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Newspaper Page Text
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BOOKING .AGENTS ARE HIT BY
Stage life is not tne grand sweet
dream little Miss Matinee Girl pic
tures it. Everybody knows this by
the time they ggt out of their teens.
But perhaps few kftew the graft con
nected with the stage.
Every night there are fn Chicago
vaudeville houses acts that are re
ceiving but one to two dollars a per
son. That does not much resemble
the fabulous sums we ,have heard
quoted as salaries of even the "small
time" headliners. Also there exists
among Chicago vaudeville houses a
system which robs actors -'of. their
Tonight there wifl'be good actors
doing turns in pretenfidus variety
houses outside the loop for. $1.50.
That is less than half of what a union
hodcarrier gets for eight hours' work.
But the actor is not free of the graft
when playing in the loop. The one
who plays down town probably re
ceives a good salary for his work. It
is he who is the prey of a system
which gets too performers for from
10 to 75 per cent of their salary.
To show how the vampire system
sometimes works, an experience of a
vandeville star, -Dr. Royal Raceford
will be told.
Dr. Raceford, an English doctor of
medicine, made some discoveries
about the X-ray, wireless telegraphy
and electrical phenomena. An Eng
lish music hall circuit prevailed upon
him to demonstrate ils discoveries on
the stage. He did so after' investing
$10,000 In stage apparatus and train
ing nine men for the act. After a
successful tour of the British Isles he
came to America with his company.
One of Dr. Raceford's last engage
ments was at the Virginia theater,
809 W. Madison, for $75 for three
nights- Less legitimate commission,
that was about $3.25 a day per man
for a-$10,000 act.
"I booked at the Virginia through
Sam DuVries, 209 S. Dearborn st,"
said Dr. Raceford. "DuVries' com-
missjon of 5 per pent would have left
me $62.50 in my pay envelope. On
pay night a boy -handed m'e. an en
velope marked $62.50. He wanted me
to sign for it before he gave me the
envelope. I refused. On apening the
'envel'qpe I found not only DuVries'
5 Rer cent missing, but an additional
Ifper- cent from the salary. f
-"Believing the theater and DuVries
were working In cahoots I had Du
yriea up .before Labor Commissioner
Knight'an'd nis 5 per cent was refund
Some actors claim they are soak
ed as much as 75 percent of their sal
ary 'for theirbooking. Most stars
have managers or personal booking
representatives. Theh manager sel
dom goes to a big circuit to book his
client. He goes to one of the" sub
agents, according to some of the
actors. The sub-agent will book with
another sub-agent, the second agent
will book Into some big agency and
the big agency will place the act in
the theaters. Each agency, they
claim, gets its commission; so does
the manager. Often there are 5 com
missions to be paid.
J. E. Smith, organizer of the actors'
union, now in Chicago, says the
above is putting it mildlyr that often
theh booking agencies, working eith
er in collusion with the houses or in
dependently, gets 75 per cent of the
performers' salary The circuits
often, will not deal directly with an
actor, they make ,him come up
through the 'other agencies.
Smith tells of another game. Chi
cago agents he claims will book good
acts at theaters for no salary by giv
ing hopes of future big bookings. r
Such agents mostly own or are
owned by the theaters.
Danville, III. Explosion in Shiends
machine plant started fire which did
$50,000 damages; several buildings
Hortonville, Wis. Jesse Collar,
20, fell under wheels while trying to
board train. Left arm torn ofiV
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