Variety (April 1912)

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VARIETY 13 WESTERN WHEEL NEXT SEASON MAY LO SE THE WILLIAMSES Harry and Sim Reported Withdrawing From The Cir- cuit. Other Changes and Betterment Promised, in Houses, Towns and Shows. Miner Estate Gives Up Its Shows Next Pall. Next week winds up the official sea- son of the Western Burlesque Wheel, with most of the companies pla>/. 0 a supplementary season. According to a ruling last year by the Empire Circuit, the Wheel moves up five points at the beginning of the new season, which will do away with the old custom of drawing for places. There will be quite a number of changes in every way next season, it is said, although that is the annual prophecy of the Western Wheel peo- ple. It is understood Harry and Sim Williams will withdraw from the Wheel. If this happens the Empire people will take a lease on another theatre in Pittsburgh. Harry Wil- liams has the Academy there, and through its place on the Western Wheel, Sim has been entitled to have a show on the circuit. The Empire, Baltimore, George W. Rlfe's new $600,000 playhouse, which seems beyond the pale of Western Wheel burlesque, through its magnifi- cence, may house legitimate attrac- tions next season, while the Western shows may be shifted to the Holllday. This change Is up to Rife. In Boston next fall the Grand Op- era House will swing into the Empire column, giving the Western two houses there, the Howard continuing. James H. Curtin will give up one of his present shows, which he has been running under the Campbell & Drew franchise. This show has been taken by Harry M. Strouse, who will pilot it with Wash. Martin as his right- hand bower. Curtin and William J. Counlhan will continue their burlesque affilia- tions, although they will not have the "Queens of tin Folies Bergere" un- der their jurisdiction next fall. Cou- nlhan ft Shannon have been manag- ing the "Folies" show this year. Rochester and Montreal are dropped with the expiration of the present season, in accordance with the recent agreement made with the East- ern Wheel. Nothing has yet been said about cities to replace these or others that may fade away from the Western Circuit list. With the eliminations on the Wheel, and a chance for its managers to get some real money during the season to come, there is fair prospect some of the Western shows will be regular ones next season. This sea- son, of the entire lot there were not over three or four that could stand up and call itself a show without blushing. The shows were so bad as a rule they grew tiresome, although while a few bad influences arc al- lowed to make themselves felt in the conduct of the Western Wheel, too much improvement cannot be expect- ed, for these old-timers still have their '93 ideas, even though making jio ~.oney with them. Harry Williams has been identified with the Western Wheel ever since its inception, his father, Harry Will- iams, Sr. (deceased), having been one of the founders of the Empire Circuit. Williams is a stockholder and while no show is expected to be un- der his direction next season, it may be that he will retain an active in- terest in the doing of the Wheel, un- less his holdings have already been disposed of. Sim Williams has been a heavy loser on this season's show manage- ment. Sim la no relative of Harry. They are only partners in running a show for Harry Williams, through his ownership of the Academy in Pitts- burgh. Harry Williams is a comparatively young man although he has been ac- tively engaged in show business since he was old enough to read and write. Managers on the Western Wheel speak in the highest terms of Will- iams as a showman. His upright deal- ings, honesty and integrity are mat- ters of open record. Though he with- draws from the burlesque limelight for good, it is believed he will not leave the show business altogether. The long-prophesied coming togeth- er of the Eastern and Western Wheels as a matter of self-preservation seems Imminent, and is strongly evidenced by the restricting of territory in cities of first class and by the elimination of opposition in smaller cities by either one circuit or the other leaving a location to the other side for the exchange of a similar privilege in an- other city. A director of the Empire Circuit told a Variety representative that Jersey City, Montreal and Rochester will be out next season, while the houses to replace them will be Billy Watson's new Paterson theatre, the Grand, Boston, and a new house in Providence. He also said that the Empire Cir- cuit would not permit owners to lease their shows nor allow them to be con- ducted by irresponsible managers. The owners will be held to strict account- ability for the character and calibre of their shows next season, irrespec- tive of their standing or holdings in the Empire Circuit. The Miner Estate will not have any shows on the circuit next fall. At the request of the Estate the Empire Cir- cuit has allotted the former's fran- chises to Collins and Brown, now man- aging the "Girls From Reno," and Morris Rheinstock, piloting "The Queens of the .Tardin de Paris." These shows will be back in the Wheel next season. The directors are negotiating for a downtown plot in Providence where POTATO PEELING TRIO. Things must have been pretty dull with "The Follies of 1911" Just be- fore the show closed a couple of weeks ago. It gave three of the girls with the company a chance to frame up a trip around the world. , The girls are Olga Roller, Ioleen Boley and Vera Maxwell. The plan Is to work their way around the globe by peeling potatoes. Calling them- selves the "Follies Potato Peelers," the misses have *o+ eluded that by re- moving the skins of the Murphys is the only honorable manner in which three young women may be certain of traveling on their own, without molestation. As each of the girls is good-looking, they are afraid of en- countering "chasers" along the route, and without previous experience with this class of gentry* the Misses Roller, Boley and Maxwell think that to dress the role of potato peeler and get jobs at the new trade they will be left alone by admirers of the beautiful. In rehearsing potato peeling Miss Roller has so far shown herself the most adept. She peeled a dozen the other day in five and six-sevenths sec- onds. Miss Boley was second, placing her record at seven and one-quarter seconds. Miss Maxwell looked to be the winner at the start of the race, but after the first two seconds grew thirsty. The girls are now scheming to raise money to make the first stand, Yonk- ers. After that they say everything will be all right. LEW KELLY MARRIED. While in Boston with the Ben Welch Burlesquers, of which he is a mem- ber, Lew Kelly married a Miss Ander- son, and was happy until the show struck the Columbia, New York, last week, when Mrs. Kelly was taken ill. It appeared so serious in the middle of the week Mr. Kelly had his wife removed to a hospital. Gus Hill fs figuring on organizing a juvenile "Mutt and Jeff" show for next season, all the parts to be played by young or miniature performers. —> ■ a new house, seating 1,800, will be built, to be ready for occupancy by the holidays. It Is now the intention to hold open a week or two to accommodate the new shows which will go in when the new houses are completed. As previously reported in Varietv,, the Western Wheel will have Milwau- kee (Bijou), Minneapolis (Bijou) and St. Paul (Grand) all to itself next sea- son. To replace the Academy in Pitts- burgh the Empire people plan to build a new Davis theatre there, expecting to have the same in readiness by the holidays. Harry Williams has not been a member of the Empire Circuit Co.'s board of directors for some time. Detroit, April 10. As other parties have acquired the lease on the Avenue hen 1 and the Western Wheel people vae;tte in a few years, the Empire (in nit must seek a new location for its burlesque attrac- tions. PRESS AGENTS' WORK. The four best press stunts put over the past week were unique enough to be allotted big space in the metropoli- tan dailies. It shows an improve- ment in that branch of theatrical In- dustry. Probably the finest conception of the week w*fl the one put over by David Belasco, in which he took a fall out of actors of the present day and especially those belonging to the best known theatrical club in town. It is not altogether original, since William A. Brady made a similar bid for inexpensive publicity last year. However, any statement from Mr. Belasco is grasped with avidity by the theatrical writers. Belasco, among other things, has promised to found a school of acting for the de- velopment of talent, which will re- ceive widespread publication through- out the country—even if it doesn't come out. Vajuutu recently published an in- terview with Blanche Ring, in which the musical comedy star stated a New York endorsement was no longer es- sential to a successful road tour. The World, Sunday, printed a two-column article on the subject, which probably emanated from the Charles Frohman press department, in which Mr. Froh- man was given credit for the same Idea. Lawrence J. Anhalt, press repre- sentative for May Irwin, Issued for publication this week an announce- ment Miss Irwin was closing her season two weeks earlier than previ- ously scheduled, and would hurry to New York to attend the annual ban- quet of the American Jersey Cattle Club, and the opening of the associa- tion's new club house. He adds: "Following the Club-House cere- monies, and soon after she gives a few personal directions on the build- ing of her new theatre, May Irwin's Play House, soon to be erected on West 44th and 46th streets. Miss Ir- win and her husband, Kurt Eisfeldt, will go Immediately to their summer home, Irwin Island, Clayton, N. Y." Reports of the new May Irwin theatre on West 44th street and running through to 46th street have been about for some months, but up to date there have been no tangible signs of any theatre-building opera- tions in the locality announced. Miss Irwin is said to hold a financial inter- est in the property on West 46th street adjoining the present New York theatre, but the 44th street plot is owned by Abe Levy and Maxey Blu- menthal, two retired bookmakers. Last Sunday being Easter, May Wirth, the star equestrienne of the Barnum & Bailey Circus, led a dozen or more gorgeously caparisoned Hussars u Fifth avenue. She went up Fifth avenue as far as 53d street, until the rain interfered with the parade. On her return to Madison Square Garden an announcement was handed out ex- plaining that Miss Wlrth, who is said to be an Australian, was disappointed in N«»w York's Easter turn-out. To make things additionally interesting the circus elephants were given their spring baths.