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Florence Reed: A Confession of Judaism
By CHARLES D. ISAACSON. (lii tlio American Hebrew) I must describe one of the most re markable situations I have ever lie held. in which flip characters were Florence Reed, a famous emotional no. tress; Michael Morton, playwright; A. 11. Woo<ls t theatrical producer; Edgar! Selwyn. author and manager; myself, an audience of twenty-five hundrinl amazed listeners and a piny-girl. Let. me try to reconstruct the scene I as it liappened—so vivid is it in my j memory. 1 had invited Florence Reed to ap pear at my Educational Literary Se ries, where I am attempting to carry <•11 a missionary effort in behalf of books and plays, similar io that which I have lieen doing for years in l>e hnlf of good music. . . At these meetings we have heard Frank Reichcr do Hamlet and have met Shakespeare. Ceorge Sand. Francois Villon, diaries RIALTO Playing || All Week THEATRE "ton fat ~££ £ AmgSri-iig) Famous Players - La sky Corporation A COSMOPOLITAN PRODUCTION reigned gayest palace cm Hroad way. W'y* y i Now. fled to n sleepy South «k Scat Isle, she danced to forget her fear. Hoping ever that 3BT tin* world had lost her. Hut a New York deteetlve %yjui_- •stepped from the motley ,-\>y one night ''A life began! With SEENA OWEN and E. K. LINCOLN Personally Directed by Robert Vignola Adapted by Doty Hobart from a Story by Donn Byrne AB I—. ■ '■■■■ 11 ■ ■ I PRINCESS Vow Playing DOUBLE BILL Also — '— y Dqagtas MBij , s. „ in I RARAMOUMT- H / „ X II - I,L ■ VANDCNBEROM Q / ct \ //-> ■ tuploraflon ftriml E remount) 1 IT I P H I ¥ IAV, JH£7i! 1 1 5, I W/ yilV. U u | ||IPPOPOT/>MUS | " \AI n TIT FRITZ SCHMIDTS IY II II M J SU'KKIt ORCHESTRA ; Dickens, .Tames Whitcomb Riley, "Fact* ■ to Face”; Louis Mann. t'hillip Moel ! ler. S. Jay Kaufmann have discussed | plays ami players: Walter Pritchard Eaton, Margaret V* .ddeinor. Mrs. Joyce Kilmer. Harriet Weems have read from their own and other poetry and have presented hits from Dickens, Riley. Villon, Sand and others. ... I mention this, to show you what the audience was (here for, and how un expectedly and dramatically came the j confession. “The Yellow Ticket” Some years ago I had gone to the I theatre to see Michael Morton’s play, j The Yellow Ticket. I had been thrill ed, and the chiefest thrill, even includ ing the spemlid drama, was the acting of Florence Reed. From that time forward she was a prominent figure in my estimate of the American stage, and I have always placed her among the greatest emotional interpreters of our day. Since that time, I have seen her in other plays, some good and some very had. but always she lias been a sincere portrayer of character. Thru her love for musicj. and her own uncommon ability as ji pianist, wo have become warm friends, and it bus boon refreshing and enlightening to bear her views on current art. She has been a ••roster" for our Globe con. cetts. going out of her way to make friends and fiupporteVs fot our efforts, and lias been one of the most enthus iastic applauders when she lias come to the concerts. I have had but to ask Miss Heed to do this, that or the other tiling, and if she could do it, at all. she has lieen more than will ing. Hence, when I asked her to ap pear in behalf of the Literary Idea, she graciously accepted, and was in strumental in inducing Michael Min ton, here in this country for* a brief period (he is staging his own "In The Night Watch and Woman to Woman." to appear. I mention these facts, to show you bow surprised I was—how bewildered the audience lieeame—when the bomb was fired. The ball of tin* Boys High School in Brooklyn was crowded to the doors, with hundreds standing. The Lincoln Society (with whom the Globe is co operating in this plan) with its three hundred idealistic young men and women were in their accustomed seats. Tin* musical program had lieen com pleted. the poems of Riley had lieen recited by the little Sarah Bernhardt, Aida Anna ml, I had given my "Fail* to Face with Riley." ... In expect ancy the audience awaited their big star, Florence Reed. Mr. Morton Speaks In my very best manner, I,lntro duced Michael Morton .as one of the most distinguished playwrights in tin* Lnglish-siieaking world. Mr. Morton, who is evidently of Hebraic persua sion, came upon the stage and deliv ered a masterful speech. He told how the Yellow Ticket came to lie written. He mentioned a publication “In Dark pst Russia" which was edit Hi by a fearless gentleman, despite tin* cen sors. who evidently “gov him." Mr. Morton declared that he was intense ly interested in Russian affairs—this was some eighteen years ago. In the course of scanning the columns «»f "Darkest Russia" lie came upon tin* account of,the yellow ticket and its us«*s. . . . The Jews were permitted no lilierty except within their own pale of the settlement. They might not. go from town to town. Especially not the Jewish girls and women. I'll, less they carried a yellow ticket. Thin was the most liberal kind of passport—with it one might go from any city to any oily. But the yellow ticket was given jonly to the public prostitutes, the women or the streets. To these venders of vice, freedom of movement was accorded. Thus many Jewish women, in order 10 free them, selves from the tortures «f the pale, wore forced into tin* vice traffic, in order to procure the badge of liberty —and of shame. . . . When he read almut these condtions Air. Morton couldn't believe that they were true. But investigation brought out * tin* facts that the real affairs were worn* than anyone might put in print or THE DENVER JEtWSH NEWS public speech. Thinking In his own idiom, the stage. Mr. Morton wns mov ed to trauscrilie a pn.v which would nrouse tin* English-Speaking mitions to tlie outrage on decency and moral ity. Tims came the Yellow Ticket. • In America .the commercial man nger, A. 11. Woods, a Russian .lew. read it and signed a contract saying "If it takes all I own and doesn't j bring in a dollar I’m going to pro duce that play for a protest against, the Russian-.lewish catastrophe.'' The play was produced, it made a great success, and the greatest ele ment. said Mr. Morton, in that suc cess was Florence Reed, who eiime from a slck-lwd to play it. and did if as it' it meant her life. . . Short ly afterwards, the yellow-ticket itself went out of existence. The play had done its work. At this point. Mr. Morton turmsl to an analysis of the piny, and led up to the point where Florence Reed has her great speech. A Jewish girl, she had protended that she was a Christian, had changed her name and was living under these pretenses in a , home when* the son had tit Hen in love with her. Suddenly a police officer enters, denounces her. eulls her by her real name ami forced to confess she tills why and how she came to tills city. She shows her passport, the yellow tleket. “I Am a Jewess” “I am a Jewess, yes, and I am not ashamed of it. JJut 1 changed my name. I laid to do it. Listen. . . 1 was living in the pule. My father was ill in another city. The shock of tic; nows killed my mother, I had to get to him. ltut being a Jewess I couldn’t leave the piilU I wns told that only the yellow'ticket would get me out. I applied for it. ! didn’t know what if meant. I was told to sign, and tin* police officers laughed. I said I'd sign, gladly—l lind to ge*t to m.v father. They asked did I know what I was signing. 1 read it. I didn’t understand it—l naked them to explain. Coarse, in the language men use with men. they told me. I was never the same since that time. Rut I signed. 1 had to get to my father. My people mourned me for dead lit candles—hut I did get to my father, and he died giving me ids blessing. Finci* then the police have been hound ing me. They won’t let me he a good woman they want me to live up to the letter of the yellow ticket." I have not given the exact speech —only the context of it. as 1 remem ber it. Weeping, the actress bowed to the audience who madly mailed her. Her eyes streaming, sin* went to the footlights and raiged her hand. "The C onfessimf af M>* HcArt." "That is tin* spefAm In the fUify; you have heard what Mr. Morton has told you, hut there's something he doesn’t know, something that omy one or two people know . . . and I’m going to toll it to the world today. Now. The confession of my heart!” It wns unexpected. The house went still as death. It was more dramatic than any play. It was life —some- thing vital which was to lie enacted. I sat cold| on the stage. 1 am sure I turned pule. Miss Re«*d was pale— her beautiful, mobile face was white, her eyes staring hard —her body rigid, her expressive hands raised aloft. Morton was trembling. I saw tin* audience. They were open-mouthed and mute. "I am going to confess something. ... I wns in the hospital when I decided to pla.v that role in The Yel low Ticket. Before that l was re hearsing in Under Cover with the; Selwyns. Mr. Woods was in the the atre every day, telling me he had. the greatest part for me—something which would make me famous. I told him to go away, that I was undef contract and contented, and I didn’t want to he made dissatisfied. Rut he insisted. And I told him I wouldn’t listen. Then I was taken dangerous ly ill. I wns rushed to the hospital, for a serious surgical operation. The morning after my operation. I was lying in a daze .when Mr. Woods walked In and said: ‘l’ve bought you from Solwyns. here’s the contract for the Yellow ticket, and lie road me the speech I’ve just done for you. ... I said: Til sign the contract.’ Weak and still ill. I went to rehearsal. The operating doctors had done some things they shouldn’t have done and I was paralyzed from the hip to the toes on the left side. I played tin* first six months with a brace.” “My God.” ejaculated Morton. "I didn't know that.” “I wanted you to know it—wanted you to know how much it meant to me. . . . Rut there’s something else much more important. . . . Listen. Horn a Jewess. “I was born a Jewess, didn’t know that. I was. My mother was Jewish. My father was a great actor —he created Koko in The Mikado in this country. He was a famous art ist. . . . Rut listen.” The actress was herself now, she was breathing heavily, supporting her self at a chair. •I lived In the* Jewish rites until I wns sixteen, going to sviyigog, observ ing our holidays, following the kosher diet. ... At sixteen I went on the [ stage, and came under certain influ jj BfrMpTß Bring In Your Passbook |! f Monday, June 27 I* - ! I It will be worth your while. Semi-annual interest, ! | due July 1, will be credited to our SAVINGS DF «- tteStfnk POSITORS ne\t Monday. If you have a savings ac lay/jCt-Jjllf count here, bring in your hook and have your interest M ||T| i,7 entered. If you do not have an account with us, NOW fS&i is THE TIME TO OPEN ONE. in order that it may draw interest from July 1. Your regularity and our reliability will do the rest. There is no force in the r world can disturb the dollar you place on deposit here Nai'io!!al" ,l "iviTiß(f' pass*. except your own desire. AND ONE DOLLAR OPENS book is the best business AN ACCOUNT, reference or credential of diameter we know of. Carry one and feel your self-respect grow. THE FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF DENVER, COLORADO Seventeenth Street at Stout I Four Percent Interest l-areest, strongest safety nn Savings. vaults in the West. 2 := ■ 'T& WE WANT CASH! Ten-for-One Midseason USED CAR SALE Here’s Your Chance For ONE WEEK starting today we will give you back ten cents for every dollar cash you pay on a USED CAR. Remember our Used Car prices are cut to the bone, but WE NEED CASH and will give an additional TEN PER CENT REDUC TION on every dollar CASH you pay- Here’s the Cars i«u*o Ai nnix TorttiNt! folk tocrino ,ol k \KHO S, 4-PASS. CiIAI.MEKS HOAPSTKU « ... Ptll.K “S" CIU'.UMV l'.lis 1,1 It K tot RIM> FORD COI'PK 'JO 1111 I.UtKItTV TOCRINO POIJGK TOl'ltlNO Jill MAXWEIi SKPAN OVERIiAXI) lIEI.IVERV (panel |||[ COI,l; AERO 8. 7-PASS. holly) 1 ■ AIO E TUCKING Wlt.l.YS SIX TOC RIM! 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Jewish girls, and showed me the* yel low ticket —the real one. I real I"' 1 the suffering of the Jewish race, i realized what was in them. . . . Some thing else. 1 began to realize what I was. “I knew that I was Jewish. Oncol a Jew. always a Jew. 1 felt my heart! crying in me. I returned to what I was. I l*ecame a Jewess again. 1 had never lieen anything else, except j wlmt I imagined. “That's what the Yellow Ticket dM for me. It made me nappy, showed me the light .pointed the Clod hi. heaven, the God of my forefathers, j Yes. that’s wlmt I wanted to j say.” • Weakly she bowed her way from, the stage. There was nothing the atrical now. It was a real soul that bad spoken. A committee Ims been formed in Oregon School District No. 1 to take up the question of religious instruc tion in the public schools after school hours. Uuhhi Jonah Ik Wise has been named as tin* Jewisn member of the committee. Coalh^S^ If you delay buying you will be unable to get a sufficient supply next winter and will have to pay a higher price. Order Your Coal Today WEST DENVER COAL CO. U. Zinn S- Sons, Props. : ; 2060 West Colfax Tel. Main 646 —— gag 55 USSISHKIN AND NAIDITCH LEAYE FOR ENGLAND. Nt‘\v York —Mr. Mennchim M. I's sishkin ami Isaac Nn id itch, president of the Keren Hnyrsod. left today on hoard the Acquitanin for England. Be fore leaving. Mr. I'sslshkln expressed j complete satisfaction with the visit | of tiie European Delegation to Amer ica, mid his confirmed belief thnt American Jewry would contribute the greatest portion towards the funds needed for the up building of Pales tine. Mr. Ussishkin intimated that before going to Palestine to take up bis position as head of the Zionist Commission he would make a short trip thru Germany to consult with tlie leading Zionists in that country.