Document: dbr057 [view transcript]
Letter: Nashville, Tennessee to Ben Stein, Macon, Georgia, 1927 Sept. 10
author: Starr, Milton
extent:  p.
date: September 10, 1927
summary: Letter from Milton Starr, president of Theatre Owners Booking Association (T.O.B.A.), a Tennessee-based booking agency from 1920 to the 1930s for African American vaudeville acts, to Ben Stein, owner and manager of the Douglass Theatre, dated September 10, 1927, regarding terms for playing the "Lemons show," a reference to the Eddie Lemons' Dashing Dinah show (see [dbr056] and [dbr067] of the Douglass Theatre Web site). Responding to Stein's telegram, Starr expresses his pleasure that Stein accepted the Lemons show. Starr argues that forty percent of the receipts from large shows equals fifty percent of the receipts of small shows, and suggests that Stein accept the Lemons show for forty percent of the receipts, rather than the fifty-fifty split on which Stein has insisted. Starr explains that in his wire of confirmation to Lemons, he insisted that the midnight show be fifty-fifty, and that he wired Reevin (Sam E. Reevin, manager of T.O.B.A.) to issue contracts with these figures. Starr expresses his certainty that Lemons will accept the terms. Dashing Dinah, produced by Lemons, featured Lemons, Homer Hubbard, Rogers and Rogers, Leroy Phillips, Charles Barry, Isadore Price, Willie Taylor, Jack "Ginger" Wiggins, Christina Gray, and String Beans Price. Starr mentions that for the past two nights, Ma Rainey failed to keep her engagements at his Royal Theatre in Columbia, South Carolina and Lenox Theatre in Augusta, Georgia. He adds that he asked Reevin to notify Stein when he learned that Rainey had disappeared. There is evidence that Rainey played the Douglass Theatre at a later date, since a subsequent receipt dated February 14, 1928, from Theatre Owners Booking Association (T.O.B.A.) to Ben Stein, refers to the act "Ma Rainey and her Paramount Flappers" (see [dbr047] of the Douglass Theatre Web site).
repository: Middle Georgia Archives
collection: Charles Henry Douglass business records
Page:  [view image]
[Note: This document contains typewritten, handwritten, and printed text.]
[typewritten text: Sept. [September] 10, 1927.
Mr. Ben Stein
Macon, Ga. [Georgia]
Dear Mr. Stein:
I am pleased to note from your wire today that you have accepted the Lemons show.
From my long experience at this game, 40 per cent [percent] of the receipts from a show such as this one, amounts to considerably more than 50 per cent [percent] of the receipts from an average show. At any rate I feel entirely justified in my insistence that you try at least one of these big shows at these terms.
I have found out that the only way we can find out the possibilities of our colored houses is by trial and error and in this case as you dont stand to lose but very little I am satisfied that you should make this trial.... It was impossible to have gotten the shows on cheaper terms.... Here in Nashville where the possibilities are at least 50 per cent [percent] better than Macon, I would not try to book Lemons for less than 60-40.
In my wire of confirmation to Lemons today I insisted that the midnight show was at 50-50 and I also wired Mr. Reevin to issue contracts at these fgures [figures] and I am sure that Lemons will accept same.
As for Rainey, she was billed to open my Columbia house Thursday and my Augusta house [deleted text: Thursday]] [written text:[added text: Friday]][typewritten text:. She failed to show up and has simply disappeared.. After a long experience with these people, I am not terribly disappointed.. I had Mr. Reevin notify you the minute that I learned that she had disappeared...
With kind personal regards, I remain,
Yours very truly,]
[Signed] [written text: Milton Starr]