Shubert, Jacob J. (1879–1963)

"These bills are running higher and higher all the time" – Typed Letters Signed to John Yorke

Pair of TLS from the theater owner addressed to John Yorke at the Shubert Theatre in Boston, regarding unions and issues with properties in the city.  1 pp. each on A4 Select Theatres Corporation stationary.  In the first letter, dated October 1, 1956, Shubert writes to Yorke, in part, "not to make any commitments for help of any kind, for stagehands or any other help, as I look after that myself...All union matters I look after personally, which I have done for the many years.  I do not want any increases made until I pass on all these matters.  I do not pay very much attention to what they demand.  Our theatres are different.  We do not comply with the basic wage scale or anything of that sort.  All wage scales, etc. I look after personally."  The second letter, dated September 19, 1957, takes issue with an unusually large bill for a show, in part, "I notice in statement week ending September 7, 1957 bill for 'taking in, etc.' amounting to $2,948.50.  This is the most outrageous bill I have ever seen.  Please give me a full explanation of same. / I realize the company pays for it, nevertheless a condition of that kind should never take place.  There is no show in the world, playing the legitimate theatre, that should cost so much money to take in."  Mailing folds, else fine.

The Shubert Organization, founded by brothers Lee, Sam, and Jacob, is a theatrical producing agencies and owner of many of Broadway's most important theaters.  By 1924, the Shubert family controlled 75% of all American theaters.  Their stranglehold on the industry caused actors to unionize, forming Actor's Equity in an attempt to level the playing field during contract negotiations. (19638)


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