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March 30, 1951 - Image 6

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1951-03-30

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FRIDAY, MARC 30, 1951


Athens Theatre
Opens NeEr
(Ed. Note-This is the second of two stories on the history of theatrical
activity in Ann Arbot. The first article appeared in yesterday's Daily.)
When the Athens Opera House, the city's first permanent theatre
giliding opened in 1871, a new era in theatrical activity was begun
i'Ann Arbor..
An amateur performance of "the Grand Military Allegory of the
py of Shiloh" initiated the house, and the papers reported that it
.s "a grand success." Those who saw it "lived over the excitements
E the war..."
FROM THAT TIME on, until converted into the present Whitney
l1908, the Athens was the chief amusement center of the city. Uni-
ersty students were not to be put off from their own dramatic ven-
ires, however, even though the theatre, in general, was frowned upon
r those prim Victorian times. In 1879, students and faculty wit-
essed a performance, in a gaslighted rooni In University Hall, of
erence's "The Adelphi"-in Latin.
Shakespeare was approved of on campus, and the great
Lawrence Barrett was booked for several University "recitals."
Following his appearance as "Hamlet," in 1879, students admir-
ingly formed a "Barrett Club," and proceeded to put on a farce
called "Dollars and Cents." This went over much better than
Through the'1880's and 1890's, the Athens Opera House dwindled
l popularity. Perhaps it was the growing number of entertainments
'fered on campus, or a lack of good shows, but the enthusiasm which
id prompted its building in the first place was dying out.
In 1906, the property was purchased byB. C. Whitney, who
decided to rebuild the whole structure. He lowered the auditor-
ium to the first floor by tearing out part of the second story floor,
added two more stories to the building, and made it into the
biggest and best appointed theatre in the state.
It opened on the night of Jan. 18, 1908 with the Chicago Whitney
pera House Company playing "Knight of a Day." Box seats went
ir $25 that night, and it was a local equivalent of a Met opening.
ABOUT THIS TIME, the Majestic Roller Skating Rink was de-
ared unsafe, and was rebuilt into a theatre with vaudeville and
000 feet of Majestic films."
In October, 1915, a vaudeville show called "The Girl in the
Moon" caused a small riot. The act appeared in a blacked-out
theatre, and featured a girl sitting in a luminous crescent moon.
While she sang, the moon floated out over the audience and up
into the gallery.
The students wanted to know how it was done, naturally enough,
.they came equipped with a flashlight. The manager had prepared
r this, instructing the ushers to throw out anybody who attempted
light anything. When he pointed to the offending students, how-
-er, they rushed him as a body, took him outside, and rolled him in
snowbank. The manager didn't' like this much, and in the re-
iting melee, two sophomores were hauled off to jail.
The Marx Brothers, the explorer Martin Johnson, and Harry
Dson were some of the famous names at the.Majestic. Jolson, like
s more famous brother, was a singer, and in iis act sang all six
arts of the sextet from "Lucia."
ONE SMALL vaudeville theatre, the Star, suffered a sad fate at
e hands of some students in 1914. It was late one Saturday after-
on after a victorious football game, and the audience was more
wdy than usual. The manager got up on the stage and shouted
r order. This touched off the students, who proceeded to tear up
e theatre. When they were done, the place was in shambles. Presi-
nt Angell had to call. a mass meeting to reprimand the mob the
xt day, and although money was collected to rebuild the 8tar,
was never very popular after that.
The Whitney boasted a huge stage, and the size of some of
the .productions staged substantiates their claim. When "Ben
Hur" was put on there, a cast of two hundred people and eight
horses crammed themselves on the stage at one time.
Although the Whitney has been converted to showing movies
r the last seventeen years, the old dressing rooms and stage equip-
ent are still back of the screen. On a wall can be seen the scrawled
mes of Jane Cowl, Billie Burke, and Ed Wynn-all of whom ap-
ared there many years ago. Robert Montgomery, Wallace Beery,
d Alfred Lunt all played the Whitney in bit parts between 1911
d 1915.
Now that movies have pretty well taken over as popular enter-
inment, true theatrical activity has almost ceased in the city itself.
e Arts Theatre Club is the only group to yet return to the tradi-
n-a lengthy and illustrious one.

'Simon' Not
So Stupid,
Simple Simon, the calculating
robot, may be simple but he cer-
tainly isn't stupid.
Prof. Cecil Craig, director of
the Statistical Research Labor-
atory, yesterday rose to the de-
fense of the alleged mechanical
nitwit now on display at Wayne
* * * .
PROF. CRAIG lamented the
fact that Simon has been sub-
Jected to so much abuse and
mental torture by members of the
press who question his mathema-
tical aptitude.
" 'After all," he pointed out,
"this persecuted contraption
can give you te cube root of
357,451,896 before you can even
start counting your fingers.
"His is a simple construction
all right," Prof. Craig chuckled,
'and you can see what's- going on
inside him. But he's important to
scientific research. I wouldn't
question his intelligence either.".
* * *
OF COURSE, he admitted, in-
telligence is quite relative. Simple
is decidedly inferior to larger ro-
bots such as the Whirlwind Ma-
chine and the Eniac.
"Those robots," he continued,
"can undertake mathematical
problems that would give Ein-
stein a headache."
Another defender of Wayne's
Simon was Guy Tribble, '51, who
last November got national recog-
nition for his invention of the
calculator "Simpler-than-Simon."
"Simpler-than-Simon justified
its reputation as the world's small-
est and stupidest mechanical brain
last year when it added one and
one in half an hour," Tribble em-

Midget Slot Machines
Present Novel Pastime.

If a few Ann Arbor merchants
have their way, legalized slot
machines are going to be the rage
of the city's younger set.
Pint-sized one-armed bandits
are now being offered for sale in
local stores. Designed for the kid-
dies, they are exact metal and
plastic replicas of the machines
that the government is rounding
up and dumping in the sea.
* * *
ALTHOUGH no money is con-
nected with the operation of the
toys, when the lever is pulled down
* * *

the dials spin and stop at the regu-
lation combinations of cherries,
bars, lemons, plums and oranges.
A code of winning combina-
tions is included on the{ face of
the gadget.
Police Chief Casper Enkemann
said he is opposed to the sale of
such toys as well as many comic
books and toy pistols. "But there
is nothing unlawful about them.
If you call these things illegal, you
may as well put cards in the same
A SPOKESMAN from the sher-
iff's department agreed that as
long as no money is involved, the
toys are lawful. "1f you start us-
ing them to gamble on who pays
for the drinks, however, their use
is questionable."
That any child would get
much significance or satisfaction
out of the little slot machines
Swasquestioned by a University
psychologist. He said' he had no
idea how the toys would affect
a child.
Students didn't seem too im-
pressed with the machines. "You
can't win," one said flipping the
lever for the 30th time. "Even the
realchnc. ones give you a 40-0cae."

High School
Students To
More than 2,000 high school
students will invade the campus
within the next few days to at-
tend the Michigan School Solo
and Ensemble Festival and a Span-
ish pageant.
Tomorrow music students from
junior and senior high schools --
winners of "first division" or "su-
perior" ratings in their district
contests-will arrive to attend the
Festival which is under the au-
spices of the Michigan School
Band and Orchestra Association.
THESE STUDENTS, vwio repre-
sent schools from over 200 cities
in Michigan, will take part in a
day-long program of solo and en-
semble performances and compete
for honors in contests for wind,
string and percussion instruments.
On Tuesday and Wednesday
600 more students will arrive
to attend a two-day pageant for
Spanish students, sponsored by
the campus Spanish club, La
Sociedad Hispanica.
Activities planned for the group
include an inspection of the ro-
mance languages laboratory, and
exhibits of fine arts, literature, and
arts and crafts of Spain and South


-Daily-Roger Reinke
CROWNING TOUCH-Dana Elcar, playing architect Holvard
Solness, rehearses one of the more important moments in Ibsen's
"The Master Builder." Produced by the Arts Theatre Club, the
play will open tonight. In this scene from the symbol-filled play,
Elcar dreams that he is putting the finishing touch on the tower
of a building he has designed.
Arts Theatre To Present
'Master Builders'" Today

-Daily-Jack Bergstrom
'Technic' Coming
Technic, the engineering college
magazine, will be sold Monday and
Tuesday in the engineering arch.
Daily Classifieds
Bring Quick Results



Dress Slacks

"The Master Builder" by Henrik
Ibsen, the third production of the
Arts Theatre Club, will open at
8:30 p.m. today in the club's thea-
tre at 2091/ E. Washington.
The play tells the events of the
last 24 hours of Halvard Solness'
life. Solness is a guilt-obsessed
architectural genius. He feels per-
sonally responsible for a series of

Spring Tour
Scheduled by
Men Singers
Fort Knox, Ky., has been added
to the spring tour of the Men's
Glee Club.I
A last-minute acceptance from;
the commanding general of the
Army post has caused the shift
which will cancel a scheduled
April 10 concert at Evansville, Ind.
Otherwise, the schedule for the
tour remains as previously an-
nounced. The 43-member organ-
ization under the direction of
Prof. Phillip A. Duey of the mu-
sic school, will give concerts dur-
ing spring vacation as follows:
April 8, Sterling, Ill.; April 9,
St. Louis, Mo.; April 10, Fort
Knox, Ky.; April 11, Louisville;
April 12, Cincinnati; April 13, Cul-
ver Military Academy, Culver,'
Ind.; April 14, Muskegon.
The date for the Glee Club con-
cert at Hill Auditorium remains
Saturday, May 12.

circumstances which have resulted
in misfortune for his friends but
have built his success.
DURING THE . course of the
play, driven by his own obsessions
and the taunts of a young girl,
Solness finally brings on his de-
The set is made up of three ir-
regularly-shaped, skeletal plat-
forms designed, according to scen-
ic designer Jerry Lepard, "to get
the actors up in the air." The posi-
tions of the three set pieces will be
changed as the play progresses to
give a different stage setting for
each act.
* : s
THE CAST is headed by Dana
Elcar, playing Solness. His wife
IAline will be played by Bette Ellis.
Warren Pickett will be Doctor
Herdal, a friend of the Solness
family and physician to the in-
valided Mrs. Solness. Miss H'ilda
Wangel, the young woman who
helps drive Solness to his death,
will be played by Sonya Raimi.
Others in the cast will be Pat
Newhall, Lepard and Robertson.
The play will be performed
nightly, except Monday, through
April 8. Admission is open only
to members and their guests. Mem-
berships may be obtained at the
club's theatre or by calling 7301.
'U' To Be Host
To Japanese
A group of deans and professors

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Water irdS Snow irom Japanese universities will
visit the campus during the fol-
BeginS at MuSeum lowing week.

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"Water Birds" will be the theme
of the University Museums' pro-
gram today.
Various displays of the many
species of water birds will be on
exhibit from 7 to 9 p.m. in the
Exhibition Halls of the Museums.
Three accompanying films, "Life
Cycle of a Muscovy Duck," "Wet-
lands," and "Water Cycle" will be
shown at 7:30 p.m. in Kellogg Aud-

Their visit is being sponsored
under a program for the occupied
areas of the United States Office
of Education, and is intended to
bring the visitors into contact
with faculty members of the var-
ious University departments.
There will be a reception for
the visitors and for Japanese stu-
dents on campus at 4:40 p.m.,
Monday at the International Cen-
ter. It will be sponsored by the
Center for Japanese Studies.




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