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January 29, 1910


Patrons of James Street Nickle Show
Cry "Fire" and Stampede.

A loud explosion followed by a tongue of flame, which burst from the operator's room at the "Star" nickle show, No. 8 South James street, Kansas City, Kas., about 8 o'clock last night, caused a panic to spread among the one hundred or more patrons who had gathered for the first performance. The cry of fire was followed by a mad stampede for the rear exits. Men, women and children trampled over each other in their frenzy, and a large gate at the rear of the theater was literally torn from the hinges by the frightened crowd. Luckily no one was seriously hurt in the rush, and aside from a few bruises, the crowd was none the worse for its experience.

Christ Clark, the picture machine operator, did not escape so lightly. When the films of the machine became ignited Clark, in his attempt to extinguish them, was badly burned. He fell from the elevated room where he was working and was treated at No. 2 police station by Dr. Mortimer Marder. Clark lives with his mother at 2012 North Fifth street. The fire department was called, but most of the fire was extinguished by the use of chemicals. The proprietor, Frank Spandle, probably saved the life of Clark. The young man was overcome and had sunk to the floor of the room among the burning films, when he was pulled from his perilous position by his employer.

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January 11, 1910


Moving Picture Comedy at
the Subway.

An unique moving picture comedy, "The Frozen Ape," at the Subway theater today and tomorrow, offers side-splitting merriment for fun-lovers. A scientist goes into the arctic regions to discover things and makes a find that astonishes the world. It is an ape, frozen into the side of an icy glacier. He sends the ape, packed in a box, to his friend, Professor Knowall. The expressman leaves the box in his wagon in front of Professor Knowall's home. Two boys, building a bonfire, need more wood. They push the box into the fire. The heat thaws the frozen ape, who gets out. Then funny things begin to happen.

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December 2, 1909


Meeting at Commercial Club Tomor-
row Night to Increase Interest.

A special meeting will be held in the Commercial Club rooms tomorrow night for the purpose of creating more interest in the project for improving the navigation of the Missouri river. No solicitations for funds will be made at the meeting.

Walter S. Dickey, president of the company which proposes to establish a boatline on the Missouri, will show 125 pictures of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, some of the pictures being moving scenes. Comparisons between the navigable Mississippi and the Missouri will be brought out, by which Mr. Dickey expects to show conclusively the possibilities of the Missouri.

Moving pictures of the Kansas City delegation going to New Orleans in the Gray Eagle, and the visits of President Taft and other notables will also be shown.

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November 19, 1909


Only Four in the Audience When
Explosion Took Place.

Frank Tierney, of 320 West Thirteenth street, was burned about the face and hands in an attempt to extinguish a fire that started from the explosion of a moving picture machine at the cozy theater, 1300 Main street, yesterday afternoon. There were four persons in the audience at the time.

Tierney was attended by Dr. Hamilton and sent to his home. The damage to the theater was slight.

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October 28, 1909



Every Place in City, and Theaters,
to Be Closed Unless Public
Is Protected Against Fire.

Following the closing yesterday by the Fire Warden Edward Trickett of the National theater, 1112 Grand avenue, every other theater and picture show in the city will be inspected and if found in unsafe condition will immediately be ordered to quit.

The fire warden served notice at 1 o'clock yesterday afternoon on the manager of the National. No shows will be permitted to be given until all improvements ordered by Mr. Trickett have been made and the playhouse placed in a safe condition.

"It is the picture shows that are not complying with the ordinance relative to protection against fire," said Mr. Trickett last night. "Of the fifty that are running in this city one-third are unsafe."

Two weeks ago Mr. Trickett served every theater and picture show house in the city with a written notice, calling the attention of the managers to the rubbish and paper that had been allowed to gather under stages and auditoriums.


"If some one would drop a lighted match in this rubbish a disastrous fire would result with a large loss of life," said Mr. Trickett.

"There are eight theaters in the city. I am not prepared to say how many are violating the city ordinance. Further than to say that every manager would better order a general cleaning and inspection of his fire protection appliances, I will make no comment.

Beginning immediately, Mr. Trickett will visit every show house in the city. The wiring will be inspected and all safety appliances. Mr. Trickett will go from gallery to cellar, and if the house is found lacking in the smallest detail, it will be ordered closed.

"The theaters and picture shows have been given ample warning,"said Mr. Trickett. "Notices were sent out two weeks ago and the attention of the managers called to the city ordinances.

"I have been trying especially to get the National cleaned up. The manager has made promises and done no more. This is the third time in two years that this theater has been closed. This time it will not be allowed to open until the rubbish is cleaned up and it is made safe in every particular."

Mr. Trickett charges that the wiring in the National is defective, and the room in which the moving picture machine is kept is liable to catch fire. He found paper and rubbish under the stage and in the basement under the auditorium.

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October 23, 1909


Moving Pictures Show Asso-
ciation's Work Around
The World.

In the chapel, festooned with flags, a small audience, composed mostly of chief contributors to the building fund, formally opened the new Y. M. C. A. building, Tenth and Oak streets, last night. the speeches, interspersed with songs, were led by Henry M. Beardsley, president of the association.

Beardsley said, in introduction, that the new building is a credit to the city it represents, he said, an expenditure of about $377,000. After next month there will be no indebtedness. The building committee at present is only $2,000 behind the appropriation and this amount will be raised at a carnival to be held one week beginning November 16. His remarks were cheered.

John Barrett, long connected with association work in foreign countries, spoke lightly of conversations he has had with diplomats, presidents or magnates. With the versatility of a moving picture machine, Barrett called up mental views of Japan, Africa, Asia Minor, Argentina and Mexico. He compared statements of a viceroy of Manchuria with that of the president of a Central American republic or of a may or of a little town in Iowa.

In ever country, Barrett said, the association is leading the vanguard of civilizing influences.

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September 17, 1909


Fire Warden Tells 32 of 40 Moving
Picture Shows Inspected to Bet-
ter Safeguard Patrons.

In a report to the fire and water board yesterday, Edward Trickett, fire marshal, stated that he had made an inspection of over forty moving picture shows, and that he had to caution the management of thirty-two of them to better protect their patrons from danger of fire.

The marshal says that the ordinances for the regulation of moving picture shows are lax, and he recommends more stringent laws.

He says that the operating machines should be encased in iron booths, and that all operators should undergo an examination as to their efficiency and general knowledge of electrical devices.

Such a precaution, he adds, would be advantageous both to the patrons and owners of the show.

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August 4, 1909



Those in Charge of Movement Claim
Present Salaries Are Too Low,
Considering Work and
Long Hours.

A new labor union, new at least in this city, will spring into life full grown at a meeting of its fifty members at Labor headquarters, Locust and Twelfth streets, tomorrow night. The charter recognizing the Kansas City Nickel Show Operators' Union, which was sent for yesterday, will be read and officers elected. Things will then begin to happen to the managements of the seventy-five or more 5-cent arcades, nickelodeons and electric theaters scattered about the city.

If they do not at once accede to a demand for an immediate raise in salaries, a day off each week for recuperative purposes and shorter hours all around, lantern operators, piano players, doorkeepers and even the blonde haired women cashiers may make a general exit.


"We are the poorest paid employes in the city considering the skill required of us and the long hours we are forced to keep," said H. C. Bernard, Seventy-fifth street and West Prospect avenue, the president of the union, last night. "Door-keepers and operators get $12 a week while girl cashiers and piano players get only from $2 to $4. I can't remember of even having heard of a singer receiving more than $8 in this city for the repeated strain on his or her vocal cords.

"I know of one skillful operator of a lantern who got $25 a week in Chicago a month ago and is now drawing a weekly check for $4 and he often works 15 hours a day with no day off."

A business manager in the Yale 5 cent shows general offices said yesterday that he did not fear a strike and that one if it came would not seriously retard the business of his company.


"I will tough a wire the minute they strike and get 100 operators from Chicago in short order," said he. "The work done by the operators, doorkeepers and singers is very light, although somewhat tedious. As a rule they have the forenoons off and can use them to make money at other things. My company will fight a strike to the last, and if a union is organized will discharge every man or woman caught attending a union meeting."

The new union will be affiliated with the International Theatrical Stage Employes' union, and will have auxiliaries taking in all employes, male and female, of the 5-cent shows. Several secret meetings have been held by the union organizers in a room at labor headquarters and about fifty operators have joined. There are about 500 employes of the nickel theaters in the city.

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June 22, 1909


When Singer Warbled It Excited
Theater Patrons Became Quiet.

The sudden combustion of films at the moving picture show in the Majestic theater between Eleventh and Twelfth streets on Walnut street at 10 o'clock last night nearly caused a panic in the gallery, where many voices took up the cry of "fire."

The moving picture machine, together with its inflammable films, is protected by a fire-proof booth, but the "newsies" in the gallery did not know this. As they began to leave their seats the management realized something must be done. It was the stage managers who saw a way out.

Seizing Harry Kirschbaum, who is a health officer at the city hall in the day time and a singer at the theater during the evening, he fairly hurled him down the aisle to the front of the house and bade him sing.

"Give us something brisk," he commanded in a hoarse whisper.

Without waiting for the piano the singer began the opening stanza of "Could you be true to a nice young blonde, if you loved a sweet brunette?"

Still the boys in the gallery kept up their alarming cries and the singer changed his tune to "Waltz me around again, Willie" and then to "Mariouche," the Coney Island song.

As the strains of the semi-oriental piece swung out over the gallery there was a gentle rustle as the crowd reseated itself and when the fire department arrived a moment later there was not a semblance of excitement in the house.

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June 14, 1909


It Is the Top Liner of Fun at
Forest Park.

Families with their baskets occupied the benches and tables under the trees on the lawn of Forest park yesterday and it was a gala day for the children.

The Old Maids' convention opened their regular sessions and soon got down to business. It is not a beauty show, to say the least. To call it such would be going from the sublime to the ridiculous, but their parody sessions on woman's rights and other subjects pertaining to woman, perhaps, furnishes the visitor with more genuine fun than most musical comedies. The idea is truly original, if nothing more. the convention hall was crowded all day and the Salome dance was a scream, being so different from the Gerturde Hoffman dance as to make it ridiculous.

For the first time there this season free vaudeville and new motion pictures were introduced. Quite a novel act was presented by Chris Christopher, a singer of German songs and a trick violinist. The Gee-Jays, the human marionettes, closed the bill. Two reels of motion pictures were also on the bill. The big new attraction is the exciting ride device known as the Humble Peter. It is built on the order of the tickler, only less jolting is the experience.

The entries for the aquatic sports on Wednesday are coming in fast and a large number of contestants competed for the prizes.

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May 16, 1909


Ritter Sisters' Lady Orchestra Con-
certs Afternoon and Night.

Commencing today the patrons of Forest park will be offered as an added free attraction the well known Ritter Sisters' lady orchestra. They will give concerts in the pavilion every afternoon and night and will also render the incidental music for the new feature motion pictures that will be shown in the pavilion all this week. The pictures are all new subjects and the manager of Forest park guarantees that they are shown here for the first time in Kansas City. Pleasing programmes will be rendered by the Sisters Ritter, both afternoon and evening. Children's day was well attended at Forest park yesterday and the little ones all enjoyed the many new devices, especially the Giant Slide or Human Niagara.

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April 25, 1909


Everything Has Been Brightened Up
Since Last Fall.

Forest park, which opens next Saturday, has undergone many changes for the better since it was closed last fall, according to Manager James Anderson. "Humble Peter," the "Human Roulette Wheel" and other novelties have been introduced, and the free vaudeville acts are promised to be bigger and considerably more classy than those of the past. The skating rink has been remodeled and converted into a ballroom.

Probably the best of the added features, from a fun-seekers' viewpoint, is the "Jolly Follies" pavilion, ninety feet wide and 290 feet long, containing over 100 new amusement devices and said to be the largest pavilion of its kind in the country.

The moving picture show will be there, but it will have its educational advantages. "A Trip Across the Isthmus of Panama" is the title of one of the pictures to be thrown on the screen, to be accompanied by the swaying motion of water and the roar of a passenger train.

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March 4, 1909


Older Boys Will Hear "What Makes
a Soldier."

A meeting of older boys will be held at the Academy of Music Sunday at 3:30 p. m. under the auspices of the Y. M. C. A. An address on "What Makes a Soldier" will be delivered by Colonel T. W. Goldin, mounted messenger for General Custer and a survivor of the battle of the Little Big Horn.

This will be the first of a series of meetings for older boys which will be held at the same place every Sunday afternoon. Moving pictures representing biblical scenes will be shown after the lecture. Special music will be furnished. admission by ticket only.

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January 31, 1909


First Moving Pictures to Be Shown
at Local Theater.

At the Orpheum theater this week pictures of the earthquake and disaster which recently overtook the inhabitants of Messina, Italy, will be shown by the kinodrome. These pictures are probably the first authentic ones of the disaster to be exhibited in the United States. They were taken by photographers as soon as the earthquake was over and show the work of rescue by the soldiers of the different countries.

Scenes of pillage and scenes of heroic work among the rescuers, the awful condition of the survivors and the ruined homes and buildings are all included in the film of moving pictures. The pictures are interesting for the accuracy and the realistic views of one of the greatest disasters which has befallen a people within the past generation.

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July 14, 1908


Miss Beebe Thompson Says His
Show Is Very Naughty.

Following up the plan outlined some time ago, looking to the better morals of the children and youths, especially in the crowded tenement districts, the Franklin institute recently instructed Miss Beebe Thompson, a settlement worker, to make an investigation of the pictures shown by the cheap amusement companies throughout the city.

As a result, one proprietor, J. J. Dunn, who conducts the "Fairyland" show at 1329 Grand avenue, has been cited to appear in police court this morning and answer charges of exhibiting immoral pictures. Others have been found at various places which to not tend to elevate or instruct the youth or older persons, and complaints will be lodged with Mayor Thomas T. Crittenden, Jr., and an effort made to suppress all such pictures as "The Young Model," the "Thaw-White Tragedy" and others of like nature. It is not the object of the workers, they allege, to suppress the moving picture shows, for these are the amusement places of the poorer classes, and, if properly regulated, will prove a benefit.

The report submitted by Miss Thompson is thorough and covers every amusement place of moving picture class in the city. Those pictures which were found to be pleasing are complimented, and those of immoral nature censured. The mutoscope comes in for most of the censure, for it is in these "penny-in-the-slot" machines that most of the pictures which are disapproved are found.

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July 9, 1908


Were the Guests of Union's President and
Park Management.

As the guests of President Sam Milinkowsky and the officials at Fairmount park, about 100 newsboys, members of the Newsboys' Union No. 1, enjoyed a picnic at Fairmount park yesterday. The boys made the trip to the park in a special car and spent the day at the various amusements and in games of their own. They were given the privilege of visiting the merry-go-round, moving picture show, rocky road to Dublin and mystic cave in addition to the swimming in the lake. Ice cream and cake were served as refreshments.

In the afternoon contests in footracing were held. Abe Sheftel won the dash for boys under the age of 8 years, Max Ducov that for boys under 10 years, Joe Sheftel for boys under 12 years, Tom Cohen for the boys under 14 years and Alec Greenberg for boys under 16 years. Each dash was 100 yards.

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June 18, 1908


Films Will Be Exposed in the Retail
Section Today.

If your wife's new directoire is finished, dress her up and parade her in the downtown district this afternoon.

That is a duty a good citizen owes Kansas City today, of all days in the year, for today the town goes on the motion picture films to be exhibited all over the world.

A special street car carrying the phenomenal machine which puts you and your smile on the films will start at 1:30 o'clock from Thirteenth street and Grand avenue. If you chance to be strolling from the postoffice about this time the face you turn toward the machine will be exhibited in Hale's Tours in amusement places in many countries.

Here is the route of the car: From the start at Thirteenth street and Grand avenue the first run will be on Grand avenue to Fifth street, west on Fifth street to Walnut street. The car will start south on Walnut street at 1:45, 2 o'clock it will run north on Main street to the city hall and at 2:30 o'clock it will run from Wyandotte and Eighth streets east to Oak street. This will end the first day's film making.

Of course this is going to be done only provided the weather is clear. Next week, probably Saturday or Sunday, the machine will be placed on an automobile and pictures made of the boulevards. When the flood waters recede pictures will be made of the manufacturing district in the West Bottoms and later interior views of the banks and other large institutions will be made.

The films are made in sections. As the Kansas City film will appear it will show Kansas City from an inbound Wabash passenger train, giving a glimpse of the intercity viaduct.

The pictures will be made and exhibited by the International Publicity Company.

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June 16, 1908


Justin A. Runyan Appeals to Post
Card and Film Dealers.

Souvenir post cards and moving pictures showing the damage wrought by the flood are likely to do Kansas City a great deal of harm, in the opinion of Justin A. Runyan, secretary to the Manufacturers and Merchants' Association. Speaking about people sending out post cards having some scene representing the flooded district, Mr. Runyan said the harm could not be estimated.

"Many of these cards," Mr. Runyan said, "reached the hands of business men of other cities, and those men are likely to form wrong impressions of the city. Many people will believe the high water did more damage than is really the case.

"Merchants or manufacturers preparing to secure new locations might see one of these post cards and get the impression from the view shown that Kansas City is submerged each year. The cards," according to Mr. Runyan, "at the best, only give a faint idea of the flood and in most cases leave a false impression. Not only will the post cards be harmful, but moving picture scenes that are being made for purpose of sending out broadcast to be shown in different cities will cause great loss of trade and damage to the city generally."

One dealer located at Twelfth street and Grand avenue, who is having films for moving pictures made will be induced by Mr. Runyan, if possible, to give up the plan. Whether the dealers in moving picture films and the sellers of post cards can be made to see the harm their goods may accomplish is the question that is troubling the secretary of the association.

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October 17, 1907



Theater Managers Included -- True
Bills Include Illegal Sale of
Liquor, Forgery, and

One hundred and twelve indictments were returned by the grand jury yesterday morning, when the report was made to Judge William H. Wallace and warrants were issued by County Marshal Al Heslip. Eight-five indictment are for thesale of intoxicating liquor without a license; 39 are against theater managers for viloations of the Sunday labor law, and the other 8 are for miscellaneous offenses. The 112 warrants call for the arrest of 23 mean and one woman. Among the list are:

O. D. Woodward, Willis Wood theater.
A. Judah, Grand opera house.
Clinton T. Wilson, Majestic theater.
Walter Sanford, Shubert theater.
Joseph R. Donegan, Century theater.
Dr. F. F. Flandora, National Theater.
William Warren, Auditorium Theater.
E. S. Brigham, Gilliss theater.
Martin Lehman, Orpheum theater.

A. M. Robertson, Crystal theater.
L. A. Wagner, Paseo theater.
J. J. Dunn, penny parlor, Main and Missouri.
O. P. Rose, Electric theater, 116 East Twelfth.
E. C. Jones, penny parlor, Eighth and Walnut.
Richard Ray, Twelfth and Grand.
C. E. McDonald, four indictments.


The grand jury's report to Judge Wallace yesterday morning and the indictmen of the theater managers had been foretold in Wednesday's Journal The managers, however, assumed surprise when informed of their indictment and said that they had understood that nothing was to have been done until Judge Hermann Brumback decided the suit in the circuit court brought to enjoin Marshal Heslip from making arrests on warrants from the county proseutor's office. This case had been set for Tuesday and was continued until Friday. Whatever right the circuit court may have to stop the service of a warrant from the prosecutor's office, it will not try to stop the service of the warrants ordered by the grand jury.

The inditments were returned at 10 o'clock yesterday morning and at 2:15 o'clock County Marshal Heslip and Chief Deputy Herman Wlsflog had received the warants and were sending them out by the deputies. All of the theater managers were informed by telephone to come to the criminal court room and give bond. Joseph R. Donegan of the Century theater was the first to arrive, ollowed shortly by A. Judah of the Grand opera house. They had a short talk with Judge Wallace and were told to return at 11:30 this morning. The bond for each theater manager will be fixed at $500


The managers were all at sea yesteday as to whether there would be performances next Sunday, and if so whether they were to be arrested.

"Judge Wallace wanted to have us all arrested like pickpockets," said Martin Lehman of the Orpheum, "but we succeeded in persuading him that we would not sell out our places and leave town. I do not see how the indictments returned today can affect the performances Sunday. I suppose that nothing can be determined in this respect until the hearing on the injunction, which is set for Friday morning."

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October 7, 1907




Penny Arcades Put on Passion Play
and Sacred Music -- Judah Says
There Are Sermons in His
Bill -- Cigars Sold
as Usual.

Kansas City theaters really give Sunday performances. Bold policemen, acting under orders which came directly from the police board, found this out last night. Such a rumor had reached police headquarters, but Chief of Police Ahern diplomatically sent out policemen to learn the truth after the police board pledged support to the criminal court in putting on the Sunday lid.

Regarding the rumor of Sunday performances -- the policemen found "It is even so." They will report to their superior officer today the evidence they collected in the playhouses. The supreme court decisions, shipped in from Arkansas, do not say it is a crime for an actor or an actorine to act, any day of the week. But with the managers it is different, and the police caught 'em red handed last night. The manager who includes Sunday performances in his contracts with the public "works" during the show.

Down at the Grand a policeman caught A. Judah working -- smoking numerous cigars and nodding "yes" or "no" to the doorman when a friend of the house applied for free admission. Judah is a long-headed manager. He saw the reform cloud on the theatrical horizon and send down East for a fitting show for the first tabooed performance. "Arizona" is the bill, and Mr. Judah's public flocked to the show like girls to a marked-down carnation sale. The house was sold out before 7 o'clock for the night performance, and half an hour before the curtain went up the "admissions" were exhausted, too.


"Did you ever see such a turn-a-way," said Harry S. Richards, manager of the show.

"No," answered Judah. "But it's the show which brings 'em out this Sunday night. There's a good sermon in 'Arizona' -- the kind that sends the public home with better thoughts to dwell upon through the week. For a show with a sermon coupon, 'Arizona' is a scream."

"But does Judah really own the Grand?" asked a uniformed policeman of the ticket seller early yesterday morning. He was getting the evidences for the police board. It was his first stop. He finally departed with the information that the place is managed by Mr. Judah.

Policemen did not visit many of the theaters until after the matinee hour in the early afternoon. They then called at each of the first class houses and later made the rounds of the penny arcades and moving picture shows, taking names of manager and locations of the places of amusement.


At many of the arcades the policemen, who are to make a report also on the character of the performances, were astounded to find the "Passion Play" in progress. Down on Main street an officer put a penny in the slot, adjusted the tubes to his ears, and then turned pale when the phonograph struck up a hymn instead of the ballet medley he had expected. He did not want the proprietor to think he did not like the place, so he ground his teeth and heart it "clean" through.

The officer assigned to vaudeville houses got blind staggers before he caught the right tip and performed the duty assigned him. At the Orpheum he found that Martin Beck is a Chicagoan. He went over to the Shubert and found a vaudeville service in progress, but a kindly disposed man outside told the blue coated officer that Mr. Klaw isn't expected here for a fortnight at least. No, Mr. Erlanger wasn't in town, either.

"Well, who is manager of this house?"

"I'm trying to be," answered Walter Sanford, the local representative of the theatrical syndicate of Klaw & Erlanger.


Chief of Police Ahern at first assigned regular theater patrolmen to bring in the evidence wanted. The men had the information already, and did not bother the managers, but they did "peep in" to see that the show really went on. Others, drawn to the theaters by curiosity, questioned employes. A policeman in uniform stood in front of the Willis Wood last night with the negro attendant who looks after the carriages.

"Who does run this house?" asked the policeman.

"The manager is Mr. Buckley, sir," answered the employe.

"Well," said the policeman, I thought Frank Woodward runs the house."

"No, sir, Mister Frank is business manager, and Mr. Buckley is the manager, sir."

"What's the difference between a manager and a business manager," asked the bewildered policeman.

"That's easy. Mr. Buckley, he runs the business. The business manager signs checks."

"Where does O. D. Woodward come in?"

"Why! He's the governor. He runs the whole business."


When two officers in plain clothes applied for admission last night at the Century, Manager Joe Donegan stepped to the door of his office. Then he turned and said:

"Hist! We're pinched." He had forgotten he had occupied the office alone and was only talking to an empty room. But the officers merely wanted to see if a show was in progress, and they soon departed to round up the arcades and outlying playhouses.

Cigar stands continued yesterday to sell newspapers, cigars and other stock. It's alright to sell newspapers, but it's considered Sunday labor to sell cigars, and the cigar stands which stay open to sell newspapers are preparing to put the lid on everything else if the grand jury so orders. But the police made no attempt to close either cigar stands or grocery stores.

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