Variety (March 1921)

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10 BURLESQUE Friday, March 4, 1921 'JtZ $30,000 AVERAGE COST OF 1920-21 BURLESQUE SHOWS v .. «• Jacobs and Jkruvm, l^y.Pfoip, fog JRSBK j^^JitlioM at That Level—Wm. B. Friedlander Retained to Supervise Staging. The splurge In production for bur- lesque, already settled on for next season is to be more extended than flrst indicated and the plans of prac- tically every manager In the Colum- bia Wheel are ambitious*. Jacobs & Jcrmon are now known to have started work for a quartette of next season's burlesque shows under their direction. They have engaged William B. Friedlander to superintend and direct the four new attractions and it is understood well known book and music writers will be assigned to the Jacobs & Jer- mon "revues." The productions as laid out by Friedlander are to cost $30,000 each, one probably being in excess of that figure. The increase measures at least one-third more than new shows produced in the last two years for the Columbia. It will be possible to put on the revues at the figure given by means of some well thought out economies- Eight girls may be used Instead of the entire chorus for some numbers, the idea being to cut the costume cost through decreas- ing the number made. The same number of changes however will be used. Ten scenes and more are called for. They will be reduced in size through the use of a special proscenium covered with silk, which will be carried along. This will per- mit the use of less material and at the same time give as big a "flash." As formerly, the revue type of productions by Columbia managers are framed for two seasons' use at least. This will split the cost to $16,000 for each season. ORDER DAILY COUNT OF WHEEL CHORUSES WHEEL ORDERS SHOWS TO REFORM SCORES Must Supply Readable Music to Orchestras. BURLESQUE REVIEWS BEST WHEEL SHOW TO GET A PRIZE PENNANT Winner Will Be Allowed to Advertise Honor. Orchestra Leaders to Report Shortage of Girls. The Columbia Amusement Co. sent out instructions this week to house managers on the western di- vision of the wheel outlining how a closer tab can be kept on the number of choristers appearing at each performance. The Columbia plan calls for the orchestra leader and others of the house staff to count the numoer of chorus girls on the stage at every show, and report daily to the house manager, the latter in turn relaying the In- formation to the Columbia home offices. • It appears that several travelling managers are suspected of chron- ically cheating In the number of chorus girls carried, more espe- cially so in the West. The number caled byt he Columbia is 18. For every girl under the required num- ber, the travelling manager is sub- ject to a penalty of $25 to be de- ducted from his share of the re- ceipts. Although several methods have been tried, it has been difficult for the Columbia to check up on the cheater^. Several have opened on Monday with the required number of 18 girls and dropped one or two later in the week, with a conse- quent saving of salary. The new plan fs expected to produce the de- sired results. I. H. Hcrk has notified all pro- ducers connected with his circuit that next season a committee will be appointed to look over the at- tractions following which a pen- nant denoting the standing of the show wiJl be awarded. The pennant winner will be en- titled to use the committees' re- port in advertising matter and billing and also to include it In the program matter and scenery of the piece. The scheme was sanctioned by the president of the American gome time ago, but he decided not to put It Into effect until next season giv- ing all the producers an event start and plenty of time to bring their shows up to standards. The committee will be divided Into two bodies, one to catcli the shows at the western end of the circuit while the other half will judge them in the East. In the event it is unable to decide between one or more attraction, each show will receive the award. COLUMBIA SUMMER SHOW Clark and McCullough Engaged— Feiix Stager MINER CO.'S 57TH YEAR Theatres to Celebrate Anniversary of Concern. The theatrical firm of H. C. Miner, Inc., will celebrate its 57th Anni- versary March 21. The organiza- tion was started by the late Harry Miner and is now conducted by Mr. Miner's sons. The anniversary Is to be cele- brated with some sort of "special" week at Miner's Bronx, Barney Gerard's "Follies of the Day" being the attraction that week. 'PEEKABOO' COST RECORD. Jean Bedini to Put $43,000 Into Summer Show. The Columbia summer show, a new production by Jean Bedini, and to be called "Peekaboo," will cost $43,000 to stage, according to Mr. Bedini. This production outlay constitutes a record for a burlesque show. One drop curtain in the Bedini show cost $5,0U0. Jean Bcndinl has engaged fjkrymnur Felix to procure the. num- bers for the new "Peekaboo," which goes into the Columbia as the "summer run" show in June. The present "Peekaboo" after finishing its Columbia season will tour the legit houses as a $2.00 at- traction, playing In cities not play- ing Columbia or American wheel burlesque. Clark and McCullough of the present "Peekaboo" will be the principal comics of the new "Peekaboo." HEKK AT CAPITAL. I. H. Herk, of the American Bur- lesque Association, made a flying trip to Washington, Monday this week, to inspect the new Capital the American wheel house there which opened recently. Edw. A. Beatty, the burlesque producer, left New York for Chicago, Tuesday to inspect his houses iu the western toctropolj. SHUTTA SIGNS UP. Jack Shutta, tramp comedian with Sam Williams' "Girls from Joyland," has signed with Irons & t'lamage to play comedy roles in their Columbia Wheel shows for the next three years. His* wife. Dot Stewart, has also been placed under contract by the same lirm. "Father's" Long Absence dun Hill's "Bringing Up Father." will come into New York during the middle of March for the first time in Ave years, playing at the Lexing- ton. Since its last New York date "Father" has played continuously on the road, with the exception of the usual summer lay off, between seasons. Taking the stand that the musical scores of Columbia wheel' shows^aro a highly essential part of the equip- ment of a production, equally as important as the cast, costumes, scenery, etc., the Columbia Amuse- ment Co. has established a ruling which will be sent out to all Colum bia producers shortly in-the form of a general order, caning upon the producers to see that the music or- chestrations of their shows are kept in perfect condition, hereafter* It seems the Columbia received numerous complaints recently from local orchestra leaders stating the music scores of many shows were not in proper condition for playing. These complaints covered a wide range of kicks, and an investigation by the Columbia people brought to light that the complaints were not only Justified, but that the condi- tion was even worse In general, than the complaining leaders had set forth. One of the shows, headed by a well known male star was found to be carrying such mutilated and un- decipherable music that It was only through the musicians-being famil- iar with It that they were able to play It at all. But for the fact that the music in question had been used for so many seasons by the male star referred to, the playing of It would have been impossible. In the Instance quoted it Was the music of the entire score that was bad. but In most of the others the principal trouble appeared to be with the opening and closing ensembles. Most of the shows' musical scores, the Investigation disclosed, were dirty, unreadable for the greater part and In many Instances torn in such a manner as to make, proper understanding and playing the mu- sic almost Impossible. A large number of shows looked over had the flute part missing from the score altogether, the flute plfcyer be- ing called upon to "fake" from the violin music. One show ha,d a mu- sical scole with wrong notes in it, and few scores were propery marked as regards cues. Another complaint of the local leaders was that In some Instances there was no written music at all, the local orchestra being expected to fake standard melodies such as "Chicken Reel," etc. According to a local leader there appears to be a tendency on the part of many travelling leaders to depend on their memories for cues, rather than hav- ing them written Into the scores as they should be. An Important point made by a local leader was that while a show may be played smoothly and prop- erly without the cues being marked in, which the travelling leader on hand to direct? there is always the possibility of the travelling leader being absent from the theatre through illness, with the resultant confusion following # the efforts of the local leader to guess out the cues that should be Incorporated In the score. A bad musical accompaniment, re- gardless of whether the fault of the musicians or the music, tends to slow up a show, and to generally create the impression of an inferior performance, the audience being un- aware of the cause or causes, ren- dering their Judgment solely on the effect. In view of the foregoing the Coiuinbia ptopie *iii continue the inspection of the show scores to see that they are kept up to standard, the Columbia scouts giv- ing them the same attention as prin- cipals, entertainment values, cos- tumes, chorus, cleanliness, etc. NEW WHEEL SPOKE READY. Wrightstown House to Play Stock Until Next Season. BURLESQUE ENGAGEMENTS Madlyn Worth has been signed for next season by Harry Hastings. Betty Booth and Harry and Nita Rose for Dan Body's "Sugar Plums," (Columbia) next season. Max Marcin has engaged John Wray, formerly associated with Robert Mantell, as general stage din The new Army theatre, which Bm LeTtna is constructing near Cftmp Dix, Wrightstown, N. j., is nearing completion and is scheduled to open In May with burlesque stock. The house, which has a seating capacity of about 1.700, will prob- ably become a stand In the Amer- ican wheel route next season. Thomas J. O'Connell is now man- ager of the Century promenade, with Lawrence Cantwcll his as- sistant. ALL JAZZ REVUE. Fred Flier Jaele Stanford May Flower Annette Worette Rose Budd LUUan aJJorctte Hue Brette Pwl Hamilton Ht-zza Bum <•»*>• Slocum Ima Vamp Sadmtf tll-ey Mike Casty L * u rower* Terpsy Sammy Lewi* Irons & Clamage have an enter- taining burlesque show in the "All Jazz Revue" this week at the Olym- pic. It has a number of surprises and novel points. One of the novel- ties is the fact that in the mascu- line division there are four good voices, with a good tenor and bass, but the expectation of the audience that a male quartet will sooner or later burst into song is never real- ized. Out of the four men only one stands out. He is Lou Powers, who begins as a dialect Irishman with red flannel shirt and the rest of the familiar appurtenances, but does his best w7>rk without the brogue. The two best bits in his bag of tricks turns out to be a dress suited "souse" in a cabaret scene and a comedy episode with Nadine Grey, in which he tears off the most con- vincing French accent, although the talk is only a jumble of nonsense. In both these bits Powers disclosed a really fine knack for boisterous fun without knockabout. Since he has thus demonstrated ability in sure fire burlesque meth- od, it seems curious that .in so many of the other bits and Incidents he falls down as completely as he scored in the intervals mentioned. The one extreme was so emphati- cally good and the other so posi-< tively opposite that one was puz- zled to find the reason. It must be in the material. One of the things that injured the show was the absence of a good straight worker to furnish a foil to the comedian. This may have had something to do with the situation. Most of the feeding was done by the women of the organization. In its petticoat division the troupe is exceptionally strong. They are four in number and make the best work- ing collection of principal women with individual and composite spe- cialties that has come through in many weeks. It is this wealth of specialty that gives the company its distinctiveness. They are indeed a winning com- bination. The Morette sisters, a matched team of pony-sized bru- in- ts. arc a specialty show in them- selves. They sing and dance ac- ceptably and lead numbers with the required amount of ginger, and in addition have a Whole list of mu- sical specialties, playing piano, vio- lin, saxophones, cornets, 'cello and trombone in all sorts of combina- tions. They are constantly on and off, with some new display of their musical talent and make an attrac- tive pair of soubrets such as would go a long way to carry any bur- lesque show without other feminine co-workers. But they are not alone. Pearl Hamilton, a tall, willowy girl, is a dancing wonder, with a style of stepping all her own. She has gifted legs like Charlotte Green- wood's, and does a series of unusual acrobatic and contortion dances. In the cabaret scene she wore a sort of modified harlequin costume with close fitted black satin trousers from waist to ankle, which set off her novel dancing. This was her best contribution, better by far than the "snake dance" later, although the latter was as good as most pre- tentious "art" interpreters have made a much advertised spe- cialty of. The fourth of the quartet was Nadine Grey. She probably would go down in the book as the prima donna of the company, but In youth- ful good looks and sprightliness she was far removed from the type wtflch ordinarily fills that niche In burlesque. She had her own grace- ful dance offering, a very pleasing bit of toe stepping as a specialty in the cabaret scene, and through- out contributed a good deal to the comedy portion as a feeder" and number leader, a most agreeable useful, smiling person to have about a burlesque stage. Fits cabaret'■BcThc would have been better placed later in the pro- ceeding* It was by long odd.* the best of the material a:.d moved with speed and interest, whereas, as the arrangement stands now there is a fatal let-up toward the end of the second part. At the Olympic Monday night the opening of the final scene of the four or five which make up the show started them walking out. The cabaret in- cident would have kept the most blase burlesquer on the wheel in- terested to the finish. The opening [•Very slow, particularly the com- edy bits. Powers would do well to develop a strong laughing hit at the beginning. Thereby he would have em with him from the outset As the show now stands nobody recog- nizes him for a real funmalter until wen along in the first part. If you don t get the crowd early it becomes harder the longer you wait, is a good burlesque rule. Sammy Lewis is the dancing man "SNAPPY SNAPS." Fuller Enever Charles Howard» Coin Mine Frank is Nlbls Ikey Kohun Art Harris Jack Sawyer Tom O'Brien Rose Stanley..... Alberta Fowler Proa-tway, M>W», „«, m,< v*, H fl?P &<#£&£, ilawkshaw Jamea J. CoUma Oliver James James Oliver Boyd Harold Harold Boyd Charles Williams William Cathoart Jack Stanley Harry O'Day Himself Charlie Howard His daughter Helen McMahon Her sweetie «. Harry O Day Hawkvhaw James J. Collins Dave Marion has hit the bull's eye with this week's attraction at the Columbia. The show is Dave** "Snappy Snaps," featuring Charley Howard, the diminutive comedian, who has been sojourning in vaude- ville for a couple of seasons and was until a few months ago in Drew and Campbell's "Liberty Girls."- Marion inherited the franchise after the Columbia censors decided to give the "Liberty Girls their free- dom. He Immediately began re- building, and it is eight to five and even that Drew & Campbell would never know the old place now. The show is rich in principals, harboring two sets of comedians and two straight men. # One of them la James J. Collins, an old-school straight, one of the few holdovers from the former cast. Collins works in most of the scenes with Art Har- ris, the second comic, who does a clean, non-creped Hebrew charac- ter of quiet methods, but landing solidly, nevertheless. Howards chief opposite is Harry O'Day, who was in the former's vaudeville act, as was also Helen McMahon. The act, with the same drop as used in the two-a-day, la Interpolated into the first part of the show. Miss McMahon is promi- nent throughout and does her. scare crow or boneless specialty with Howard in another scene. Frankie Nlblo is the featured woman, and is an experienced bur- lesque performer. She can wham over a jazz number or ballad and is peppery and vivacious at all times, but the show is wrapped up and carried off as far as the feminine contingent is concerned by Mae Marvin, a "find," who joined the show last week in Boston. This girl was formerly of vaudeville, and is making her burlesque bow at the Columbia. She has the voice of the production and holds the stage at one space for about 10 minutes .with a song cycle. In which she runs the gamut from the classical thing to the meanest "blues" heard outside of the New Orleans "Creole quar- ter. - ' She makes an eye-filling -pic- ture in a black evening dress and reads lines with an enunciation and intelligence that will bring her feat- uring before many moons. Alberta Fowler completes' the women principals. She is a nice looking dark-haired girl who can sing and dance pleasingly, also wearing clothes like a Zlegfeld entry. The Runaway Four, hi Id over from the old bunch, close the first half in whirlwind fashion with their acrobatics and ground tumbling specialty, stopping that portion cold. They are also prominent in minor roles and lend themselves ideally to the new regime. The show carries oceans of pro* duction in addition to the salaries, the costuming of the 18 good look- ing choristers being above par. This bunch are as good a singing and dancing aggregation as one could wish at the price's and whip through their numbers with exuberance and dash. The show is labeled in 10 scenes and two acts. This includes six full stage sets and four scenes "In one." Some of the "bits" and situations are old boys, but handled flawlessly and redressed. Howard sticks out In his knock about bits like Liberty from the mainland. He is excep- tionally funny as an Intoxicated caretaker in an old mansion, where he staggers around ruining the bric-a-brac and doing Home funny calisthenics on a ladder. Harris gets his Hebrew charac- ter over nicely, taking strong ap- plause and laughs in a scene as "Dr. Good." A comic near-opera- tion on Harold Boyd as the "pa- tient" was worked up for yells. Helen McMahon as the nurse did a clever opposite. Harry O'Day, the straight, estab- lished himself for burlesque at the corner and jumped Into the first .flight of performers. He Is a clean cut, slender chap with a voice. His scenes with Howard were expertly handled. O'Day dominating his situ- ations in an Irving O'Hay manner which Is the acme of citation. There Isn't a weakling in 'the whole organisation, for Marion has bullded wisely and well. Tb* irork of reconstruction has transformed an Indifferent burlesque show into one of the on the wheel. Con. Grant Mitchell, star of "The Champion," has already placed in rehearsal a new play by Emery Pottle.