Document: dbr063  [view transcript]

Letter: Chattanooga, Tennessee to Charles Henry Douglass, Macon, Georgia, 1925 Mar. 10


author: Reevin, Sam E.
extent: [1] p.
date: March 10, 1925
summary: Partial letter from an agent, probably manager Sam E. Reevin, of the Theatre Owners Booking Association (T.O.B.A.), a Tennessee-based booking agency from 1920 to the 1930s for African American vaudeville acts, to Charles Henry Douglass, African American entrepreneur and owner of the Douglass Theatre, dated March 10, 1925, regarding the disputed quality of stage shows booked at the Douglass Theatre. The letter responds to criticism of two acts, the Johnny Lee Long Company, and Bennie Sparrow. In order to show that Theatre Owners Booking Association (T.O.B.A.) is not discriminating against Douglass by intentionally sending him poor quality acts, the agent informs Douglass that the Johnny Lee Long Company and Bennie Sparrow were booked into Chattanooga, Tennessee, possibly at the Liberty Theatre, to follow their appearance in Macon, Georgia. He adds that the Johnny Lee Long Company did well in Chattanooga and says he is enclosing a report from a Wilmington, North Carolina theater, possibly the Lafayette Theatre, (not included with this document) where Bennie Sparrow played before he arrived in Macon. The agent admits that he has cancelled the Bennie Sparrow show in Chattanooga due to the unfavorable report from Douglass. He argues that it is physically impossible for an agent to know every show, but assures Douglass that he does not book every show that applies for work and that he tries to investigate as much as possible. Recalling the report card that is sent to the theater managers every week, the agent notes that they contain diverse reviews. He asserts once more that he does not book acts just because they write to him. The letter appears to be incomplete, lacking a signature. Long, a well-known comedian, starred in Shu-Shin-Shi in 1925.
repository: Middle Georgia Archives
collection: Charles Henry Douglass business records
box: 21
folder: 210
item: 12

subjects:
Macon (Ga.)
Bibb County (Ga.)
Douglass Theatre (Macon, Ga.)
Theatre Owners Booking Association
Douglass, Charles Henry, 1870-1940
Johnny Lee Long Company
Sparrow, Bennie
Vaudeville--Georgia--Macon
Theaters--Georgia--Macon
Entertainment events--Georgia--Macon
Commercial agents--Tennessee--Nashville
African American musicians--Employment--Georgia--Macon
African American actors--Employment--Georgia--Macon
Theater management
Letters (correspondence)




Page: [1]   [view image] thumbnail


[Note: This document contains typewritten and printed text.]

[printed text:
MILTON STARR,
PRESIDENT
 SAM E. [unclear text: REEVIN],
TREAS. [TREASURER] & MGR. [MANAGER]
[Note: Red and black lines frame the text, accompanied by a decorative arch around each letter of the acronym. A winged hourglass hangs below the framed text. Text colors are black and red]
T O B A
THEATRE OWNERS BOOKING ASSOCIATION]
SUITE 441-442-443-444
VOLUNTEER STATE LIFE BLDG. [BUILDING]
 TELEPHONE
MAIN 5530
 CHATTANOOGA, TENNESSEE] 

[typewritten text: March 10th, 1925.
Mr. C. H. Douglass,
Douglass Theatre,
Macon, Ga. [Georgia],
Dear Mr. Douglass:

Just received yours of the 9th instant, and noticed your complaint about the last two shows that played for you, and the fact that both of these shows were booked into Chattanooga to follow Macon proves that I am not intentionally discriminating against you --

The Johnny Lee Long Company did very well in Chattanooga and I am enclosing herewith report from Wilmington, N/C [North Carolina] where Bennie Sparrow played before arriving in Macon, but as your report is very unfavorable, I immediately wired Sparrow cancelling [canceling] the show --

Relative to the statement in your letter that you wish there was a way for me to find out about the shows before booking them, and wish to say that it is a physical impossibility for any Agent to know every show in the business -- I personally don't book every show that applies for work, whether good or bad -- I try to investigate as much as I can, and I invite the co-operation [cooperation] of the Managers, for you know yourself that every week a report card is sent to the Managers, and you would be surprised to see the difference in the reports -- the shows that some Managers report as -- being the best this season -- play in some houses and the Managers report -- the worst this season -- etc. [et cetera], and visa [vice] versa

I don't pick up Companies just because they write for work --]