Document: dbr098  [view transcript]

Douglass in Macon does big business : manager praises Billy Chambers Production / by William Smith

author: Smith, William M., theater manager
extent: [1] p.
date: [1925? or 1926? May]
summary: News bulletin for the Douglass Theatre, by William M. Smith, manager of the Douglass Theatre, probably for May, 1925? or 1926?. Smith notes that they had very large attendance for Billy Chambers and his Oh Mandy show on May 26th. He describes the show as featuring eighteen girls and twelve boys from the Ballard Normal School, located in Macon. Smith enthuses that two thousand people attended the performance, which was "billed ... like a circus" by Billy Chambers. He opines that the T.O.B.A. Circuit would be ashamed of their productions if they could see Chambers' production. Smith criticizes the T.O.B.A. shows for being too much alike. He reports that Oh Mandy will show for "white people" at the Grand in June by special request, and that they will have William Benbow's Get Happy for the week of June 1st. Benbow was a producer, owner, and performer in several well-known minstrel and vaudeville shows. Get Happy was produced in 1925 and 1926 with his last known troupe of eighteen men and women, the William Benbow Company. The stars of the 1925 show included Deatta Robinson, Margie Cohen, Odell Irvins, "Rastus" Winfield, "Shorty" Edwards, and Elnora Mantley. The 1926 cast included William Benbow, Ozie Stennis, Henrietta Leggett, Mabel Jones, "Shorty" Edwards, Zue Robinson, and his jazz band. It is possible that this announcement may have been sent to African American newspapers such as the Chicago Defender which had a Southern edition (see [dbr054] which mentions a column by Douglass that appeared in the Defender).
repository: Middle Georgia Archives
collection: Charles Henry Douglass business records
box: 22
folder: 223
item: 41

Macon (Ga.)
Bibb County (Ga.)
Douglass Theatre (Macon, Ga.)
Chambers, Billy
Benbow, William, producer
Ballard Normal School (Macon, Ga.)
Entertainment events--Georgia--Macon
Advertising fliers--Georgia--Macon
Get happy (Musical show : 1925)
News bulletin

Page: [1]   [view image] thumbnail

By -- William Smith -- Manager -- Douglass Theatre --

Macon -- We eliminated Vaudeville for the week of May 25, due to the house being decorated. We had Billy Chambers and his "OH MANDY" Company of 30 people for Tuesday night, May 26, and we must say that the attendance was the largest that we have had here even when we play Bessie Smith and other large attraction --

The show carried eighteen girls and twelve boys, including the music. This group of performers are all homefolks picked from the Ballard Normal School the only accredited school in the city.

Two thousand people witness the performance, whilst hundreds were turned away -- We believe that the T. O. B. A. [Theatre Owners Booking Association] Circuit would be ashamed of what they have to offer should the officials have had the opportunity of seeing this production, staged by Billy Chambers. He billed the town like a circus, with lithograph tack cards, heralds etc., And then, brought a real Musical Comedty [Comedy] with a real plot --

This house will have one of the little producers' show every month to meet the approval of the Douglass Theatre fans. We had folks in this house, that haven't ever been seen before, that shows the difference. Folks are known when they are being entertained and will not patronize just anything -- There has been too much sameness in the bills offered by the T. O. B. A. [Theatre Owners Booking Association]

"OH, MANDY": will show at the Grand for white people only during the second week in June -- This is by special request. We willhave [will have] next week of June 1st, William Benbow's "GET HAPPY" Company, of 22 people, and we are watching the attendance.