Variety (February 1914)

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10 VARIETY TICKET SPECULATION BREAK WON'T SPUT "SYNDICATES" Has Brought About Much Feeling However. Shubert Associates Take Large Interest in Tyson Co. Brings Publicity in Dailies, Helped Along by Klaw & Erlanger's Advertising. ''K & E Houses" With- draw Box Office Privilege from Agency. While the ticket speculation trans- action which involved the Shuberts the past week is looked upon by show peo- irle as a "bad break" in the relation of the manager to the public, it will not bring about a revolt between the two "Syndicates," Klaw & Erlanger and the Shuberts. The natural publicity the matter would have received in the daily press through the purchase of a large inter- est in the Tyson Company by Shubert associates was greatly augmented through Klaw & Erlanger advertising ai the head of their theatrical column in the papers that tickets for the the- atres- advertising below could not be purchased at the Tyson Company ho- tels. The advertisement w^as somewhat misleading, as the. Tyson Company continued to sell tickets for the "K. & F. Houses," paying $2 for them over the box office counter, instead of, as formerly, paying $2.25 apiece and tak- ing them from the rack. As a conse- quence of the "barring'* of the Tyson Company by the K. & E. theatrical managers, their theatres Monday had the largest advance sale in months, one K. & E. house selling $6,800 worth of coupons, with $3,500 of these believed to have been purchased by the barred concern. The Shuberts negotiated for the Ty- son Company interest through F. Ray Comstock, with O'Brien, Malevinsky & Driscoll, the theatrical law firm, repre- senting the Tyson Company. The deal had been closed before the newspapers got wind of it. It is said the Tyson Company placed a valuation upon its business of over $200,000 and offered to sell 30 per cent, ot it on that basis, promising that the profits from ticket selling would amount to $100,000 yearly, i^ the influ- ence of the Shuberts were behind the concern. This was figured on the news- stands annex to the ticket agencies in most of the 19 "Tyson hotels" bringing in the rental and expenses, with also the Tyson Company having the full re- turn privilege. The "return privilege" ii especially valuable to an agency con- trolling as many hotels as the Tyson company does, though the same firm a year ago New Year's havinjjj lost $16,000 from being oversupplicd with Kew Year's Eve tickets for local houses. There were other times as well when a "return" would have stopped a loss. A. L. Erlanger and Shubert had a talk over the ticket affair last Sat- urday, when Mr. Erlanger is said to have remarked that in an important deal of this kind, his firm should have been at least consulted with, Erlanger assuring Shubert that if the case had been reversed, K. & E. would have im- mediately ca.llcd the Shubert boys into the conference, perhaps giving them ■ cv piece" of it. No one appears to know whether K. & E. were peeved through the Shu- berts having beaten them to it, and placed themselves in a position where the Shubert attractions could be push- ed onto the hotel trade, or whether K. ik E. wanted some interest in it. Any- way the show people decided that the entire thing was injudiciously put over, and that no "leak' should have been allowed by the Shubert's, who were responsible for the first publicity that told the public as plainly as they could be informed that the theatrical man- ager and the speculator "stand in," something the manager has been deny- ing for years. The advertisements by Klaw & Erlanger fostered the news- paper stories until finally it was re- ported in the dailies District Attorney Whitman intended starting an investi- gation. It is generally recognized that the 5U-cent advance over the box oftice price hotel patrons pay is not exor- bitant, and the hotel patrons are satis- fied, never registering a complaint. "Specs on the street" often push prices up, and in houses where a huge hit brings abnormal demands for seats, that has also been done by the other speculators. Just now in Philadelphia there is a "war" on between the the- atres and ticket speculators, over some friction that suddenly brought the friendly relations of the two ends to a parting. That as many similar oc- currences of a like kind before, in New York and elsewhere, is expected to be "smoothed over" very soon. The $200,000 or more valuation the Tyson Company placed on its good will was considered excessive in view of its unsubstantial business, with the managers almost controlling it (if the managers combined) and also with a bill about to be introduced forbidding the sale of a seat coupon for more than its face value, which would have to be printed upon it. Not so loiiK ago it is said the Tyson Company could have been bought for $100,000. It is the concern of which William M. Krb was lately president, and had a central headquarters at 110 West 40th street. The directors alleged Erb was extravagant in his system of operating the concern throuijii the headquarters costing $20,000 yearly. Krb resigned and started an action against the com- pany, which meanwhile removed to the Longacre building. According to the stories about the agreements existing between Klaw Sz Erlanger and the Shuberts will pre- vent the two going to an open break, although the bad feeling engendered may biing about a change in the legi- timate situation by next season. CLAIMS BIBUCAL STORY. Cincinnati, Feb. 4. Robert F. Wessel, a local teamster, says he wrote a play seven years ago, which bears a resemblance to "Joseph and His Brethren," the attraction at the Grand this week. Wessel named his drama "Israel, or the Twelve Sons of Jacob." He engaged Attorney Au- gust Bode, Jr., to see what could be done. Bode, accompanied by his client, at- tended the show last night and an- nounces he will bring suit either against Liebler & Co., or Klaw & Er- langer, to whom the manuscript was submitted four years ago, though the latter people have no interest in the Liebler production of Louis N. Par- ker's play. "It reads a whole lot like our play in numerous places," says Bode, who could have added that something similar is also alleged to be contained somewhere in the Bible. SHOWS BOOKED FOR CHICAGO. Chicago, Feb. 4. Next week will witness several changes in the "loop" theatres after the inva'sion of numerous vaudeville road shows. 'The Pleasure Seekers" will come to the Garrick. Monday night "Sweet- hearts" will arrive at the Illinois with Christie MacDonald as the chief play- er. On the same evening George Ar- liss will reach the Blackstone in a re- turn engagement of "Disraeli." The Gilbert & Sullivan Opera com- pany enters the Auditorium. DeWoll Hopper will head the organization as usual. Primrose & Dockstader are on their way to the American Music Hall. Feb. 10 B. Iden Payne will stage at the Fine Arts theatre Shakespeare's "Measure for Measure." Feb. 15 George M. Cohan's "Seven Keys to Baldpate" will be at Cohan's Grand and on the same date Charlotte Walker will open at the Olympic in "The Trail of the Lonesome Pine." "The Passing Show of 1913" is due at the Garrick Feb. 22. Ethel Barry- more will arrive at the Blackstone in "Tante" Feb. 23, and on the same date Elsie Ferguson will come to Powers' in "The Strange Woman." BOOKED FOR BOSTON. Los Angeles, Feb. 4. Kitty Gordon and the new show, "Pretty Mrs. Smith," have been booked for the Cort, Boston, early in March. 'XHANGfe'' GOING ON TOUR. Walter Hast has bought out his English associates in the Ameri- can production of "Change," now at the Booth. The show leaves after this week for a road tour, playing a number of mini g towns, some on a guarantee. The company had the option of lay- ing off this week or playing for half salaries. They decided half a loaf was better than nothing. CHAS. K.'S MUSICAL COMEDY. riiarlcs K. Harris has the book of a musical comedy, music by Leo Ed- \var<l>. called "Tiic Luckiest Man in the World," which Hyams and Mc- Intyre are anxious to produce next season. TWO SHOWS EXCEPTED. "Things that Count" and "Peg O' My Heart" are the only plays now in New York indorsed by the new Catho- lic Theatre Movement Committee of the Archdiocese of New York as being worthy of the patronage of the Roman Catholics of this city. Bulletins were read in all the Catholic churches here Wednesday. It is an odd coincidence that these plays are running directly opposite one another in West Forty-eighth street, at the Playhouse and Cort Theatre re- spectively. The other plays officially approved that have appeared in New York are: "Bunty Pulls the Strings," "Liberty Hall," "Disraeli," "Officer 666," "Milestones," "The Poor Little Rich Girl," "Pomander Walk," "The Governor's Lady," "Rebecca of Sunny- brook Farm." GAITES HAS ANOTHER. Chicago, Feb. 4. Jos. M. Gaites, now in Chicago, will shortly produce another show. A num- ber of wealthy Chicagoans are in with Gaites on the new production. HEADED FOR CASINO. The Gilbert-Sullivan Opera Co., headed by DeWolf Hopper, which opened a road tour in Montreal, is scheduled to come into New York in four weeks at the Casino. John C. Thomas joined the company in Montreal. TAKEN OFF TO REHEARSE. "A Midnight Girl," the new Shubert production, is having several changes made in the male contingent of the cast. The show reopens in Philadel- phia shortly. It was taken off for re- hearsals after showing at Albany last w-eek. "MACKAY" IS ELLIOTT'S. Stories about have disposed of nearly all of the "Kitty MacKay" show, in small parcels, to various people, the stories not leaving the owner of the play, William Elliott, enough interest to make the producer think it's worth while looking over a statement of the gross. To make the matter clear, Mr. Elliott is still in full possession of the success at the Comedy, which played to 18,- 140 last week. The full capacity of the house is $9,000. MISS iLERSHAW IS OUT. In the I'rst performance of the new repertoire of sketches at the Princess theatre last Saturday evening, Willette Kershaw, formerly the principal feminine player of the company there, did not appear. It is said she is still resting, recovering from the strain of overwork which compelled Miss Ker- shaw's witndrawal from the Princess some weeki' ago. The vacancy in the cast has been permanentl.' tilled by May Buckley. PUTTING OUT OPIE READ'S BOOK. Chicago, Feb. 4. "The Jucklings," the Opie Read novel, is to be produced on the road by Jones & Crane, the Chicago producers. Ray Foste- has been engaged for the role of Len. Juckling.