Publix Opinion (Feb 7, 1930)

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7 SOT aS BORIS AS PRODIGY AT\l gous 19, DIRECTED FOR CZAR The post of General Music Director for Publix is one for which Boris Morros is eminently fitted, since in all probability he is the only man in the United States, Russia, and all the other countries in the world, including the Scandinavian, who is a Music Director by both birth and _ inclination. There are only a few musical directorships comparable to his in importance in the world, and Boris Morros has held more than his share of them. Imperial Music Director of the Russian court, and during the war, of the Russian Army, he is the son and grandson of men who were attached to the courts of the Czars in similar capacities. And the great-grandson and_ greatgreat-grandson, and so on, to the sixth generation. In time the St. Petersburg and Moscow newspapers failed to chronicle the elevation of a Moroz to the musical directorship of the court, for it was no longer news. If Boris Morros had not been appointed Imperial Music Director, that would have been news. So it was not unusual for eight year old Boris to be an accomplished cellist, and if radios had radioed in 1903 he would probably have been found in front of the family Philco, waving his father’s next-best baton in most orthodox fashion. Little did Mr. Morros, Sr., think, as he spanked Boris for breaking four batons in one) week, that his son would one day stand in the wings of a theatre in, say, Omaha, Nebraska, teaching baton manipulation to a hoof“er who would thenceforth be known as a Master of Ceremonies, and Stage Band Leader. Succeeds His Father His more advanced musical education was secured less hardily, but probably more thoroughly, at the Imperial Conservatory, where for nine years he studied theory OFFICE DEPARTMENTS Here is the eleventh of a series of stories about Publix Home Office Department personalities who depend upon your effort, just as you depend upon. theirs. To know and understand each other's person alities and problems will lighten the burdens of everyone, and make our tasks enjoyable. For this reason, PUBLIX OPINION is devoting an important part of its space to these brief biographical sketches. , Morros. UBLIX OPINION, WEEK OF FEBRUARY 7TH, 1930 London, Paris, Madrid, Rome, Athens, Constantinople, and back to Paris. Here his natural vocation slipped up on him again, and he discarded the guise of a tourist for that of a musical director. The show—we see him now in a theatre, for the first time—was the original ‘‘Chauve Souris,’ and when Nikita Balieff smiled over the footlights, Boris Morros smiled back, for he had not only collaborated on the musical score of this soon-to-be-world-famous divertisement, but also conducted the orchestra. *“Chauve Souris’ was the sensation of Paris and all Europe, and ‘it was forthwith brought to New York, intact, ‘with the original Paris cast,’ including its musical director. Incidentally, it was not only one of the few French—or Russian!—shows to tour. the United States, but its fame has been so lasting that recently Publix Opinion was privileged to announce to you that a ‘“‘Chauve Souris’’ unit will tour the Publix deluxe circuit, with Nikita Balieff in person, and produced by Boris It will also have a Boris Morros score, for the Publix music executive has not laid aside his pen with his baton. Publix Captures Him The first ‘‘Chauve Souris” thus came to the United States, but when its tour had ended and the cast made its way home, Mr. Mor ros was conducting the orchestra of the Publix Palace Theatre in Memphis, Tennessee. Memphis learned about music from him, and when he received word to re ‘port to the home office in New York, its citizens importuned him to remain. The Chamber of Commerce even offered'to build a theatre for him, and it was with the greatest reluctance that he answered the insistent call from New York. He still counts the Mayor of Memphis, Captain Frayser Hinton, as his closest friend, and some day he is going to take a vacation and spend a couple of weeks in Montreal with Frayser. However, no one in Publix can remember Boris Morros as having taken a vacation in the past six MORROS, MUSICIAN BY HERITAGE in New York. But New York presents almost as many inducements as Montreal, so the friendship flourishes. Back in New York, Mr. Morros became one of the first travelling Publix unit conductors, and in several trips around the entire circuit acquired a thorough knowledge of every deluxe operation. In addition, he grossed about 250,000 friends in each town of that size, and more in the larger cities. So it was not surprising to those who had been following his career with Publix to see him called to New York a second time, to remain here as Associate to General Music Director N. W. Finston. Becomes Music Head As associate head of the music department, he was charged with installing stage band policies all over the circuit, and the cellists, tenors, bassoon players and tap dancers he has transformed into personality stage band leaders can be counted by dozens. In November, 1928, when Mr. Finston was transferred to the Paramount West Coast Studios as Musical Director, Mr. Morros succeeded him as General Music Director of Publix. To his original duties as musical chief of 1200 theatres has been added the responsibility of musical supervision over short sound-film subjects produced at the Paramount Long Island Studios. He also acts in an advisory capacity in conjunction with the Paramount Radio Department, and is often consulted on musical matters by officials of the Columbia Broadcasting System. The Music Sales Department, handling retailing of sheet music, records and books in all the Publix theatres, was recently placed under Mr. Morros as a division of the Music Department. It’s needless to tell you the kind of a man Boris Morros is. Everyone will tell you, every day, that he’s the grandest guy you'll ever be lucky enough to meet. A jovial laugh you remember for weeks—but this could go on for pages. Paul Short, formerly manager of the State Theatre, Chattanooga, has assumed the management of the Victory Theatre, Tampa. M. Philips succeeds him as manager years, so thus far Capt. Hinton i of the State. i pi tiusic and composition under has had to spend all his vacations Rimsky-Korsakoff, most renowned of modern Russian musicians and BORIS MORROS composers, and Alexander Glagounow, Russian composer who recently made a triumphant visit to New York. In his spare time he, attended classes at the Academy of Oriental Languages and the University of St. Petersburg, and was graduated from both. Before he had attained the ripe old age of 19, he succeeded his father in the service of the Czar, and was placed in charge of all musical activities of what was probably the most brilliant and colorful of Huropean courts. Imperial Musical Director Boris Morros had survived such an intensive course of study as a youth that he was much in demand in court circles. Naturally, he could talk about music, and since he was a university graduate, he could do so quite brilliantly and interestingly. He still can. And more than this, he could carry on these conversations in any language, exeepting the Scandinavian. When the World War broke out, upon Mr. Morros devolved the task of mobilizing musicians for military bands and _ orchestras, getting these important agencies for building and maintaining morale whipped into shape fast enough to attach them to the Director of Music Department that when a man named Kerensky changed the name of his home town to Petrograd he hardly noticed it. He didn’t even comment on the fact that a different man was signing his pay checks, if and when he received them, but went right on working, for along about this time he was busy breaking in ‘German and Austrian prisoners in the brass sections of his military bands. Mr. Morros spoke the language of the enemy perfectly, and they | played his music perfectly, albeit with a slight German accent, so everyone was happy, since spurring Russian troops to battle was considered highly preferable to building roads and other sordid tasks. A Finnish Adventure So what with all the work and everything, changing the name of St. Petersburg to Petrograd made very little difference to Boris Morros. But when a couple of other fellows came along and changed that to Leningrad, he recalled the fact that for years, as we have noted, the name of Morros had been intimately associated with Academy of Oriental Languages had not included the Scandinavian tongues, he was quite embarrassed’ as. he glanced over the menu in the little restaurant of the Finnish railway station at which the train had broken down, fortuitously enough, just across the border, whence echoed cries of rage and disappointment. <A waiter approached, and he redoubled his efforts t6 wrest a meal from the menu. It was no use; it wasn’t even Greek to him. He had no companions to laugh at him, so he decided to speak to the waiter in French. It worked! “Give me some eggs and a kind word,’’ he ordered, always cheerful. The eggs arrived. “Where is the kind word?” he asked the taciturn waiter, who may have been taciturn because he knew very little French. “Don’t eat the eggs!’’ counselled the waiter. And Boris couldn’t eat the ham! At this juncture he decided that he did not care for Finland, Finnish humor, or Finnish eggs. A punster would even say that he did not finnish his eggs, but it would not be true, for he was hungry. But he left Finland, and Sweden, and Norway, immediately, THIS DISPLAY IS ANIMATED Elmer Bryant of the staff of the Publix Kentucky in Lexington worked out the mechanical details of this animated advance display on “The Love Parade,” which was designed and executed by Bill Meredith. It is ten feet wide, ten feet high and three feet deep, and Manager Earl Hall Payne will be glad to supply mechanical data to theatres which wish to duplicate it. The little figures move across the display on an endless belt. songs very softly. A loudspeaker plays “Love Parade” that of Romanoff, which had now fallen into extreme disfavor. He decided that Russia was really not in the order named, and they enter into this story only to enable us to say that he has been in Czar’s regiments as they were mustered in. Always Follows Through | SSNS RI i IIR Ss pe Ne id cae al BLEUE OVER AR | He was so busy doing this, and after he had them organized, keeping them that way—a fondness he has for following through and finishing a job which he still displays in behalf of Publix— a healthful place for a Morros and at about the same time the other fellows mentioned above drew a similar conclusion. Meditating upon this coincidence, he found himself in Finland, for he has always been a man to couple meditation and action. Since. the curriculum of the every country in the world, including the Scandinavian. With ‘Chauve Souris’ His itinerary from now on is a bit hazy, but it took him from one European capital to another—