Variety (January 1914)

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VARIETY U. B. O'S. PHILLY BRANCH MAY OR MAY N OT DEVELOP With Departure of Loew Circuit From Philadelphia, Re- port Comes Out Agency Will Establish Branch Over There, With Nixon-Nirdlinger in Charge. U. B.O. Local Men Don't Believe it. Philadelphia, Dec. 31. A branch agency of the United Book- ing Offices is to be established over here shortly, it is said, with Fred Nix- on-Nirdlinger in charge. The branch office will distribute acts to the local houses, according to the story, but remit the full five per cent for each booking made to the home office in New York. This will entail a charge of another five per cent to the actor to place the local branch upon a self sustaining basis. It is not known how this can be accomplished unless the local branch obliges the agent book- ing the acts through it to "split" the commission, just as is now done by the big time agents in New York with the U. B. O. The departure of Loew from Phila- delphia vaudeville carried no conditions with it. Mr. Loew is reported to have left without leaving a dollar of Loew money behind him, the financial end being taken care of by the U. B. O. and Nixon & Zimmerman. The money loss made good is said to have arisen through the intermittent operation of the Met. by Loew with pop vaudeville. Pictures are now announced for the opera house under the new "pool." There appears to be a strong im- pression however among the better in- formed United people over here that E. F. Albee, general manager of the U. B. O. will not agree that a branch be opened at this point unless one of his own men is in charge. This, the U. B. O. people say, they believe regardless of any talks the Uniled's heads might have had with anyone on the subject, prior to the agreement between the local vaudeville interests. Chicago, Dec. 31. Coney Holmes, for some years asso- ciated with the W. M. V. A. booking department in Chicago, will go to Philadelphia to take charge of the U. B. O. office at that point. PROGRESSIVE AFTER BRONX. Now that the proposed transaction between the interests by which the Columbia Amusement Co. was to have secured Keith's Bronx theatre has fallen through it is said the Progres- sive Circuit has started after either one of the Frank Gersten houses up there. Both would have been involved in the proposed change. They are the Prospect and Royal opera house, each playing legit, attractions. OPPOSITION HURTING. Pittsburgh, Dec. 31. The Victoria, playing the Progres- sive Wheel Burlesque shows, has hurt the attendance at the Gayety (Eastern Wheel) during the two weeks the new house has been open with burlesque. The Gayety's business is said to have dropped $2,000 a week since the opposition. Prior to the burlesque entry, the Vic- toria did little with pop vaudeville at cheaper prices than are now charged for the Wheel shows. OOOOHER CLOSES THEATRE. Members of the Phil. J. Fisher bur- lesque company installed at the Star, Scranton, Pa., for an expected winter's stay are back in New York awaiting further word from Phil, as to what's doing in Scranton, where they were forced to close Saturday night by the ministers of that city. When Fisher opened the Star he featured "The Girl in Blue" (MUlie DeLeon). Her wriggling started the church folk and rang down the curtain. They said Millie's "cooch" dance was entirely too "strong" and that Fisher would have to quit altogether. The house is now dark. CHANGING MANAGERS. Indianapolis, Dec. 31. The Columbia, the Eastern Bur- lesque Wheel theatre here, will shortly have a new manager, named by the lo- cal interests in the theatre. Business has not been very strong at the Columbia this season. It led at one time to a rumor burlesque would move out, but the Columbia Amusement Co. is here by contract. BRIDGEPORT ON A SPLIT. Bridgeport, Dec. 31. Frank A. Keeney, proprietor of the Empire, came to this city Sunday and said upon inquiry as to the rumor that he would open with Progressive Wheel burlesque, that he had not entirely de- cided to change the policy. He is considering producing Pro- gressive burlesque in a split week with one of his other houses, probably at Binghampton, N. Y. WATSON REJOINS WHEEL SHOW. Kansas City, Dec. 31. Billy W. Watson is here and will re* join "The Girls From Happyland" when it plays Omaha. He will not discuss the basis of settlement with Co- lumbia Burlesque Wheel, but says his $50,000 damage suit will not be with- drawn. Truly Shattuck leaves the "Happy- land" show this week. She may later join the "Bowery Burlesquers." Kansas City, Dec. 31. Truly Shattuck made her burlesque debut here with the "Girls from Happy- land," Sunday, and went over big. The show is the one Billy W. Watson left after trouble in Cincinnati recently. Miss Shattuck went on with only one rehearsal. Wallis Clark, an English character actor, has rehearsed a new act entitled "The Last Toast." If you don't advertise In VARIETY, don't advertise at all. HARRY PRAGSON KILLED. (Special Cable to VARMTr.) Paris, Dec. 31. Harry Fragson was shot by his aged father at his Paris home last night, during a family quarrel. He was re- moved to the hospital, where he died The tragedy was announced from the stage of the Alhambra. Fragson was appearing there. Harry Fragson, 45 years of age, was the best known of the toreign piano- logists. He appeared in Paris and London nearly throughout each season, dividing his time. Fragson's weekly salary was around $750. He did song recitations. Many offers were made to him for American vaudeville, but he never came over. The New York Times Wednesday morning had the best story of the tragedy, which said in part: Narratives of the tragedy were re- lated to the New York Times corre- spondent to-night by a servant girl who was the first to learn of it, and by the police magistrate who made the preliminary investigation. It appears that Fragson, whose real name was Leon Victor Phillip Pott, was shot by his father, Victor Pott, a white-haired, tottering man of 83, after a trivial dispute. Fragson had been dining out. When he returned to his home, at 56 Rue Lafayette, where he lived with his father, he found the door locked. He rang twice before his father, who was at the table at the moment, answered. The singer complained of the delay. Sharp words were exchanged, and suddenly the father rose from his seat, took a revolver from his pocket, hesitated a moment, then raised and leveled it behind his son's head and fired. One shot only was fired. It entered Fragson's head behind the right ear. He fell to the floor. Fragson's father made a confession to the magistrate between sobs: "My son lived with me in the Rue Lafayette for many years. Six months ago he fell in love with a pretty young artist and brought her home. I ob- jected; but it was useless to talk to Harry, who would have his own way. My life became such a misery that I often thought of putting an end to myself. "To-night my son came in about 8:30 and blamed me for having bolted the door, which made me, though slow in answering, say, 'I am tired of the dog's life I am leading.' "I took a pistol from my pocket, meaning to blow out my brains. At that moment Harry passed before me and in a wild, mad rush I lifted the weapon and fired." An official of the Paris Alhambra, a close personal friend of Fragson, said Fragson worshipped his father. After a successful first night Harry would take his father in his arms and dance around with him. PETER F. GRIFFIN Who, with his father. "GOVERNOR' JOHN GRIFFIN, are the proprietors and managers of the GRIFFIN CIRCUIT, a Canadian chain of vaudeville theatres that Is labeled by Its owners. "THE HIDEAWAY CIRCUIT." The Griffins have been energetic and enterprising In building up their properties, which includes a large booking office that has headquarters at Toronto, with several branches. The Griffins are showmen by instinct and experience, and with Peter, It came by birth, he having been born under the white tops. His father entered the circus business when 14, and left It ten years ago. MESSRS GRIFFIN now operate II theatres of their own and book over 800 places of amusement. Peter is In full charge of the booking department. WARD MANAGING GAYETY. • Buffalo, Dec. 31. The new Gayety in this city, an East- ern Burlesque Wheel theatre opening Jan. 12, will have as manager, J. M. Ward, formerly in charge of the Broad- way, Detroit.