Document: dbr030  [view transcript]

Letter: Arlington, Florida to Ben Stein, Macon, Georgia, 1927 Oct. 15

author: Norman, Richard E., 1891-1961
extent: [1] p.
date: October 15, 1927
summary: Letter from R. E. Norman of Norman Film Manufacturing Company to Ben Stein, owner and manager of the Douglass Theatre, dated October 15, 1927, regarding Norman's competitor, Oscar Micheaux, seminal African American film director, producer, and president of the Micheaux Film Corporation. Norman agrees with Stein that Micheaux's film The Millionaire would conflict with his film Black Gold and that the biggest business is done by showing only one "colored picture" per month. He argues that it is unfair to his company to ask for a price reduction since Stein had scheduling problems with the film exchange circuit. Norman counters that he will wait to rent the film Black Gold to Stein until Stein can afford to pay the appropriate amount. He advises Stein not to run two full-length films at once, since the audience would find the length tiresome, but instead to run one with a short subject, comedy, or newsreel. Norman reminds Stein that his films have been very successful in the Douglass Theatre, recalling that his film The Flying Ace packed the Douglass Theatre for two days, doing more business in one day than Colored Players Film Corporation's A Prince of His Race did in two days. He concludes by asking Stein if he would like to execute a contract to have his road show appear at the Douglass Theatre.
repository: Middle Georgia Archives
collection: Charles Henry Douglass business records
box: 19
folder: 173
item: 37

Macon (Ga.)
Bibb County (Ga.)
Jacksonville (Fla.)
Douglass Theatre (Macon, Ga.)
Norman Film Manufacturing Company
Stein, Ben
African Americans in the motion picture industry
African Americans in motion pictures
Race in motion pictures
Race films--United States
Rent charges
Feature films--United States
Motion picture theaters--Georgia--Macon
Commercial agents--Florida
Contracts for work and labor--Georgia--Macon
Black gold (Motion picture : 1928)
Flying ace (Motion picture : 1926)
Millionaire (Motion picture : 1927)
Prince of his race (Motion picture : 1926)
Letters (correspondence)

Page: [1]  [view image] thumbnail

[Note: This document contains typewritten, handwritten, and printed text.]
[Note: The Norman Studios logo is superimposed upon an image of the Arlington Plant.]

[printed text:

[typewritten text: Oct. [October], 15, 1927.
Mr. Ben Stein,
Stein Enterprises,
Macon, Ga. [Georgia]
Dear Sir --

In your letter of the 11th., we note that you are running Michaux'x [Michaux's]Millionaire latter part of this month and it would conflict with Black Gold. You are right. One colored picture is enough a month to do the biggest business.

The vaudeville arrangement is okay, but a deduction of $25. from gross receipts to pay for your picture because you have got in a jamb [jam] with the exchanges is unjust to us. It is not necessary to run a double program with our colored pictures. It means either speeding the white feature or the colored attraction or both, because otherwise the picture program becomes too long and tiresome. The Colored Picture run with a short subject, comedy, or news reel is what they want to see, and you can pay for your feature on dates we would play and get a gratis booking later.

If the above is not satisfactory, we will have to wait until you can get out of the jamb [jam] with your exchanges. Black Gold cost us too much, and we must get an even break. Our pictures yet hold the record in the Douglas, and are sufficient attraction in themselves Flying Ace did as much in one day last Spring in Douglas as Prince of Race made by Colored Film Players, and a very good picture, did in two days. And the second days business on Flying Ace was a very little drop on the first. We turned business away the first day.

In conclusion, we might say that our road show was coming your way the latter part of this Month. Next Month, it will be far away, but if you care to execute a contract along lines suggested in our first letter, we will endeavor to get togeather [together] with you on your earliest available dates when we can jump the show to Macon without too great an expense.

Yours very truly,
[Signed] [written text: R. E. Norman]