Document: dbr083  [view transcript]

Letter: Valdosta, Georgia to Ben Stein, Macon, Georgia, 1927 July 8

author: Stein, Luke
extent: [3] p.
date: July 8, 1927
summary: Letter from Luke Stein, owner and manager of the Palace Theatre in Valdosta, Georgia, to his brother Ben Stein, owner and manager of the Douglass Theatre, dated July 8, 1927, providing advice about the theater business. Luke attempts to calm his brother's fears about declining theater patronage, pointing to the fact that Ben is making expenses, and noting that business is bad everywhere. He reports that his business is fine but that business at the other theater is not. Luke complains that it is impossible for him to do business with the Ritz Theatre, as the rent is too much and the town cannot stand it. He explains that the "colored" singers for whom he sent Ben a contract are the Dixie Harmonizers, three men and a woman who is also a piano player. Luke adds that the performers will provide heralds, but advises that Ben not play them until they are thoroughly advertised. He mentions that Jennings, a man from Jacksonville, put on a boxing match, and that he will write to Ben soon and come to Macon on the 16th to discuss arrangements for a match. Luke reports that he arranged to pay Jennings fifty-fifty, paying for printing himself and Jennings paying for the fighters and other expenses. He asks Ben to answer Jennings' letter, should he write. Luke counsels his brother that the biggest showmen do not worry about the competition, but focus on their own business. He relates that he is enclosing a letter that he wants Ben to send to the Film Board of Trade. Luke asserts that he and his brother are due damages because the board let another theater have the film The Fire Fighters at the same time that they were showing it, and asks Ben to obtain written proof. He notes that he will have someone represent him, as it will be impossible for him to be there due to a meeting. Luke relates that he may come to Macon on Sunday and mentions that he would like Sophia to visit. The ten-episode silent serial The Fire Fighters was released in January of 1927 and starred Jack Daugherty, Helen Ferguson, Wilbur McGaugh, and Lafe McKee. It is presumed lost. See also [dbr024] for film board's reply and [dbr083] for Luke's discussion of their claim.
repository: Middle Georgia Archives
collection: Charles Henry Douglass business records
box: 22
folder: 223
item: 8

Macon (Ga.)
Bibb County (Ga.)
Valdosta (Ga.)
Lowndes County (Ga.)
Atlanta (Ga.)
Fulton County (Ga.)
Douglass Theatre (Macon, Ga.)
Palace Theatre (Valdosta, Ga.)
Atlanta Film Board of Trade
Dixie Harmonizers (Musical group)
Jennings, Joe, boxing manager
Contracts for work and labor--Georgia
Breach of contract--Georgia
Motion picture theaters--Georgia
African American musicians--Georgia--Macon
Advertising fliers--Georgia--Macon
Obligations (Law)--Georgia--Macon
Fire fighters (Motion picture : 1927)
Letters (correspondence)

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

[printed text:

Valdosta, Ga. [Georgia],]
[typewritten text: July 8th 1927
Dear Ben;.

I have been wanting to write to you for the past few days but something has always come up, I notice that even tho [though] you have over 1600 free tickets that you do more than was ever done on Tuesdays, I beleive [believe] you are to easily to be disheartened, it looks like you are making expenses, and if you are doing that you are doing more than any other theatre as things are mighty bad everywhere, and if you can do that you are doing fine, I am doing nicely here but the other theatre isent [isn't] making salt, the Ritz is still closed and will be for some while as the man is still in the hospital, as for me figuring with the Ritz that will be [deleted text: almo] almost impossible as there is to [too] much rent to be paid and this town cant stand it, if it were rent alone it would be alright but the other expense is big as the pictures for that house average over fifty; In regard to the singers that I sent you contract for, they are four singers, three men and a woman, also a piano player, they are very good they are called the Dixie Harmonizers, and they can put on as long a program as you want, they are to send you hand bills, as they are to pay for that, and are to send them to you a week ahead otherwise if they come in on you, dont play them until it is thoroughly advertised, you know they are colored as no white singers would not do, Be sure and take out for the advertising on the colored picture, also for truck and music, as that is the way I did before and blame them for messing you up, a man was here from Jacksonville and put on a boxing match he has a stable of boxers and he has some fighters

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he has hand bills and window cards, His name is Jennings and he will write to you soon, he will come to Macon on the 16th. and arrange with you, he will have the hand bills and window cards fixed, and will see that they will know about his fights, I thought the 26th would be a good time, he has some real prize fighters, and I beleive [believe] he will pack the house, he is satisfied to play on percentage, I told him that he may now [not] do so well at first but he is willing to build upa [up a] good business, I told him that you would play him fifty fifty, you pay for printing and he pay for all fighters and other expenses, he will charge 50 up stairs 75 down and $1.00 for boxes he goes after white people strong as he has some fighters that have fought the big ones and people know, so he will be in to see you on the 16th and if he writes answer his letter. I am enclosing a hand bill of his; When ever [Whenever] you talk to the biggest showman they will tell you dont worry about what the other fellow is doing just look after your own show, and that way will win out, if he is running matinee for 10 that shows that he isent [isn't] doing anything at matinee, it looks like that you will have to go to 25 and twenty for up stairs [upstairs] at once, as that looks like what you will have to do, as one might say well lets wait until what the other house does, you know we cant wait as wee [we] need something now, and the pictures and music and comfort house cant be beat and dont worry about the other fellow does, as I guartee [guarantee] you he wont last long, and you will do as much as the raised prices as before, if any one says anything tell them that the main office done it; that you had nothing to do with it, as if I was only getting 20cents I could not make it either,

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I am enclosing a copy of a letter that I want you to send to the Film Board of trade, and keep, a copy and send universal a copy, the reason that you did not hear from the film board of trade was that Mr Cole the secretary was north, I talked to one of the members and I have a very good claim and I am going after them, as they are the one who would not help us out on dates, You see we are due damages as they let the other theatre have a picture of the fire fighters the same time we were running it, find out when they played their first episode, and what episode you were playing when they aere [were] playing the first, I will leave a balnk [blank] place for you to fill for that, Do you understand fully, if not let me know,

Tell Smith to get proof that they were playing the Fire Fighters the same time you was in writing, as I will have some one [someone] repersent [represent] me at the arbitration meeting as it will be impossible for me to be there; as they will meet Tuesday week; so attend to it at once send me the proofs and dates; Frank is out of town to-day [today], I am through with my matinee and have nearly collected for all of them I know you iwll [will] be glad to be home and it may be that I may go over Sunday but dont know as yet, I would like for Sophia come down here, and if you see her mother to let her come as no one will bother her of [if] she comes on the train alone, I have to write a letter to her and then it is time to go home,

With Love
[Signed] Lukie]