Variety (March 1921)

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Friday* March 4, X921 LEGITIMATE BIG PICTURE INVASION OF LEGIT HOUSES MAKES BIDDING ACTIVE SHUBERTS PREPARE TWO MUSICAL PLAYS Seven Already Taken for Films, With Others in Sight—Reduction in Spring Show Production Give*. Them Their Chance. ►., * *. ^ i p> +• "Quality Street'* to Have j Spring Production. j ► . | > . ,X l I. - The earliest and the heaviest in- vasion of Broadway's legitimate theatres by special pictures Is the feature of the early spring section of the season. Sharp bidding for tenancy, a decrease In spring pro- duction and the success of features now offered explains the film en- try. - William Fox leads off with fours houses under contract. D. W. Griffith will have two and Metro one, with the chances of a dozen houses switching to pictures for a time. The latter's "Way Down East" is still indefinitely in at the 44th Street. His "Dream Street" will occupy the Central after four weeks, when "Afgar" is through. Metro's "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" opens at the Lyric Sunday, the arrangement calling for another house (Astor is men- tioned), after Easter, Fox then tak- ing the house for the balance of the season. Fox also has taken the Selwyr. starting March 13, for a minimum of four weeks. This week he took over the Park for the bal- ance of the Anhalt lease wl ich has until October to run. His "Over the Hill" is still running at the Broadhurst. Assignment of Fox features for the various houses is still undete-mined and it is possible that the Park will be sub-let to another picture concern for a short period. Last week business along Broad- way totalled big money in spite of the Washington Birthday scare when a number of attractions failed to sell out. The lifting of admis- sion scales is blamed for that as much as anything else. With many attractions playing an extra per- formance for a general nine for the week, grosses ran second to the business of New Year's week. This made good the prediction of the last big week of the season. "Sally," at the New Amsterdam, played an extra performance for the first time since the start of the run and created new flgurej. The gross was $39,100 which comes close to the best week's gross in the his- tory of the house. "Tip Top" at the Olobe, also with an extra matinee and increase scales Monday and Tuesday, drew the gross of $31,640, the second best week of the run. It it settled that Fred Stone will not play through the summer, that leaving the house open to again house George White's new "Scan- dals" for about 10 weeks, starting the middle of June. "The Passing Show" at the Winter Garden, was with the leaders in big gross. "Blue Eyes" surprised the wiseacres by going close to $22,000 at the Casino for its first week. "Lady Billy" at the Liberty, was another surprise, the gross going to $22,231. The suc- cess of the Savage piece makes it look good until April or longer. "Deburau" established a new rec- ord for the Belasco last week. In nine performances it drew $20,450. Actual leadership among the non- musical plays went to "The Bat" at the Morosco, with $21,000 drawn. "Ladies* Night" provided new fig- ures for the records of the Eltinge also last week, when the farce played to $17,300 in nine perform- ances. "Macbeth" at the Apollo lines up as the flop of the season. Much was expected of this presentation l»y Arthur Hopkins. It drew a premiere of $3,000, but after the opening there was little demand. The first week (last week) grossed $13,200 or a little better, but the support of the brokers who have a buy on the Piece for 430 seats nightly with 25 per cent, return. This guarantees the house about $6,000. weekly. The current week's takings do not promise more than $s..".im groa*. Brokers have been dumping ticket! into the (nt rates and a majority of last Buturday's allotment was of- fered there. Homo agencies <!hi not even l>other, but tore up the tickets. The Success of two revivals stand;! OUt. "Peg (,• My Mtnrt" went well over |15,0O0 n! the Cort last wee* with an extra performance. r->oris Keano opened In "Romance" at the Playhouse M ,,| v , ,^ greeted i.i a measure that makes it, too, look good for a run. "Mr. Pim Passes By," with Laura Hope Crews, was offered by tlie Theatre Guild at the Garrick Mon- day and the English comedy drew excellent notices. A new series of special matinee attractions started this week. "The Cradle Song" at the Times Square Theatre stands out strongest and may be alloted a house for regular showing soon. "The Tyranny of Love" at the Bijou with a smart cast was panned. It is an adaptation from the French. Clare Kummer presented four play- lets for special matinees at the Punch and Judy, the notices being very good. The playlets are "Chi- nese Love," "The Choir Rehearsal," "Bridges," and "The Robbery." "Nice People," the new Sam Har- ris piece with Francine Larrimore debuted at the new Marcklew the- atre Wednesday night, the premiere having been postponed from last week. "Her Family Tree" will move from the Lyric to the Shu- bcrt on Vonday, succeeding "The Greenwich Village Follies." "The P"ince and the Pauper" will leave the Selwyn for the road next week. The following week will see the exit of "The Mirage" from the Times Square, "Maid to Love" being the succeeding attraction. Several agency buys are ap- proaching their end. That takes in "The Meanest Man in the World (Hudson), and "Enter Madame" (Fulton). Two new buys are listed, "Nice People" (Klaw) and "Mac- beth" (Apollo). The buy for the "Passing 3how" (Winter Garden) has been cut in half. The other buys are "Romance" (Playhouse), "Sally" (New Amsterdam). "The Bat" (Morosco), "Mary" (Knicker- bocker), "Lady Billy" (Liberty), "The First Year" (Little), "The Champion" (Longacre), "Peg O' My Heart" (Cort), "Tip Top" (Globe), "The Bad Man" (Comedy), "In the Night Watch" (Century), "Blue Eyes" (Casino) "The Green God- dess" (Booth), "Deburau" (Belasco), "Rose Girl" (Ambassador). In tin cut rates this week there a. j M Mary Rose" (Empire), "Ey- vind of the Hills" (Greenwich Vll- l~o-), "Rose Girl" (Ambassador), "Macbeth" (Apollo), "Cornered" (Astor), "In the Night Watch" (Century), "Her Family Tree" (Lyric), "Three Live Ghosts" (Bayes), "Romance" (Playhouse), "Little Old New York" (Plymouth), "Emporer Jones" (Princess), "Rol- lo's Wild Oat" (Punch and Judy), "Dear Me" (Republic), "Prince and I xuper" (Selwyn), "The Mirage" (Times Square). MUSICAL 'HONEYMOON." The "Disclocated Honeymoon" will reappear under a new title and in the guise of a musical play within the near future having as its spon- sor Edgar MacGrcgor. The "Honey- moon was previously tried out as a farce, but withdrawn after play- ing for a few weeks. The new edition will have a mu- sical version attached and Juliette Day is to be at the head of the company. Arthur Shaw and Creitfh- ton Hale are also In the cast. Re- hearsals are now taking place with the show scheduled to break in out of town before being seen in New York. Julian Alfred is doincr the staging. % The Shuberts have started pro- duction on two new musical plays which are due this spring. One of a musicalized version of "Quality Strsetff' *r*,M9lT»-w.<xs .do.™* ,ia>Bfjrlia during the war under the title of "Drei Alte Schacteln" ("8 Old Maids"). Sir James Barrle an- nounced his intention of writing the libretto but later the Shuberts called in an American adapter. The piece will probably be given here under the title of "The Last Waltz." "The Love Song" is an- other musical show being readied. "Rose of Stamboul," secured by the Shuberts last fall, will probably be put on this summer. <T0T0" PRODUCED Springfield, Mass.. March 2. "Toto" starring Leo Ditrichstein was presented here Thursday night lor the first time under the direc- tion of the Shuberts. The play is an adaption by Ash- med Adullah a short story writer. Included ici the supporting casl were Phoobe Poster* Frances Underwood, Jrafl Robertson, Albert Brown, Kii- ward Slc and Orlando Ifctly. Joe Gaties is getting readj. a m■••. musical comedy production which Is scheduled to be placed on the boards ill the SpHng. The casting is ct- pec'e.l to be completed i y Ihe end of the \ • • • TICKET CONCESSION RULE Govt. Rules Payment Is Not Part of Admission Charge. The new concession system re- cently installed by the Shuberts and affecting a dozen Broadway theatres directly under their control has been ruled not a part of the ticket charge by the department of internal rev- enue. The concessions are charged against theatre ticket agencies for the privilege of selling tickets for Shubert attractions. The ruling states that in so far as the charge is a fixed one and does not vary with the amount of tickets an agency may handle it comes under section 800 of the revenue act of 1918 but is not classed as admissions. The ruling dissipates the claims of other managers playing Shubert houses. These managers set forth the claim that patrons bought tickets to plays and not theatres and that therefore they were entitled to any revenue from tickets. The Shu- bert office, however, stated it was a fee Just the same as that charged for selling candy. It was also shown that no specific house was men- tioned in the concession charge to the agencies, one fee covering the entire group of theatres under their control. Under the former system a charge of J.2V4 cents on each ticket sold* by an agency was refunded. Under the law 60 per cent, of such revenues, being in excess of the price of the ticket at the box office, must be re- funded to the government. This left 6% cents per ticket and part of that was split with the attraction, the net to the Shuberta being a little over two cents. This system was done away with some time ago and under the ruling of concessions, only the regular income tax would apply. It Is said that 17 ticket agencies are now paying ticket concession money to the Shuberts. There are 25 agencies on Broadway, eight be- ing classed as unimportant. New York Executive Finds Law to Limit Specula- tors' Feet Unconstitutional—May Try to Tax Graftto Death. *•».....,.. «. »i • > />• |»> »• *'t* ,.'.. , >, ,. SEES BOOM IN STOCK Chamberlain Brown Preparing Sum mer Programs. In spite of the supposedly general depression of business on the road, a greater number of stock and repertoire companies, grand opera, musical comedy, and legitimate, are being planned for the summer sea- son than ever before, according to Chamberlain Brown, who has al- ready started casting several com- panies, which will open the latter part of March and the early part of April. "No matter how poor bus : ness may be for road attractions," Mr. Brown says, "Stock always manages to thrive in certain cities and towns, the theatregoers seemingly think it is a question of civic pride to sup- port the local stock. Longur sea- sons than ever are being arranged for." 'TOLLIES" IN FIRST Boston, March 2. The Shuberts are putting the "Greenwich Village Follies" into the town a week ahead of White's "Scandals," which is due to open at the Colonial when ".Mary" leaves. The shows are along the same line-. NEW ERLANGER COUNSEL. David Other, special counsel for Klaw & Krlanger for the pist r.o years, and Mortimer I ishe{ who held n similar post with the firm for the i><st 20 .ear?, are no longer handling the affairs of A. I*, jv- langer. Joseph I*. Bickerton is now kirtanger's personal attorney Albany, March 2. Governor Miller vetoed the Walton-Smith bill yesterday after giving the opinion that it was un- constitutional to establish a stand- ard price through legal process. The measure proposed to license ticket brokers, prevent the sale of tickets for moro than 50 cents in excess of the box office price and to provide for revocation of license and penalty. Anorh^r bill prohib- iting hawking of tickets on the streets was passed without opposi- tion and signed last week. The decision of the U. S. Supreme Court on Monday declaring the Lever food control act unconstitu- tional, which automatically wipes out all pending cases of profiteer- ing, upheld the views of counsel who representing the ticket brokers op- posed to the Walton-Smith bill who called on the Governor Monday. It was shown that a city ordinance limiting premiums to 60 cents had already been declared unconstitu- tional. The Supreme Court was unanimous in the opinion that the price of commodities could not be established by law—that no stand- ard of prices could be so established. Congress In treating the question of admission tickets sold at a pre- mium over the box office price, re- fused to set a standard in the reve- nue bill of 1918. But it was pro- vided that where a ticket was sold for more than CO cents premium, one-half of the excess over 50 cents shall be turned over to the govern- ment. Similar legislation may be introduced in the Assembly, it was said here today, following the defeat of the ticket bill. Noted Counsel Appear Louis Marshall, of New York, one of the most eminent attorneys in the United States, and Alden Ches- ter, of Albany, former Supreme Court Justice, representing the United Theatre Ticket Brokers' As- sociation, and Tyson & Co., of New Yorlc, attacked the bill. Former State Senator J. Henry Walters, of Syracuse, at whose request the measure was introduced by Assem- blyman Smith, was unable to attend the hearing because of illness, the former legislator being confined to his home in the Salt City with an attack of the grippe. John Mc- Bride, vice-president and manager of McBride's Ticket Agency, spoke in favor of the bill. He was repre- sented by the Sullivan & Cromwell law firm. Mr. Marshall arraigned the fea- tures and purposes of the legisla- tion. He began his broadside by at- tacking the provisions of the bill pertaining to the licensing of agen- cies, which required the person ap- plying for a permit to make a state- ment containing "such information as the officer to whom the applica- tion is made may require," and the revocation part, which states that "the officer Issuing such license shall revoke such license when the public interest may demand." Asks for Standard "What Is meant by that?" Mr. Marshall asked. "What does the public Interest demand? Where is the standard? We are beginning to legislate in this country without standards, allowing the people to exercise unqualified discretion. The .Supreme Court of the United States has in a number of cases held - -in criminal law especially—which does not have accurate definition, which does not prescribe standards—that it Is an unconstitutional law, and there are two respects in which this bill violates that very proposition in criminal law that the public must know what constitutes crime, to do, and in a case where a license may not be revoked, that phrase Is ont which Is so elastic that you can „'ot Anything out of h thai \<»u see fit. Mr. Marshall then explained the theatre te!;«-t speculating business, :is conducted by ggench i, in detail To prove his point that the 80-oeni limitation would work a hardship on the speculators! he declared: 'We kuow thai every hotel i-i ihc City of New York has a news room or a news counter, and connected with it is a ticket agency or ticket broker or representative of a ticket broker. The hotels recognise the importance of that. It is almost as important for them to keep such a ticket agency as is the sale of food in a restaurant, and a person who desires a ticket can by applying at the desk of the news room securo the ticket." Passed Without Hearing Jjdge Chester then recited how the measure had been passed by tho State Legislature without a hearing having been granted and obtained the privilege of filing a brief in tho matter, in which he dealt with many of the questions argued by Mr. Marshall. Responding to Governor Miller's request Vhy the bill had his com* pany's entire approval, Mr. Mo- Bride said: "I know nothing about the law part of It, but there is one thing that sticks out in my mind about the law concerning the effort to regulate this thing. No attempt, as I understand it, is being made to regulate the price of a theatre ticket. The only thing is to regulate the premium charged for it. Tho only opposition to the bill seems to come from people who are not wil- ling to sell at a fifty-cent advance. "Now it is pretty well established that fifty cents is a fair rate, pro- vides a decent profit. People say that they cannot get on; they say they have losses. Of course, so have we. We' do our business as they do theirs; we buy as they buy, taking our ordinary merchandise) and risks, and if we make a loss, well, we go on, and I do not think the poor public, which is hot rep- resented here at all, would mind a regulation of some sort being put into effect that-would require brok- ers to sell at a fifty cent loss, be- cause they are like a lot of other people, they do protest privately amongst themselves, and I get it once in a while. Our friend, Mr. Marshall, said something about a monopoly, i can assure him there is no idea of that sort of thing la anybody's mind. I personally be- lieve that this business can be done and made successful on a fifty cent basis." Basis of Veto Following Mr. If -Bride, his lawyer, Mr. Boyesen. asked for the privilege to submit a memorandum on the law, to which Governor Miller re- plied: , "I am frank to say I cannot see how this could be explained as a legal problem. Of course, 1 am not going to sign a bill which I am cer- tain is not constitutional, but I cannot sec why, if you can say how much profit shall be made on the selling of a ticket, which is dc ;ldcd to ho an article of merchandise, I don't see why the Legislature can- not say how much profit a man shall. make on any articles of commerce. "I have noted, Mr. Marshall, that the pub'le would support a statute which limited the profit. They would change the same, as people would support many statutes regulating prices, and I find, from my personal experience, that these bro" ers do take advantage of their opportuni- ties, and I have no doubt that there are abuses practiced, but of course, we cannot regulate every abuse by statute, because we run into greater abuses." "All visitors to New York who want to go to tho theatre," Assembly- man Smith said, "are victims of speculators and grafters. They don't get a ticket until they are milked dry. In some instances they what may be proper and not proper I are obliged to pay $5 or $10 above the box offlco prices of a ticket." Nelion and Chain Quit Chicago, March 2. Nelson and Chain, principal comedians with the l'anchon and Marco "S* tires," have given notice that they will not be with tli - * com- pany when it gooa touring again three weeks hence. They are plan* 4 r x vaudeville return. .