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March 17, 1942 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1942-03-17

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE MICIHGAN ,DAILY

T E SIlA r; ARH l, 194

Old Whitney Opera House
Now Has Entertainment
OfMuch Lighter Variety

Vice-President Of 13atet field Circuit

i

i-

Frank McIntyre
Success Story I
By GEORGE SALLADE
It's a success story that only an
author could duplieate.
That's the career of Frank McIn-
tyre, the local boy who became a
nationally-known stage and radio
star. Seated in his study and sur-
rounde6 by four walls of pictures that
trace an era of the American Theatre,
McIntyre can recall with vivid mem-

1908 First Nighters Paid
$25 For Single Boxes,
But Today It's Different
Movies Entered
Theatre In 1914
Still harboring dim ghosts of its
elegant past, the old Whitney Opera
House, once the theatre of Ann Arbor,
now devotes itself almost exclusively
to operas of the "horse" variety.
Opening on the night of Jan. 18,
1908 with the Chicago Whitney Opera
House Company in "A Knight For
A Day," to, an audience which had
paid as high as $25 for a single box,
the old Whitney Opera House served
as Ann Arbor's amusement center
until the coming of regular motion
picture performances in the mid-
Twenties.
Whitney Was Builder
Bert C. Whitney of Chicago built
the theatre on the site of an earlier,
up-stairs house, the Athens, which
had staged the city's chief theatrical
productions since the years immedi-
ately following the Civil War. Be-
tween them, the two theatres brought
local audiences every hit play along
with every great stage star flourish-
ing from tie year 1870 up to the
1920's.
Designed by Herman Pipp, archi-
tect, and constructed by the Koch
Bros., contractors, the theatre's range
of vision, and especially its acoustics
were recognized as perhaps the bet
in the city. Total seating capacity
of the house was 1,500 chairs, 593
on the main floor, 408 in the balcony,
475 in the high gallery, and' six each
in the six sumptuous boxes.
Was Largest Theatre
Largest theatre of its day in Michi-
gan, it was also the best appointed.
Its "artistic" lobby with its panel
work and background of beautiful
shades ofrred burlap, its three hand-
some French finished chandeliers,
its Italian tile floor of a "very mild
and mellow" color, along with its
gold, sky blue, light green and pale
yellow color scheme backed by wood-
work of .dark oak, relieved by its red
upholstered seats, carpets and drap-
eries, made it seem the very zenith
of architectural and decorative per-
fection to the eyes of the conglomer-
ation-loving Victorians.
In addition to these purely decora-
tive virtues, its technical equipment
was unsurpassed by that of any the-
atre in the state. Its stage was lit
with 183 16-candle power lamps for
footlights, along with 415 three-col-
ored lamps of the same candle power
for general stage lights.
Had Nine Sets
The stage itself was proud posses-
sor of nine sets, an unprecedented
number for a one-night-stand pro-
vincial theatre. These nine settings
consisted of a parlor fancy set, a
plfin chamber, a kitchen, a cottage,
a prison, a garden, a wood set, street
and horizon drops.
jProvided for the convenience of
the traveling thespians were 25 well
lit and well fitted dressing rooms in

the bowels of the
of the house.
Mr. Whitney's

back-stage portion
new theatre put

Ann Arbor on the Klaw and Elanger
Booking Circuit. This circuit brought
to local audiences such stars as the
Barrymores, Billie Burke, Elsie Janis,
Annette Kellerman, Walter Hamp-
den, Edna Wallace Hopper, Mrs. Les-
lie Carter, Lillian Russell, Maude
Adams along with Ann Arbor's own
Frank J. McIntyre.
In addition to these great stars, the
Whitney Theatre witnessed the first
performances of many future ones of
both sexes in the annual student pro-
ductions, for the Whitney had the
honor to present both the Mimes
Union Operas and the JGP's for well
over a decade. The most famous and
successful of the annual Union Op-
eras, "Cotton Stockings," "Culture,"
"Koanzaland," "Awaken Rhamses,"
and "Michigenda," were all pre-
miered in the Whitney, and later
taken out on tour by its manager,
Don McIntyre, brother of the famous
actor, Frank. These operas scored
the greatest box office successes of
one-night stand performances in
New York City and Chicago.
Closed During Depression '
Closing in the first year of the de-
pression, it was the last local legiti-
mate theatre to operate continuously.,
It remained closed through the bal-
ance of "hard times" being reopened
as a movie house about 1934 by L. C.
Mull, now manager of the Majestic
and State. After operating it inde-
pendently for several years, Mr. Mull
leased the house to the Butterfield
Theatres, Inc., its present operators.
Movies first cane to the old "Opry"
when it was finally decided that Sun-
day movies were not demoralizing to
the general public. Announcement
of the intention appeared in the local
newspaper with this addition: "Ann
Arbor is the only city of its size inc
Michigan that does not have SundayI
pictures. It will be Mr. Butterfield'si
aim to give Ann Arbor a good clean
theatre with good clean pictures thatr
anyone would be glad to see, and int
that way try to keep some of thet
townspeople from going to Toledo for
Sunday amusements."
Sunday Pictures Started t
The Sunday pictures duly opened1
with three, four and five part Alco;
productions, running up to five reels.t
Admission fees to this "good andi
clean" entertainment were ten and
five cents.
The theatre was not completely
converted into a movie palace untilr
it was reopened by Mr. Mull. Its,
present policy is to show only first
run pictures, changing its bill twicer
a week. During the summer, it usu-
ally operates only over the weekend,
or closes completely for two and a
half months.
Paul Martin, present manager of
the theatre, came to Ann Arbor last
October from Port Huron where lie
managed three Butterfield theatres.1
Mr. Martin, a native of Kalamazoo,
has been with the Butterfield Inc.,
for 14 years, starting out during his
school days as usher and ticket taker
in Kalamazoo's State Theatre,
Fred Mason
Chased Rats;
Just A Habit
(Continued from Page 3)
seeing that the seats were all dusted
off ad the floor swept but the kids
did most of the work. In the after-
noon, they'd all come around to the
back and old Fred would let a few of
them sneak in to see the show.
After he got through, Fred Mason
would go home and get cleaned up
in his black, shiny suit and at two
o'clock sharp he'd show up at the
door. The old-timer was near-sight-
ed wearing those big, thick-lensedi
glasses all the time and when anybody
said hello to him he had to get his

face up close before he could recog-
nize who it was. Everybody in the
town got to know him and everybody
liked him-old Fred Mason, who lived
alone and let the kids in free to see
1heirfavorite cowboy star.
'Then after the show started and
the coughing and scraping of muddy
feet had stopped, the rats would
come out and crawl around every-
one's feet. As soon as that happened,
old Fred would come down the aisle
carrying a stick and muttering to
himself about the "doggone rats." It
got so women wouldn't scream and
jump on the seats yelling like they
did at first when they felt the rats
crawling around. They knew old Fred
would be there. He'd shoo them away
from one place and then he'd go
somewhere else and poke his stick
around people's feet and chase some
more away.

Eldnmund C. Shields, Regent of the University and vice-president of
the Butterfield 'Theatres, Inc., was not only an ace on the diamond in
the Gay Nineties, but a gridiron star as well before he entered the world
of politics.

Regent Shields Is Vice-President
Of Batterf ield Theatres Chain

ory his rise to fame.
He may remember how at an early1
age he was "bitten by the stage bee"
Every form of amateur entertain-
ment in Ann Arbor and the sur-
rounding vicinity seem to have in-
vited his participation with an ir-
resistable and fateful force.
Not All Acting
But it was not all acting during
those early years. A period as news-
paper reporter and dramatic critic
for the Ann Arbor Daily Argus in-
tervene4. Music attracted him while
a student of voice and piano at the
University Conservatory. Then a re-
turn to the amateur productions.
One of these ventures included a re-
citation of James Whitcomb Riley
at a banquet here for Frank Keenan,
the noted actor.
That was the turning point in
Frank McIntyre's life. Following his
recitation, Keenan stepped up to him
and told him that acting should be
his career. A short time later in 1902
found him appearing with Keenan
in "Hon. John Grigsby" in New York,
City.
Roles Caine Fast
Other roles came fast --- with Mrs.
Fiske in "Becky Sharpe" and "Cap-
tain Molly", with the Royles in "My
Wife's Husbands", Clyde Fitch's
"Major Andree" and .a tour with Nat
Goodwin in "The Gilded Fool."
Stardom could not be long denied
him. His first leading role was in
James Forbes' "Traveling Salesman".
It was one of the first plays to run
a year on Broadway and for several
years on tour.
"Oh! Oh! Delphine" was McIn-
tyre's first musical comedy attempt.
After the huge success of Ivan Cary-
11's French operetta, however, he star-
red in rapid succession in "lViss
Springtime," "Rose of China," "Sit-
ting Pretty," "Queen High." "Boom
Boom," "The Greenwich Village Fol-
Michigan Manager
Tells AboutStars
Who Played Here
Anyone who visits Manager Hoag's
office at the Michigan is entertained
by the collection of autographed
photographs of celebrities both old
and new, that decorate the \walls.
But Hoag admits "I have plenty more
and I keep changing them around."
It was in the late twenties that
Hoag heard Fred Waring and his
Pennsylvanians play for one of the
campus dances and was impressed.
He booked the band for what turned
out to be their first theatre engage-
ment. Other celebrities who have
worked for Hoag are Jack Benny,
Harry Langdon, Blackstone the ma-
gician, Colleen Moore, Theodore
Roberts, Jimmy Savo, the Zigfield
Follies and many others. In addition
he has booked famous personalities
ranging from the "Miss Americas'
of various years to even the Siamese
Twins.

Writes Own WeGive The Qi
YOU ive Th
[n Theat iWorld t iy do
con--ies. Will0ou be ca
lies," "A Pair of Sixes," "Seeing bare face hanging out
Things," "The Red Trail," "Thirty That and other que
Days," "Fast and Growing Fat," and American people today
"The Holy City."
Radio beckoned McIntyre for the $64 questions.
first time in 1934. He did a series of How can lovI bear
well-known operettas for the Palm and why should it? T
Olive show. For three years he led questions are not rece
the Showboat as Captain Henry, and consideration.
after that retirement closed a pro- Now is the opportun
fessional career of thirty-seven years. tion picture to take ti
Could Never Forget eating people.
If he chose a life of leisure, the Where, oh, where li
momentoes in study would never al- gone? Certainly you
low him to forget the days gone by. ian enough to be inte
The pictures of his fellow actors and ..
old friends - De Wolfe Harper, Ir-
ving Cobb, David Warfield, George
Arliss, John Drew - would always Better thi
be there. The long testimonial scroll,
signed by every living actor of note
and many other celebrities in New
York, presented him on his last trip to
that city would be a constant remind-
er of success.
But Frank McIntyre is not content
with inactivity. His friendships with
current stars like Pat O'Brien, Spen-
cer Tracy, Jeannette McDonald
and Gene Raymond keep him in con- Delicious Soi
stant contact with the present en-
tertainment world. Writing short
stories, songs and a book, which will
be entitled "Tales Men Left Behind
Them," also occupy his time.
Knows Current Stage
Membership in the Lambs and Ntto the STA
Players Clubs allow him a look-in
on the current legitimate stage. That
legitimate theatre which he insists
the movies, with their mee-lhanicalE
mediums and large emporiim., have
only harmed temporarily. BUY
"The present generation doesn't oNITED
know anything about the theatre" is SrATS
the way he phrases it. Although they
may know less about the theatre than sr s
their parents, the present genera-
tion would do well to remember as an -
inspiration the career of one of the
real products of the American
Theatre -Frank McIntyre.--

a
Ti

0
F
0

Ilestions,
e Answers
wvn television
ught with your
?
stions face the
.some of them
a gift of roses
That and other
iving sufficient
ity for the mo-
he lead in edu-
as the little dog
're humanitar-
erested in that.

F

kd

n o
a id
n the
Ice-
Box!
Fwiches
FI's
Keep
'em
Flying

Edmund C. Shields, vice-president
of the W. S. Butterfield Theatres,:
Inc., and a regent of the University,
is a man of rare talents.
His college days at the University
were highlighted by his prowess on
the baseball diamond, and he was on
the '92, '93, '94, '95, and '96 teams
and was also a member of the '95
varsity football squad. In the year
that the Board in Control of Ath-
letics was organized he was elected a
student member of that group, and
the minutes of the first meetings are
in his handwriting.
He was was born in Howell, Mich.,
and was graduated from the Univer-
sity with a B.L. degree in 1894. He
received his LL.B. degree in 1896 and
was admitted to the Michigan bar
in 1896. In 1906 he was made chair-
man of the Democratic State central
committee and retained that position
until 1916. In 1936 he was elected
a member of the Democratic National
Committee for Michigan and was
reelected in 1940.
In 1933 Governor Comstock ap-
pointed him to the Board of Regents
Majestic Theatre
Will Close 'Today
(Continued from Page 1)
terfield management was concerned.
The older theatre was last closed
for repairs in 1922. At that time the
floor elevation was raised and new
seats were installed.
As a lure to prospective movie-
goers the Majestic used to refer to
itself in advertisements as "the.pretty
little family theatre" or the "cozy
playhouse." At other times it was
called the "Rah! Rah! Theatre." It
always assured the public, however,
that its entertainment was "polite,"
"high-class," and "advanced."
The Majestic is owned by Laura
Atkinson of Port Huron, Mrs. Nola
Minnis of Buffalo and Mrs. Imogene
Sauer and Charles Sauer, who built
the theatre. The owners are repre-
sented in Ann Arbor by Attorney
Frank DeVine. He said that he had
no knowledge concerning the future
of the theatre.

to fill the vacancy caused by the
resignation of Lucius Hubbard. He
was reelected in 1937 and still re-
tains that office.
In addition to his numerous other
duties, Shields is president of the
Central Trust Co. and the Michigan
Surety Co. He holds directorships
in the Motor Wheel Corp., the W. S.
Butterfield Theatres, Inc., the Bijou
Theatrical Entertainment Co., the
Grand Truck Western Railway, the
Brick and Supplies Corp. and the
Riked Lumber Co. He has been a
member of the law firm of Shields,
Silsbee, Ballard and Jenings since
1930.

Male Opinion

1

i
t
, ,
i

i

CONGRATULATIONS
to the NEWEST of the
BUTTERFIELD THEATRES
We're proud to have
furnished the Woodpaneling
for the interior of the new
STATE THEATRE.
NACHTEGAL MFG. CO.
GRAND RAPIDS - MICHIGAN

Is Favorable
To Burlesque
Some dolt once said that the naked
body was the least beautiful thing
in the world. The Minsky brothers

Marshall's
Salutes
their.
New Next-Door
Neighbor

have made a fortune disproving this
inane statement, and from public
opinion as far as the males go, these
boys were right.
The burlesque shows play an im-
portant part in the entertainment
world; it is just as important as the
legitimate stage. This type of dis-
play satisfies the masses even if you
won't admit it. Many times the en-
tire audience is composed of bald
headed gentlemen and college stu-
dents.
dnsthe good old days the burlesque
was a family affair enjoyed by all,
but then the long dresses gave way
to tights and the kiddies stayed home
with mother while father was 'work-
ing late at the office.' The shows
' were not publicized as much then as
they are now. This can be attributed
to lack of name stars.
These striperoos who so pleasantly
display a gruteal muscular gyration
are much like old Venus, all legs and
no arms. This is a highly paid pro-
fession and its arms embrace but a
chosen few.

l
r
i
i,''

Welcome
STATE
THEATRE
Keep 'em flying

i

IiClecanliness fissured h

TiRTE

I HEATRE

.
:

It has indeed

been

a pleasure

to pa r-

i(Jke rir the const ruc hoi o[

ri n rhos r

newest a
supplying

nd most modern

theatre,

by

the roofing,

plaster,

____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ___ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ___ _n..

A Great Addition to Ann Arbor
Butterf ield's SAETheatre
We extend our heartiest congqratulations
to Butterfield Enterprises and to Larry /Mull,
to whom, re w'isI all success as ntanager.

conc ree

by the.
SPENCER TURBI-NE
CENTRAL CLEANING SYSTEM
Also in the Following U. of M. Buildings:
RACKHAM GRADUATE BUILDING

and bricks.
TRANSIT MIX COeNCRETI
FACE BRICK

O

PL ASTERIING MYATERIALS

N , ii

CONGRATULATIONS

byII!

i

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