Variety (December 1912)

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10 VARIETY SOME FIGURES AND FACTS DIRECT FR OM CHA S. FROHMAN Doesn't Agree With Common Impression. New York is Theatrically (Hutted. Adolph Zukor, the Interest- ing Figure in Show Business Just Now. Frazee Longacre Theatre Sale Doesn't Qo Through. By LEANDBR RICHARDSON "We hear a vast quantity of talk," said Charles Frohman yesterday, "concerning the glut of theatres in New York, and the consequent certainty that everybody is going to be ruined in a few minutes. But, as a matter of fact, New York leads the world this year in the matter of great stage successes. In Paris there have been just two hits, and in London three, while in Germany there have been none at all. "One of the Paris successes is by Guitry, and is at the Varieties. It is a comedy, and of purely local value. The other is by Callivet and de Fleris, the authors of 'Love Watches* and 'Decorating Clemen- tine.' This also is of no importance ex- cepting in France. The London hits are The Turning Point,' at the St. James' theatre, "The Doormat,' by Hubert Henry Davies, with Gerald du Maurier and Ma- rie Lohr, at Wyndham's, and 'Rosalind,' the fifty minutes' play by Barrie. 'The Turning Point' I am making ready to produce here under the title, The Spy.' 'Rosalind' I also shall produce shortly, with two other Barrie plays. "As against this record for all Europe, see what has happened in New York. The Yellow Jacket,' which is not much talked of, had $626 the night after Thanksgiving, and has been running along on that basis, making a little money. Bil- lie Burke, in The Mind The Paint Girl,' at the Lyceum, has had an average of $10,000 a week since the opening, and will stay until after New Year's, going then to the largest cities. We cannot play this attraction in the second places, on account of the large expense. It requires sixty persons. "John Drew did a big business with The Perplexed Husband.' 'Belle Donna' is drawing $1,500 and $1,600 a night at the Cmpire, and the Wednesday mati- nees always are $1,600 or better. This play will last Mme. Nazimova for two years at least. A lot of its drawing power is due to the success of the novel. We found that out in Trenton, where we made the production to two and one-half times as much money as we had there last year. *"Oh, Oh, Delphine,' at the Knicker- bocker, is drawing all the people the house can hold. The statement I have on my desk this morning shows $2,07475 as the night's takings. The capacity of the Globe theatre is $2,000, but the receipts usually are $2,100 or more. 'Milestones,' at the Liberty, is sure to continue through the entire season, which tells its own story. The Count of Luxembourg' has drawn splendid receipts at the New Am- sterdam, and will remain there until early in January. It is a curious fact that in this state of things an author of Augustus Thomas' distinction should have had two failures inside two months in the same theatre—but so it goes. Mrs. Fiske is doing very well indeed at the Hudson— not a sensational business, but a good one. *Within the Law,' at the Eltinge, is having immense patronage. "Of course, I am not as intimately in- formed about the other New York thea- tres as the ones I have mentioned, but I know in a general way what they are doing, and I am well aware that some great successes have been made." Of these the writer is in a position to speak with some authority. In the case of "The Whip," at the Manhattan Opera House, it is entirely within the facts to say that no melodrama ever has been presented in America with anything like the success that has fallen to this one. The actual figures for last week were $21,090. On Thanksgiving day the mat- inee drew $2,800, and the night show $3,- 000. At the Hippodrome, "Under Many Flags" has beaten out all previous rec- ords, and, as everybody knows, some of these have been enormous. The Winter Garden has not done so well with Ger- trude Hoffman's present entertainment, but in a theatre of ordinary dimensions the business would be regarded as large, at that. "Little Women," at the Playhouse, is sure to stay all season, and nobody would be in the least surprised if it were to go straight through next summer. "The Merry Countess," at the Casino, has had very large receipts, and if it were less costly to run might be kept here profita- bly for many weeks to come "Fanny's First Play," at the Comedy, is one more of the attractions that surely will stay through to hot weather. "Ready Money" did finely at Maxine Elliott's un- til quite recently. Weber and Fields and their new music hall are bound to have an important profit for some time, though it does not look quite so rosy for the hotels, which loaded up to the muzzle for "Roly Poly." William Collier is having at the Forty-eighth Street theatre his best New York season in years. Both of Mr. Belasco's theatres have housed real success this year—not turn- ing people away, but showing a good, healthy profit. George M. Cohan, in "Broadway Jones," is one of the best bets anywhere along the white light trail. Both the afternoon and night bills at the Little Theatre are as successful as the limita- tions of the audience room will permit Any way you look at it, you must join Mr. Frohman in declaring the present New York season really marvellous. "I think," he said, as I was coming away, "the condition is due mostly to the fact that we have the livest managers in the world. They have learned better than any others how to handle their failures— and there is a great deal in knowing this. In Europe, when a manager meets a re- verse, he begins to figure on what to do next year. In New York he starts look- ing for a new attraction for next Monday night" As to Picture Play*. The most interesting figure in the mov- ing picture world at present is Adolph Zukor, who has developed the newest phase of that industry in the proposition to induce actors of real importance to play before the camera in their best known roles, and thus become permanent figures in the public eye, where otherwise they would pass out either through ad- vanced years or death. Mr. Zukor is the president of the Fa- mous Film Company, devoted to this pur- suit, and Daniel Frohman is the manag- ing director. I found Mr. Zukor sitting behind his flat top desk in the Times Building, a slender, pale faced man, with large, snapping black eyes and collected demeanor. "We now have fourteen stars signed up for these pictures," said he, "and will have as many as we can handle when it becomes apparent to them that the pic- tures are not going to interfere with their drawing capacity on the stage. We have indeed encountered very little opposition from the actors and actresses. Our most determined opponents are the producing and theatre managers, who seem to think we are engaged in an endeavor to en- croach upon their territory. "Mrs. Fiske will be the first to pose for us in our new studio, which occupies an entire Moor over a downtown armory, with a glass roof over all. Mrs. Fiske will play 'Becky Sharp' as the first piece in the repertoire we expect to produce for her. Shortly, James K. Hackett will present 'The Prisoner of Zenda' for us, and afterward Mr. Faversham will make a production in our studio. In this place we have a floor space of 100x600 feet, with a complete equipment of traps, and everything else, down to a tank for water scenes. "Getting up a pictorial reproduction of a piece like The Prisoner of Zenda' is much more of task than most persons would imagine. It requires 84 scenes to carry the story in pictorial form. Most of these will be made in the studio, but we shall have to go to Florida for garden and park scenes, in order to secure the tropical atmosphere. We also have to build everything solidly. We cannot take pictures from scenery such as is used in stage productions, for a single movement, wrinkling the set, would destroy the ef- fect. "For instance, you take the railway col- lision scene in The Whip.' To do that with any sense of illusion we should have to bring a real engine out of the mouth of a real tunnel, and drive it into a real car so constructed that it would fall to pieces under the impact. Canvas, steam, red-fire and 'props' serve their purpose perfectly in the stage representation of this effect, but they would be absurd in a picture production. Whether we do The Whip' or not, has not been decided, but if we do, it will take us at least three months to make the picture," "Do you think," I asked, "the moving picture business is going to have a per- manently deterrent effect upon the thea- tres?" "Not at all," responded Mr. Zukor de- cisively. "In the first place, we can pro- duce only plays of spectacle and action in the pictures. For example, the process would be fine for The Whip,' but for 'Bought and Paid For* it would be an ab- solute failure. Then, too, everybody who has a taste or desire for seeing real hu- man beings conveying their emotions by voice and action will continue to patronize plays as heretofore. To say that this will not happen is equivalent to the as- sertion that persons who own a talking machine will lose their taste for grand opera as sung at the Metropolitan or any other great establishment devoted to this art." Mr. Zukor remarked casually that there were about 11,000 moving picture houses in the United States, and that some were appealing to people who did not have to consider the matter of price when paying for their amusements. He said that in the instance of certain houses in New York and other cities it was not at all uncommon to see from twenty-five to thirty private automobiles lined up along the sidewalk after every performance. In Her Father's Footsteps. Alice Brady, the very attractive and gifted daughter of William A. Brady, is playing Meg in "Little Women" at the Playhouse, as, of course, pretty much everybody knows. The other evening Miss Brady was called upon at short no- tice to show that she had inherited from her father other gifts than that of acting. The occasion was a benefit performance of "Little Women" given by a charitable institution, the directors of which thought it was necessary that some one should make an announcement before the cur- tain, stating the amount of profit, and giv- ing thanks to those who had participated in the task of making the occasion suc- cessful. A lively hunt ensued to find some one equal to the occasion, and finally somebody suggested that in the absence of her father, who was away from the city at the time, Miss Brady should do the talking. She never had attempted such a thing in all her young life, and it required a lot of coaxing to induce her to try, but she finally consented, and made a very pretty little speech, winning quite as much applause as though she had been an ora- tor by profession for many more years than those of her life. Negotiations off. The negotiations between H. H. Frazee and Philip Bartholomae toward the pro- posed acquisition of the Longacre theatre by the author of "Over Night" and "Little Miss Brown," are permanently off. Mr. Bartholomae made a final offer of $400,- 000 for the theatre, to be delivered to him free and clear, with the proviso that "Fine Feathers" should be the opening produc- tion. Mr. Frazee, however, could not see his way clear to a delivery, and since that time has come to a rupture 'vi-f, his con- tractor, to the end that m oh res' liens for a large amount have Wn Air- l against