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Charles Frohman: Manager and Man
written by "Barrie, J. M. (James Matthew), 1860-1937"
...o the company's repertoire. But it barely got them out of town at the really and truly "farewell." Now began a return journey from Portland that was even more precarious than the trip out. Baggage had to be sacrificed; there was scarcely any scenery. One "back drop" showing the interior of a cathedral was used for every kind of scene, from a gambling-house to a ball-room. To the financial hardship of the homeward trip was added real physical trial. Frohman showed in towns wherever there was the least prospect of any kind of a house. The company therefore played in skating-rinks, school-houses, even barns. In some places the members of the company had to take the oil-lamps that served as footlights back in the makeshift dressing-rooms while they dressed. At Bozeman, Montana, occurred an incident which showed both the humor and the precariousness of the situation. Frohman assembled the company in the waiting-room of the station and, stepping up to the ticket-office, laid down one hundred and thirty dollars in cash. "Where do you want to go?" asked the agent. Shoving the money at him, Frohman said, "How far will this take us?" The agent looked out of the window, counted up the company, and said, "To Billings." Turning to the company, Frohman said, with a smile, "Ladies and gentlemen, we play Billings next." Just then he received a telegram from Alf Hayman, who was on ahead of the company: What town shall I bill? Frohman wired back: Bill Billings. Hayman again wired: Have no printing and can get no credit. What shall I do? Frohman's resource came into stead, for he telegraphed: Notify theaters that we are a high-class company from Wallack's Theater in New York and use no ordinary printing. We employ only newspapers and dodgers. At Missoula, Montana, on their way back, a member of the company became dissatisfied and stood with his associates at the station where two trains met, one for the east and one for...

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