Newspaper Page Text
rCONESDAY, OCTOBER , 1920.
THE NEWS SCIMITAR. PAGE FIVE. LOEW?S FAME AND FORTUNE COMES i AFTER STRUGGLE "If at first you don't succeed, try. try again." 'The foregoing slogan or familiar phrase strikes at the paramount is sue In the life of Marcus Loew, an Imsuo seemingly always before him, and one that carried him over a sea of defeats in youth to the goal of fame and fortune he now . ejoys. Seemingly fickle fame did not beckon until every measure of defaat tiad been meted out to the little man, who now controls the largest chain of theaters In the world. ' The story of his life should "prove most1 in teresting to ambitious youths, who so often after tasting their first defeat i are content to cling to the 'fringes of semlsuccess, with its bare neces sities pi life. . ... ': 'Yi It Is an interesting commentary on Ihe career of Mr. 'Loewtbat the very house in which he was born has been torn down by his own work men to m&lce room for one of his new theaters at Fifth street afnd Avenue U. New York. ' Like most boys of his age, Mr. t Imcw earlv Haw the attractions of t Uie theater and we find him at the i tender -age of 7 at the old National theater investing a hard earned dime to see "melodrama" with plenty of red, white and, blue that is always present herf. Marcus applauded with the rest and a year later he set up in busi ness for himself and sold, papers in front of old Billy McGlory's .place, working from sunrise until- school time, and then after school working wirh his papers until midnight So it went for three summers. When Mr. Loew was 9, he left Bchool for good, and except for some les sons with a private tutor who en riched himself to the' -extent of $2 per month from each pupil, that was ill the schooling he ever.Uiad. v Starts as Printer. - He went to work for a map print iriK concern, pulling the sheets from under the coloring blocks. The pay was 36c a day. v He was there for a year; then the spirit of industrial unresLiroke loose in the place; the boys struck for 40c a day, and were quietly locked out by the proprietor. Loew was 10 years old and out of a job. So he went into another partner ship, this time in the printing busi ness with a lad some years oldar than. he. First they set up a little hand press and printed visiting cards and then as their trade increased they installed a toot, press, and fi nally started a weekly paoer of eight pages called the "Kast Side Adver tiser." Loew was a weakly boy, small for his age and hardly fit for the slight est physical labor. So Instead of running the press he was editor, copy reader, proof reader, manager, subscription agent, advertising so licitor and writer of advertisements. Also in his spare hours he used to write the paper. The partner set up the tyjie and ran the press, up plying the power with his own feet. ! The "Advertiser" had a surprising success. The circulation grew stead ily and toward the last it. touched 500 copies. Loew bustled around among the ice cream stores and nov elty shops of the East Side and cor nered enough advertising to make - the sheet pay well. Finally he in augurated a system of six months' contracts with advertisers and after a few weeks' work he had contracts for all the advertisements that could 6eBqueee"1ht6 tUs' paper Tor fittlf a year in advance, i That was where the trouble start - ed. For the partnership was paying SI 2 apiece per week to the two mem bers of the firm, and the senior partner was so pleased with himself that he married immediately, and loew, who had nothing to do, now that the contracts were signed, ex cept to improve his literary style end work ip a few lines of news in the advertisers' columns, became an eyesore to the Benior partner's young bride. Bride Starts Trouble. She could not see why he should sit around and write and her Jiu fcand was breaking his back over ttie press and really earning some money. She came up to the office one day and said so. She said other things, too, about his poverty and she wound up with the crudest taunt an angry woman can find his own physical Insignificance and the boy, Who was only 11 and full of a boy's sensitiveness and hot pride, left the ehop and told the pair they could have the paper and welcome to all they had. Then he worked, in a dry goods store at Grand and Allen streets. The pay was only $4 per week, but it was sure. He waited on customer, ran errands between times, and worked untit midnight six days in the week Then when he was 12 he went to work in a factory for han dling furs and making dress trim mings. There was no power in the plant and his work was turning the crank of the machine for 11 hours per day. but the pay was $4.50 P1 week; it was better than before. His parents were still living and. every penny he brought home was needed there. Gradually he worked his way through the plant, ror he had an In quiring mind and he learned every trick of the trade. At one time he was a weaver of dress goods; then at 16 ho was made the chief of the factory's fur department. Presently he took the few hundred dollars he had saved and started in the fur business for himself. He was 18 then. At 19 he failed. His debts were $8,000 and his stock brought little over $5,000. There remained debts " of $1,800 tor which after the bankruptcy proceedings he was not leeallv liable. Opportunity did not come to Loew! in any strange or uiumeruiK w, but in his daily work; once because he had paid his debts out of plain, old-fashioned honesty, once because he had Indulged in a piece of plain old-fashioned softness of heart. It was like this: one, of the larg est of his creditors at the time of his failure was a fur dealer. The man knew that young Loew's business had been more or less extravagant, and when he drew down three quarters of his account, he counted himself lucky to come out so well. A Fur Salesman. , A few months later, when the fur dealer was desperately pressed In hU turn Loew called on him and told him that he hud come to Day the balance of his debt. The young man had a place is a fur salesman, was making $100 per week out of It, and was paying up sthe last dollar of the obligations from which he had been legally released. The creditor thought it was like finding money. The two became fast friends and the man never forgot the outcome of the af fair. ' v By the time he was 23 Loew had paid his debts and scraped together a few hundred dollars for another start. So he married, took his own capital and that of his wife and started at the fur business again. At the end of the first year he was wiped out. By this time, however, he had learned something about management, and he was. able to meet all liabilities and close his ac counts with a clear conscience and a balance of $7. That was at the time when golf capes were in vogue and -Loew- was soon at it again in a cape Jabbing house, and with a partner . named Herman Baher. In three weeks he lost. Then came the hard times of 1895 one after another the cape houses closed their doors. Only ..ten of the firms survived the storms and Baher A Loew were among the num ber. The partnership lasted for Hen years and when it -came to an' -end Loew was well to do, and something of a capitalist on his account. It Was in. 1904" that ODDortunltY Lcame to him,guided by the friend he haa made at the time of his failure. The fur dealer knew some, out-of- town people who were planning to start tne penny arcade and Loew would be welcome as a partner.; He knew nothing about amusement en terprises at that time, but he said If the fur man was willing to go Into it that sounded good, and he would bo willing to take- a chance. He did." to the extent of $40,000, and the amuse ment place was opened on the south side of Union square, where it still sianas. ah told. the. man who built it plunged to the extent of $105,000. and it palfl them back their money within seven months. Then Loew saw what opportunity could do for those who had the Whip hand of her and he exploited her without mercy. tie Duiit an arcade of his own In Twenty-third street near Seventh avenue, and another up town. They cost him $150,000. and he lost nearly all- the money before they began to pay. Things were looking very black for him indeed, and then he discovered Cincinnati There were penny arcades there,, but they . were shabby, dark, dirty and more or less disreputable, and he bought one for almost noth ing. He broke the wall through for windows, invested liberally in pressed steel and white paint, took out the posts and put on a facade that had a tempting look. The money came pouring in at a rate that is almost Incredible. In five months he had a quarter .of a million dollars, taken from his machines' where the coins came in one cent at a time. Opens Picture Show, Loew installed a moving picture show In his Cincinnati place, and It made a surprising success. Then he tried one in his arcade in One Hun dred and Twenty-fifth street, New York, with the same result. . Then he began putting in store shews all ever town, taking a room that was in tended for a store and making it Intj a small moving picture theater, with a rapacity of from 100 to 300 specta' tors, xne man never am things by halves, and within a few months he had 40 of these establishments. They paid fiTm handsomely. He was fast becoming -a rich man. So It happened tftat when oppor tunity came to him for the second time, when he had already made a fortune that would content a great many men. it never occurred to- him to let well enough , alone, but he plunged again and this time he went deeper tnan ever. One day a man came to David Warfield ith a tale of woe such as you may hear from 40 persons be fore breakfast along Broadway. He had been stranded in the wreck of a barnstorming company, came back somehow or other, struck town a week ago, and had a wife and four atton's elumina Finest Of All Wall Paints, Used in Decorating Interior 1 Pittsburgh late Company Distributors R. H. LOHMAR, Local Agent 1 s children, no job, no money, was down and out. Also he had seen every manager In New York, and found, as was to be expected, at the end of a slack season, that there was no hope of any work until fall. Warfield rubbed his head a while and wrote a card of introduction to Loew, who had been a friend of hla for years. To Loew the actor went and told his story about his wife, children, stand ing, joblessness and all. It was too much for Loew, who had handled hard luck stories himself, and he be gan, to talk Job. There was no work at hand around the picture places, so, since the man could) neither sing, dance nor con tort, it was decided to let him do a recitation m one of the picture places and bill aim as an extra attraction. Th.ctor proposed "Porphrias Lov er" r a ' starter, and some little things, from "Plppa Passes" as. en cores.' Low thought they ought to have something up-to-date, so they compromised on "tunga Din." Some Side Lights. , The audience did not go wild about Gunga Din, but they did rather seem to cotton to "Mandalay" when tnai was produced the second week. The man stayed for four weeks aw one house and was then moved to an other. And when he saw there was an appreciable falling off of the tick et sales. Loew kept him moving and raised his salary besides, which was not a difficult thing to do. Today, by the way, he is a well-known actor and names pretty much his own fig ure to the managers. So Loew entered the field where he made his great success, the field of pictures and vaudeville. Wittt those first experiments in vaude ville, he pushed rapidly, feeling his way as he went. Soon he had extra attractions In the shape of perform ers bodily present instead at beljiii pictured on the white screen. As in all of his store shows, the success was enormous. For It was just that of human ttersonallty in the picture house that was reeded to make peo ple at home there. Within a few mofiths foew sW what he was romlng to 11 he wanted to play the big gams and as tio other game interested hiiri. he $luhg4 again, for he kept giving Ms shows better and better vaudeville arts as time went on, and he soon found that he had reached the limit f develop ment in that direction, tor the 6c houses could not take in enough money to pay the stage people he needed. There was only one thing to do, to give his shows in large theaters where he could charge a low admission and still have large gross returns. , i It took courage to make his first venture in that line. The theater was the old Cozy Corner In Brooklyn at Pearl and Wllloughby streets. The place had been Tun for years as a burlesque house of a low type and was finally closed by the police. With such a record nobody wanted it and the house had stood vacant when Loew bought It, plunging almost to the limit of his credit to put the bar gain through. 1 For years ho ha 4 been fighting afong with other moving picture men to prove that cheap amusements peed not be vicious or even degrading, but the battle was not won yet and the old Cozy Comer with its evil asso ciations looked like a hopeless han dicap. Has Faith in Himself. But Loew drove ahead with it. He spent hundreds for paint and' carpen ter work, toning up the appearance of the old theater, then he spent thousands in toning up its reputa tion. He hired Antonio Morio, the Italian tragedian, to appear there in repertoire of Shakespeare and other classical plays of unquestioned birth. jyid he was tireless in dragging school Glass s teachers and other reputable citizens to the place to see his performances and praise the revival of dramatlo art which had burst upon Brooklyn. The name of the theater he had changed, of course, and he washed out its reputation by four months of tragedy, but it was expensive laun dry work. Morio had two companies supporting him, one playing In En glish and the other in Italian, and while salaries were not high, neither were the box office receipts. At a time when he needed every dollar, Loew lost $3,000 on bis tragedy sea son, and he counted the money well spent. When he finally opened the Iiouse with pictures and vaudeville at 10c for every seat, the first large theater of Us kind In America, his first day's receipts were 10c Busi ness picked up, however, and he netted a profit of something over $60,000 for his year In the house'. That gave him the cue for the de- velopment of a new amusement sys tem and he began adding to his list large theaters and selling off his small store shows. The rejuvenated theater In Brooklyn he opened in 1908, and in the same year he took over Blaney's Lincoln Square thea ter, which had failed and closed ; then he took over the old Harlem Canlno, remodeled it in fireproof construc tion and opened It on his new plan. Since then he has added theaters in every section of the country until now It is said that he buys theaters like bananas, in bunches. Too .great empnasts cannot be given to the Important fact that Mr. Loew has the distinction of having seea the astonishing field for usefulness and of genuine value and real interest of the moving picture business aa the statement that he has put the na tion in his debt is literally true. It is also true, however, that the reward to him financially has been, as they so richly deserved to be, very great. , The enviable position which the moving picture business occupies to day has only been acquired by per sistent hard work, by unusual fore sight and by close attention to not only the needs, but the demands of the people. Mr. Loew makes a study of all this, and his success has .been the result, to an extent at least, of actually anticipating the needs of the people and with confidence that the moving picture filled a definite need in our advanced civilization as a force and a power of tremendous value. His Judgment has been mag nificently sustained and with the re sult already of supplying an agency of fascination and value for the en lightenment of all the people, high and low, and in whatever station of life. Surely such man deserves suc cess. CAETOONISTT LfilSW S Seldom does ft newspaper cartoon ist break into vaudeville, but when he does it is in an ant displaying his talents as an artist, however. Michael A'.vln. coming to Loew's State thea ter, is a cartoonist and a performer on the flying rings as well. Occa sionally Alrls) does a bit of Sketch ing. generally f his fellow perform er h. and now and then for th. news papers. One Of Ills recent cartoons is one of JsUrsus toew. covering the theatrical magnate's building activi ties, which Mr. hal framed and hung in his office. ' t The CTS, ',- J. W. Hull Plumbing and Heating Co. 239 South Bellevue Memphis (Repair and Service Dept.) Estimates On All Phases of Plumbing Given LYTELL COMES OF FAMILY OF GREAT STAGE PLAYERS Bert Lytell, athletic and handsome young Loew-Metro star, who comes to Memphis on Thursday; comes of a family of stage players. Both on his mother's and his father's side the Lytells have long been prominent In the theater; and even further bark, Bert Lytell'a grandfather. J. K. Mor timer, was one of Aagustin Daly's most prominent players. Bert Lytell was M 3fc In New York city, and although some of his boy hood was spent in the West, he was raised in the atmosphere of the play house. Educated at Upper Canada college. Toronto, he came to New York eager to embark upon a dra matic career, and at the age of 17 made his stage debut In Newark, N. J. There, as a member of the Colum bia Stock company he made his stage 4ebut, taking a part at short notice In the old Civil wa hdo trarna, "Cumberland '61" Since then Jfcert Lytrlfs .tape ex perience has fcewt imMt tfctensive. lie lias had the "leadina, role in pructi callv very til; flay produced during his lifeline. H heaileu hla lin stork coronary in I tM;is.. Htnl tin Albany, N. Y M aTard Drinking and all Installed by with stock organizations in Roches ter, New Orleans, Honolulu, Troy, Los Angeles, Portland, Me., and Boston. Mr. Lytell is one of the many prominent stage and screen folk who received training us members of the famous Alcazar Stock company in Kan Francisco, under the manage ment of Fred Belasco. brother of Da vid Belasco. He played several sea sons there as leading man, opposite Marjorle Rumheau, Kvelyn Vaughan and Bessie Barriscale, and subse quently appeared as featured player in a number of New York stage suc cesses. His most recent Broadway stage success was In "Mary's An kle," In which production he was co starred with Irene Kenwick. Karly last year Mr. Lytell made his advent on the screen as a Loew Metro star, after doing "The Lone Wolf for Herbert Brenon His Me tro pictures, beginning with "The Trail st Yesterday." and ending with "Kasy to Make jfloney,"tabllshd him as A nrnig drawing Card with ever-lnr-rrasing fallowings, so that LoelTetrc rrtttrntd His vloes o ai'r Jit its tiig special productions. 1h frt V it whs f,ombardl, Mil.. 1I 4on tlte lorost stage 9. t?RUH MCTUHtt success, by Frederlo and Ianny Hat-, ton. "The Price of Redemption," to be one of the main attractions of the Initial program at Loew's State, will. be doubly interesting with the star to v appear in person. . . i v Nazimova Will Film "Aphrodite" Far Tjnew.Mafkn Nazimova.wlll star in "Aphrodite" on the screen, according to an an nouncement this week from the homo orflces of Loew-Metro Pictures, pur-, chasers of the motion picture rights .of this tremendous stage spectacle based on the novel by Pierre Louys. It was presented by Comstock and Oest last winter in New York at the,' Century theater. 1 Charles Bryant, acting for Nazlf mova, arrived In New York from th PRcifio coast not long ago to Join In the negotiations for the purchase of the play. He is at present engaged In adapting It for screen production. The Ujisslan star herself Is ex-' pected to come Kast soon to confer with the producers regarding "Aph- 11.. . l . 1 -1 - i.t. cate, will not be made in the Holly wood studios, but done in the Easti Presentation of this story on the screen completes the several medi ums 0t expression already used. A company of several hundred appear-, ed at the Century theater in the dramatic version, and Mary Garden, In the operatic. Announcement that Nazimova will appear fn the role of Chrysis, the courtesan, in the pic ture production, comes as a climax.