Variety (December 1907)

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VARIETY THE MORRIS COMPANY REFUSES TO VACATE Springfield and Worcester. Notified by United States Amusement Company to Leave the Nelson and Franklin Square Theatres. Legal Action Probable. Notice was served upon William Morris for the William Morris Amusement Com- pany last week, on behalf of the United States Amusement Company, ordering the Morris Company to vacate the Nelson Theatre, Springfield, and the Franklin Square, Worcester, two former Klaw & Krlanger houses leased by the United States to the Morris Company. Beyond stating that he had no intention of leaving the premises, Mr. Morris would give nc information on the subject, declin- ing to admit that such notice had been given, but there is no doubt of its receipt by him. It is understood Mr. Morris informed the bearer of the written notification that he would not under any circumstances give up the possession of the properties and legal proceedings are possible. As previously printed in Variety, Klaw & Erlanger are required under the settle- ment agreement made with the United Booking Offices, wherein they agreed to vacate vaudeville by Feb. .'5 next, to also by that date remove vaudeville from the two New England theatres, which are in opposition to S. Z. Poli, a United manager, in both cities. , The United States Company leased the houses from the Shuberts, who in turn hold them under lease, and Morris is a sub- lessee. It is said he pays rent to the United Stntes Company, and if the latter laid itself open to eviction upon any grounds the judgment to dispossess would be against the present occupant, the Mor- ris Company, unless some legal means were found to successfully combat it. The Nelson at Springfield is reported to be held by Morris under a one year's lease, with a renewal option of four more, while the Franklin Square is said to be for one year only. The rent of the Springfield theatre is $12,000 yearly and the Worcester house .$10,000. Humor also tells that the agree- ment under which Morris secured the the- atres carried with it a guarantee from Klaw & Erlanger that they would pay one- half the rent. Another condition of the instrument, which may have been a side issue, was that Morris should play a certain number of "K. ft B. acts" weekly. This. Klaw & Erlanger claim, Morris has not done, and also called upon him to play the acts as a treed. Morris' reply was to read the agreement, and K. & E. would find that he had kept his part of it. Ceo. M. Leventritt, of Leventritt & ltrcnnan, attorneys for the Morris Com- pany, admitted to a Variety representa- tive that the notification was received. and in reply to a question ;> s to whether • the theatres would be vacated said: "The William Morris Amusement Com- pany will ofTer vaudeville in both theatres just as long as the leases of the United States Amusement Company runs. Noth- ing nor no one can oblige us to leave while we pay our rent. "The rent has been paid by us to Janu- ary 13, and on that day we will tender the amount due to the United States. If it is not accepted, we shall make a motion to deposit it in court. "We have consulted and retained the best legal talent in Massachusetts, and have been advised our position i9 abso- lutely secure. We are prepared for any steps which mav be taken." An officer of the United States Amuse- ment Company in speaking of the notifi- cation remarked that the Morris Company, in consideration for the management of the houses being passed over to it, had agreed as a consideration also that a certain number of acts under engagement to Klaw & Erlanger would be played in the the- atres. This agreement had been violated, according to the United States official, who also stated that their act Hardeen, "the jail breaker," at the Nelson, Spring- field, and booked for the Franklin Square, Worcester, next week, would be the last 'K. & E. act" to appear in the Morris houses. Asked if legal proceedings to tvict the Morris Company would follow its failure to leave the premises as notified, the reply was: "It certainly looks very much that way WHITE RATS UPHOLD PRESIDENT. A committee of twenty-five members of the White Rats, appointed at the regular weekly meeting held last week, to report on the proceedings of the order as direct- ed by President R. C. Mudge since the commencement of the Klaw & Erlanger- United vaudeville struggle, is understood to have presented a report on Thursday night upholding the president in all that has been done. Fred Niblo was chairman of the special committee appointed, and among those appointed to it were Lee Harrison and Charles J. Ross. The committee of twenty-five will be- come a temporary advisory board of the society pending the affirmative vote on an amendment to the by-laws and con- stitution creating a permanent advisory or governing board of that number, which will act in concert with the White Rats' president, composing, in fact, his "cabi- net," before which all important matters pertaining to the order will come. The vote is being taken by mail, and if in favor of the amendment, considered practically settled excepting the count, Mr. Mudge will then appoint the perma- nent members of the committee. The term of office of the present execu- tives of the Rats expires June 1, next, when a re-election occurs for the ensuing term, now two vears. INDEPENDENT BILL POSTER SELLS. Detroit, Dec. 6. The Melvin Bill Posting Company, an "independent" of importance outside the "trust," sold out this week to Walker & Co., the local branch of the National As- sociation of Bill Tosters. Consideration is unknown. The Melvin Company had the backing of E. D. Stair (Stair & Havlin) and it was somewhat of a surprise to hear it had thrown up the sponge. r »» GILMAN GIRL IN WORCESTER. Worcester, Mass., Dec. G. "Maybelle Oilman's Sister" is playing at the Franklin Square Theatre this week (William Morris Amusement Company, Mgrs.). Eunice is the girl's name, and she sings a couple of songs twice daily. The other end of the pair of half sisters to Mrs. Oilman-Corey has not appeared, but tlie father is here. There is, likewise, in this city a branch steel factory of the United States Steel Company from which Mr. Corey derived fame even before he married Miss May- belle, whom Eunice attempts to imperson- ate without announcing it. Somehow in Worcester this week, with- out undue mention having been made by tie Franklin Square management, it be- came known of the relation link between the Corey and Cilmnn factions. The steel workers have been looking Eunice over on the stage. Her father swings around the town, making daily trips to the steel plant to see that, his son-in-law's property remains in the city while he is here. The act may go to Springfield next week where there is another Morris vaudeville theatre. NIBLO'S HASTY SKETCH. Springfield, Mass., Dec. 6. The success won here by Josephine Cohan in "The Girl of 'The Times,'" at the Nelson Theatre, where it is being pre- sented for the first time, is unusual under the circumstances of hurried preparation which preceded the initial presentation. Fred Niblo, Miss Cohan's husband, wrote the piece on the steamer while homeward bound from Naples. He and Miss Cohan arrived in New York Nov. 24; en- gaged the company (two men) on the 2Gth; rehearsed Friday and Saturday, giv- ing a dress rehearsal on Sunday at the theatre, opening at the Monday matinee with hardly a break. BILL POSTERS MEET IN CHICAGO. Chicago, Dec. C. The convention of billposters was held here this week at the Masonic Temple. The paste men are in the city from all over the country. On Wednesday night a banquet was given for the visitors at the Sherman House. WEBER'S CLOSED UNTIL XMAS. The Joseph Weber show closes to-night and the house will remain dark for three weeks. In that interval the new bur- lesque on 'The Merry Widow" will be prepared and the production will be first seen Christmas week. THE ONLY Manager David Beehler, of the Orpheum, Sioux ( ity. was presented With a silver stein hv the acts playing at his house last w^ek. Mr. Beehler reciprocated with an impromptu banquet. SHAPIRO BUYS CATALOGUE. The catalogue of John T. Hall, the music publisher, was purchased this week by Maurice Shapiro. HI TOM WARD, "THE MERRY MINSTREL." REBELS AGAINST "MOTHER-IN-LAW." Charley W. Bennett, manager of the Canadian vaudeville circuit which bears his name, has taken a radical step and struck a mighty blow at the very ex- istence of the "Stock Humor" specialist. He has declared that hereafter no monol- ogist may "spring" a "mother-in-law" joke in any of the houses over which he holds control. Two weeks ago a talking comedian played Montreal. His talk was plenti- fully besprinkled with the "mother-in- law" witticism. Last week another act dealt out a quantity of the same ma- terial. Now it so happens that Mr. Bennett is the possessor of a very charming mother-in-law, and the jokes grated upon him. So he instructed his New York booking representative to send him no more humorists depending upon the "mother-in-law" gag, GIVES UP VAUDEVILLE. Lincoln, Nebr., Dec. 8. The liijou theatre, after playing vaude- \i)le for the pajd two years, has given up style of entertainment, reverting to slock, and changed its name to "The Ma- jestic." The Fulton Stock Company is now presenting plays in the bou.<€. V. II. Bradstreet will continue as man- ager. The Bijou was on the Sullivan- Considine Circuit. Poor business caused the change in policy. STOCK OPENING POSTPONED. ( ni«;iL r <>. Pec. O*. The opepitig oi the dramatic stock com pan} at the Chicago Opera House will he Dec. 23, instead <»t tie' 8th :is announced, Phil Sheridan says hi-; "City Splits'* broke the three .hy record al I he Colum- bia, Scran ton, !a*t week by $500.