The Sunday Oregonian. (Portland, Ore.) 1881-current, October 14, 1906, PART THREE, Page 34, Image 34

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S Sold Venture of John Cort of Seattle, Who Has Had
f -X y is Battle With Critics and Old Managers 4 v ; -
r ; . rS...--. : " Cy -- f , -, v f;,. . ; a " v-
DINING the oilirr nislit wilh James
Nefll. when tlie time of Mark coffee
and olRarettcs had arrived, the con
versation fell Interestingly on theatrical
Mrs. Neill was there. So was George
Bloomnuest. Also Elspeth Graham Mc
Neill, who was George I.. Baker's dressy
and attractive secoiid woman in the first
Baker Stock Company in Portland. Also
one. of the owners of the Seattle Post-In-telllprencer.
Also FYank McVlckers.
Neill has been a good picker of actors
' and actresses for a long time. His judg
ment is excellent. He went up Broad
way a. year ago and there was scarcely a
theater along the line lut which had (or
a star, or a leading man, or a Ieadinjr
woman, some one of the people whom
Nelll had discovered, whom Nelll had
exploited in some one of his companies.
look at your Donald Bowles there In
Portland now? He was brought forward
first by James Neill. Bloomquest is here,
as I have said, living at the Neills'. and
he will he In the production "The Light
Eternal," which Is now being prepared
for a road tour by Mr. Neill, Henry L.
Miller and the Schuberts.
The managers of prominence who take
the risks and produce "attractions."
leasing theaters for that purpose, on
percentage or by renting, and send
shows out on the road, are not so many
In number when you make the reser
atlon that thcjr must be of more
than ordinary Importance. Charles Froh
man, Charles H. Dillingham, Henry "V.
Savage, Henry B. Harris, Edward A.
Braden, Daniel V. Arthur. Cohan and
Harris, Klaw & Erlanger, David Belasco,
Harrison Gray Fiske, Sam and Lee Schu
bert. These are the names that first
come into your mind when you speak of
producing managers. And there are not
bo many more when you come to sum
them all up.
A few actors, like Mansfield and Henry
Miller, aspire to and atain management,
sometimes to their dismay and destruc
tion, sometimes to their temporary
ascendancy. Others, like Mr. Conrled,
Hammerstcln. Proctor. Hroadhurst. etc.,
are prodigious In their efforts and labors,
but handle artistio amusements of a
musical and a theatrical kind that stick
around here for the most part. They
cater more exclusively to the people who
And themselves In New York. Their
patrons, like those of the Hippodrome,
include the people from all over the
XTnited States, but they have to come
here to see the shows. The special
coterie of managers, the really prominent
producing managers to whom I have par
ticular reference just now, are the ones
who seek to ring up the curtain on
their shows in New York, on Broadway
if possible, achieve a Broadway run, a
metropolitan success, and then put the
show out on the great "road." and "get
the money" from the Immense plethora
of prosperity and wealth in the MiiVlle
AVcst. the South, the Far Vest and per
haps the East. ,
One Success to l'lve Failures.
The New York success is indispensable
if you expect to have a show go big
throughout the land they must have this
or they must lie themselves into a sem
blance of It.
They accomplish the lying stunt most
of the time.
There will be a dozen or more of these
lies successfully told with regard to pro
ductions that are to visit Portland this
Some of them have already made their
failures here and hereabouts. But they
have "rung up" in or near New York,
then come to this city to play somewhere
within the city limits, (even though it
be in Harlem or perhaps In Brooklyn,
which places are in reality no nearer
Broadway popularity than Is Puyallup,
Washington State) and then out they go
over the grand circuit, with a show that
needs only a genius of a press agent,
the reputation of a New York success,
the expectancy of being excellent on the
Tart of the audience, to make it a howl
ing monetary triumph from start to
Thus the managers win money with big
stars in poor plays, win money with
beautiful productions and poor plays,
win money with a good play and bad
actors, win money when any one element
of the show i9 meritorious, in case they
ere skHful theatrical advertisers.
A xeakx teat success iera is a large
fortune for the producing manager, and,
if he can land one out of five trials, he
counts himself lucky.
Dillingham undoubtedly today has
landed the largest number of winners.
He Ls getting to be almost uncanny in
the light and surety of his Judgment.
Notice how the other night, after having
"Mile. Modiste," that dainty and lovely
musical light opera In which Fritzi Scheff
scored, brilliantly for 300 nights at the
Knickerbocker, he puts on "The Red
Mill." with Montgomery and Stone, and
it is so undeniably replete with all the
good qualities that go to make up the
latest and most up-to-date musical
comedy of the ultra yet positively un
vulgar kind, that It will run right there
in the Knickerbocker theater lor two
years, beyond the shadow of a doubt.
With Klaw & ETlanger's "The Prince of
India" just across the street at the
Broadway theater, where a fortune has
been expended in the making and the
producing, Dillingham's superb comicality
pulls five times the crowds.,
Portland Figures In the Itinerary.
The conditions under which the man
agers work and have their being here,
where nearly everything in the theatri
cal world of this country practically
originates, seem interesting and Impor
tant, both on account of the myriads
of people who visit this city during;
the year and attend the shows, and on
account of the immense number of the
"attractions' that are sent out during
the year and seek the patronage of
the townfolk in their native heaths.
I know that in Portland there never
was a time when theatricals occupied a
larger part of the public mind. They
are almost as many people in Portland
now as there were during the Lewis
and Clark Fair. The prosperity of
Portland is understood here by all the
men who have their eyes open, and who
intend to send enterprises out there
this year. It ls no longer a place con
sidered not on the map. They fre
quently now speak of San Francisco
as wiped off the map. because they
have accepted the terrible earthquake
and fire as temporarily eclipsing that
city's destiny. They do not reckon on
San Francisco this year, nor next year
and they are busying themselves with
other routes for the most part, know
ing that the old habit of two or three
week's run In the city of the Golden
Gate on the Pacific Coast ca'n no longer
be continued.
The Northwest, with such points as
Denver. Salt Lake, Butte, Spokane,
Vancouver, Victoria, Seattle, Tacoma,
Portland and thence East again, with
perhaps a visit to San Francisco or
Oakland, is the itinerary that is con
sidered. A legion of theaters have been built
here in New York many of them good
sized and finely-equipped first-class in
most respects. They are owned and
leased and managed by various indi
viduals who rent them or take shows
in on shares. Klaw & Erlanger, in one
way or another, or by direct ownership.
le&fiA ec sontroi mora Uuui c fitbecjPlaJC t tlae iiuOauu, These twou'-attrao-jj
one firm. The Schuberts control about
six. David Belasco has one. Mr. Fiske
has one of his own, also. Proctor has
several for home use exclusively.
There Is a host of vaudeville, bur
lesque, indiscriminate and unclassified
houses, that can be used for almost
anything, even to the minor sort, or
the small-priced sort. But the main
list of what ls called Broadway houses
are reserved nearly all the time for
the principal productions of the lead
ing producing firms. These prominent
producing managers do not form a
trust, as such, banded together to keep
out everybody else. They simply have
so much business on hand with their
own productions that they keep the
theaters busy all the time,' and could
not let in outside producing managers
with the latters plays or productions
of any kind whatever, if they would.
Thus it is that a larger number of
productions get openings out of and
near New York than in the city on
Broadway. Where will It end?
AVhere Wil It End?
Where the task of theater-building
will end. nobody knows. For it is in
contestibly a fact that any good show,
given anywhere in New York, say be
tween Twenty-third and Fiftieth)
streets, on the north and the south, and
between Fifth and Seventh avenues, to
the east and west, will run indefinitely
to capacity, and make a fortune for
all hands around.
To accomplish this you must have a
good show good play, good cast, good
theater. You must catch the fancy of
the public and I believe that this
fancy is unerring. You cannot bunco
if you wish to catch this fancv. The
trouble Is to get the play, to get the
people, to get the theater. In the last ten
years the managers have been first able
In abundance to get the actors (the good
cast); they have built the theaters, or
have induced capitalists to build the the
aters for them. They have used the
foreign successes first, persuaded pot
boilers to crib from foreign literatures
for American versions of plays, fadded
such men as Clyde Fitch and lately
George Ade. developed a few other play
rights like McClellan, etc.: goaded on to
distraction and hot-housed the musical
comedy verse scribblers and music re
varapers and patch-quilt carpenters into
an over-luxuriant growth. . '
Plays Wanted.
Now they want the plays.
This year there seems to be a lull in
the building of theaters by Individuals,
but more will surely come, and a few of
the biggest kind are now in process qf de.
velopment. ' '
But the great want, now is for plays.
By this I mean the basic substance for
any production. It may be the lyrics and
the music for a good comic opera, or a
really fine musical comedy with burlesque
specialties in it. like "The Red Mill." or
it may be the vital writing and dramatic
substance for a good play, such as the
"Hypocrites," Henry Arthur Jones1 good
Hons." now receiving
paclty" favors of the
the nightly "ca-
New York public.
are the only two unqualified successes of
the theatrical year on' Broadway as yet
this season.
Yes. I know there are many that ap
proach success many that claim success,
and will be received as great successes on
the road. But I am giving you the real
truth here. And It is the essential and
eternal fact that a really good play with
a really good cast will always win big
here that renders certain the continuous
building of more and more theaters.
They must have the theaters to produce
the plays. The managers who are here
now have scarcely enough theaters to ac
commodate themselves, and there are
Director John Sainpolls, of the Baker, Doesn't Do a Tiling but Work.
IF any man in this town works harder
than John Satnpolis, now is the time
for him to rise up and declare himself
before the Baker stage director walks
off with the chromo. It is perhaps not
unnatural for the uninitiated to fancy
that Sainpolls has what Brander Mat
thews would call a "cinch," when they
hear stories about the princely salary
which he draws. The public sees him
play a part in a piece, sometimes a very
important one, sometimes one of only
secondary consideration. Some weeks
he Is not even In the bill. Ergo the out
sider argues concerning the "cinch" pos
sessed by John Sainpolls.
Although there are few better actors in
the stock business than he, that portion
of his work which the DUblic sees is real
ly but a small portion of the task that
falls to him. All stock actors work hard.
It's nominated in the bond that they must
to keep the mill grinding, but the man
who both acts and directs the produc
tions well, he gets a triple of hard,
sweaty toil.
For Instance, Sainpolis must not only
speak his own lines at the regular per
formances, nine of them each week, be
sides "getting up" in the play that is
to follow, but he .must learn his play,
practically by heart, coach the company
at rehearsals, design the scenery, prop
erties and costumes. If It is a costume
play, scour the town for furniture, drap
eries, pictures and like fripperies, draft
diagrams for the stage carpenters to fol
low in building the production, studying
new ideas for pleasing the eyes of the
patrons, for the public is greedy for
change and demands novelty each week.
He must make up a "cue-sheet" for the
orchestra, indicating the incidental music
to he played in each situation in itself
no small task and attend to a thousand
and one details sufficient to drive an or
dinary man into insanity. In addition to
his other duties. Mr. Sainpolis is treas
urer of the Baker Thea'ter corporation,
which office keeps him out of mischief
when he might have a few minutes of
As an example of the strenuoslty of his
llfet ha gave ma Ibis schedule oX his daily
many managers and hangers-on in the
game who are scheming and contriving
with effective intelligence and persever
ance all the time to break into the Great
White Way. It is reasonable to presume
that these new ones can muster quite as
meritorious material as the already es
tablished and usurping managers habitual
ly set forth. The new ones are not
hampered as the old ones are. They are
less trammeled in many ways. They are
more open to conviction they have less
to lose; they are disposed to he more lib
eral in their opinions. They are not
bound up by the limitations of time. It
ls literally true that the greatest trouble
the established producing managers have
is the unavoidable circumstance that the
natural day fixed by the Almighty con
tains but 24 hours, if It contained about
40 hours, more could be accomplished and
a better or a juster order of things
might be ordained.
To break into this field and hold one's
own to force your presence and your ac
tivities upon a set of selfish, brain-tired
and not-too-brilllant competitive manag
ers whom I have hurriedly described, and
who naturally belittle the rights and the
attainments of everybody under the sun
other than themselves, is a task that
might stagger the courage of an Alderney
bull or a Norway stallion. But it did not
feaze the intrepidity of a Seattle man
namely, John Cort.
C'ort Jumped Into the Pasture.
I make particular reference to him, and
send you the pictures of his stars, as his
experience here is typical and extremely
instructive, for all people who have any
interest or sympathy in any branch of the
theatrical game. '
He jumped right over the fence into thl
pasture, bringing his herd along with him.
and he has already succeeded in allottln
himself a comfortable section of the terri
tory, surrounded himself with what ap
pear to be sufficient commercial fence
barriers, protecting htm from the on
slaughts of rivals who would crush him,
and, what is far more, he has won his
way to the friendly co-operation of the
chief owners of the whole grazing
His first power, of course, is the 100 and
odd theaters of the Northwest Theatrical
Association, to which he books the K and
E3 "attractions." Calvin Hellig, of Port
land, is president of this association.
There Is no other section in America to
day where the towns give down more
liberally to good shows than the territory
covered by this Northwest Association,
so it ls a factor not to be Ignored.
It Is far better than that.
routine: Direct rehearsal, In which he
usually has a part of his own to learn,
from 10 A. M. until 1 and sometimes 3
o'clock in the afternoon. Spend the rest
of the afternoon superintending the work
of building the production, painting scen
erj', securing properties and costumes,
for the next week's bill and attending to
business correspondence connected with
his department. After dinner he must
hurry back to the theater, make up, di
rect the performance and play his part.
After the performance he goes home to
study the next week's play, design the
settings, make out music cues and re
vise manuscripts. He seldom retires until
3 or 3:30 in the morning, and the next
day's programme is very like. the former.
This for seven days in the week, except
ing on Saturday and Sunday, when there
are matinees, and his tasks are heavier.
As a rule, however, there are no re
hearsals on Sunday, but when it ls a big
and difficult piece the rehearsal goes in
on Sunday the same as the other days.
As if this weren't enough, Mr. Sain
polls is at all times working on at least
two and sometimes three productions in
advance. On Monday morning the scenic
artist, stage carpenter and property-man
begin on the next week's stage settings
and by Friday things have taken on form
and void, but it is not until Saturday
night at best that they are complete.
The director's lieutenants at the Baker.
Chief Carpenter McCabe. Artist Shultz
and Property Masier Smith, form a fine
corps of assistants; Mr. Sainpolis says
they're among the best In the country,
but the director of necessity must work
with them, planning, consulting, advis
ing and frequently lending a hand at the
manual work of each.
A big stock, company, its inside work
ings and Us Importance as an industrial
factor, are not generally understood. For
Instance, the weekly expenditures at the
Baker are in excess of- $2400 practically
$10,000 a month, and this for nine or ten
months in the year. Practically every
dollar of this is spent in Portland, mak
ing it a "made-in-Oregon" institution
not to be sneezed at.
This is somewhat of an aside, but. to
return to John Sainpolls, whom the pub
lic knows only as an actor of exceptional
ability and well-deserved popularity:
Those who think his an easy life are
in profound darkness. I doubt If any
jzww Tseuyoc csso zr. jz&s? cvzzEy?
It Is fully appreciated by the firm of
Klaw and Erlanger. In turn, this firm
wishes that Cort may succeed as a pro
ducing manager. They help him In get
ting time and help him In the acquisition
of the naturally accruing favors that are
to be had by the right man In the East.
But, underneath the outward semblance
of hearty approval and co-operation and
suave appreciation of efforts, this mass
of mercenary diggers and schemers and
planners and tricksters would gladly and
stealthily cut the throat of every new
comer, and, If .truth be told, each other's
throats, if need be, whenever they got
th chance.
It is a cruel and a relentless succession
of chance opportunities. The quickest
man is often the best man. The longest
headed man Is always the best man. The
shrewdest man is often overcome by a
euddenly shifting combination through
which an unforseen change of circum
stances alters conditions and the shrewd
man is overthrown.
I have observed Cort closely with these
competitors, and I am not amazed. I
am amused and gratified. He comes from
'Seattle. He is a Northwest product. He
has come here to New Y'ork not to show
the fellows here how to do things, but-to
"butt in," as he said himself, and to get
his share of what seems to be open to
him in the way of the public's patronage.
He has gathered together a line of stars
and plays, whom he is backing by money
controlled exclusively by himself. He
has no open partners, but he ls going
into the thing so heavily that I know
he has raised money somewhere in his
Northwest territory. Note the advertis
ing he did when he brought out Florence
Roberts In the "The Strength of the
Weak." He billed the play alone for
four weeks previous to the opening to the
tune of $HXX) per week in this city. He
spent JGO.000 on the Stewart Opera Com
pany which is touring the Northwest and
has been to Portland. He had a special
set of furniture made for Maude Fealy's
play. He traveled to Michigan for the
purpose, and the stage set made a hit.
Thev are very particular here about
having the stage settings correct and
Florence Huberts Discovered.
The critics got all ready to write up
"The Strength of the Weak" as a new
breakfast food. They hailed with glee
the advent of so novel a combination
as a manager from Seattle, an author
from Tacoma. and an actress from San
Francisco. But when the clever Flor
man or woman In this big town works so
many grilling, nerve-racking hours a day
as does Sainpolls. He Is something of a
public benefactor, too. though he doesn't
pose In the part. Through his efforts the
best stock company we have ever had is
giving clean entertainment to thousands
of people each week, surrounded by all
that is best In the way of stage accesso
ries. There is peace In the company, for
Sainpolls is also a diplomat and knows
the knack of "getting along." although
the task Isn't hard in the present in
stance, for the company Is just a big,
hard-working, peaceable family.
Experiment Can Be Tried With a
Mirror on a Cloudless Xight.
A pretty experiment can be made with
a hand mirror any night when there is
a full moon. Hold the mirror so that
the moon's image will be seen In it and
you will be surprised to see four moons
instead of one. One moon will be very
bright but the other three will he in a
straight line and quite dull, one dull image
on one side of the bright moon and the
The aches and pains of Rheumatism are only symptoms which may
be scattered or relieved with liniments, plasters, blisters, etc., or quieted
with opiates. As soon as the treatment is left off, howeyer, or there is any
exposure to dampness, or an attack of indigestion, the nagging; pains, sore
muscles and tender places on the flesh return, and the sufferer finds that he
has merely checked the symptoms, while the real cause remains in the system.
The cause of Rheumatism is a too acid condition of the blood, brought on by
indigestion, chronic constipation, weak Kidneys, and a general sluggish
condition of the system. Waste matter collects in the system each day
which nature intends shall be carried off, but when it is left because of a
sluggish condition of the S3'stern it sours and forms uric and other acids.
These are taken up by the blood and carried to all parts of the body to produce
the pains and aches of Rheumatism. S. S. S. cures Rheumatism by going
down into the blood and driving out the cause and making this life stream
rich, pure and healthy. When the blood has been purified and built up by
S. S. S. the pains and aches pass away, the muscles become soft and elastic
and Rheumatism driven from the system. Book on Rheumatism and medU
ence hit the stage they began to draw in
their horns. They perceived merit. And
Miss Roberts' progress has been quite
satisfactory ever since. Indeed Cort, I
believe, did a most skillful thing In his
talk with the critics. He knows that the
plav is not perfect. But he laid all
advertising stress t on the play. The
critics came to him and said, "llere. man.
you have a great woman. The actress is
great, but the play is rotten. You think
you have a good play. You have not.
You have a great actress. That's what
you have got. Take a tumble and un
derstand yourself."
Then they wrote up the actress. They
"discovered" her on their own account,
and they were able to tell Cort some
thing. They felt sorry for him. thinking
that he misjudged the play and belittled
the actress. He had a great actress and
he did not know it. Cort winked to him
self in the glass and let the newspaper
boys have their way.
Thus the critics have made Florence
Roberts In the East and In New York.
Cort let them have their own way. Ho
still features the play with the star on
the bills, and the critics do the rest. In
February he will submit to the Inevitable
decree of the erudite critics and bring
out the great Mar that they have written
up and recorded, in a new play, that is
in reality a good play. Then the critics,
and Cort and, possibly, everybody else,,
will be happy.
Don't you call that clever handling?
I do.
Cort chuckles and is happy.
His best and most effective character
istic and the one that will continue to
the end to stand him in the best stead,
Is his unflagging good nature, his af
fability, his knack of making friends with
each soul he meets. He is no laggard.
He goes right to the point. He is re
markable for getting right to the meat
of any matter in a word or two. He
tamed Florence Roberta with a tele
gram of two words. It is notorious that
she gave her former managers, Belasco
and Mayer, much annoyance at frequent
Intervals while on the road on the Pa
cific Coast, and hurried the hair of the
travelling manager toward grayness by
her unreasonableness. Well, she began
the same thing when she came under
Cort's direction at first. His representa
tive on the road with the show, reported
to his chief, and Cort wired Miss Roberts
the brief dispatch: "Don't butt in."
She has not butted since.
In three years' work Cort will be ono
of the big factors here, . or he will go
broke. A. H. BALLARD.
other two on the other side. Turn the
mirror around slowly, still holding its face
to the moon, and the reflections will seem
to revorve around a common center.
You can make the same experiment with
any one of the very bright stars, such as
Sirius, Venus or Jupiter, but with these
there will be three images Instead of four,
as the number seen depends on the
breath of the object.
The explanation is simple. There are
two surfaces in a mirror, one in front
and the other where the quicksilver Is.
The brightest reflection comes from the
object Itself, the others are what ls known
as "secondary images' reflected from the
front to the back of the mirror and thence
to the eye. The magic mirror never fails
to exicte a good deal of wonder and is an
Interesting experiment as well.
Sacking Families to the Front.
Louisville Courier-Journal.
The oldest royal house in Europe Is
that of Mecklenburg, which traces its
descent from a gentleman who sacked
Rome, A. D. 45. Sometimes there may
be American families of distinction
who can trace their lines back to gen
tlemen who sacked New York life ln
surance companies from TS90 to 1S0S.