for tbe smooth manner in which things off. OFFER MEDAL FOR BEST PLAY The Society of Arts and Sciences will award a gold medal to tbe writer of the best play to be produced during the year of 1920. They announce that all writers will have an equal chance, hut the play must be produced.