Document: dbr021 [view transcript]
Letter: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Douglass Theatre, Macon, Georgia, 1927 Jan. 3
author: Famous Artists Corporation of America
extent:  p.
date: January 3, 1927
summary: Letter from Philadelphia-based, white-owned producer of race movies Famous Artists Corporation of America to the Douglass Theatre, dated January 3, 1927, regarding a problem caused by the practice of circuiting films from theater to theater. Famous Artists Corporation of America argues that the fault of a shipping problem with its race film Hello Bill lay with the circuiting theater rather than with the corporation and expresses indignation that the Douglass Theatre has sent the film back with C.O.D. charges and damages due. The corporation asks the theater to release the C.O.D. and adds that the error in a shipment of Famous Negro News was also the fault of the circuiting theater. In response to a request of the Douglass Theatre to cancel their contract, the corporation attempts to dissuade them with news of improvements to Famous Negro News and improvements in the process of circuiting films. Released in 1927, Hello Bill starred Joe Byrd, Billy Higgins, Bill Robinson, and Percy Verwayen.
repository: Middle Georgia Archives
collection: Charles Henry Douglass business records
Page:  [view image]
[Note: This document contains typewritten, handwritten, and printed text.][printed text:
[typewritten text: Douglas Theatre,
We have your communication of December 29th on hand and according to your own remarks, we are certainly not at fault regarding the shipment of "HELLO BILL"
We have endeavored in the past, and suppose so did other Distributors, to impress upon the exhibitors the grave importance that they circuit film in a prompt and efficient manner, and if they would do this, and furthermore, try to give some co-operation [cooperation], there would be no occasion for any slip up like you tell us happened with "HELLO BILL".
Nevertheless, inasmuch as you admit that the fault was not ours, we certainly feel that the slight delay would have created no great amount of damage, or we could have given you another date and ship the film direct from Philadelphia. Of course when you tell us that you have returned this film C.O.D. [Cash On Delivery] $50.00 damages due you, you have absolutely no right to ship our own merchandise in to us C.O.D. [Cash On Delivery] and we consider that you have certainly over stepped [overstepped] your rights in so doing and you will immediately notify the Express Co. [Company] to release this C.O.D. [Cash On Delivery] on this shipment as we again tell you that you have no right to forward any of our merchandise C.O.D. [Cash On Delivery] If you will just hesitate for a moment, you will consider that this film does not belong to you and we are certainly big enough to adjust matters in an amicable way instead of you trying to use methods like this.
As far as the "FAMOUS NEGRO NEWS" are concerned, you also admit that it was not our fault that you did not receive the reel in time, as same was circuited from another theatre that also was neglectful in shipping you this film in due time.
While we note your desire to cancel your contract, we again say that you are missing one of the biggest attractions in the Negro field today, as our "FAMOUS NEGRO NEWS" are getting better and better and we are also succeeding in overcoming the delay in circuiting from one house to another.
It will pay you to reconsider your decision in this matter as we consider you good enough showman to appreciate a MONEY GETTER when you see it.
In conclusion, therefore, we again request that you release the C.O.D. [Cash On Delivery] on "HELLO BILL" and we will give you another date with shipment guaranteed that the film will arrive at your house in ample time.
Very truly yours, FAMOUS ARTISTS CORP. [CORPORATION] OF AMERICA.
[Signed] [written text: [illegible text]]
[typewritten text: IHS/EC/]
[printed text: [Note: The image of a female sphinx, printed with red ink, is surrounded by the following text.][printed text: