Showman (1937)

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SHOWMAN "Sorry, Jim," I said, "but it's business." I think I'd have felt better about it if Corbett had made a respect- able sum out of this public humiliation. But he didn't even have that consolation. His end of the thing was well under $10,000. Shortly after that my contract with Jeffries expired and we went our separate ways. Soon after the contract expired, boxing in New York also died with the repeal of the short-lived Horton Law, to be revived only in Jimmy Walker's time. It was the old story. When poli- tics and gambling and boxing get mixed up—and they always do—the boys and the fixers and the fighters taking dives are certain to make the whole game smell in the public nostrils. Presently the papers will start printing a daily warning in big black letters: "DON'T BET ON FIGHTS!" and the handwriting is on the wall. But, even when my pugilistic days were a long way behind me, I still remembered the big lesson I learned out of the ring, which was useful in the theater and the movies and everything else I got into in the next thirty- five years. And that is: Always go after the champion. Never monkey round with second-raters. Never bother with newcomers who don't give you the feeling that they will go straight to the top. Katharine Cornell and David Warfield were only two results of my playing that principle all the way across the board. And, if you don't know a champion when you see one, show-busi- ness is no place for you to begin with. 207