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Title: Charles Frohman: Manager and Man
Author: Frohman, Daniel, 1851-1940, Marcosson, Isaac Frederick, 1876-1961
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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With an Appreciation by James M. Barrie

Illustrated with Portraits

New York and London
Harper & Brothers

Charles Frohman: Manager and Man
Copyright, 1916, by Harper & Brothers
Copyright, 1915, 1916, by
International Magazine Company (Cosmopolitan Magazine)
Printed in the United States of America
Published October, 1916


The Theater

That Charles Frohman

Loved and Served_

_Nought I did in hate but all in honor!_
































































Charles Frohman: an Appreciation

By James M. Barrie

The man who never broke his word. There was a great deal more to him,
but every one in any land who has had dealings with Charles Frohman will
sign that.

I would rather say a word of the qualities that to his friends were his
great adornment than about his colossal enterprises or the energy with
which he heaved them into being; his energy that was like a force of
nature, so that if he had ever "retired" from the work he loved (a thing
incredible) companies might have been formed, in the land so skilful at
turning energy to practical account, for exploiting the vitality of this
Niagara of a man. They could have lit a city with it.

He loved his schemes. They were a succession of many-colored romances to
him, and were issued to the world not without the accompaniment of the
drum, but you would never find him saying anything of himself. He pushed
them in front of him, always taking care that they were big enough to
hide him. When they were able to stand alone he stole out in the dark to
have a look at them, and then if unobserved his bosom swelled. I have
never known any one more modest and no one quite so shy. Many actors
have played for him for years and never spoken to him, have perhaps seen
him dart up a side street because they were approaching. They may not
have known that it was sheer shyness, but it was. I have seen him
ordered out of his own theater by subordinates who did not know him, and
he went cheerfully away. "Good men, these; they know their business,"
was all his comment. Afterward he was shy of going back lest they should

At one time he had several theaters here and was renting others, the
while he had I know not how many in America; he was not always sure how
many himself. Latterly the great competition at home left him no time to
look after more than one in London. But only one anywhere seemed a
little absurd to him. He once contemplated having a few theaters in
Paris, but on discovering that French law forbids your having more than
one he gave up the scheme in disgust.

A sense of humor sat with him through every vicissitude like a faithful

"How is it going?" a French author cabled to him on the first night of a
new play.

"It has gone," he genially cabled back.

Of a Scotch play of my own that he was about to produce in New York, I
asked him what the Scotch would be like.

"You wouldn't know it was Scotch," he replied, "but the American public
will know."

He was very dogged. I had only one quarrel with him, but it lasted all
the sixteen years I knew him. He wanted me to be a playwright and I
wanted to be a novelist. All those years I fought him on that. He always
won, but not because of his doggedness; only because he was so lovable
that one had to do as he wanted. He also threatened, if I stopped, to
reproduce the old plays and print my name in large electric letters over
the entrance of the theater.

* * *

A very distinguished actress under his management wanted to produce a
play of mine of which he had no high opinion. He was in despair, as he
had something much better for her. She was obdurate. He came to me for
help, said nothing could move her unless I could. Would not I tell her
what a bad play it was and how poor her part was and how much better the
other parts were and how absolutely it fell to pieces after the first
act? Of course I did as I was bid, and I argued with the woman for
hours, and finally got her round, the while he sat cross-legged, after
his fashion, on a deep chair and implored me with his eyes to do my
worst. It happened long ago, and I was so obsessed with the desire to
please him that the humor of the situation strikes me only now.

For money he did not care at all; it was to him but pieces of paper with
which he could make practical the enterprises that teemed in his brain.
They were all enterprises of the theater. Having once seen a theater, he
never afterward saw anything else except sites for theaters. This
passion began when he was a poor boy staring wistfully at portals out of
which he was kept by the want of a few pence. I think when he first saw
a theater he clapped his hand to his heart, and certainly he was true
to his first love. Up to the end it was still the same treat to him to
go in; he still thrilled when the band struck up, as if that boy had
hold of his hand.

* * *

In a sense he had no illusions about the theater, knew its tawdriness as
he knew the nails on his stages (he is said to have known every one). He
would watch the performance of a play in some language of which he did
not know a word and at the end tell you not only the whole story, but
what the characters had been saying to one another; indeed, he could
usually tell what was to happen in any act as soon as he saw the
arrangement of the furniture. But this did not make him _blasé_--a
strange word, indeed, to apply to one who seemed to be born afresh each
morning. It was not so much that all the world was a stage to him as
that his stage was a world, a world of the "artistic temperament"--that
is to say, a very childish world of which he was occasionally the stern
but usually indulgent father.

His innumerable companies were as children to him; he chided them as
children, soothed them, forgave them, and certainly loved them as
children. He exulted in those who became great names in that world and
gave them beautiful toys to play with; but, great as was their devotion
to him, it is not they who will miss him most, but rather the far
greater number who never "made a hit," but set off like the rest to do
it and fell by the way. He was of so sympathetic a nature, he understood
so well the dismalness to them of being "failures," that he saw them as
children with their knuckles to their eyes, and then he sat back
cross-legged on his chair with his knuckles, as it were, to his eyes,
and life had lost its flavor for him until he invented a scheme for
giving them another chance.

* * *

Authors of to-day sometimes discuss with one another what great writer
of the past they would like most to spend an evening with if the shades
were willing to respond, and I believe (and hope) that the choice most
often falls on Johnson or Charles Lamb. Lamb was fond of the theater,
and I think, of all those connected with it that I have known, Mr.
Frohman is the one with whom he would most have liked to spend an
evening. Not because of Mr. Frohman's ability, though he had the biggest
brain I have met with on the stage, but because of his humor and charity
and gentle chivalry and his most romantic mind. One can conceive him as
often, sitting at ease, far back in his chair, cross-legged,
occasionally ringing for another ice, for he was so partial to sweets
that he could never get them sweet enough, and sometimes he mixed two in
the hope that this would make them sweeter.

I hear him telling stories of the stage as only he could tell them,
rising now and roaming the floor as he shows how the lady of the play
receives the declaration, and perhaps forgetting that you are the author
of the play and telling you the whole story of it with superb gesture
and gleaming eyes. Then back again cross-legged to the chair. What an
essay Elia might have made of that night, none of it about the stories
told, all about the man in the chair, the humorous, gentle, roughly
educated, very fine American gentleman in the chair!


LONDON, 1915.

_Charles Frohman_



One evening, toward the close of the 'sixties, a plump, rosy-cheeked lad
in his eighth year stood enthralled in the gallery of the old Niblo's
Garden down on lower Broadway in New York. Far below him on the stage
"The Black Crook"--the extravaganza that held all New York--unfolded
itself in fascinating glitter and feminine loveliness. Deaf to his
brother's entreaties to leave, and risking a parental scolding and
worse, the boy remained transfixed until the final curtain. When he
reached home he was not in the least disturbed by the uproar his absence
had caused. Quite the contrary. His face beamed, his eyes shone. All he
could say was:

"I have seen a play. It's wonderful!"

The boy was Charles Frohman, and such was his first actual experience in
the theater--the institution that he was to dominate in later years with
far-flung authority.

* * *

To write of the beginnings of his life is to become almost immediately
the historian of some phase of amusement. He came from a family in whom
the love of mimic art was as innate as the desire for sustenance.

About his parents was the glamour of a romance as tender as any he
disclosed to delighted audiences in the world of make-believe. His
father, Henry Frohman, was both idealist and dreamer. Born on the
pleasant countryside that encircles the town of Darmstadt in Germany, he
grew up amid an appreciation of the best in German literature. He was a
buoyant and imaginative boy who preferred reading plays to poring over
tiresome school-books.

One day he went for a walk in the woods. He passed a young girl of rare
and appealing beauty. Their eyes met; they paused a moment, irresistibly
drawn to each other. Then they went their separate ways. He inquired her
name and found that she was Barbara Strauss and lived not far away. He
sought an introduction, but before it could be brought about he left
home to make his fortune in the New World.

He was eighteen when he stepped down the gang-plank of a steamer in New
York in 1845. He had mastered no trade; he was practically without
friends, so he took to the task which so many of his co-religionists had
found profitable. He invested his modest financial nest-egg in a supply
of dry goods and notions and, shouldering a pack, started up the Hudson
Valley to peddle his wares.

Henry Frohman had a magnetic and fascinating personality. A ready story
was always on his lips; a smile shone constantly on his face. It was
said of him that he could hypnotize the most unresponsive housewife into
buying articles she never needed. Up and down the highways he trudged,
unmindful of wind, rain, or hardship.

New York was his headquarters. There was his home and there he
replenished his stocks. He made friends quickly. With them he often went
to the German theater. On one of these occasions he heard of a family
named Strauss that had just arrived from Germany. They had been
shipwrecked near the Azores, had endured many trials, and had lost
everything but their lives.

"Have they a daughter named Barbara?" asked Frohman.

"Yes," was the reply.

Henry Frohman's heart gave a leap. There came back to his mind the
picture of that day in the German woods.

"Where do they come from?" he continued, eagerly.

On being told that it was Darmstadt, he cried, "I must meet her."

He gave his friend no peace until that end had been brought about. He
found her the same lovely girl who had thrilled him at first sight; he
wooed her with ardor and they were betrothed.

He now yearned for a stable business that would enable him to marry.
Meanwhile his affairs had grown. The peddler's pack expanded to the
proportion of a wagon-load. Then, as always, the great West held a lure
for the youthful. In some indescribable way he got the idea that
Kentucky was the Promised Land of business. Telling his fiancée that he
would send for her as soon as he had settled somewhere, he set out.

But Kentucky did not prove to be the golden country. He was advised to
go to Ohio, and it was while driving across the country with his line of
goods that he came upon Sandusky. The little town on the shores of a
smiling lake appealed to him strongly. It reminded him of the home
country, and he remained there.

He found himself at once in a congenial place. There was a considerable
German population; his ready wit and engaging manner made him welcome
everywhere. The road lost its charm; he turned about for an occupation
that was permanent. Having picked up a knowledge of cigar-making, he
established a small factory which was successful from the start.

This fact assured, his next act was to send to New York for Miss
Strauss, who joined him at once, and they were married. These were the
forebears of Charles Frohman--the exuberant, optimistic, pleasure-loving
father; the serene, gentle-eyed, and spacious-hearted woman who was to
have such a strong influence in the shaping of his character.

The Frohmans settled in a little frame house on Lawrence Street that
stood apart from the dusty road. It did not even have a porch.
Unpretentious as it was, it became a center of artistic life in

Henry Frohman had always aspired to be an actor. One of the first things
he did after settling in Sandusky was to organize an amateur theatrical
company, composed entirely of people of German birth or descent. The
performances were given in the Turner Hall, in the German tongue, on a
makeshift stage with improvised scenery. Frohman became the directing
force in the production of Schiller's and other classic German plays,
comic as well as tragic.

Nor was he half-hearted in his histrionic work. One night he died so
realistically on the stage that his eldest son, who sat in the audience,
became so terrified that he screamed out in terror, and would not be
pacified until his parent appeared smilingly before the curtain and
assured him that he was still very much alive.

* * *

Frohman's business prospered. He began to build up trade in the
adjoining country. With a load of samples strapped behind his buggy, he
traveled about. He usually took one of his older sons along. While he
drove, the boy often held a prompt-book and the father would rehearse
his parts. Out across those quiet Ohio fields would come the thrilling
words of "The Robbers," "Ingomar," "Love and Intrigue," or any of the
many plays that the amateur company performed in Sandusky.

He even mixed the drama with business. Frequently after selling a bill
of goods he would be requested by a customer, who knew of his ability,
to recite or declaim a speech from one of the well-known German plays.

It was on his return from one of these expeditions that Henry Frohman
was greeted with the tidings that a third son had come to bear his name.
When he entered that little frame house the infantile Charles had made
his first entrance on the stage of life. It was June 17, 1860, a time
fateful in the history of the country, for already the storm-clouds of
the Civil War were brooding. It was pregnant with meaning for the
American theater, too, because this lusty baby was to become its

Almost before Charles was able to walk his wise and far-seeing mother,
with a pride and responsibility that maintained the best traditions of
the mothers in Israel, began to realize the restrictions and limitations
of the Sandusky life.

"These boys of ours," she said to the husband, "have no future here.
They must be educated in New York. Their careers lie there."

Strong-willed and resolute, she sent the two older sons, one at a time,
on to the great city to be educated and make their way. The eldest,
Daniel, went first, soon followed by Gustave. In 1864, and largely due
to her insistent urging, the remainder of the family, which included the
youthful Charles, packed up their belongings and, with the proceeds of
the sale of the cigar factory, started on their eventful journey to New

They first settled in one of the original tenement houses of New York,
on Rivington Street, subsequently moving to Eighth Street and Avenue D.
Before long they moved over to Third Street, while their fourth
residence was almost within the shadow of some of the best-known city

Henry Frohman had, as was later developed in his son Charles, a peculiar
disregard of money values. Generous to a fault, his resources were
constantly at the call of the needy. His first business venture in New
York--a small soap factory on East Broadway--failed. Later he became
part owner of a distillery near Hoboken, which was destroyed by fire.
With the usual Frohman financial heedlessness, he had failed to renew
all his insurance policies, and the result was that he was left with but
a small surplus. Adversity, however, seemed to trickle from him like
water. Serene and smiling, he emerged from his misfortune.

The only business he knew was the cigar business. With the assistance of
a few friends he was able to start a retail cigar-store at what was then
708 Broadway. It was below Eighth Street and, whether by accident or
design, was located in the very heart of the famous theatrical district
which gave the American stage some of its greatest traditions.

To the north, and facing on Union Square, was the Rialto of the day,
hedged in by the old Academy of Music and the Union Square Theater. Down
Broadway, and commencing at Thirteenth Street with Wallack's Theater,
was a succession of more or less historic playhouses. At Eighth Street
was the Old New York Theater; a few doors away was Lina Edwins's; almost
flanking the cigar-store and ranging toward the south were the Olympic,
Niblo's Garden, and the San Francisco Minstrel Hall. Farther down was
the Broadway Theater, while over on the Bowery Tony Pastor held forth.

Thus the little store stood in an atmosphere that thought, breathed, and
talked of the theater. It became the rendezvous of the well-known
theatrical figures of the period. The influence of the playhouses
extended even to the shop next door, which happened to be the original
book-store founded by August Brentano. It was the only clearing-house in
New York for foreign theatrical papers, and to it came Augustin Daly,
William Winter, Nym Crinkle, and all the other important managers and
critics to get the news of the foreign stage.

It was amid an environment touching the theater at every point that
Charles Frohman's boyhood was spent. He was an impulsive, erratic,
restless child. His mother had great difficulty in keeping him at
school. His whole instinct was for action.

Gustave, who had dabbled in the theatrical business almost before he was
in his teens, naturally became his mentor. To Charles, Gustave was
invested with a rare fascination because he had begun to sell books of
the opera in the old Academy of Music on Fourteenth Street, the
forerunner of the gilded Metropolitan Opera House. Every night the
chubby Charles saw him forge forth with a mysterious bundle, and return
with money jingling in his pocket. One night, just before Gustave
started out, the lad said to him:

"Gus, how can I make money like you?"

"I'll show you some night if you can slip away from mother," was the
brother's reply.

Unrest immediately filled the heart of Charles. Gustave had no peace
until he made good his promise. A week later he stole away after supper
with his little brother. They walked to the Academy, where the old
Italian opera, "The Masked Ball," was being sung. With wondering eyes
and beating heart Charles saw Gustave hawk his books in the lobby, and
actually sell a few. From the inside came the strains of music, and
through the door a glimpse of a fashionable audience. But it was a
forbidden land that he could not enter.

Fearful of the maternal scolding that he knew was in store, Gustave
hurried his brother home, even indulging in the unwonted luxury of
riding on the street-car, where he found a five-dollar bill. The mother
was up and awake, and immediately began to upbraid him for taking out
his baby brother at night, whereupon Gustave quieted the outburst by
permitting Charles to hand over the five-dollar bill as a peace

From that hour life had a new meaning for Charles Frohman. He had seen
his brother earn money in the theater; he wanted to go and do likewise.
The opportunity was denied, and he chafed under the restraint.

In the afternoon, when he was through with the school that he hated, the
boy went down to his father's store and took his turn behind the
counter. Irksome as was this work, it was not without a thrilling
compensation, because into the shop came many of the theatrical
personages of the time to buy their cigars. They included Tony Pastor,
whose name was then a household word, McKee Rankin, J. K. Mortimer, a
popular Augustin Daly leading man, and the comedians and character
actors of the near-by theaters.

Here the magnetic personality of the boy asserted itself. His ready
smile and his quick tongue made him a favorite with the customers. More
than one actor, on entering the shop, asked the question: "Where is
Charley? I want him to wait on me."

In those days much of the theatrical advertising was done by posters
displayed in shop-windows. To get these posters in the most conspicuous
places passes were given to the shopkeepers, a custom which still holds.
The Frohman store had a large window, and it was constantly plastered
with play-bills, which meant that the family was abundantly supplied
with free admission to most of the theaters in the district. The whole
family shared in this dispensation, none more so than Henry Frohman
himself, who could now gratify his desire for contact with the theater
and its people to an almost unlimited extent. His greatest delight was
to distribute these passes among his boys. They were offered as rewards
for good conduct. Charles frequently accompanied his father to matinées
at Tony Pastor's and the other theaters. Pastor and the elder Frohman
were great pals. They called each other by their first names, and the
famous old music-hall proprietor was a frequent visitor at the shop.

But Charles became quite discriminating. Every Saturday night he went
down to the old Théâtre Comique, where Harrigan and Hart were serving
their apprenticeship for the career which made them the most famous
Irish team of their time. The next morning at breakfast he kept the
family roaring with laughter with his imitations of what he had seen and
heard. Curiously enough, Tony Hart later became the first star to be
presented by Charles Frohman.

All the while the boy's burning desire was to earn money in the theater.
He nagged at Gustave to give him a chance. One day Gustave saw some
handsome souvenir books of "The Black Crook," which was then having its
sensational run at Niblo's Garden. He found that he could buy them for
thirty-three cents by the half-dozen, so he made a small investment,
hoping to sell them for fifty cents in the lobby of the theater. That
evening he showed his new purchases to Charles.

Immediately the boy's eyes sparkled. "Let me see if I can sell one of

"All right," replied Gustave; "I will take you down to Niblo's to-night
and give you a chance."

The boy could scarcely eat his supper, so eager was he to be off.
Promptly at seven o'clock the two lads (Charles was only eight) took
their stand in the lobby, but despite their eager cries each was able to
sell only a single copy. Gustave consoled himself with the fact that the
price was too high, while Charles, with an optimism that never forsook
him, answered, "Well, we have each sold one, anyhow, and that is

Charles's profit on this venture was precisely seventeen cents, which
may be regarded as the first money he ever earned out of the theater.

But this night promised a sensation even greater. As the crowd in the
lobby thinned, the strains of the overture crashed out. Through the open
door the little boy saw the curtain rise on a scene that to him
represented the glitter and the glory of fairyland. Beautiful ladies
danced and sang and the light flashed on brilliant costumes. With their
unsold books in their hands, the two boys gazed wistfully inside.
Charles, always the aggressor, fixed the doorkeeper with one of his
winning smiles, and the doorkeeper succumbed. "You boys can slip in," he
said, "but you've got to go up in the balcony." Up they rushed, and
there Charles stood delighted, his eyes sparkling and his whole face

During the middle of the second act Gustave tugged at his sleeve,
saying: "We'll have to go now. You follow me down."

With this he disappeared and hurried home. When he arrived he found the
home in an uproar because Charles had not come back. Gustave ran to the
theater, but the play was over, the crowd had dispersed, and the
building was deserted. With beating heart and fearful of disaster to his
charge, he rushed back to see Charles, all animation and excitement, in
the midst of the family group, regaling them with the story of his first
play. He had remained to the end.

That thrilling night at "The Black Crook," his daily contact with the
actors who came into the store, his frequent visits to the adjoining
playhouses, fed the fire of his theatrical interest. The theater got
into his very blood.

A great event was impending. Almost within stone's-throw of the little
cigar-store where he sold stogies to Tony Pastor was the Old New York
Theater, which, after the fashion of that time, had undergone the
evolution of many names, beginning with the Athenæum, and continuing
until it had come under the control of the three famous Worrell
sisters, who tacked their name to it. Shortly after the New Year of 1869
they produced the extravaganza "The Field of the Cloth of Gold," in
which two of them, Sophie and Jane, together with Pauline Markham, one
of the classic beauties of the time, appeared. Charles had witnessed
part of this extravaganza one afternoon. It kindled his memories of "The
Black Crook," for it was full of sparkle and color. Charles and Gustave
had made the acquaintance of Owen, the doorkeeper. One afternoon they
walked over to the theater and stood in the lobby listening to a

Owen, who knew the boys' intense love of the theater, spoke up, saying:
"We need an extra page to-night. How would you like to go on?"

Both youngsters stood expectant. They loved each other dearly, yet here
was one moment where self-interest must prevail. Charles fixed the
doorkeeper with his hypnotic smile, and he was chosen. Almost without
hearing the injunction to report at seven o'clock, Charles ran back to
the store, well-nigh breathless with expectancy over the coming event.
With that family feeling which has marked the Frohmans throughout their
whole life, Gustave hurried down-town to notify their eldest brother to
be on hand for the grand occasion.

Charles ate no supper, and was at the stage-door long before seven.
Rigged up in a faded costume, he carried a banner during the
performance. His two elder brothers sat in the gallery. All they saw in
the entire brilliant spectacle was the little Charles and his faded

Charles got twenty-five cents for his evening's work, and brought it
home bubbling with pride. To his great consternation he received a
rebuke from his mother and the strong injunction never to appear on the
stage again.

This was Charles Frohman's first and only appearance on any stage. In
the years to come, although he controlled and directed hundreds of
productions, gave employment to thousands of actors in this country,
England, and France, and ruled the destinies of scores of theaters, he
never appeared in a single performance. Nor had he a desire to appear.

* * *

It will be recalled that in one way or another a great many passes for
the theater found their way into the hands of the elder Frohman, who, in
his great generosity of heart, frequently took many of the neighboring
children along. He was the type of man who loves to bestow pleasure. But
this made no difference with Charles. He was usually able to wring an
extra pass from the bill-poster or some of the actors who frequented the
store. Hence came about his first contract, and in this fashion: At that
time Gustave Frohman was a famous cyclist. He was the first man to keep
a wheel stationary, and he won prizes for doing so. He had purchased his
bicycle with savings out of the theatrical earnings, and his bicycle and
his riding became a source of great envy to Charles, who asked him one
night if he would teach him how to ride.

"Yes," replied Gustave, "I'll teach you if you will make a contract with
me to provide five dollars' worth of passes in return."

"Good!" said Charles, and the deal was closed.

Gustave kept his word, and down in Washington Place, in front of the
residence of old Commodore Vanderbilt, Charles learned to ride. He kept
his part of the contract, too, and delivered five dollars' worth of
passes ahead of schedule time.

One of Gustave's cycling companions was the son of George Vandenhoff,
the famous reader. Through him he met the father, who engaged him to
post his placards for his series of lectures on Dickens. Charles
accompanied Gustave on these expeditions, and got his first contact with
theatrical advertising. Frequently he held the ladder while Gustave
climbed up to hang a placard. Charles often employed his arts to induce
an obdurate shopkeeper to permit a placard in his window. These cards
were not as attractive as those of the regular theaters and it took much
persuasion to secure their display. Charles sometimes sat in the
box-office of Association Hall, where the Vandenhoff lectures were given
and where Gustave sold tickets. It was here that Charles got his
introduction to the finance of the theater.

These days in the early 'seventies were picturesque and carefree for
Charles. The boy was growing up in an atmosphere that, unconsciously,
was shaping his whole future life. In the afternoon he continued his
service behind the counter, hearing the actors tell stories of their
triumphs and hardships. Often he slipped next door to Brentano's, where
he was a welcome visitor and where he pored over the illustrations in
the theatrical journals.

Life at the store was not without incident. Among those who came in to
buy cigars were the Guy brothers, famous minstrels of their time. They
were particular chums of Gustave, and they likewise became great
admirers of the little Charles. At the boys' request they would step
into the little reception-room behind the store and practise their
latest steps to a small but appreciative audience. This was Charles
Frohman's first contact with minstrelsy, in which he was to have such
an active part later on.

Strangely enough, music and moving color always fascinated Charles
Frohman. At that time, for it was scarcely more than a decade after the
Civil War, there were many parades in New York, and all of them passed
the little Broadway cigar-store. To get a better view, Charles
frequently climbed up on the roof and there beheld the marching hosts
with all their tumult and blare. Here it was, as he often later
admitted, that he got his first impressions of street-display and
brass-band effects that he used to such good advantage.

A picturesque friendship of those early days was with the clock-painter
Washburn, perhaps the foremost worker of that kind in this country. He
painted the faces of all the clocks that hung in front of the jewelers'
shops in the big city. He always painted the time at 8.17-1/2 o'clock,
and it became the precedent which most clock-painters have followed ever

Charles watched Washburn at work. One reason for his interest was that
it dealt with gilt. The old painter took such a fancy to the lad that he
wanted him to become his apprentice and succeed him as the first
clock-face painter of his time. But this work seemed too slow for the
future magnate.

* * *

Now came the first business contact of a Frohman with the theater, and
here one encounters an example of that team-work among the Frohman
brothers by which one of them invariably assisted another whenever
opportunity arose. Frequently they created this opportunity themselves.
To Gustave came the distinction of being the first in the business, and
also the privilege of bringing into it both of his brothers. Having
hovered so faithfully and persistently about the edges of theatricals,
Gustave now landed inside.

It was at the time of the high-tide of minstrelsy in this country--1870
to 1880. Dozens of minstrel companies, ranging from bands of real
negroes recruited in the South to aggregations of white men who blacked
their faces, traveled about the country. The minstrel was the direct
product of the slave-time singer and entertainer. His fame was
recognized the world over. The best audiences at home, and royalty
abroad, paid tribute to his talents. Out of the minstrel ranks of those
days emerged some of the best known of our modern stars--men like
Francis Wilson, Nat Goodwin, Henry E. Dixey, Montgomery and Stone,
William H. Crane, and scores of others.

One of the most famous organizations of the time was Charles Callender's
Original Georgia Minstrels, hailing from Macon, Georgia, composed
entirely of negroes and headed by the famous Billy Kersands. Ahead of
this show was a mulatto advance-agent, Charles Hicks. He did very well
in the North, but when he got down South he faced the inevitable
prejudice against doing business with a negro. Callender needed some one
to succeed him. A man whom Gustave Frohman had once befriended, knowing
of his intense desire to enter the profession, recommended him for the
position, and he got it.

All was excitement in the Frohman family. At last the fortunes of one
member were definitely committed to the theater, and although it was a
negro minstrel show, it meant a definite connection with public

No one, not even Gustave himself, felt the enthusiasm so keenly as did
little Charles, then twelve years old. He buzzed about the fortunate

"Do you think you can get me a job as programmer with your show?" he

"No," answered the new advance-agent. "Don't start in the business until
you can be an agent or manager."

On August 2, 1872, Gustave Frohman started to Buffalo to go ahead of the
Callender Minstrels. Charles followed his brother's career with eager
interest, and he longed for the time when he would have some connection
with the business that held such thrall for him.

Life now lagged more than ever for Charles. He chafed at the service in
the store; he detested school; his one great desire was to earn money
and share in the support of the family. His father urged him to prepare
for the law.

"No," he said, "I won't be a lawyer. I want to deal with lots of

Charles frequently referred to Tony Pastor. "He's a big man," he would
often say. "I would like to do what he is doing."

A seething but unformed aspiration seemed to stir his youthful breast.
Once he heard his eldest brother recite some stanzas of Alexander Pope,
in which the following line occurs:

_The whole, the boundless continent is ours._

This line impressed the lad immensely. It became his favorite motto; he
wrote it in his sister's autograph-album; he spouted it on every
occasion; it is still to be found in his first scrap-book framed in
round, boyish hand.

Now the singular thing about this sentiment is that he never quoted it
correctly. It was a life-long failing. His version--and it was strangely
prophetic of his coming career--was:

_The whole--the boundless earth--is mine._

Meanwhile, Daniel Frohman had gone from _The Tribune_ to work in the
office of _The New York Graphic_, down in Park Place near Church Street.
_The Graphic_ was the aristocrat of newspapers--the first illustrated
daily ever published anywhere. With the usual family team-work, Daniel
got Charles a position with him in 1874. He was put in the circulation
department at a salary of ten dollars a week, his first regular wage. It
was a position with which personality had much to do, for one of the
boy's chief tasks was to select a high type of newsboy equipped to sell
a five-cent daily. His genial manner won the boys to him and they became
his loyal co-workers.

With amazing facility he mastered his task. Among other things, he had
to count newspapers. It was before the day of the machine enumerator,
and the work had to be done by hand. Charles developed such
extraordinary swiftness that patrons in the office often stopped to
watch him. In throwing papers over the counter it was necessary to be
accurate and positive, and here came the first manifestation of his
dogged determination. He never lost his cunning in counting papers, and
sometimes, when he was rich and famous, he would take a bundle of
newspapers, to help a newsboy in the street, and run through them with
all his old skill and speed.

* * *

Though his fingers were in the newspapers, his heart yearned for the
theater. This ambition was heightened by the fact that his brother
Daniel, having heeded the lure of Gustave, joined the Callender
Minstrels as advance-agent, while Gustave remained back with the show.
Slowly but surely the theater was annexing the Frohman boys. In the
summer of 1874 Charles was drawn into its charmed circle, and in a
picturesque fashion.

It was the custom for minstrel companies and other theatrical
combinations to rent theaters outright during the dull summer months.
The playhouses were glad to get the rental, and the organizations could
remain intact during what would otherwise be a period of disorganization
and loss. Gustave, therefore, took Hooley's Theater in Brooklyn for
summer minstrel headquarters, and on a memorable morning in July Charles
was electrified to receive the following letter from him:

     _You can begin your theatrical career in the box-office of Hooley's
     Theater in Brooklyn. Take a ferry and look at the theater. Hooley
     is going to rent it to us for the summer. Your work will begin as
     ticket-seller. You will have to sell 25, 50, and 75 cent tickets,
     and they will all be hard tickets, that is, no reserved seats. Get
     some pasteboard slips or a pack of cards and practise handling
     them. Your success will lie in the swiftness with which you can
     hand them out. With these rehearsals you will be able to do your
     work well and look like a professional._

Charles immediately bought a pack of the thickest playing-cards he could
find and began to practise with them. Soon he became an expert shuffler.
Often he used his father's cigar counter for a make-believe box-office
sill, and across it he handed out the pasteboards to imaginary patrons.
A dozen times he went over to Brooklyn and gazed with eager expectancy
at the old theater, destined, by reason of his association with it, to
be a historic landmark in the annals of American amusement.

He wrote Gustave almost immediately:

_I will be ready when the time comes._

That great moment arrived the first Monday in August, 1874. Charles
could scarcely contain his impatience. So well had the publicity work
for the performance been done by the new advance-agent that when the boy
(he was just fourteen) raised the window of the box-office at seven
o'clock there was a long line waiting to buy tickets. The final word of
injunction from Gustave was:

"Remember, Charley, you must be careful, because you will be personally
responsible for any shortage in cash when you balance up."

The house was sold out. When Gustave asked him, after the count-up, if
he was short, the eager-faced lad replied:

"I am not short--I am fifty cents over!"

"Then you can keep that as a reward for your good work," said Gustave.

Callender was on hand the opening night. He watched the boy in the
box-office with, an amused and lively interest. When Charles had
finished selling tickets, Callender stepped up to him with a smile on
his face and said:

"Young fellow, I like your looks and your ways. You and I will be doing
business some day."

During this engagement, and with the customary spirit of family
co-operation, Gustave said to Charles:

"You can give your sister Rachel all the pennies that come in at the
Wednesday matinée." At this engagement very little was expected in the
way of receipts at a midweek matinée.

But Gustave did not reckon with Charles. With an almost uncanny sense of
exploitation which afterward enabled him to attract millions of
theater-goers, the boy kept the brass-band playing outside the theater
half an hour longer than usual. This drew many children just home from
school, and they paid their way in pennies. The receipts, therefore,
were unexpectedly large. When sister Rachel came over that day her
beaming brother filled her bag with coppers.

The summer of 1874 was a strenuous one for Charles Frohman. By day he
worked in _The Graphic_ office, only getting off for the matinées; at
night he was in the box-office at Hooley's in Brooklyn, his smiling face
beaming like a moon through the window. He was in his element at last
and supremely happy. When the season ended the Callender Minstrels
resumed their tour on the road and Charles went back to the routine of
_The Graphic_ undisturbed by the thrill of the theater.

He was developing rapidly. Daily he became more efficient. The following
year he was put in charge of a branch office established by _The
Graphic_ in Philadelphia. Now came his second business contact with the
theater. Callender's Minstrels played an engagement at Wood's Museum,
and Daniel came on ahead to bill the show. Charles immediately offered
his services. His advice about the location of favorite "stands" was of
great service in getting posters displayed to the best advantage. It
was the initial expression of what later amounted to a positive genius
in the art of well-directed bill-board posting.

While prowling around Philadelphia in search of amusement novelty--a
desire that remained with him all his life--Charles encountered a unique
form of public entertainment which had considerable vogue. It was
Pepper's "Ghost Show," and was being shown in a small hall in Chestnut

The "Ghost Show" was an illusion. The actors seemed to be on the stage.
In reality, they were under the stage, and their reflection was sent up
by refracting mirrors. This enabled them (in the sight of the audience)
to appear and disappear in the most extraordinary fashion. People
apparently walked through one another, had their heads cut off, were
shown with daggers plunged in their breasts. The whole effect was weird
and thrilling.

This show impressed Charles greatly, as the unusual invariably did. It
gave him an idea. When Charles Callender joined his minstrel show at
Philadelphia, young Frohman went to him with this proposition:

"I believe," he said with great earnestness, "that there is money in the
'Ghost Show.' The trouble with it now is that it is not being properly
advertised. If you will let me have a hundred dollars, I will take
charge of it and I think we can make some money out of it. It won't
interfere with my work with _The Graphic_."

Charles, who seldom left anything to chance, had already made an
arrangement with the manager of the show to become his advertising

Callender, who liked the boy immensely, readily consented and gave him
the required money, thus embarking Charles on his first venture with
any sort of capital.

Unfortunately, the show failed. Charles maintained that the
Philadelphians lacked imagination, but with his usual optimism he was
certain that it would succeed on the road. When he approached Callender
again and offered to take it out on the road the minstrel magnate
slapped him on the shoulder and said:

"All right, my boy. If you say so, I believe you. You can take the show
out and I'll back you."

Charles counseled with Gustave, who continued as his theatrical monitor.
Eagerly he said:

"I've got a great chance. Callender is going to back me on the road with
the 'Ghost Show.'"

"No," said Gustave, firmly, "your time has not come. Wait, as I told you
before, until you can go out ahead of a show as agent."

Bitter as was the ordeal, Charles took his brother's advice, and the
"Ghost Show" was abandoned to its fate.



The Christmas of 1876 was not a particularly merry one for Charles
Frohman. The ardent boy, whose brief experience in Hooley's box-office
had fastened the germ of the theater in his system, chafed at the
restraint that kept him at a routine task. But his deliverance was at

Shortly before the close of the old year Gustave quit the Callender
Minstrels. With a capital of fifty-seven dollars he remained in Chicago,
waiting for something to turn up. One day as he sat in the lobby of the
old Sherman House he was accosted by J. H. Wallick, an actor-manager who
had just landed in town with a theatrical combination headed by John
Dillon, a well-known Western comedian of the time. They were stranded
and looking for a backer.

"Will you take charge of the company?" asked Wallick.

"I've only got fifty-seven dollars," said Gustave, "but I'll take a

Between them they raised a little capital and started on a tour of the
Middle West that was destined to play a significant part in shaping the
career of Charles. In the company besides John Dillon were his wife,
Louise Dillon (afterward the ingénue of Daniel Frohman's Lyceum
Company); George W. Stoddart, brother of J. H. Stoddart of A. M.
Palmer's Company, his wife and his daughter, Polly Stoddart, who married
Neil Burgess; John F. Germon; Mrs. E. M. Post, and Wesley Sisson. Their
repertory consisted of two well-worn but always amusing plays, "Our
Boys" and "Married Life."

Gustave was to remain with the company until they reached Clinton, Iowa.
After that he was to go ahead while Wallick was to remain with the
company. When Gustave was about to leave, the company protested. He had
won their confidence, and they threatened to strike. What to do with
Wallick was the problem.

"Why not make him stage-manager?" suggested Dillon.

"All right," said Gustave, "but who is to go ahead of the show?"

The company was gathered on the stage of the Davis Opera House. Gustave
scratched his head. Then he turned quickly on the group of stage folk
and said:

"I've got some one for you. I'll wire my brother Charles to come on and
be advance-agent."

Thus it came about that from a little Iowa town there flashed back to
New York on a memorable morning in January, 1877, the following telegram
from Gustave to Charles Frohman:

     _Your time has come at last. Am wiring money for ticket to St.
     Paul, where you begin as agent for John Dillon. Will meet you 2
     A.M. at Winona, where you change cars and where I will instruct._

Charles happened to be at home when this telegram came. It was the first
he had ever received. With trembling hands he tore it open, his rosy
face broke into a seraphic smile, and the tears came into his eyes. He
rushed to his mother, threw his arms around her, and gasped:

"At last I'm in the business!"

He lost no time in starting. With a single grip-sack, which contained
his modest wardrobe, the eager boy started on his first railroad journey
of any length into the great West. It was the initial step of what, from
this time on, was to be a continuous march of ever-widening importance.

Begrimed but radiant, the boy stepped from a day-coach at two o'clock in
the morning at Winona. No scene could have been more desolate. Save for
the station-master and a solitary brakeman there was only one other
person on hand, and that individual was the faithful Gustave, who
advanced swiftly through the gloom and greeted his brother

Charles was all excitement. He had not slept a wink. It was perhaps the
longest and most irksome journey he ever took. He was bubbling with the
desire to get to work.

The two brothers went to a hotel where Gustave had a room, and there
they sat for four hours. It is a picture well worth keeping in mind: the
pleased older boy, eager to get his brother started right; the younger
lad all ears, and his eyes big with wonder and anticipation. There was
no thought of food or rest. Gustave was enthusiastic about the company.
He said to his brother:

"Why, Charley, we've got real New York actors, and our leading lady,
Louise Dillon, has a genuine sealskin coat. That coat will get us out of
any town. You've got no 'Ghost Show' amateurs to handle now, but real
actors and actresses."

Then came an announcement that startled the boy, for Gustave continued:

"Your salary is to be twenty-five dollars a week and hotel bills, but
you must not spend more than one dollar and a half a day for meals and

In this dingy room of an obscure hotel in a country town Charles Frohman
got his first instructions in practical theatrical work. Perhaps the
most important of this related to bill-posting. In those days it was a
tradition in theatrical advertising that whoever did the most effective
bill-posting in a town got the audience. Most of the publicity was done
with posters. An advance-agent had to be a practical bill-poster
himself. To get the most conspicuous sites for bills and to keep those
bills up until the attraction played became the chief task of the
advance-agent. The provincial bill-posters were fickle and easily
swayed. The agent with the most persuasive personality, sometimes with
the greatest drinking capacity, won the day.

All this advice, and much more, was poured by Gustave into the willing
ears of the youthful Charles. No injunction laid on that keen-eyed boy
in the gray dawn of that historic morning back in the 'seventies was
more significant than these words from his elder brother:

"Your success in handling the bill-poster does not lie through a barroom
door. Give him all the passes he wants, but never buy him a drink."

That those words sank deeply into Charles Frohman is shown by the fact
that he seldom drank liquor. His chief tipple through all the coming
crowded years was never stronger than sarsaparilla, soda-water, or

The task ahead of Charles would have staggered any but the most
dauntless enthusiasm. Among other things, as Gustave discovered, there
was no route for the company after St. Paul, which was to be played the
following week.

"You must discover new towns and bill them," he said. "Get what printing
you want. The printers have been instructed to fill orders from you."

The hours sped on. Charles asked a thousand questions, and Gustave
filled him with facts as dawn broke and day came. It was nearly seven
o'clock, time for his train for St. Paul to leave. Charles would not
hear of having breakfast. He was too full of desire to get to work.

Among other things, Charles carried a letter from Gustave to Wallick,
who was temporarily ahead of the show, which said:

     _This is my brother Charles, who will take the advance in your

The first word that came from the young advance-agent announced action,
for he wired:

     _All right with Wallick. Have discovered River Falls._

River Falls, it happened, had been "discovered" before and abandoned,
but Charles thought he was making route history.

Charles immediately set to work with the extraordinary energy that
always characterized him. The chief bill-poster in St. Paul was named
Haines. Charles captured him with his engaging smile, and he became a
willing slave. It was Haines who taught him how to post bills. Later on
when Gustave arrived with the show, he spoke of the boy with intense
pride. He said:

"I have taught your brother Charley how to post bills. He took to it
like a duck to water. He didn't mind how much paste he spattered over
himself. His one desire was to know how to do the job thoroughly. I am
going to make him the greatest theatrical agent in the world."

Curiously enough, Haines lived to be a very old man, and in the later
years of his life he was able to stick up the twenty-eight-sheet stands
that bore in large type the name of the little chubby protégé he had
introduced to the art of bill-posting back in the long ago.

At St. Paul Charles had opposition--a big musical event at Ingersoll
Hall--and this immediately tested his resource. He got his printing
posted in the best places, went around to the newspaper offices and got
such good notices that John Dillon was inspired to remark that he had
never had such efficient advance work. It is interesting to remember
that at this time Charles Frohman was not yet eighteen years old.

Now came the first evidence of that initiative which was such a
conspicuous trait in the young man. He had come back to see the
performances of his company, and had watched them with swelling pride.
Several times he said, and with pardonable importance:

"What _we_ need is a new play. _We_ must have something fresh to

The net result of this suggestion was that his brother obtained the
manuscript of "Lemons," a comedy that, under the title of "Wedlock for
Seven," had been first produced at Augustin Daly's New Fifth Avenue
Theater in New York. A copy of the play was sent on to Charles to
enable him to prepare the presswork for it, and it was the first play
manuscript he ever read. "Lemons" vindicated Charles's suggestion,
because it added to the strength of the repertory and brought
considerable new business.

Charles took an infinite pride in his work. He was eager for
suggestions, he worked early and late, and when the season closed at the
end of June he was a full-fledged and experienced advance-agent. With
his brother he reached Chicago July 4th. In the lobby of Hooley's
Theater he was introduced to R. M. Hooley, who, after various hardships,
again controlled the theater which bore his name, now Powers' Theater.
Out of that chance meeting came a long friendship and a connection that
helped in later years to give Charles Frohman his first spectacular
success, for it was Mr. Hooley who helped to back "Shenandoah."

On July 5th, six months after he had left the East for his first start,
Charles appeared at his mother's home in New York, none the worse for
his first experience on the road.

* * *

Charles was soon eager for the next season. Gustave had signed a
contract with John Dillon to take him out again, this time as part owner
of the company. He and George Stoddart agreed to put up two hundred and
fifty dollars each to launch the tour of the Stoddart Comedy Company
with John Dillon as star. Charles was to continue as advance-agent.

It was a long summer for the boy. When August arrived and the time came
to start west there was a financial council of war. Gustave counted on
getting his capital from members of the family, but no money was
forthcoming. Daniel had received no salary from Callender, and the great
road project seemed on the verge of failure. Charles was disconsolate.
But the mother of the boys, ever mindful of their interest, said, in her
serene way:

"I can get enough money to send you to Chicago and I will put up some
lunches for you."

Charles was eagerly impatient to start. He nagged at his brother:

"Gus, when do we start for Chicago? Do we walk?"

He was sent down-town to find out the cheapest route, and he returned in
great excitement, saying:

"The cheapest way is over the Baltimore & Ohio, second class, but it is
the longest ride. We can ride in the day-coach, and even if we have no
place to wash we will get to Chicago, and that is the main thing."

When they reached Chicago the first of the long chain of disasters that
was to attend them on this enterprise developed.

Stoddart was penniless. The two hundred and fifty dollars that he
expected to contribute to the capital of the new combination was swept
away in the failure of the Fidelity Bank. He had looked forward to
Gustave for help, and all the while Gustave, on that long, toilsome
journey west, was hoping that his partner would provide the first
railroad fares. So they sat down and pooled their woes, wondering how
they could start their tour, with Charles as an interested listener.

Every now and then he would chirp up with the question:

"How do I get out of town?"

Finally Gustave, always resourceful, said:

"You don't need any money, Charley. I've got railroad passes for you,
and you can give the hotels orders on me for your board and lodging."

It was a custom in those days for advance-agents to give orders for
their obligations--hotel, rent of hall, bill-posting, and baggage--upon
the company that followed. Hotels in particular were willing to accept
orders on the treasurer of a theatrical company about to play a date,
because, in the event of complete failure, there was always baggage to
seize and hold.

So, armed with passes and with the optimism of youth and anticipation,
Charles set forth on what became in many respects the most memorable
road experience in his life. The first town he billed was Streator,
Illinois. Then he hurried on to Ottawa and Peoria, where they were to
play during fair week, which was the big week of the year. Misfortune
descended at Streator, for despite the lavish display of posters and the
ample advance notice that Charles lured the local editors into
publishing, the total receipts on the first night were seventy-seven
dollars. This, and more, had already been pledged before the curtain
went up, and Gustave was not even able to pay John Dillon his seven
dollars and seventy cents, which represented his ten per cent, of the
gross receipts.

By "traveling on their baggage," which was one of the expedients of the
time and a custom which has not entirely passed out of use, the company
got to Ottawa, where Charles joined them. Here, in a comic circumstance,
he first developed the amazing influence that he was able to exert on

Although an admirable actor with a large following and the most
delightful and companionable of men, John Dillon had one unfortunate
failing. He was addicted to drink, and, regardless of consequences, he
would periodically succumb to this weakness. At Ottawa, the town crowded
with visitors for the annual fair, Dillon fell from grace. The bill for
the evening was "Lemons," and there was every indication that the house
would be sold out. The receipts were badly needed, too.

Late in the afternoon came the terrifying news that Dillon lay stupefied
from liquor in his room. Everybody save Charles was in despair. Dillon
had conceived a great fancy for Charles, and he was deputized to take
the actor in hand, get him to the theater, and coerce him through the

Charles responded nobly. He aroused the star, took him to the theater in
a carriage, and stood in the wings throughout the whole performance,
coaching and inspiring his intoxicated star. By an amusing circumstance,
Dillon was required to play a drunken scene in "Lemons." He performed
this part with so much realism that the audience gave him a great
ovation. The real savior of that performance was the chubby lad who
stood in the wings with beating heart, fearful every moment that Dillon
would succumb.

* * *

New and heavier responsibilities now faced Charles Frohman. The company
was booked to play a week in Memphis, Tennessee, the longest and most
important stand of the tour. In those days the printers who supplied the
traveling companies with advertising matter were powers to be reckoned
with. When the supply of printing was cut off the company was helpless.

Charles H. McConnell, of the National Printing Company, who supplied the
Stoddart Company with paper, was none too confident of the success of
that organization. When he heard of the Memphis engagement he insisted
that Gustave, who was older and more experienced, be sent ahead to pave
the way. Charles was sent back to manage the company, and now came his
first attempt at handling actors. He rose to the emergency with all his
characteristic ingenuity.

He began at Champaign, Illinois. The first test of his resource came at
a one-night stand--Waupaca, Iowa--where "Lemons" was billed as a
feature. The prospects for a big house were good. Board and railroad
fare seemed assured, when just before supper-time John F. Germon, one of
the company, approached Charles in great perturbation.

"We can't play to-night. Mrs. Post is sick."

Mrs. Post played the part of the old woman in the play, and it was a
very important rôle.

Charles Frohman only smiled, as he always did in an emergency. Then he
said to Germon:

"You're a member of the well-known Germon family, aren't you? Then live
up to its reputation and play the part yourself."

"But how about my mustache?" asked Germon.

"I will pay for having it shaved off," replied Frohman.

The net result was that Germon sacrificed his mustache, played the part
acceptably without any one in the audience discovering that he was a man
masquerading as an old woman. Charles put Wallick, who was acting as
stage-manager, in Germon's part. Thus the house was saved and the
company was able to proceed.

With his attractive ways and eternal thoughtfulness Charles captivated
the company. He supplied the women with candy and bought peanuts for the
men. On that trip he developed his fondness for peanuts that never
forsook him. He almost invariably carried a bag in his pocket. When he
could not get peanuts he took to candy.

A great friendship struck up between Frohman and Stoddart, who, in a
way, was a character. He played the violin, and when business was bad
and the company got in the dumps Stoddart added to their misfortunes by
playing doleful tunes on his fiddle. But that fiddle had a virtue not to
be despised, because it was Stoddart's bank. In its hollow box he
secreted his modest savings, and in more than one emergency they were
drawn on for company bed and board. When the organization reached
Memphis Charles had so completely won the affections of the company that
they urged him to stay on with them. But business was business, and he
had to go on in advance.

Charles now went ahead to "bill" Texas. The reason for the expedition
was this:

In Memphis business was so bad that the manager of the theater there
advised Gustave to send the company through Texas, where, he assured
them, there would be no opposition, and they would have the state to
themselves. This advice proved to be only too true, for the company not
only had the state to itself, but the state for a time held the company
fast--in the unwilling bonds of financial misfortune.

The plan was to play the best towns in Texas and then go back through
the Middle West, where John Dillon had a strong following, and where it
was hoped the season could close with full pockets. Up to this time the
company had received salaries with some degree of regularity. But from
this time on they were to have a constantly diminishing acquaintance
with money, for hard luck descended upon them the moment they crossed
the frontiers of the Lone Star State.

It was about this time that Charles Callender, at the solicitation of
Gustave, purchased an interest in the Stoddart Comedy Company for a
hundred-dollar bill. This bill was given to Charles as a "prop." In
those days the financial integrity of the legitimate theatrical
combination was sometimes questioned by hard-hearted hotel-keepers. The
less esthetic "variety" troupes, minstrel shows, and circuses enjoyed a
much higher credit. An advance-agent like Charles sometimes found
difficulty in persuading the hotel people to accept orders on the
company's treasurer.

With characteristic enterprise Charles used the hundred-dollar bill as a
symbol of solvency. He flashed it on hotel-keepers and railway agents in
the careless way that inspired confidence, and, what was more to the
point, credit. He carried this hundred-dollar bill for nearly a month.
Often when asked to pay his board bill he would produce the note and ask
for change. Before the startled clerk could draw his breath he would

"Perhaps it might be best if I gave you an order on the treasurer."

This always served to get him out of town without spending cash for
hotel bills.

Texas was still a rough country, and Charles's reckless display of the
hundred-dollar bill once gave him a narrow escape from possible death.
He had made the usual careless display of wealth at a small hotel in
Calvert. The bad man of the town witnessed the performance and
immediately began to shadow the young advance-agent. When Charles
retired to his room he found, to his dismay, that there was no lock on
the door. He had a distinct feeling that a robbery would be attempted,
so he quietly left the hotel and spent the night riding back and forth
on the train between Calvert and Dallas. This cost him nothing, for he
had a pass.

At Galveston occurred an unexpected meeting. Daniel Frohman, who was
ahead of Callender's Minstrels, had arrived in town by boat from New
Orleans (there being no railway connection then) to book his show for
the next week. On arriving at the Tremont Opera House he was surprised
to see Charles writing press notices in the box-office.

"What are you doing here?" he asked. "I thought you were in Tennessee."

Charles walked to the window and said, with great pride, "We play here
all next week."

"Have you got the whole week?" asked Daniel.

"Yes," was the reply.

"But can't you give me Monday or Tuesday night?" asked Daniel.

"Impossible," replied Charles, haughtily.

"All right," said Daniel, in friendly rivalry, "then I will have to hire
Turner Hall and knock you out for two nights with our brass-band

Charles then came out into the lobby and confessed that his company was
up against it, and that it meant bread and butter and possibly the whole
future of the company if he could only play Galveston.

"We are coming here on our trunks," he said, "and we've got to get some

Daniel immediately relented. He arranged with the railroad to delay the
train and thus make a connection which would carry his company on
through to the interior. He booked Galveston for the second week
following. This left the week in question free to Charles, who breathed

Charles now went on and billed Sherman, Houston, and Dallas. At Dallas
the hard luck that had gripped the company the moment it left Memphis
descended more vigorously than before. Dillon not only fell from grace
again, but disappeared. Gustave Frohman had vowed that he would
discharge him if he went on another spree, and he kept his word. They
were in a real predicament, with star gone, business bad, and
practically stranded a thousand miles from home.

Charles, who frequently came back to join the company, was the one
bright spot of those precarious days, for he never lost his optimism or
his smile.

"What we need," he said at a council of war in Dallas, "is a new play. I
have been reading in the _New York Clipper_ about one called 'Pink
Dominoes.' I think it is just the thing for us to do. In fact, I have
already sent for a copy of it."

The play arrived the next day, and when George Stoddart read it to him
the young agent bubbled with laughter and said:

"It's bound to be a big success."

It was decided to put on "Pink Dominoes" at Houston. Charles remained
behind and watched the rehearsals, the first of the kind he had ever
seen. Contrary to all expectations, Houston was shocked by the play. The
audience literally "walked out" and the run of one night ended.

Misfortunes now crowded thick and fast. Salaries had ceased entirely,
and it was with the utmost difficulty that the company proceeded on its
way. As a crowning hardship, Callender repented of his bargain and
withdrew the much-used and treasured hundred-dollar bill.

When Charles met Gustave in Seguin he said: "We're up against a hard
proposition. The people want John Dillon. It's hard to book an
attraction without a star."

In this statement Charles Frohman expressed a truth that he afterward
made one of his theatrical axioms, for he became the leading exponent of
the star system, and developed, in fact, into the king of the

Charles rose supreme over the hardships that filled his colleagues with
gloom. Many a night, in order to save hotel bills, he slept on a train
as it shunted back and forth between small towns. He always turned up in
the morning smiling and serene, with cheer for his now discouraged and
almost disgruntled colleagues.

Louise Dillon's sealskin sack rendered heroic service during these
precarious days. It was almost literally worn out as collateral. As
Gustave had predicted, it got the company out of town on more than one
occasion. A little incident will indicate some of the ordeals of that
stage of the tour. At Hempstead a "norther" struck the town and the
temperature dropped. Wesley Sisson caught a hard cold and concluded to
get what he called "a good sweat." He had scarcely made his preparations
and settled himself in bed when he heard a rap at the door and a voice
said, "Open up."

"Who's that?" asked Sisson.

"Charley," was the reply. "Let me in. There isn't a spare bed in this
house and I am freezing to death."

"All right," said Sisson, "but you don't want to come in here, because I
am trying to sweat to death."

"Great Scott!" yelled Frohman, "that's what I want to do."

Sisson let him in and he remained all night.

* * *

Everywhere Charles Frohman drew people to him. The first time he booked
Houston he made friends with Colonel McPherson, who owned the Perkins
Opera House and the inevitable saloon alongside. The old manager--a
rather rough customer who had killed his man--was a great casino-player,
and Charles beguiled several hours with him one night at a game while
waiting for a train.

In one of the company's darkest hours he said to Stoddart:

"I've got an idea. Let's play Houston."

"But we've just been there," said Stoddart.

"Never mind," said Charles. "I'll fix it."

The next day he turned up at Houston and went to Colonel McPherson.

"What, you here again?" he asked.

"We've come back," replied Charles with ready resource, "to play a
special benefit for your School Teachers' Association."

The old man chuckled. "Well, if you can get 'em in the house you are all

Charles was already planning a series of benefits for volunteer firemen
and widows and orphans in future towns. It was a case of "anything to
get a crowd." He hesitated a moment, then faced the old man with his
winning smile and said:

"Colonel, I wish you would let me have fifty dollars to send back to the

"All right, my boy; there's the safe. Help yourself. Hurry up. Let us
have a game of casino."

Charles wired the much-needed money to his brother, then came back and
dutifully played the game. But neither trumped-up benefits for the most
worthy of causes nor the unfailing good-humor of the boyish
advance-agent could stem the tide of adversity. Things went from bad to
worse. Louise Dillon, all hope of salary gone, gave her little remaining
capital to Gustave, saving only enough for her railway fare, and went
back to her home in Cincinnati. Stoddart now played more dolefully than
ever on his violin, ransacked its recesses, and turned over his last
cent for the common good.

"We've got to get back North," said Gustave.

With the utmost effort, and by pawning jewelry and clothes, the company
gladly saw the last trace of Texas disappear over the horizon.

It was a hard journey back. At Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Charles had to wait
for the company because he did not have enough cash to go on ahead. Here
the whole company was stranded until several of the members succeeded in
getting enough money from home by wire to send them on.

Memphis proved to be a life-saver. Here the company took a steamboat
down the Arkansas. It is notable because thus early Charles showed that
eagerness to take a chance which eventually caused his death, for, on
this trip, as on the _Lusitania_, he had been warned not to sail.

The river was low and the pilot was reckless. Whenever the boat groaned
over a bar Charles would say, "That's great," although the other members
of the company shivered with apprehension.

By using every device and resource known to the traveling company of
those days, the Stoddart Comedy Company finally reached Richmond,
Kentucky. It had left a trail of baggage behind; there was not a watch
in the whole aggregation. Charles went on ahead to Cincinnati to book
and bill the adjacent towns.

At Richmond Gustave had an inspiration. Then, as always, "Uncle Tom's
Cabin" was the great life-saver of the harassed and needy theatrical
organization. The play was always accessible and it almost invariably
drew an audience.

"Why not have a real negro play Uncle Tom?" said Gustave.

So he wired Charles as follows:

     _Get me an Eva and send her down with Sam Lucas. Be sure to tell
     Sam to bring his diamonds._

Sam Lucas was a famous negro minstrel who had been with the Callender
company. He sported a collection of diamonds that made him the envy and
admiration of his colleagues. Gustave knew that these jewels, like
Louise Dillon's sealskin sack, meant a meal ticket for the company and
transportation in an emergency.

Charles engaged Sallie Cohen (now Mrs. John C. Rice), and sent her down
with Lucas, who, by the way, provided the money for the trip. Charles
then proceeded to cover his "Lemons" posters with "Uncle Tom's Cabin"
printing which he hastily acquired, and awaited results.

"Uncle Tom's Cabin" was played to a packed house at Richmond, and the
company was able to get out of Kentucky. Gustave now had visions of big
business in Ohio, and especially at Wilmington, which was Sam Lucas's
home town. But the result was the usual experience with home patronage
of home talent, and only a handful of people came to see the play.
Sallie Cohen, despairing of getting her salary, had quit the company,
and on this night Polly Stoddart, who was a tall, well-developed woman,
had to play Little Eva. When she sat on the lap of Wesley Sisson, who
played her father, she not only hid him from sight, but almost crushed
him to earth.

Wilmington proved to be the last despairing gasp of the Stoddart Comedy
Company, for the trouble-studded tour now ended. Some of Lucas's
diamonds were pawned to get the company back to Cincinnati.

The sad news was telegraphed to Charles, who was billing Newport,
Kentucky, which is just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati. He
received the message while standing on a step-ladder with a paste-brush
in his hand. Now came an early evidence of his humor and equanimity. He
calmly went on posting the bill for the show that he knew would never
appear. Afterward in reciting the incident he made this explanation:

"I didn't want to tell the bill-poster that the company was closed,
because he had just made a fresh bucket of paste and I didn't want him
to waste it. Besides, he had become enthusiastic at the prospect of
seeing a real negro Uncle Tom, and I had just given him some passes for
the show. I didn't want all his disappointments to come at one time."

After all the hardships of the previous months, and with salaries
unpaid, the company now found itself stranded in the spring of 1878 at
the Walnut Street Hotel in Cincinnati. Gustave's problem was to get his
people home. Fortunately, most of them lived in the Middle West. By
pawning some of his clothes and making other sacrifices he was able to
get them off. Only Frank Hartwell and Charles were left behind.

Gustave got a pass to Baltimore, where he borrowed enough money from
Callender, then in his decline, to take care of Hartwell. Charles was
left behind as security for the whole Frohman bill at the Walnut Street
Hotel. Although Charles was amiable and smiling, the hotel thought that
his cheerful demeanor was an unsatisfactory return for board and
lodging, so he was asked to vacate his room after a few days. He now
spent his time walking about the streets and eating one meal a day. At
night he sat in the summer-gardens "across the Rhine," listening to the
music, and then seeking out a place where he could get a bed for a

By giving an I O U to the same Pennsylvania ticket-agent who had staked
Gustave, and with five dollars telegraphed by the indefatigable brother
back in New York, he got as far as Philadelphia. He landed there without
a cent in his pocket.

"I must get home," he said.

He got on a day-coach of a New York train without the vestige of a
ticket and still penniless. In those days the cars were heated by
stoves, and near each stove was a large coal-box.

When Charles heard the conductor's cry, "Tickets, please!" he hid
himself in the coal-box and remained there until the awful personage
passed by. Being small, he could pull the lid of the box down and be
completely hidden from sight. After the conductor passed, he scrambled
out and resumed his seat. He had to repeat this performance several
times on the trip. Afterward in speaking of it he said:

"I wasn't a bit frightened for myself. I knew I would suffer no harm. My
chief concern was for a kind-hearted old man who sat in the seat next
to the coal-box. He was much more agitated than I was."

On a bright May afternoon Charles turned up, sooty but smiling, at 250
East Seventy-eighth Street, where the Frohman family then lived. He had
walked all the way up-town from the ferry. His first greeting to Gustave

"Well, when do we start again?"



Instead of discouraging him, Charles Frohman's baptism of hardship with
the John Dillon companies only filled him with a renewed ardor for the
theatrical business. The hunger for the road was strong in him. Again it
was Gustave who proved to be the good angel, and who now led him to a
picturesque experience.

During the summer of 1878 J. H. (Jack) Haverly acquired the Callender
Original Georgia Minstrels, and Gustave, who had an important hand in
the negotiation, was retained as manager. He started for the Pacific
coast with his dusky aggregation, and in Chicago fell in with his new

Haverly was then at the high tide of his extraordinary career. He was in
many respects the amusement dictator of his time. Beginning as owner of
a small variety theater in Toledo, Ohio, he had risen to be the manager
of half a dozen important theaters in New York, Chicago, and
Philadelphia. Not less than ten traveling companies bore his name.

By instinct a plunger, his daring deals became the theatrical talk of
the country. He was a dashing and conspicuous figure; his spacious
shirt-front shone with diamonds, and he wore a large flat-crowned stiff
hat in which he carried all his correspondence and private papers.

Haverly specialized in minstrels, for he was a genius at capitalizing
the enthusiasm of the theater-going public. Just at this time he was
launching the greatest of all his traveling enterprises. To meet the
competition of the newly formed Barlow, Wilson, Primrose and West
minstrels he decided to merge all his white minstrel companies into the
Haverly Mastodons. It was to include forty star performers, more than
had ever before been assembled in a minstrel organization. So proud was
Haverly of this total that the advertising slogan of the company, which
was echoed from coast to coast, and which became a popular theatrical
phrase everywhere, was "Forty--Count 'Em--Forty."

Gustave found Haverly in the throes of Mastodon-making. Always
solicitous of the family interest, he asked him if he had engaged a
treasurer. When Haverly replied that he had not, Gustave immediately
spoke up:

"Why don't you hire my brother Charley? He has had experience on the

"All right, Gus," he replied. "I've got two Frohmans with me now. If
Charley is as good as they are, he is all right."

Thus it came about that for the first time the three Frohman brothers
were associated under the same employer.

Gustave wired the good news and transportation to the eager and
impatient Charles, who had irked under the inactivity of a hot summer in
New York. Gustave added ten dollars and instructed his brother to buy a
new suit, for the Frohman family funds were in a more or less sad way.

Henry Frohman's generosity and his absolute inability to press the
payment of debts due him had brought the father to a state of financial
embarrassment, and the burden of the family support fell upon the sons.

In a few days Charles showed up smiling in Chicago, but he had suffered
disaster on the way. The ten-dollar "hand-me-down" suit had faded
overnight, and when Charles appeared it was a sad sight.

"You can't meet Jack Haverly in that suit," said Gustave.

"All right," said Charley, "I will go to a tailor and have it fixed in
some way."

The tailor, apparently, worked a miracle with the clothes, for Charles
became presentable and was introduced to the great man, who, like most
other people, readily succumbed to the boy's winning manner.

"You and I will work the public, all right," he said to Charles. What
was more important, Haverly informed him that he was to act as treasurer
of the Mastodons at a salary of ten dollars a week, with an allowance of
one dollar and a half a day for board and lodging.

A serious complication now faced the boy. It was in the middle of July;
the company was not to start until August, and he could draw no salary
until the engagement began. With the assistance of Gustave he rented a
two-dollar-a-week room and existed on a meal-ticket good for twenty-two
fifteen-cent meals that he had bought for three dollars.

Charles sat at rehearsals with Haverly. He had a genius for stage
effects and made many practical suggestions. The big brass-band, an
all-important adjunct of the minstrel show, fascinated him. When the
season opened with a flourish the receipts amazed him.

For the first time he came in contact with real money. The gross income
of the Dillon company had never exceeded a thousand dollars a week; now
he was handling more than that sum every night.

After a brief engagement at the Adelphi Theater in Chicago, which
Haverly owned, the "Forty--Count 'Em--Forty" started on their long tour
which rounded out the amusement apprenticeship of Charles Frohman.

* * *

Charles now made his first real appearance before the public, and in
spectacular fashion. It was the custom of a minstrel company to parade
each day. With their record-breaking organization the Mastodons gave
this feature of minstrelsy perhaps its greatest traditions. Wearing
shining silk hats, frock-coats, and lavender trousers, and headed by
"the world's greatest minstrel band," the "Forty--Count 'Em--Forty"
swayed the heart and moved the imagination of admiring multitudes
wherever they went.

Charles, who to the end of his days despised a silk hat, now wore one
for the first time, but under protest. However, he manfully took his
place in the front set of fours with the ranking officers of the
organization, and marched many a weary mile. So great was his dislike
for a silk hat even then that he invariably carried a cap in his pocket
and the moment the parade was over the abhorred headpiece was removed.

The first stop of the Mastodons was at Toledo, Ohio. A great crowd
assembled around the theater, and the treasurer, a weak little man,
seemed afraid to raise the window. "They'll run over me," he whined.

"All right," said Charles. "I'll take the window and sell the tickets."

Up to this time his only box-office experience had been as a mere lad at
Hooley's Theater in Brooklyn, but he handled that big crowd with such
skill and speed that even "Big Bill" Foote, who was the manager of the
company, patted him on the back and said a kind word.

Foote, who was Charles's superior officer on this trip, was a type of
the big, loud, blustering theatrical man of the time. He was six feet
tall, and he towered over his youthful assistant, who was his exact
opposite in manner and speech. Yet between these two men of strange
contrast there developed a close kinship. The little, plump,
rosy-cheeked treasurer could handle the big, bluff, noisy manager at
will. Such was Charles Frohman's experience with men always.

The first tour was replete with stirring incident. When the company
reached Bradford, Pennsylvania, they found the town in the throes of oil
excitement. Oil was on everybody's tongue and ankle-deep in some of the
streets. A great multitude collected at the theater. After the first
part of the show the gallery, which was full of people, creaked and
settled a few inches, creating a near panic. While this was being
subdued an oil-warehouse on the outskirts of the town burst into flames.
Most of the volunteer firemen were in the theater watching the
minstrels. When an agitated individual out on the sidewalk yelled
"Fire!" a real panic started inside the theater and there was a mad rush
for the door.

Charles had just finished taking the tickets and stood with the
ticket-box in his hand, trying to calm the crowd, but he was as a straw
in the wind. The maddened people ran over him. When the excitement
cleared away he was found almost buried in mud, mire, and oil outside,
his clothes torn to shreds, but he still grasped the precious box in his

Now began a comradeship that was unique in the history of theatricals.
The Mastodons, destined for long and continuous association, became a
sort of traveling club. It was really a fine group of men, and the
favorite of the organization was the rosy little treasurer who day by
day fastened himself more firmly in the hearts of his colleagues.

Nor was this due to the fact that he was "Haverly's pocket-book," as the
men affectionately called him, and their first aid in all financial
need. He was the friend, confidant, and repository of all their
troubles. With characteristic humor he gave each member of the company a
day on which he could relate his hardships. He had a willing ear and an
open hand.

When he could not give them the relief they sought he invariably said
with that constant smile, "Well, I sympathize with you, anyhow."

Frohman was custodian of the company funds. One day in Denver four
members of the company found themselves without a cent. Charles had
tided them over so many difficulties that they hesitated to ask him
again. As they talked their troubles over they saw him coming down the
street. Instantly all four went down on their knees and held up their
hands in supplication. When Charles saw them he said, "How much do you
want?" And they got it.

He was always playing some practical joke. With half a dozen members of
the company he formed a little club which often had supper after the
play. This club was the fountain-head of a thousand jests and pranks. On
one occasion Charles suggested that for the sake of the novelty of the
thing every member of the club have his head shaved. The group went to a
barber-shop. Only one chair was vacant, however, and Charles Cushman
got that chair. While his dome was being shorn of every vestige of hair
Charles nudged the others and they crept away. When Cushman emerged,
bald as a babe, he found himself alone. The joke was on him.

In his joke Charles was usually aided and abetted by Johnnie Rice, one
of the many famous minstrels of that name. Rice could never resist the
temptation to stroke long whiskers. Whenever the house was unusually big
Charles took Rice out of the company for the first part and got him to
assist him with the ticket-taking. Any spectator with a long facial
hirsute growth was sure to have it caressed to the accompaniment of
"Ticket, please."

Sometimes the men in the company, knowing of Rice's eccentricity, often
watched the gallery for such a performance, and it invariably made them
laugh. Once while the Mastodons were playing an engagement at the
Olympic in St. Louis they were surprised to find Rice sitting in a front
orchestra seat, wearing a long pair of Dundreary whiskers. He looked so
solemn that every one on the stage burst into laughter. It almost broke
up the performance. Charles had provided the whiskers.

* * *

It was on this minstrel tour that Charles Frohman gave the first real
expression to his talents for publicity. Everything about a minstrel
company was showy and flashy. So Charles originated a unique idea of
establishing a reputation for solvency. He bought a small iron safe
about three feet high. On it were painted in large gilt letters,
"Treasurer, Haverly's Mastodon Minstrels."

In reality there was very little need for this safe, because "Jack"
Haverly's constant and insistent demands for cash kept the company
coffers stripped of surplus.

Charles saw in this safe a spectacular means of advertising. It was put
conspicuously on the top of the first load of baggage that went to the
hotel. He always engaged at least four men to unload it from the truck.
It was then placed in a conspicuous position in the hotel lobby and
invariably drew a comment like this:

"Gee whiz! That Haverly show has got so much money that it is carrying a
safe to hold it."

This was precisely the response that Charles desired. No sooner was the
safe unloaded in the lobby than Charles approached it with great
ceremony, holding a bunch of one-dollar bills in his hand. This
immediately attracted a crowd. With an admiring gallery, he would stow
away the money. Just as soon as the crowd dispersed he would be back on
the job removing this "prop" capital to where it was needed.

He was always alert to publicity possibilities. Among other things he
organized a drum corps composed of volunteers who were only too glad to
serve him. He inspired this corps to such proficiency that its marching
and counter-marching became a feature of the parades. By diverting the
drum corps to one part of the town and the parade to another, having
them unite later on, he was able to attract two big street crowds and
then bring them together at a common point.

All the while the boy was growing in responsibility. Without a murmur he
assumed practically all the duties of manager. He arranged the parades,
visited the newspaper offices, devised new numbers for the company,
handled the money, and always remained serene, undisturbed, smiling, and

Now came evidence of his initiative. While his first desire was to build
up the attractiveness of his bill, he combined with it a genuine desire
to develop his associates. Frequently he would say to men like the three
Gorman brothers--George, James, and John--who were among his prime pals
in the company:

"Why don't you rehearse some new steps? I'll go on and watch you at
rehearsals and we can put it in the bill."

Out of such incidents as this came a dozen new features.

* * *

During this tour Charles displayed on many occasions what amounted to a
reckless disregard of danger. He had proved on the Dillon tour that he
was always willing to take a chance.

Once while climbing a steep incline on the way to Grass Valley in
California their special train stopped. When he asked what the trouble
was he was told that they would have to wait on a switch while another
train came down the single track. He was afraid he would miss the
evening's performance, so he asked the engineer if he could beat the
down train to the double track. On being told that there was a chance,
he said:

"Take it and go as fast as you can." He made his town in time.

Again in Colorado his train was stopped by a slight fire on a bridge. He
urged the conductor to go across, and was so insistent that the man
yielded, and the train got over just before the flames leaped up and the
structure began to crackle.

What would have been an ordinary theatrical season waned. A minstrel
company, however, seldom closed for the summer, so the tour continued.
For the first time Charles Frohman crossed the continent. Despite its
high-sounding name and the glitter and splash that marked its
spectacular progress from place to place, the long trip of the Mastodons
was not without its hardships, for business was often bad. Nor did it
lack interesting episodes.

Once while making an over-Sunday jump from St. Paul to Omaha the train
broke down somewhere in Iowa, and at seven o'clock the company was four
hours from its destination. The house had been sold out. Charles
immediately began to send optimistic and encouraging telegrams.

"Hold the crowd," he wired. "We are on the way. Tell them we will give
them a double show."

From every station he sent on some cheering message. When the train was
half an hour from Omaha he sought out Sam Devere, the prize banjoist of
the company and a great fun-maker.

"Go into the baggage-car and black up," he said to Sam. "I want to rush
you on to the theater as soon as we get to town."

They reached Omaha at eleven-fifteen o'clock. Charles hustled Devere up
to the opera-house in a hack. The comedian went before the curtain and
entertained the audience until midnight. When the company arrived not
twenty people had left. The final curtain dropped at two-thirty o'clock
before a delighted but weary crowd. The telegrams from the treasurer
which were read to the audience had saved the day--and the receipts.

In the early stages of this long journey of the Mastodons came an
episode that made an indelible impress upon the memory of young Charles.
In view of the later history of the two actors in it, it is both
picturesque and historic.

It was in Cleveland, and the day was hot. The Mastodons had just
finished their parade, and Charles, weary, perspiring, and wearing the
abhorred silk hat, entered the box-office of the Opera House on
Cleveland Avenue. Sitting in the treasurer's seat at the window he saw a
sturdy lad fingering a pile of silver dollars. He slipped them in and
out with an amazing dexterity. Hearing a noise, he looked up and beheld
young Frohman with the tile tilted back on his head.

The boys' eyes met. Into each came a wistful look.

"I wish I had that silk hat of yours," said the boy at the window.

"I wish I could do what you are doing with that money," was the response
from the envied one.

Such was the first meeting between Charles Frohman and A. L. Erlanger.

Here is another episode of those early days that resulted in a life-long
and significant friendship. In a Philadelphia newspaper office Charles
met a rangy, keen-eyed young man named Alf Hayman, who was advance-agent
for Mr. and Mrs. W. J. Florence. When Hayman and Charles had concluded
their business they started out for a walk. The Colonnade Hotel, at the
corner of Fifteenth and Chestnut streets, was then the fashionable hotel
of the city. In the course of this walk the two boys (they were each
scarcely twenty) stopped in front of the hostelry, and Charles said:

"Some day I hope to have enough money to stop at the Colonnade."

He never forgot this, and whenever he met Hayman in Philadelphia he
would always insist upon walking over to the hotel and recalling the
conversation. Hayman afterward became general manager of all the Charles
Frohman forces and remained until the end perhaps the closest of all the
business associates of the manager.

* * *

Thus passed the years 1878 and 1879. Charles was growing in authority
and experience until he was really doing all of "Big Bill" Foote's work
and his own. Now came a great and thrilling experience.

Haverly sent the Mastodons on their first trip to England, and Charles
naturally went along. It was the first of the many trips he was to make
to the country which in time he was to annex to his own amusement

In July, 1880, the company sailed on the _Canada_, and their arrival in
London created a sensation. The men, headed by "Big Bill" Foote and
Charles Frohman--"The Long and the Short of It," as they were
called--marched with their hat-boxes to the old Helvetia Hotel in Soho.

Overnight their printing--the first colored paper ever used on an
English bill-board--was posted, and it startled the staid Londoners. It
made them realize that a wide-awake aggregation was in town. Charles
knew that a real opportunity confronted him, and he rose to the

The engagement opened on July 30th at Her Majesty's Theater. The sacred
precincts that Patti, Neilson, Gerster, and Campanini had adorned now
resounded with the jokes and rang with the old-time plantation melodies
of the American negro. The début was an enormous success and the
prosperity of the engagement was insured.

Before long came a request from the royal household to make ready the
royal box. The fun-loving Prince of Wales, afterward King Edward VII.,
wanted to see an American minstrel show.

But it was the wide-awake Charles who had started the machinery that led
to this royal dictate. He realized soon after his arrival how important
a royal visit would be. He got in touch with the right people, and the
net result was that on a certain night in December the red canopy and
carpet that betoken the royal visit were spread before Her Majesty's

By virtue of his rank "Big Bill" Foote should have received the royal
party on behalf of the company. But Foote fled from the responsibility,
and Charles, wearing his much-hated evening clothes and the equally
despised silk hat, did the honors. The royal party included Edward, his
wife, Alexandra (now the Queen Mother), his brother Clarence (now dead),
and a troop of royal children old enough to stay up late at nights.

With his usual foresight Frohman had prepared himself for all the
formalities that attended a royal visit to the theater. Among other
things he found out that precedent decreed that the entire performance
must be directed toward the royal box. With much effort he carefully
impressed this fact upon the company. He even had a rehearsal the
morning of the royal night and all eyes were ordered to be "dressed"
toward the big, canopied box.

But these well-laid plans miscarried, for this is what happened:

The curtain had risen on the assembled fun-makers; their swinging
opening chorus had given the show a rousing start, and the interlocutor
had said those well-known introductory minstrel words, "Gentlemen, be
seated." The royal party was well bestowed in its place and every
gleaming eyeball on the stage was centered on the glittering
representatives of the reigning house of Britain. Just at that moment a
flutter ran through the theater. The only remaining vacant box, and
opposite to the one used by the royal family, was suddenly occupied by
the most entrancing and radiant feminine vision that these American
minstrels had ever seen. It was Lily Langtry, then in the full tide of
her marvelous beauty, and wearing an extremely low-cut evening gown.

The Mastodons were only human. They had never beheld such loveliness, to
say nothing of a gown cut so low. They forgot all the careful coaching
of Frohman and fixed their eyes on the beauty-show in the box.

Charles stood anxiously in the back of the house, fearing that the royal
displeasure would be aroused. But his fears were groundless. The
hypnotized minstrels on the stage were only part of an admiring host
that had for its most distinguished head the Prince of Wales himself.

The "Forty--Count 'Em--Forty" now became the vogue in London. Royalty
had set the stamp of its approval, and aristocracy flocked. One night in
the momentary absence of the chief usher, Charles, who was always on the
job, escorted a distinguished group of nobility to a box. After bowing
them in a member of the party slipped a shilling into his hand, which
Frohman, of course, refused.

"Take it, you beggar," said the peer, with some irritation, throwing the
coin at him.

"Thank you, sir," responded Frohman, picking it up and slipping it into
his pocket. He kept it as a lucky-piece for twenty years, often telling
the story of how he got it.

On Christmas Day, 1880, came a concrete evidence of the affection in
which Charles was held by his minstrel colleagues. They assembled on the
stage of Her Majesty's Theater and presented him with a gold watch and
chain. The charm was a tiny reproduction of the famous safe that Charles
had introduced into the company, and which was his inseparable
companion. Charles never carried a watch, and this timepiece, together
with many other similar gifts, was put away among his treasures.

One day, accompanied by Robert Filkins, the advance-agent, Charles had
occasion to see Col. M. B. Leavitt, who was a notable theatrical figure
of the time, with extensive interests in this country and abroad. After
Leavitt had regaled the younger men with an account of his varied
activities, Charles suddenly exclaimed to him:

"Gee! But you've got London by the neck, haven't you?"

Many years later Leavitt again met Charles Frohman in London. The
encounter this time took place on the Strand, in front of the Savoy,
where Frohman was installed in his usual luxurious suite. He now
controlled half a dozen theaters in the British metropolis and he was a
world theatrical figure. Leavitt, whose memory is one of the wonders of
the amusement business, clapped the magnate on the shoulder and repeated
the words spoken to him so long ago:

"Gee! Frohman, _you'_ve got London by the neck, haven't you?"

After a tour of the provinces the company returned home and opened in

* * *

With the return to America came the first realization of one of Charles
Frohman's earlier dreams. "Big Bill" Foote, fascinated by the lure of
English life, bought a small hotel near London and settled down. This
left the managership of the company vacant. Although Charles had
practically done all the work for nearly a year, he was, so far as title
was concerned, treasurer.

Immediately there was a scramble for the position of manager. Among
those who sought it were Robert Filkins, William S. Strickland, and a
number of other mature and experienced men.

But when the company heard that an outsider sought the position to which
Charles was entitled there was great indignation. A meeting of protest,
instigated by the Gorman brothers and Eddie Quinn, was held on the stage
in Brooklyn, and a round-robin, signed by every member of the company,
was despatched to Jack Haverly, insisting that Charles Frohman be made
the manager.

A little later Charles walked back on the stage after the night's
performance and quietly remarked:

"Boys, I am your new manager."

A great shout of delight went up. The rosy, boyish youth (for he had
scarcely entered his twenties) was lifted to the shoulders of half a
dozen men and to the words of a favorite minstrel song, "Hear Those
Bells," a triumphant march was made around the stage. None of the many
honors that came to him in his later years touched him quite so deeply
as that affectionate demonstration.

It was now 1881, and once more the "Forty--Count 'Em--Forty" set forth
to rediscover America, with Charles Frohman as manager. His name now
appeared at the head of the bill, and to celebrate the great event Eddy
Brooke wrote a "Frohman March," which had a conspicuous place on the

Strangely prophetic of the circumstances which brought about his
untimely death was an incident which occurred while the company was
going by boat from New York to New London. It was a bitter cold night
when the aggregation boarded the old _John B. Starin_. The decks were
piled with waste, cord, and jute for the New England mills.

"What a fine night for a fire on board!" remarked Frohman as he led his
"soldiers," as he always called the Mastodons, aboard. Everybody retired
early. At two o'clock in the morning there was great excitement. Men
rushed frantically about; there were calls for hose, and the Mastodons,
most of them clad in their night-clothes and trousers, rushed,
frightened, on deck. They found a fire raging aft.

Immediately panic reigned. The coolest man aboard was the smallest.
Here, there, and everywhere went Charles, urging everybody to be quiet.

"There is no danger," he said. "Let us all go in the cabin and wait."

Under his direction the passengers assembled in the water-soaked saloon
and there waited until the flames were subdued. Here was evidence of the
equanimity with which he faced disaster and which marked him on that
ill-starred day when he was plunged to his death in the Irish Sea.

On through the summer of 1881 the Mastodons went their way. Charles was
now able to watch the minstrel parade from the sidewalk, but he was
still the friend, philosopher, and guide of the company to which he was
now bound by nearly three years of constant association.

They played Washington during the Garfield inaugural week. Charles
realized that here was a great opportunity for spectacular publicity.
First of all he took his now famous band down to the Willard Hotel and
serenaded the new executive. A vast crowd gathered; the President-elect
appeared at the window, smiled and bowed, and then sent for the little
manager, to whom he expressed his personal thanks. Then a heaven-born
opportunity literally fell into his hands.

To the same hotel came the Massachusetts Phalanx, of Lowell, which had
secured a conspicuous place in the inaugural parade. Their arrangement
committee had seen the Haverly parade, and the members were so greatly
impressed with the band that they asked if its services could be

"Certainly," said Frohman. "You can have not only the band, but the
whole company will escort you in the parade."

Thus it came about that the Haverly Mastodon Minstrels headed the third
division of the Garfield inaugural parade. Ever mindful and proud of his
men, Frohman, at his personal expense, bought a buttonhole bouquet for
every member for the occasion and fastened it on their coats himself. On
the sidewalk he followed with admiring eye and flushed face the progress
of his company.

By a curious coincidence the Haverly Mastodons played Washington during
the week of the Garfield funeral, and the band marched in the funeral
parade to the station, playing "Nearer, My God, to Thee."

A happier sequel of the inaugural episode came when the minstrels next
played Lowell, where they were received by the Phalanx in full uniform,
paraded through the town, with Charles marching proudly at the head. The
Phalanx was host at a banquet given at the armory after the performance.

The Mastodons were now making their way to the Pacific coast. At the
same time Gustave Frohman was in San Francisco with the Number One
"Hazel Kirke" Company, direct from the Madison Square Theater in New
York, which was playing at the California Theater.

One morning in May, 1881, he received the following telegram from
Charles, dated Salt Lake City:

     _Am stranded here with the "Big Forty." So is Frank Sanger with "A
     Bunch of Keys." Theater management has failed to send railroad
     fares. Wire me what you can. Will return amount out of receipts
     Bush Street Theater._

The manager of the Bush Street Theater, in San Francisco, had agreed to
provide railroad transportation for the company from Salt Lake City to
San Francisco and had not kept his agreement. The receipts in the former
city did not leave a sufficient surplus to negotiate this jump.

Gustave wired the needed cash, and Charles showed up on time in San
Francisco. For the second and only other time in his theatrical career
Charles was somewhat downcast. Despite his effective services during the
preceding years, Haverly had only raised his salary to twenty-five
dollars a week. The boy had handled hundreds of thousands of dollars
and had helped in no small way to give to the organization its prestige
and its _esprit de corps_. He was now, in the phraseology of his
associates, "the whole show." His word was law with the company, and the
men adored him.

He met Gustave at the Palace Hotel and said to him, "I suppose the time
has come for me to quit Haverly."

"All right," said Gustave, still the good angel. "I'll put you out ahead
of our Number Two 'Hazel Kirke' Company at a salary of seventy-five
dollars a week. You can start out right away. What do you say?"

Charles thought a moment, and then said: "Well, Gus, it's pretty tough
to go ahead of a Number Two company even at seventy-five dollars a week
when you have been manager of Haverly's Mastodons. The money doesn't
mean anything to me. I like the minstrel boys and they like me."

He still hesitated and walked up and down the room two or three times,
as was his habit. Finally he came over to his brother and said,

"I'll take it."

During this memorable visit to San Francisco occurred another event that
had large influence on the whole future life of the young man. One night
in a famous ratheskeller on Kearney Street he saw an artistic-looking
youth with curly hair and dreamy eyes sitting in the midst of a group of
actors. This youth was David Belasco, who had passed from actor to
author-stage-manager and whose melodrama, "American Born," was running
at the Baldwin Theater. Frohman had seen this play and was much
impressed with it. Thrillers had interested him from the start.

Gustave, who was with Belasco, said to him: "There's my brother Charley.
You ought to know him."

Simultaneously Belasco was pointed out to Charles. They glanced up at
the same time, nodded smilingly across the space between, and later on
when they were introduced Charles expressed his great admiration for
"American Born." Belasco had just received the offer from Daniel Frohman
to come to the Madison Square Theater in New York as stage-manager.

Out of this contact came the association between Charles Frohman and
David Belasco that added much to their achievements.

Charles gave Haverly notice, and at Indianapolis he left the Mastodons.
He slipped away without farewells, and when his absence became known a
gloom settled down on the company. Unconsciously the rosy-cheeked boy
had become its inspiration. For weeks the performances lacked their
customary zip and enthusiasm.

His minstrel days over, save for two brief intervals, Charles was now
about to begin his connection with the Madison Square Theater. It was to
mark, because of the men with whom he now became associated and the
revolution in theatrical methods which he brought about, the first
really significant epoch in his crowded career.



When Charles Frohman went to the Madison Square Theater in 1881 the
three Frohman brothers were literally installed for the first time under
the same managerial roof. From this hour on the affairs of Charles were
bound up in large theatrical conduct.

Since the Madison Square Theater thus becomes the background of his real
activities, the shell out of which he emerged as a full-fledged manager,
the institution, and its significance in dramatic history, are well
worth recording here.

The little Madison Square Theater, located back of the old Fifth Avenue
Hotel, on Twenty-fourth Street near Broadway, was established at a time
when a new force was hovering over the New York stage. This playhouse,
destined to figure so prominently in the fortunes of all the Frohmans,
and especially Charles, grew out of the somewhat radical convictions of
Steele Mackaye, one of the most brilliant and erratic characters of his
time. He was actor, lecturer, and playwright, and he taught the art of
acting on lines laid down by Delsarte. Dr. George Mallory, editor of
_The Churchman_, became interested in his views and regarded Mackaye as
a man with a distinct mission. He induced his brother, Marshall Mallory,
to build the Madison Square Theater.

Steele Mackaye was the first director, and, with the active co-operation
of the Mallorys, launched its career. Dr. Mallory believed that the
drama needed reform; that the way to reform it was to play reformed
drama. So the place was dedicated to healthy plays. "A wholesome place
for wholesome amusement" became the slogan. Contracts for plays were
made only with American authors. Here were produced the earlier triumphs
of Steele Mackaye, Bronson Howard, William Gillette, H. H. Boyessen, and
Mrs. Frances Hodgson Burnett. In this house, in "May Blossom," De Wolf
Hopper first appeared in a stock company, afterward going into musical
comedy. Among the actors seen on its boards during the Frohman régime
were Agnes Booth, Viola Allen, Effie Ellsler, Georgia Cayvan, Mrs.
Whiffen, Marie Burroughs, Annie Russell, George Clarke, Jeffreys Lewis,
C. W. Couldock, Thomas Whiffen, Dominick Murray, and Eben Plympton. Rose
Coghlan was also a member of the company, but had no opportunity of

The house had certain unique and attractive qualities. It had been
charmingly decorated by Louis C. Tiffany, and one of its principal
features was a double stage, which enabled the scenery for one act to be
set while another was being played before the audience. Thus long waits
were avoided.

The name of Frohman was associated with this theater from the very
start, because its first manager was Daniel Frohman. It opened in
February, 1880, with Steele Mackaye's play "Hazel Kirke," which was an
instantaneous success. The little theater, with its novel stage,
intimate atmosphere, admirable company, and a policy that was definite
and original, became one of the most popular in America. "Hazel Kirke"
ran four hundred and eighty-six nights in New York City without
interruption, which was a record run up to that time. In the original
cast were Effie Ellsler, Eben Plympton, Mr. and Mrs. Whiffen, and
Charles W. Couldock.

* * *

The Madison Square Theater was also an important factor in New York
dramatic life and began to rival the prestige of the Wallack, Palmer,
and Daly institutions. Its fame, due to the record-breaking "Hazel
Kirke" success, became nation-wide.

Now began an activity under its auspices that established a whole new
era in the conduct of the theater. It was the dawn of a "big business"
development that sent the Madison Square successes throughout the
country, and Charles Frohman was one of its sponsors.

Gustave Frohman had been engaged as director of the traveling companies.
He engaged Charles as an associate. The work of the Frohmans was
carefully mapped out. It was Daniel's business to select the casts,
organize and rehearse the companies in New York; Gustave took general
charge of the road equipment; while Charles arranged and booked the road

It was after the phenomenal first season's run of "Hazel Kirke" that
Charles Frohman hung up his hat in the little "back office" of the
Madison Square Theater to begin the work that was to project his name
and his talents prominently for the first time. New York sizzled through
the hottest summer it had ever known; Garfield lay dying, and the whole
country was in a state of unrest. Charles sweltered in his little
cubbyhole, but he was enthusiastic and optimistic about his new job.

Gustave and Charles had complete charge of all the traveling companies
that developed out of the series of "runs" at the theater. They
inaugurated a whole new and brilliant theatrical activity in towns and
cities removed from theatrical centers, regarding which the other big
managers in New York were ignorant.

With the organization of these Madison Square companies the "Number Two
Company" idea was born. It was a distinct innovation. A play like "Hazel
Kirke," for example, was played by as many as five companies at one
time, each company being adjusted financially to the type of town to
which it was sent. "Hazel Kirke" appeared simultaneously in New York
City at three different theaters, each with a separate and distinct type
of audience.

Under the direction of Gustave and Charles, the outside business of the
Madison Square Theater spread so rapidly that in a short time fourteen
road companies carried the name of the establishment to all parts of the
United States. Despite their youth, the three Frohmans had had a very
extensive experience over the whole country.

In those days the booking of road attractions was not made through
syndicates. Applications for time had to be made individually to every
manager direct, even in the case of the most obscure one-night stand.
The big New York managers only concerned themselves with the larger
cities in which their companies made annual appearances. The smaller
towns had to trust to chance to get attractions outside the standard
"road shows."

Charles realized this lack of booking facilities, and dedicated his
talents and experience to remedying it. His seasons on the road with
John Dillon and the Haverly Minstrels had equipped him admirably. He
not only displayed remarkable judgment in routing companies, but he was
now able to express his genius for publicity. He always believed in the
value of big printing.

"Give them pictures," he said.

He urged a liberal policy in this respect, and the Madison Square
Theater backed his judgment to the extent of more than one hundred
thousand dollars a year for picture posters and elaborate printing of
all kinds. The gospel of Madison Square Theater art and its enterprises
was thus spread broadcast, not with ordinary cheap-picture advertising,
but with artistic lithographs. In fact, here began the whole process of
expensive and elaborate bill-posting, and Charles Frohman was really the
father of it.

Under his direction the first "flashlights" ever taken of a theatrical
company for advertising purposes were made at the Madison Square

* * *

Charles was now director of nearly a score of agents who traveled about
with the various companies. He vitalized them with his enthusiasm. In
order to expedite their work, Charles and his brothers rented and
furnished a large house on Twenty-fourth Street near the theater. It was
in reality a sort of club, for a dining-room was maintained, and there
were a number of bedrooms. When the agents came to town they lodged
here. Charles, Gustave, and Daniel also had rooms in this house. A
dressmaking department was established on the premises where many of the
costumes for the road companies were made.

During these days Charles gave frequent evidence of his tact and
persuasiveness. Often when matters of policy had to be fixed and
discussed, the managers of out-of-town theaters would be called to New
York. It was Charles's business to take them in hand and straighten out
their troubles. They would leave, feeling that they had got the best
"time" for their theaters and that they had made a friend in the
optimistic little man who was then giving evidence of that uncanny
instinct for road management that stood him in such good stead later on.

With his usual energy Charles was interested in every phase of the
Madison Square Theater. Frequently, accompanied by Wesley Sisson, who
succeeded Daniel Frohman during the latter's occasional absences from
the theater, he would slip into the balcony and watch rehearsals. He sat
with one leg curled under him, following the scenes with keenest
interest. More than once his sharp, swift criticism helped to smooth
away a rough spot.

He impressed his personality and capacity upon all who came in contact
with him. It was said of him then, as it was said later on, that he
could sit in his little office and make out a forty weeks' tour for a
company without recourse to a map. In fact, he carried the whole
theatrical map of the country under his hat.

* * *

In the strenuous life of those Madison Square days came some of Charles
Frohman's closest and longest friendships.

The first was with Marc Klaw. It grew out of play piracy, the inevitable
result of the theater's successes. Throughout the country local managers
began to steal the Madison Square plays and put them on with
"fly-by-night" companies. Since they were unable to get manuscripts of
the play, the pirates sent stenographers to the theater to copy the
parts. These stenographers had to sit in the dark and write
surreptitiously. In many instances, in order to keep the lines of their
notes straight, they stretched strings across their note-books.

Gustave Frohman happened to be in Louisville with the Number One "Hazel
Kirke" Company. He was looking about for a lawyer who could investigate
and prosecute the piracy of the Madison Square plays. He made inquiry of
John T. Macauley, manager of Macauley's Theater, who said:

"There's a young lawyer here named Marc Klaw who is itching to get into
the theatrical business. Why don't you give him a chance?"

Frohman immediately engaged Klaw to do some legal work for the Madison
Square Theater, and he successfully combated the play pirates in the
South. The copyright laws then were inadequate, however, and Klaw was
ordered to New York, where, after a short preliminary training, he was
sent out as manager of the Number Two "Hazel Kirke" Company of which
Charles Frohman was advance-agent. In this way the meeting between the
two men, each destined to wield far-flung theatrical authority, came

Charles resented going out with a "Number Two" Company, so to placate
his pride and to give distinction to the enterprise, Daniel put Georgia
Cayvan, leading lady of the Madison Square Theater, at the head of the

There was good business method in putting out Miss Cayvan on this tour,
because she was a New-Englander, born at Bath, Maine, and Bath was
included in this tour. When Charles reached Bath ahead of the show he
rode on the front seat of the stage to the hotel. He told the driver
that he was coming with a big New York show, and said:

"I've got a big sensation for Bath."

"What's that?" said the driver.

"We have Miss Cayvan as the leading lady," answered Frohman.

"Miss Who?" asked the driver.

"Miss Cayvan--Miss Georgia Cayvan, leading woman of the Madison Square
Theater," answered Frohman, with a great flourish.

"Oh," replied the driver, "you mean our little Georgie. We heard tell
that she was acting on the stage, and now I guess some folks will be
right smart glad to see her."

Charles was so much interested in Miss Cayvan's appearance in her home
town that he came back and joined the company on its arrival and was
present at the station when Marc Klaw brought the company in.

Quite a delegation of home people were on hand to meet Miss Cayvan, and
she immediately assumed the haughty airs of a prima donna.

Charles was much amused, and decided to "take her down" in an amiable
way. So he stepped up to her with great solemnity, removed his hat, and
said, after the manner of his old minstrel days:

"Miss Cayvan, we parade at eleven."

Miss Cayvan saw the humor of the situation, took the hint, and got down
off her high horse. In the company with Miss Cayvan at that time were
Maude Stuart, Charles Wheatleigh, Frank Burbeck, W. H. Crompton, and
Mrs. E. L. Davenport, the mother of Fanny Davenport.

* * *

While Charles was impressing his personality and talents at the Madison
Square Theater and really finding himself for the first time, Gustave
Frohman met Jack Haverly on the street one day. The old magnate said,
with emphasis:

"Gus, I've got to have Charles back."

"You can't have him," said Gustave.

"But I must," said Haverly.

"Well, if you pay him one hundred and forty-six dollars a week (one
hundred and twenty-five dollars salary and twenty-one dollars for hotel
bills) you can have him for a limited time."

"All right," said Haverly.

Charles went back to the Mastodons, where he received a royal welcome.
But his heart had become attuned to the real theater--to the hum of its
shifting life, to the swift tumult of its tears and laughter. The
excitement of the drama, and all the speculation that it involved (and
he was a born speculator), were in his blood. He heeded the call and
went back to the Madison Square Theater.

But the minstrel field was to claim him again and for the last time.
Gustave conceived a plan to send the Callender Minstrels on a
spectacular tour across the continent. The nucleus of the old
organization, headed by the famous Billy Kersands, was playing in
England under the name of Haverly's European Minstrels, Haverly having
acquired the company some years before. Charles was sent over to get the
pick of the Europeans for the new aggregation. Accompanied by Howard
Spear, he sailed on June 7, 1882, on the _Wyoming_.

He encountered some difficulty in getting the leading members, so with
characteristic enterprise he bought the whole company from Haverly and
brought it back to the United States, where it was put on the road as
Callender's Consolidated Spectacular Colored Minstrels. On all the bills
appeared the inscription "Gustave and Charles Frohman, Proprietors." As
a matter of fact, Charles had very little to do with the company,
although he made a number of its contracts. His financial interest was
trivial. Gustave used his name because Charles had been prominently
associated with the Mastodons and he had achieved some eminence as a
minstrel promoter.

Having launched the Callender aggregation, he went on to Chicago, where
Gustave was putting on David Belasco's play "American Born," with the
author himself as producer. Charles joined his brother in promoting the

Now began the real friendship between Charles Frohman and David Belasco.
The chance contact in San Francisco a few years before was now succeeded
by a genuine introduction. The men took to each other instinctively and
with a profound understanding. They shared the same room and had most of
their meals together. Then, as throughout his whole life, Charles
consumed large portions of pie (principally apple, lemon meringue, and
pumpkin) and drank large quantities of lemonade or sarsaparilla. One day
while they were having lunch together Frohman said to Belasco:

"You and I must do things together. I mean to have my own theater in
Broadway and you will write the plays for it."

"Very well," replied the ever-ready Belasco. "I will make a contract
with you now."

"There will never be need of a contract between us," replied Frohman,
who expressed then the conviction that guided him all the rest of his
life when he engaged the greatest stars in the world and spent millions
on productions without a scrap of paper to show for the negotiation.

Charles worked manfully for "American Born." It was in reality his first
intimate connection with a big production. At the outset his ingenuity
saved the enterprise from threatened destruction. Harry Petit, a local
manager, announced a rival melodrama called "Taken From Life" at
McVicker's Theater, and had set his opening date one night before the
inaugural of "American Born."

Charles scratched his head and said, "We must beat them to it."

He announced the "American Born" opening for a certain night and then
opened three nights earlier, which beat the opposition by one night.

Belasco's play was spectacular in character and included, among other
things, a realistic fire scene. When the time came for rehearsal the
manager of the theater said that it could not be done, because the fire
laws would be violated.

"I'll fix that," said Charles.

He went down to the City Hall, had a personal interview with the mayor,
and not only got permission for the scene, but a detail of real firemen
to act in it.

While in Chicago, Belasco accepted Daniel Frohman's offer to come to
New York as stage-manager of the Madison Square Theater. Charles and
Belasco came east together, and the intimacy of this trip tightened the
bond between them. The train that carried them was speeding each to a
great career.

With Belasco installed as stage-manager there began a daily contact
between the two. Belasco went to Frohman with all his troubles. In
Frohman's bedroom he wrote part of "May Blossom," in which he scored his
first original success at the Madison Square. Charles was enormously
interested in this play, and after it was finished carried a copy about
in his pocket, reading it or having it read wherever he thought it could
find a friendly ear.

So great was Belasco's gratitude that he gave Charles a half-interest in
it, which was probably the first ownership that Charles Frohman ever had
in a play.

During those days at the Madison Square, when both Frohman and Belasco
were seeing the vision of coming things, they often went at night to
O'Neil's Oyster House on Sixth Avenue near Twenty-second Street. The
day's work over, they had a bite of supper, in Frohman's case mostly pie
and sarsaparilla, and talked about the things they were going to do.

Charles Frohman's ambition for a New York theater obsessed him. One
night as they were walking up Broadway they passed the Fifth Avenue
Hotel. A big man in his shirt-sleeves sat tilted back in his chair in
front of the hotel. The two young men were just across the street from
him. Frohman stopped Belasco, pointed to the man, and said:

"David, there is John Stetson, manager of the Fifth Avenue Theater.
Well, some day I am going to be as big a man as he is and have my own
theater on Broadway."

* * *

Those were crowded days. Charles not only picked and "routed" the
companies, but he kept a watchful eye on them. This meant frequent
traveling. For months he lived in a suit-case. At noon he would say to
his stenographer, "We leave for Chicago this afternoon," and he was off
in a few hours. At that time "Hazel Kirke," "The Professor,"
"Esmeralda," "Young Mrs. Winthrop," and "May Blossom" were all being
played by road companies in various parts of the United States, and it
was a tremendous task to keep a watchful eye on them. It was his habit
to go to a town where a company was playing and not appear at the
theater until the curtain had risen. The company had no warning of his
coming, and he could make a good appraisal of their average work.

On one of the many trips that he made about this time he gave evidence
of his constant humor.

He went out to Columbus, Ohio, to see a "Hazel Kirke" company. He
arrived at the theater just before matinée, and as he started across the
stage he was met by a newly appointed stage-manager who was full of

"Where are you going?" asked the man.

"To Mr. Hagan's dressing-room."

"I'll take the message," said the stage-director.

"No, I want to see him personally."

"But you can't. I am in charge behind the curtain."

Frohman left without a word, went out to the box-office and wrote a
letter, discharging the stage-director. Then he sat through the
performance. Directly the curtain fell the man came to him in a great
state of mind.

"Why did you discharge me, Mr. Frohman?"

Frohman smiled and said: "Well, it was the only way that I could get
back to see my actors. If you will promise to be good I will re-engage
you." And he did.

* * *

It was on a trip of this same kind that Charles had one of his many
narrow escapes from death. During the spring of 1883 he went out to Ohio
with Daniel to visit some of the road companies. Daniel left him at
Cleveland to go over and see a performance of "The Professor" at
Newcastle, while Charles went on to join Gustave at Cincinnati.

Charles was accompanied by Frank Guthrie, who was a sort of confidential
secretary to all the Frohmans at the theater. Shortly before the train
reached Galion, Charles, who sat at the aisle, asked his companion to
change places. Ten minutes later the train was wrecked. Guthrie, who sat
on the aisle seat, was hurled through the window and instantly killed,
while Charles escaped unhurt.

Daniel heard of the wreck, rushed to the scene on a relief train,
expecting to find his brother dead, for there had been a report that he
was killed. Instead he found Charles bemoaning the death of his

A month afterward Charles and Marc Klaw were riding in the elevator at
the Monongahela House in Pittsburg when the cable broke and the car
dropped four stories. It had just been equipped with an air cushion, and
the men escaped without a scratch.

* * *

Along toward the middle of 1883 there were signs of a break at the
Madison Square Theater. Steele Mackaye had quarreled with the Mallorys
and had left, taking Gustave with him to launch the new Lyceum Theater
on Fourth Avenue and Twenty-third Street. Daniel was becoming ambitious
to strike out for himself, while Charles was chafing under the necessity
of being a subordinate. He yearned to be his own master. "I must have a
New York production," he said. The wish in his case meant the deed, for
he now set about to produce his first play.

Naturally, he turned to Belasco for advice and co-operation. Both were
still identified with the Madison Square Theater, which made their
negotiations easy.

In San Francisco Charles had seen a vivid melodrama called "The
Stranglers of Paris," which Belasco had written from Adolphe Belot's
story and produced with some success. Osmond Tearle, then leading man
for Lester Wallack and New York's leading matinée idol, had played in
the West the part of Jagon, who was physically one of the ugliest
characters in the play.

"'The Stranglers of Paris' is the play for me," said Frohman to Belasco.

"All right," said David; "you shall have it."

The original dramatization was a melodrama without a spark of humor. In
rewriting it for New York, Belasco injected considerable comedy here and

Frohman, whose vision and ideas were always big, said:

"We've got to get a great cast. I will not be satisfied with anybody but

To secure Tearle, Frohman went to see Lester Wallack for the first time.
Wallack was then the enthroned theatrical king and one of the most
inaccessible of men. Frohman finally contrived to see him and made the
proposition for the release of Tearle. Ordinarily Wallack would have
treated such an offer with scorn. Frohman's convincing manner, however,
led him to explain, for he said:

"Mr. Tearle is the handsomest man in New York, and if I loaned him to
you to play the ugliest man ever put on the stage he would lose his
drawing power for me. I am sorry I can't accommodate you, Mr. Frohman.
Come and see me again."

Out of that meeting came a friendship with Lester Wallack that developed
large activities for Charles, as will be seen later on.

Unable to get Tearle, Belasco and Frohman secured Henry Lee, a brilliant
and dashing leading actor who had succeeded Eben Plympton in the cast of
"Hazel Kirke." The leading woman was Agnes Booth, a well-known stage
figure. She was the sister-in-law of Edwin Booth, and an actress of
splendid quality.

Unfortunately for him, the leading theaters were all occupied. There
were only a few playhouses in New York then, a mere handful compared
with the enormous number to-day. But a little thing like that did not
disturb Charles Frohman.

Up at the northwest corner of Thirty-fifth Street and Broadway was an
old barnlike structure that had been successively aquarium, menagerie,
and skating-rink. It had a roof and four walls and at one end there was
a rude stage.

One night at midnight Charles, accompanied by Belasco, went up to look
at the sorry spectacle. As a theater it was about the most unpromising
structure in New York.

"This is all I can get, David," said Charles, "and it must do."

"But, Charley, it is not a theater," said Belasco.

"Never mind," said Frohman. "I will have it made into one."

The old building was under the control of Hyde & Behman, who were
planning to convert it into a vaudeville house. Frohman went to see them
and persuaded them to turn it into a legitimate theater. Just about this
time the Booth Theater at Twenty-third Street and Sixth Avenue was about
to be torn down. Under Charles's prompting Hyde & Behman bought the
inside of that historic structure, proscenium arch, stage, boxes, and
all, and transported them to the Thirty-fifth Street barn. What had been
a bare hall became the New Park Theater, destined to go down in history
as the playhouse that witnessed many important productions, as well as
the first that Charles Frohman made on any stage. Years afterward this
theater was renamed the Herald Square.

Charles Frohman now had a play, a theater, and a cast. With
characteristic lavishness he said to Belasco:

"We must have the finest scenic production ever made in New York."

He had no capital, but he had no trouble in getting credit. Every one
seemed willing to help him. He got out handsome printing and advertised
extensively. He spared nothing in scenic effects, which were elaborate.
He devoted every spare moment to attending rehearsals.

Among the supernumeraries was a fat boy with a comical face. At one of
the rehearsals he sat in a boat and reached out for something. In doing
this he fell overboard. He fell so comically that Belasco made his fall
a part of the regular business. His ability got him a few lines, which
were taken from another actor. This fat-faced, comical boy was John
Bunny, who became the best-known moving-picture star in the United
States, and who to the end of his days never forgot that he appeared in
Charles Frohman's first production. He often spoke of it with pride.

The autumn of 1883 was a strenuous one, for Charles had staked a good
deal on "The Stranglers of Paris." Yet when the curtain rose on the
evening of November 10, 1883, he was the same smiling, eager, but
imperturbable boy who years before had uttered the wish that some day he
would put on a play himself in the great city. He now saw that dream
come true. He was just twenty-three.

"The Stranglers of Paris" made quite a sensation. The scenic effects
were highly praised, and especially the ship scene, which showed
convicts in their cages, their revolt, the sinking of the vessel,
Jagon's struggle in the water, his escape from death, and his dramatic
appeal to Heaven. Lee scored a great success and dated his popularity
from this appearance.

Many of the lines in the piece were widely quoted, one of them in
particular. It was in substance, "Money has power to open prison gates,
and no questions asked."

It was the time of sensational graft revelations, and theater-goers
thought that it fitted the New York situation.

[Illustration: _VIOLA ALLEN_]

"The Stranglers of Paris" ran at the New Park Theater until December 9,
when it was taken on the road. It continued on tour for a considerable
period, playing most of the principal cities of the East, but the
production was so expensive that it made no money. In fact, Charles lost
on the enterprise, but it did not in the least dash his spirits. He
was supremely content because at last he had produced a play.

* * *

"The Stranglers of Paris" filled the budding manager with a renewed zeal
to be a producer. He was still enthusiastic about the melodrama, so he
secured a vivid piece by R. G. Morris, a New York newspaper man, called
"The Pulse of New York," which he produced at the Star Theater,
Thirteenth Street and Broadway, which had been originally Wallack's

In the cast was a handsome, painstaking young woman named Viola Allen,
whom Charles had singled out because of her admirable work in a play
that he had seen, and who was headed for a big place in the annals of
the American theater. The youthful manager encouraged her and did much
to aid her progress.

Others in the cast were Caroline Hill, A. S. Lipman, Edward S. Coleman,
L. F. Massen, Frank Lane, Henry Tarbon, W. L. Denison, George Clarke, H.
D. Clifton, Ada Deaves, Max Freeman, Edward Pancoast, Frank Green,
Gerald Eyre, Nick Long, Frederick Barry, Oscar Todd, John March, Charles
Frew, Richard Fox, James Maxwell, J. C. Arnold, Stanley Macy, Lida Lacy,
George Mathews, and William Rose.

"The Pulse of New York" was produced May 10, 1884, but ran only three
weeks. Once more Charles faced a loss, but he met this as he met the
misfortunes of later years, with smiling equanimity.

Now came a characteristic act. He was still in the employ of the Madison
Square Theater and had a guarantee of one hundred dollars a week.
Although he had devoted considerable time to his two previous
productions, he was an invaluable asset to the establishment. He now
felt that the time had come for him to choose between remaining at the
Madison Square under a guarantee and striking out for himself on the
precarious sea of independent theatrical management. He chose the
latter, and launched a third enterprise.

In his wanderings about New York theaters Charles saw a serious-eyed
young actress named Minnie Maddern. He said to Daniel:

"I have great confidence in that young woman. Will you help me put her
out in a piece?"

"All right," replied his brother.

The net result was Miss Maddern in "Caprice."

In view of subsequent stage history this company was somewhat historic.
Miss Maddern's salary was seventy-five dollars a week. Her leading man,
who had been a general-utility actor at the Lyceum, and who also
received seventy-five dollars a week, was Henry Miller. A handsome young
lad named Cyril Scott played a very small part and got fifteen dollars a
week. The total week's salary of the company amounted to only six
hundred and ninety dollars.

"Caprice" opened at Indianapolis November 6, 1884, and subsequently
played Chicago, St. Louis, Evansville, Dayton, and Baltimore, with a
week at the Grand Opera House in New York, where its season closed. It
made no money, but it did a great deal toward advancing the career of
Miss Maddern, who afterward became known to millions of theater-goers as
Mrs. Fiske.

Charles had now made three productions on his own hook and began to
impress his courage and his personality on the theatrical world. He had
definitely committed himself to a career of independent management, and
from this time on he went it alone.


Booking-Agent and Broadway Producer

The season of 1883-84 had seen Charles Frohman launched as independent
manager. He had at its conclusion cut his managerial teeth on the last
of three productions which, while not financially successful, had shown
the remarkable quality of his ability. People now began to talk about
the nervy, energetic young man who could go from failure to failure with
a smile on his face. It is a tradition in theatrical management that
successful starts almost invariably mean disastrous finishes. An
auspicious beginning usually leads to extravagance and lack of balance.
Failure at the outset provokes caution. Charles, therefore, had enough
early hard jolts to make him careful.

He always admired big names. Thus it came about that his next venture
was associated with a name and a prestige that meant much and, later on,
cost much. Just about that time he met a handsome young English actor
named E. H. Sothern, who had come to this country with his sister and
who had appeared for a short time with John McCullough, the tragedian.
Sothern had returned to New York and was looking for an engagement.

In those days actors usually secured engagements by running down rumors
of productions that were afloat on the Rialto. In this way Sothern heard
that Charles Frohman was about to send out an English play called
"Nita's First," which had been produced at Wallack's Theater. Sothern
called on Frohman and asked to be engaged.

"What salary do you want?" asked Frohman.

Sothern said he wanted fifty dollars.

"All right," said Frohman. "The part is worth seventy-five dollars, and
I'll pay it."

Twenty years later the manager paid this same actor a salary of one
hundred thousand dollars for a season of forty weeks in Shakespearian

"Nita's First," however, ran for only two weeks on the road, and Charles
ended the engagement. The reason was that he had conceived what he
considered a brilliant idea.

Lester Wallack and the Wallack Theater Company almost dominated the New
York dramatic situation. The company, headed by Wallack himself,
included Rose Coghlan, Osmond Tearle, John Gilbert, and a whole galaxy
of brilliant people. The Wallack Theater plays were the talk of the
town. Frohman had an inspiration which he communicated one day to Lester
Wallack's son, Arthur, whom he knew. To Arthur he said:

"What do you think about my taking the Wallack successes out on the
road? It is a shame not to capitalize the popular interest in them while
it is hot. Look at what the Madison Square Theater has been doing. Will
you speak to your father about it?"

Arthur spoke to his father, who was not averse to the idea, and Charles
was bidden to the great presence. He had met Lester Wallack before when
he tried to engage Osmond Tearle for "The Stranglers of Paris." Now came
the real meeting. After Frohman had stated his case with all his
persuasion, he added:

"I am sure I can make you rich. You have overlooked a great chance to
make money."

Lester Wallack said, "It is a good idea, Mr. Frohman, but your company
must reflect credit upon the theater, and your leading woman must be of
the same type as my leading woman, Rose Coghlan."

Charles immediately said, "The company shall be worthy of you and the
name it bears."

Lester Wallack agreed to rehearse the company and to permit his name to
be used in connection with it. After Charles left, Lester Wallack said
to his son:

"Watch that young man, Arthur. He is going to make his mark."

Arthur Wallack was about to take a trip to England, and Charles
commissioned him to engage the leading people. He therefore engaged
Sophie Eyre, who had been leading woman at the Drury Lane Theater, and
W. H. Denny.

Charles himself selected the remaining members of the company, who were
Newton Gotthold; C. B. Wells; Charles Wheatleigh; Max Freeman; Rowland
Buckstone; Henry Talbot; Sam Dubois; George Clarke; Fred Corbett; Louise
Dillon, who had been with him in the precarious Stoddart Comedy days;
Kate Denin Wilson; Agnes Elliot; and Grace Wilson.

At the time he engaged the Wallack Theater Company Charles had no
office. He was then living at the Coleman House on Broadway, just
opposite the then celebrated Gilsey House. Most of the engagements were
made as he sat in a big leather chair in the lobby, with one foot thrown
over an arm of it.

The principal capital that Charles had for this venture was five
thousand dollars put up by Daniel J. Bernstein, who became treasurer of
the company. Alf Hayman, whom Frohman had met in Philadelphia, was
engaged as advance-agent.

It was a courageous undertaking even for a seasoned and well-financed
theatrical veteran. Although Lester Wallack was well known, his theater
and its successes were not familiar to the great mass of people outside
New York. In those days theatrical publicity was not as widespread as
now. No wonder, then, that the daring of a young manager of twenty-five
in taking out a company whose weekly salary list was nearly thirteen
hundred dollars was commented on.

Charles called his aggregation the Wallack Theater Company. The
repertoire consisted mainly of "Victor Durand," a play by Henry Guy
Carleton which had been produced at Wallack's on December 13, 1884.
Subsequently the company also played "Moths," "Lady Clare," "Diplomacy,"
and Belasco's "La Belle Russe."

This tour, which was to write itself indelibly on the career of Charles
Frohman, began in Chicago and was continued through the South to New
Orleans, where a stay of six weeks was made at the St. Charles Theater.
Belasco joined them here for a week to put on "The World," which had
been produced at Wallack's a short time before.

In New Orleans occurred one of those encounters in Charles Frohman's
life that led to life-long friendship. Two years before, while playing a
Madison Square company at one of the theaters in St. Louis, he had met a
bright young man in the box-office named Augustus Thomas. Thomas was
then a newspaper man and was beginning to write plays. He told Charles
that he had just made a short play out of Frances Hodgson Burnett's
story, "Editha's Burglar."

In New Orleans Charles discovered that young Thomas was playing in his
own play at a near-by theater and went over to see him. After the
performance he visited him in his dressing-room, renewed his
acquaintance, and said to him with the optimism of youth:

"Mr. Thomas, I hope that some day you will write a play for me."

* * *

The company now made a tour of Texas, where the troubles began. Business
declined, but Frohman succeeded in landing the company in Chicago after
a series of misfortunes. Here Sophie Eyre retired and was succeeded by
Louise Dillon as leading woman. Charles, of course, had no money with
which to buy costumes, so she pawned her jewels and used the proceeds.
Sadie Bigelow took her place as ingénue.

Charles now started his famous tour of the Northwest which rivaled the
Stoddart days in hardship and in humor. The Northern Pacific Railroad
had just been opened to the coast, and Charles followed the new route. A
series of tragic, dramatic, and comic experiences began. The tour was
through the heart of the old cow country. One night, when the train was
stalled by the wrecking of a bridge near Miles City, Montana, a group of
cowboys started to "shoot up" the train. Frohman, with ready resource,
singled out the leader and said:

"We've got a theatrical company here and we will give you a

He got Rowland Buckstone to stand out on the prairie and recite "The
Smuggler's Life," "The Execution," and "The Sanguinary Pirate" by the
light of a big bonfire which was built while the show was going on.
This tickled the cowboys and brought salvos of shots and shouts of

At Miles City occurred what might have been a serious episode. When the
company reached the hotel at about eleven in the morning Charles
Wheatleigh, the "first old man," asked the hotel-keeper what time
breakfast was served. When he replied "Eight-thirty o'clock," Wheatleigh
pounded the desk and said:

"That is for farmers. When do artists eat?"

The clerk was a typical Westerner, and thought this was an insult. He
made a lunge for Wheatleigh, when Frohman stepped in and settled the
difficulty in his usual suave and smiling way.

At Butte came another characteristic example of the Frohman enterprise
and resource. It was necessary at all hazards to get an audience. When
Charles got there he found that the wife of the leading gambler had
died. He expressed so much sympathy for the bereaved man that he was
made a pall-bearer, and this act created such an impression on the
townspeople that they flocked to the theater at night.

At Missoula, Montana, Charles went out ahead of the show for a week.
Approaching the treasurer at the box-office, he said:

"Will you please let me have a hundred dollars on account of the show?"

"I can't," replied the man. "We haven't sold a single seat for any of
your performances."

Frohman thought a moment and walked out of the lobby. All afternoon
orders for seats began to come in to the box-office. Late in the
afternoon, when Frohman got back, the agent smiled and said:

"Mr. Frohman, I can let you have that hundred dollars now. We are
beginning to have quite an advance sale."

Frohman had gone down-town and sent in the orders for the seats himself.
He used fictitious names.

Now began a summer of hardships. With the utmost difficulty the company
got to Portland, Oregon, where Charles established a sort of
headquarters. From this point he sent the company on short tours. But
business continued to be bad.

He started a series of "farewell" performances, as he did in Texas, and
placarded the city with the bills announcing "positively" closing
performances. These bills were typical of the publicity talents of
Charles Frohman. He headed them "Good-by Engagements," and added the
words, "A Long, Lingering Farewell." Under "Favorites' Farewell" he
printed the names of the members of the company with the titles or parts
in which they were known. "Good-by, Louise Dillon, our Esmeralda";
"Good-by, Kate Denin Wilson, Pretty Lady Dolly"; "Good-by, Charles B.
Wells, Faithful Dave Hardy"; "Good-by, Rowland Buckstone, Some Other
Man"--were typical illustrations of his attempt to make a strong appeal
for business.

Actual money in the company was a novelty. Bernstein's five thousand
dollars had long since vanished. When a member of the company wanted
some cash it had to be extracted from the treasurer in one-dollar

Despite the hardships, the utmost good humor and feeling prevailed. Most
of the members of the company were young; there was no bickering. They
knew that Frohman's struggle was with and for them. They called him
"The Governor," and he always referred to them as his "nice little
company." All looked forward confidently to better days, and in this
belief they were supported and inspired by the cheery philosophy of the

Charles's resource was tested daily. He had booked a near-by town for
fair week, which always meant good business. At last he had money in
sight. The local manager, however, insisted upon a great display of
fancy printing. Charles was in a dilemma because he owed his printer a
big bill and he had no more lithographs on hand. A friend who was in
advance of William Gillette's play, "The Private Secretary," came along
with a lot of his own paper. Charles borrowed a quantity of it and also
from the "Whose Baby Are You?" company, covered over these two titles
with slips containing the words "Lady Clare," the piece he was going to
present. He billed the town with great success and was able to keep

During the Portland sojourn Charles sent the company on to Salem,
Oregon. While there, six members had their photographs taken with a
disconsolate look on their faces and with Buckstone holding a dollar in
his hand. They sent the picture to Frohman with the inscription:

"From your nice little company waiting for its salary."

At Portland, Oregon, A. D. Charlton, who was passenger agent of the
Northern Pacific Railroad, and who had been of great service to Charles
in extricating him from various financial difficulties, said to him one

"Frohman, I want you to meet a very promising little actress who is out
here with her mother."

Frohman said he would be glad, and, accompanying Charlton to his office,
was introduced to Annie Adams, a well-known actress from Salt Lake City,
and her wistful-eyed little daughter, Maude. They were both members of
the John McGuire Company. This was Charles Frohman's first meeting with
Maude Adams.

At Portland Frohman added "Two Orphans" and "Esmeralda" to the company's
repertoire. But it barely got them out of town at the really and truly

* * *

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 the west. As the train for the
east slowed up the actor rushed toward it and, calling to the members of
the company, said:

"I am leaving you for good. You'll never get anywhere with Frohman."

The company, however, elected to stay with Frohman. In later years this
actor fell into hardship. Frohman singled him out, and from that time
on until Frohman's death he had a good engagement every year in a
Frohman company.

At Bismarck, North Dakota, the company gave "Moths." In this play the
spurned hero, a singer, has a line which reads, "There are many
marquises, but very few _tenors_."

Money had been so scarce for months that this remark was the last straw,
so the company burst into laughter, and the performance was nearly
broken up. Frohman, who stood in the back of the house, enjoyed it as
much as the rest.

Through all these hardships Frohman remained serene and smiling. His
unfailing optimism tided over the dark days. The end came at Winona,
Minnesota. The company had sacrificed everything it could possibly
sacrifice. Frohman borrowed a considerable sum from the railroad agent
to go to Chicago, where he obtained six hundred dollars from Frank
Sanger. With this he paid the friendly agent and brought the company
back to New York.

Even the last lap of this disastrous journey was not without its humor.
The men were all assembled in the smoking-car on the way from Albany to
New York. Frohman for once sat silent. When somebody asked him why he
looked so glum, he said, "I'm thinking of what I have got to face

Up spoke Wheatleigh, whose marital troubles were well known. He slapped
Frohman on the back and said:

"Charley, your troubles are slight. Think of me. I've got to face my
wife to-morrow."

It was characteristic of Frohman's high sense of integrity that he gave
his personal note to each member of the company for back salary in
full, and before five years passed had discharged every debt.

* * *

On arriving in New York Charles had less than a dollar in his pocket,
his clothes were worn, and he looked generally much the worse for wear.
On the street he met Belasco. They pooled their finances and went to
"Beefsteak John's," where they had a supper of kidney stew, pie, and
tea. They renewed the old experiences at O'Neil's restaurant and talked
about what they were going to do.

The next day Frohman was standing speculatively in front of the Coleman
House when he met Jack Rickaby, a noted theatrical figure of the time.
Rickaby slapped the young man on the back and said:

"Frohman, I am glad you have had a good season. You're going to be a big
man in this profession."

He shook Frohman's hand warmly and walked away.

It was the first cheering word that Frohman had heard. The news of his
disastrous trip had not become known. Always proud, he was glad of it.
After Rickaby had shaken his hand he felt something in it, and on
looking he saw that the big-hearted manager had placed a hundred-dollar
bill there. Rickaby had known all along the story of the Wallack tour
hardships, and it was his way of expressing sympathy. Frohman afterward
said it was the most touching moment in his life. Speaking of this once,
he said:

"That hundred-dollar bill looked bigger than any sum of money I have
ever had since."

* * *

It was late in 1885 when Charles returned from the disastrous Wallack's
Theater tour, bankrupt in finance but almost over-capitalized in
courage and plans for the future. Up to that time he had no regular
office. Like many of the managers of the day, his office was in his hat.
Now, for the first time, he set up an establishment of his own. It
required no capital to embark in the booking business in those days.
Nerve and resiliency were the two principal requisites.

The first Frohman offices were at 1215 Broadway, in the same building
that housed Daly's Theater. In two small rooms on the second floor
Charles Frohman laid the corner-stone of what in later years became a
chain of offices and interests that reached wherever the English
language was spoken on the stage. The interesting contrast here was that
while Augustin Daly, then in the heyday of his great success, was
creating theatrical history on the stage below him, Charles Frohman was
beginning his real managerial career up-stairs.

Frohman's first associate was W. W. Randall, a San Francisco newspaper
man whom he had met in the Haverly's Minstrel days, in the mean time
manager of "The Private Secretary" and several of the Madison Square
companies on the road. He was alert and aggressive and knew the
technique of the theatrical business.

Charles Frohman's policy was always pretentious, so he set up two
distinct firms. One was the "Randall's Theatrical Bureau, Charles
Frohman and W. W. Randall, Managers," which was under Randall's
direction and which booked attractions for theaters throughout the
country on a fee basis. The other was called "Frohman & Randall, General
Theatrical Managers." Its function was to produce plays and was directly
under Charles's supervision. The two firm names were emblazoned on the
door and business was started. Their first employee was Julius Cahn.

These offices have an historic interest aside from the fact that they
were the first to be occupied by Charles Frohman. Out of them grew
really the whole modern system of booking attractions. Up to that era
theatrical booking methods were different from those of the present
time; there were no great centralized agencies to book attractions for
strings of theaters covering the entire country. Union Square was the
Rialto, the heart and center of the booking business. The out-of-town
manager came there to fill his time for the season. Much of the booking
was done in a haphazard way on the sidewalk, and whole seasons were
booked on the curb, merely noted in pocket note-books. Two methods of
booking were then in vogue: one by the manager of a company who wrote
from New York to the towns for time; the other through an agent of
out-of-town house managers located in New York. It was this latter
system that Frohman and Randall began to develop in a scientific
fashion. Charles's extensive experience on the road and his knowledge of
the theatrical status of the different towns made him a valuable agent.

Frohman and Randall at that time practically had the field to
themselves. Brooks & Dickson, an older firm which included the
well-known Joseph Brooks of later managerial fame, had conducted the
first booking-office of any consequence, but had now retired. H. S.
Taylor had just established on Fourteenth Street Taylor's Theatrical
Exchange, destined to figure in theatrical history as the forerunner of
the Klaw & Erlanger business.

Despite the high-sounding titles on the door, the Frohman offices were
unpretentious. Frohman and Randall had a desk apiece, and there was a
second-hand iron safe in the corner. When Frohman was asked, one day
soon after the shingle had been hung out, what the safe was for, he
replied, with his characteristic humor:

"We keep the coal-scuttle in it."

As a matter of fact there was more truth than poetry in this remark,
because the office assets were so low that during the winter the firm
had to burn gas all day to keep warm. When asked the reason for this,
Frohman said, jocularly:

"We can get more credit if we use gas, because the gas bill has to be
paid only once a month. Coal is cash."

Indeed, the office was so cold during that season that it came to be
known in the profession as the "Cave of the Winds," and this title was
no reflection on the vocal qualities of the proprietors.

It was during those early and precarious days when Frohman was still
saddled with the debts of the Wallack's tour that one of the most
amusing incidents of his life happened. One morning he was served with
the notice of a supplementary proceeding which had been instituted
against him. He was always afraid of the courts, and he was much
alarmed. He rushed across the street to the Gilsey House and consulted
Henry E. Dixey, the actor, who was living there. Dixey's advice was to
get a lawyer. Together they returned to the Daly's Theater Building,
where Frohman knew a lawyer was installed on the top floor. They found
the lawyer blacking that portion of his white socks that appeared
through the holes in his shoes.

Frohman stated his case, which the lawyer accepted. He then demanded a
two-dollar fee. Frohman had only one dollar in his pocket and borrowed
the other dollar from Dixey.

"This money," said the lawyer, "is to be paid into the court. How about
my fee?"

Frohman fumbled in his pocket and produced a ten-cent piece. He handed
it to the lawyer, saying: "I will pay you later on. Here is your
car-fare. Be sure to get to court before it opens."

Frohman and Dixey left. Frohman was much agitated. They walked around
the block several times. When he heard the clock strike ten he said to

"Now the lawyer is in the court-room and the matter is being settled."
In his expansive relief he said: "I have credit at Browne's Chop House.
Let us go over and have breakfast."

At the restaurant they ordered a modest meal. As Frohman looked up from
his table he saw a man sitting directly opposite whose face was hid
behind a newspaper. In front of him was a pile of wheat-cakes about a
foot high.

"Gee whiz!" said Frohman. "I wish I had enough money to buy a stack of
wheat-cakes that high."

As he said this to Dixey the man opposite happened to lower his paper
and revealed himself to be the lawyer Frohman had just engaged. He was
having a breakfast spree himself with the two dollars extracted from his
two recent clients.

* * *

Business began to pick up with the new year. The first, and what
afterward proved to be the most profitable, clients of the
booking-office were the Baldwin and California theaters in San
Francisco. They were dominated by Al Hayman, brother of Alf, a man who
now came intimately into Charles Frohman's life and remained so until
the end. He was a Philadelphian who had conducted various traveling
theatrical enterprises in Australia and had met Frohman for the first
time in London when the latter went over with the Haverly Mastodons.
Hayman admired Frohman very much and soon made him general Eastern
representative of all his extensive Pacific coast interests.

Hayman was developing into a magnate of importance. With his assistance
Charles was able to book a company all the way from New York to San
Francisco. Charles made himself responsible for the time between New
York and Kansas City, while Hayman would guarantee the company's time
from Kansas City or Omaha to the coast.

Frohman and Randall made a good team, and they soon acquired a chain of
more than three hundred theaters, ranging from music-halls in small
towns that booked the ten-twenty-thirty-cent dramas up to the palatial
houses like Hooley's in Chicago, the Hollis in Boston, and the Baldwin
in San Francisco.

It was a happy-go-lucky time. If Frohman had ten dollars in his pocket
to spare he considered himself rich. Money then, as always, meant very
little to him. It came and went easily.

* * *

While the booking business waxed in volume the production end of the
establishment did not fare so well. Charles had this activity of the
office as his particular domain, and with the instinct of the plunger
now began to put on plays right and left.

Just before the association with Randall, Frohman had become manager of
Neil Burgess, the actor, and had booked him for a tour in a play called
"Vim." A disagreement followed, and Frohman turned him over to George W.
Lederer, who took the play out to the coast.

A year after this episode came the first of the many opportunities for
fortune that Charles Frohman turned down in the course of his eventful
life. This is the way it happened:

Burgess, who was quite an inventive person, had patented the treadmill
mechanism to represent horse-racing on the stage, a device which was
afterward used with such great effect in "Ben-Hur." He was so much
impressed with it that he had a play written around it called "The
County Fair."

Burgess, who liked Frohman immensely, tried to get him to take charge of
this piece, but Frohman would not listen to the proposition about the
mechanical device. He was unhappy over his experience about "Vim," and
whenever Burgess tried to talk "The County Fair" and its machine Frohman
would put him off.

Burgess finally went elsewhere, and, as most people know, "The County
Fair" almost rivaled "The Old Homestead" in money-making ability. The
horse-racing scene became the most-talked-of episode on the stage at the
time, and Burgess cleared more than a quarter of a million dollars out
of the enterprise. Charles Frohman afterward admitted that his prejudice
against Burgess and his machine had cost his office at least one hundred
thousand dollars.

* * *

Frohman and Randall now launched an important venture. McKee Rankin, who
was one of the best-known players of the time, induced them to become
his managers in a piece called "The Golden Giant," by Clay M. Greene.
Charles, however, agreed to the proposition on the condition that Rankin
would put his wife, Kitty Blanchard, in the cast. They had been
estranged, and Frohman, with his natural shrewdness, believed that the
stage reunion of Mr. and Mrs. McKee Rankin would be a great drawing-card
for the play. Rankin made the arrangements, and the Fifth Avenue Theater
was booked for two weeks, commencing Easter Monday, 1886.

The theater was then under the management of John Stetson, of Boston,
and both Frohman and Rankin looked forward to doing a great business. In
this cast Robert Hilliard, who had been a clever amateur actor in
Brooklyn, made his first professional appearance. Charles supervised the
rehearsals and had rosy visions of a big success. At four o'clock,
however, on the afternoon of the opening night, Charles went to the
box-office and discovered the advance sale had been only one hundred

"I tell you what to do, Randall," quickly thought out Frohman, "if
Stetson will stand for it we will paper the house to the doors. We must
open to a capacity audience."

When Frohman put the matter before Stetson he said he did not believe in
"second-hand reconciliations," but assented to the plan. Frohman gave
Randall six hundred seats, and the latter put them into good hands. The
_première_ of "The Golden Giant," to all intents and purposes, took
place before a crowded and paying house. In reality there was exactly
two hundred and eighty-eight dollars in the box-office. Business picked
up, however, and the two weeks' engagement proved prosperous. The play
failed on the road, however, and the Frohman offices lost over five
thousand dollars on the venture. Rankin had agreed to pay Frohman forty
per cent. of the losses. That agreement remained in force all his life,
for it was never paid.

In Charles's next venture he launched his first star. Curiously enough,
the star was Tony Hart, a member of the famous Irish team of Harrigan
and Hart, who had delighted the boyhood of Frohman when he used to slip
away on Saturday nights and revel in a show.

Tony Hart, during the interim, had separated from Harrigan, and in some
way Charles obtained the manuscript of a farce-comedy by William Gill
called "A Toy Pistol."

Charles had never lost his admiration for Hart, and when he saw that the
leading character had to impersonate an Italian, a young Hebrew, an
Irishwoman, and a Chinaman, Frohman said, "Tony Hart is the very

Accordingly, he engaged Hart and a company which included J. B. Mackey,
F. R. Jackson, T. J. Cronin, D. G. Longworth, Annie Adams, Annie
Alliston, Mattie Ferguson, Bertie Amberg, Eva Grenville, Vera Wilson,
Minnie Williams, and Lena Merville.

This production had an influence on Charles Frohman's life far greater
than the association with his first star, for Annie Adams now began a
more or less continuous connection with Charles Frohman's companies. Her
daughter, the little girl whom Charles had met casually years before,
was now about to make her first New York appearance as member of a
traveling company in "The Paymaster." Already the energetic mother was
importuning Charles to engage the daughter. His answer was, "I'll give
her a chance as soon as I can." He little dreamed that this wisp of a
girl was to become in later years his most profitable and best-known

Charles was, of course, keenly interested in "A Toy Pistol." He
conducted the rehearsals, and on February 20, 1886, produced it at what
was then called the New York Comedy Theater. It failed, however. The New
York Comedy Theater was originally a large billiard-hall in the Gilsey
Building, on Broadway between Twenty-eighth and Twenty-ninth streets,
and had been first named the San Francisco Minstrel Hall. It became
successively Haverly's Comedy Theater and the New York Comedy Theater.
Subsequently, it was known as Hermann's Theater, and was the scene of
many of the earlier Charles Frohman productions.

* * *

Charles now became immersed in productions. About this time Archibald
Clavering Gunter, who had scored a sensational success with his books,
especially "Mr. Barnes of New York," had written a play called "A Wall
Street Bandit," which had been produced with great success in San
Francisco. Frohman booked it for four weeks at the old Standard Theater,
afterward the Manhattan, on a very generous royalty basis, and plunged
in his usual lavish style. He got together a magnificent cast, which
included Georgia Cayvan, W. J. Ferguson, Robert McWade, Charles Bowser,
Charles Wheatleigh, and Sadie Bigelow. The play opened to capacity and
the indications were that the engagement would be a success; but it
suddenly fizzled out. On Sunday morning, when Charles read the papers
with their reviews of the week, he said to Randall, with his usual

"We've got a magnificent frost, but it was worth doing."

This production cost the youthful manager ten thousand dollars.

* * *

Frohman still had control of "time" at the Standard, so he now put on a
play, translated by Henri Rochefort, called "A Daughter of Ireland," in
which Georgia Cayvan had the title rôle. Here he scored another failure,
but his ardor remained undampened and he went on to what looked at that
moment to be the biggest thing he had yet tried.

Dion Boucicault was one of the great stage figures of his period. He was
both actor and author, and wrote or adapted several hundred plays,
including such phenomenal successes as "Colleen Bawn," "Shaughraun,"
which ran for a year simultaneously in London, New York, and Melbourne,
and "London Assurance." There was much talk of his latest comedy, "The
Jilt." Frohman, who always wanted to be associated with big names, now
arranged by cable to produce this play at the Standard. Once more he
plunged on an expensive company which included, among others, Fritz
Williams, Louise Thorndyke, and Helen Bancroft.

For four weeks he cleared a thousand a week. Then he put the company on
the road, where it did absolutely nothing. Charles, who had an uncanny
sense of analysis of play failures, now declared that the reason for the
failure was that theater-goers resented Boucicault's treatment of his
first wife, Agnes Robertson. Boucicault had declared that he was not the
father of her child, and when she sued him in England the courts gave
her the verdict. Meanwhile Boucicault married, and in the eyes of the
world he was a bigamist. This experience, it is interesting to add,
taught Charles Frohman never to engage stars on whom there was the
slightest smirch of scandal or disrepute.

At Montreal Boucicault refused to continue the tour, and this
engagement, like so many of its predecessors, left Charles in a
financial hole. Despite all these reverses he was able to make a
livelihood out of the booking end of the office, which thrived and grew
with each month. Nor was he without his sense of humor in those days.

One day he met a certain manager who had lost a great deal of money in
comic opera. Frohman said to him that he heard that there was much money
in the comic-opera end of the business.

"So there is," replied the manager.

"You ought to know," responded Frohman, "for you have put enough into

This remark, often attributed to others, is said to have originated

* * *

Frohman was now an established producer, and although the tide of
fortune had not gone altogether happily with him, he had a Micawber-like
conviction that the big thing would eventually turn up. Now came his
first contact with Bronson Howard, who, a few years later, was to be the
first mile-stone in his journey to fame and fortune.

Howard's name was one to conjure with. He had produced "Young Mrs.
Winthrop," "The Banker's Daughter," "Saratoga," and other great
successes. Charles Frohman, yielding, as usual, to the lure of big
names, now put on Howard's play, "Baron Rudolph," for which George
Knight had paid the author three thousand dollars to rewrite. Knight
gave Frohman a free hand in the matter of casting the production, and it
was put on at the Fourteenth Street Theater in an elaborate fashion. The
company included various people who later on were to become widely
known. Among them were George Knight and his wife, George Fawcett,
Charles Bowser, and a very prepossessing young man named Henry Woodruff.

"Baron Rudolph" proved to be a failure, and it broke Knight's heart, for
shortly afterward he was committed to an insane asylum from which he
never emerged alive. It was found that while the play was well written
there was no sympathy for a ragged tramp.

Whether he thought it would change his luck or not, Charles now turned
to a different sort of enterprise. He had read in the newspapers about
the astonishing mind-reading feats in England of Washington Irving
Bishop. Always on the lookout for something novel, he started a
correspondence with Bishop which ended in a contract by which he agreed
to present Bishop in the United States in 1887.

Bishop came over and Frohman sponsored his first appearance in New York
on February 27, 1887, at Wallack's Theater. With his genius for
publicity, Frohman got an extraordinary amount of advertising out of
this engagement. Among other things he got Bishop to drive around New
York blindfolded. He invited well-known men to come and witness his
marvelous gift in private. All of which attracted a great deal of
attention, but very little money to the box-office. Frohman and Bishop
differed about the conduct of the tour that was to follow, and M. B.
Leavitt assumed the management.

While at 1215 Broadway Charles Frohman established another of his many
innovations by getting out what was probably the first stylographic
press sheet. This sheet, which contained news of the various attractions
that Frohman booked, was sent to the leading newspapers throughout the
country and was the forerunner of the avalanche of press matter that
to-day is hurled at dramatic editors everywhere.

* * *

The booking business had now grown so extensively that the office force
was increased. First came Julius Cahn, who assisted Randall with the
booking. Al Hayman took a desk in Frohman's office, which, because of
Hayman's extensive California enterprises, had a virtual monopoly on all
Western booking.

Now developed a curious episode. Charles, with his devotion to big
names, used the words "Daly's Theater Building" on his letter-heads.
This so infuriated Daly that he sent a peremptory message to the
landlord insisting that Frohman vacate the building. Frohman and Randall
thereupon moved their offices up the block to 1267 Broadway.

Charles Frohman made every possible capitalization of this change. Among
other things he issued a broadside, announcing the removal to new
offices, and making the following characteristic statement:

     _Our agency, we are pleased to state, has been an established
     success from the very start. We now represent every important
     theater in the United States and Canada, as an inspection of our
     list will show, and we will always keep up the high standard of
     attractions that have been booked through this office, and we want
     the business of no others. Mr. E. E. Rice, the well-known manager
     and author, will have adjoining offices with us, and his
     attractions will be booked through our offices. We transact a
     general theatrical business (excepting that pertaining to a
     dramatic or actor's agency), and are in competition with no other
     exchange, booking agency, or dramatic concern. Neither do we have
     any desk-room to let, reserving all the space of our office for our
     own use._

Attached to this announcement was a list of theaters that he
represented, which was a foot long. He was also representing Archibald
Clavering Gunter, who had followed up "A Wall Street Bandit" with
"Prince Karl," and Robert Buchanan, author of "Lady Clare" and "Alone in

Frohman and Randall stayed at 1267 Broadway for a year. Shortly before
the next change Randall, who had become extensively interested in
outside enterprises, retired from the firm. His successor as close
associate with Charles Frohman was Harry Rockwood, ablest of the early
Frohman lieutenants.

Rockwood was a distinguished-looking man and a tireless worker. The way
he came to be associated with Charles Frohman was interesting. His real
name was H. Rockwood Hewitt, and he was related to ex-Mayor Abram S.
Hewitt of New York. He had had some experience in Wall Street, but
became infected with the theatrical virus.

One day in 1888 a well-groomed young man approached Gustave Frohman at
the Fourteenth Street Theater. He introduced himself as Harry Hewitt.
He said to Frohman:

"My name is Hewitt. I would like to get into the theatrical business."

Gustave invited him to come around to the Madison Square Theater the
next day, and asked him what he would like to do.

"Oh, I should like to do anything."

Frohman then gave him an imaginary house to "count up."

Rockwood, who was an expert accountant, did the job with amazing
swiftness. Whereupon Gustave Frohman telephoned to Charles Frohman as

"I've got the greatest treasurer in the world for you. Send for him."

Charles engaged him for a Madison Square Company, and in this way
Rockwood's theatrical career started. It was the fashion of many people
of that time interested in the theatrical business to change their
names, so he became Harry Rockwood. In the same way Harry Hayman,
brother of Al and Alf Hayman, changed his name to Harry Mann.

In 1889 came the separation between Randall and Frohman. Randall set up
an establishment of his own at 1145 Broadway, while Charles, who was now
an accredited and established personage in the theatrical world, took a
suite at 1127 Broadway, adjoining the old St. James Hotel. In making
this change he reached a crucial point in his career, for in these
offices he conceived and put into execution the spectacular enterprises
that linked his name for the first time with brilliant success.



With his installation in the new offices at 1127 Broadway there began an
important epoch in the life of Charles Frohman. The Nemesis which had
seemed to pursue his productions now took flight. The plump little man,
not yet thirty, who had already lived a lifetime of strenuous and varied
endeavor, sat at a desk in a big room on the second floor, dreaming and
planning great things that were soon to be realized.

Although staggering under a burden of debt that would have discouraged
most people, Frohman, with his optimistic philosophy, felt that the hour
had come at last when the tide would turn. And it did. At this time his
financial complications were at their worst. Some of them dated back to
the disastrous Wallack Company tour; others resulted from his impulsive
generosity in indorsing his friends' notes. He was so involved that he
could not do business under his own name, and for a period the firm went
on as Al Hayman & Company.

[Illustration: _WILLIAM GILLETTE_]

One of the very first enterprises in the new offices cemented the
friendship of Charles Frohman and William Gillette. While at the Madison
Square Theater he had booked Gillette's plays, "The Professor" and "The
Private Secretary." Frohman, with Al Hayman as partner, induced Gillette
to make a dramatization of Rider Haggard's "She," which was put on at
Niblo's Garden in New York with considerable success. Wilton Lackaye and
Loie Fuller were in the cast.

Gillette now tried his hand at a war play called "Held by the Enemy,"
which Frohman booked on the road. Frohman was strangely interested in
"Held by the Enemy." It had all the thrill and tumult of war and it lent
itself to more or less spectacular production. When the road tour ended,
Frohman, on his own hook, took the piece and the company, which was
headed by Gillette, for an engagement at the Baldwin Theater in San
Francisco. He transported all the original scenery, which included,
among other things, some massive wooden cannon.

The San Francisco critics, however, slated the piece unmercifully. The
morning after the opening Gillette stood in the lobby of the Palace
Hotel with the newspapers in his hand and feeling very disconsolate. Up
bustled Frohman in his usual cheery fashion.

"Look what the critics have done to us," said Gillette, gloomily.

"But we've got all the best of it," replied Frohman, with animation.

"How's that?" asked Gillette, somewhat puzzled.

"_They've_ got to stay here."

This little episode shows the buoyant way in which Frohman always met
misfortune. His irresistible humor was the oil that he invariably spread
upon the troubled waters of discord and discouragement.

It was while selecting one of the casts of "Held by the Enemy," which
was revived many times, that Charles Frohman made two more life-long

At the same boarding-house with Julius Cahn lived an ambitious young
man who had had some experience as an actor. He was out of a position,
so Cahn said to him one day:

"Come over to our offices and Charles Frohman will give you a job."

The young man came over, and Cahn introduced him to Frohman. Soon he
came out, apparently very indignant. When Cahn asked him what was the
matter he said:

"That man Frohman offered me the part of a nigger, _Uncle Rufus_, in
that play. I was born in the South, and I will not play a nigger. I
would rather starve."

Cahn said, "You will play it, and your salary will be forty dollars a

The young man reluctantly accepted the engagement and proved to be not
only a satisfactory actor, but a man gifted with a marvelous instinct as
stage-director. His name was Joseph Humphreys, and he became in a few
years the general stage-director for Charles Frohman, the most
distinguished position of its kind in the country, which he held until
his death.

About this time Charles Frohman renewed his acquaintance with Augustus
Thomas. Thomas walked into the office one day and Rockwood said to him:

"You are the very man we want to play in 'Held by the Enemy.'"

Thomas immediately went in to see Frohman, who offered him the position
of _General Stamburg_, but Thomas had an engagement in his own play,
"The Burglar," which was the expanded "Editha's Burglar," and could not
accept. Before he left, however, Frohman, whose mind was always full of
projects for the future, renewed the offer made in New Orleans, for he

"Thomas, I still want you to write that play for me."

* * *

With "Held by the Enemy" Charles Frohman seemed to have found a magic
touchstone. It was both patriotic and profitable, for it was nothing
less than the American flag. Having raised it in one production, he now
turned to the enterprise which unfurled his success to the winds in
brilliant and stirring fashion.

Early in 1889 R. M. Field put on a new military play called
"Shenandoah," by Bronson Howard, at the Boston Museum. Howard was then
the most important writer in the dramatic profession. He had three big
successes, "Young Mrs. Winthrop," "Saratoga," and "The Banker's
Daughter," to his credit, and he had put an immense amount of work and
hope into the stirring military drama that was to have such an important
bearing on the career of Charles Frohman. The story of Frohman's
connection with this play is one of the most picturesque and romantic in
the whole history of modern theatrical successes. He found it a
Cinderella of the stage; he proved to be its Prince Charming.

Oddly enough, "Shenandoah" was a failure in Boston. Three eminent
managers, A. M. Palmer, T. Henry French, and Henry E. Abbey, in
succession had had options on the play, and they were a unit in
believing that it would not go.

Daniel Frohman had seen the piece at Boston with a view to considering
it for the Lyceum. He told his brother Charles of the play, and advised
him to go up and see it, adding that it was too big and melodramatic for
the somewhat intimate scope of the small Lyceum stage.

So Charles went to Boston. On the day of the night on which he started
he met Joseph Brooks on Broadway and told him he was going to Boston to
try to get "Shenandoah."

"Why, Charley, you are crazy! It is a failure! Why throw away your money
on it? Nobody wants it."

"I may be crazy," replied Frohman, "but I am going to try my best to get

Before going to Boston he arranged with Al Hayman to take a
half-interest in the play. When he reached Boston he went out to the
house of Isaac B. Rich, who was then associated with William Harris in
the conduct of the Howard Athenæum and the Hollis Street Theater. Rich
was a character in his way. He had been a printer in Bangor, Maine, had
sold tickets in a New Orleans theater, and had already amassed a fortune
in his Boston enterprises. He was an ardent spiritualist, and financed
and gave much time to a spiritualistic publication of Boston called _The
Banner of Light_. One of his theatrical associates at that time, John
Stetson, owned _The Police Gazette_.

Rich conceived a great admiration for Frohman, whom he had met with
Harris in booking plays for his Boston houses. He always maintained that
Frohman was the counterpart of Napoleon, and called him Napoleon.

On this memorable day in Boston Frohman dined with Rich at his house and
took him to see "Shenandoah." When it was over Frohman asked him what he
thought of it.

"I'll take any part of it that you say," replied Rich.

"If I were alone," answered Frohman, "I would take you in, but I have
already given Al Hayman half of it."

Frohman was very much impressed with "Shenandoah," although he did not
believe the play was yet in shape for success. After the performance he
asked Mr. Field if he could get the rights. Field replied:

"Abbey, French, and Palmer have options on it. If they don't want it you
can have it."

Frohman returned to New York the next day, and even before he had seen
Bronson Howard he looked up his friend Charles Burnham, then manager of
the Star Theater, and asked him to save him some time.

Frohman now went to see Howard, who then lived at Stamford. He expressed
his great desire for the play and then went on to say:

"You are a very great dramatist, Mr. Howard, and I am only a theatrical
manager, but I think I can see where a possible improvement might be
made in the play. For one thing, I think two acts should be merged into
one, and I don't think you have made enough out of Sheridan's ride."

When he had finished, Howard spoke up warmly and said, "Mr. Frohman, you
are right, and I shall be very glad to adopt your suggestions."

The very changes that Howard made in the play were the ones that helped
to make it a great success, as he was afterward frank enough to admit.

Frohman now made a contract for the play and went to Burnham to book
time. Burnham, meanwhile, had been to Boston to see the play, and he

"I saved six weeks for you at the Star for Shenandoah.'"

From the very beginning of his association with "Shenandoah" Charles
Frohman had an instinct that the play would be a success. He now
dedicated himself to its production with characteristic energy.

Scarcely had he signed the contract for "Shenandoah" than occurred one
of the many curious pranks of fate that were associated with this
enterprise. Al Hayman, who had a half-interest in the piece, was
stricken with typhoid fever in Chicago on his way to the coast. He
thought he was going to die, and, not having an extraordinary amount of
confidence in "Shenandoah," he sold half of his half-interest to R. M.
Hooley, who owned theaters bearing his name in Chicago and Brooklyn.

With his usual determination to do things in splendid fashion, Frohman
engaged a magnificent cast. Now came one of the many evidences of the
integrity of his word. Years before, when he had first seen Henry Miller
act in San Francisco he said to him:

"When I get a theater in New York and have a big Broadway production you
will be my leading man."

He had not yet acquired the theater, but he did have the big Broadway
production, so the first male character that he filled was that of
_Colonel West_, and he did it with Miller.

This cast included not less than half a dozen people who were then
making their way toward future stardom. He engaged Wilton Lackaye to
play _General Haverill_; Viola Allen played _Gertrude Ellingham_;
Nanette Comstock was the original _Madeline West_; Effie Shannon
portrayed _Jennie Buckthorn_; while Dorothy Dorr played _Mrs. Haverill_.
Other actors in the company who later became widely known were John E.
Kellard, Harry Harwood, Morton Selten, and Harry Thorn.

Charles determined that the public should not lose sight of
"Shenandoah." All his genius for publicity was concentrated to this end.
Among the ingenious agencies that he created for arousing suspense and
interest was a rumor that the manuscript of the third act had been lost.
He put forth the news that Mr. Howard's copy was mislaid, and a
city-wide search was instituted. All the while that the company was
rehearsing the other acts the anxiety about the missing act grew. A week
before the production Frohman announced, with great effect, that the
missing manuscript had been found.

When the doors of the Star Theater were opened on the evening of
September 9, 1889, for the first performance of "Shenandoah," the
outlook was not very auspicious. Rain poured in torrents. It was almost
impossible to get a cab. Al Hayman, one of the owners of the play, who
lived at the Hotel Majestic, on West Seventy-second Street, was
rainbound and could not even see the _première_ of the piece.

However, a good audience swam through the deluge, for the gross receipts
of this opening night, despite the inclement conditions outside, were
nine hundred and seventy-two dollars. This was considered a very good
house at the standard prices of the day, which ranged from twenty-five
cents to one dollar and a half.

The play was an immense success, for at no time during the rest of the
engagement did the receipts at any performance go below one thousand
dollars. The average gross receipts for each week were ten thousand

Charles Frohman watched the _première_ from the rear of the house with a
beating heart. The crash of applause after the first act made him feel
that he had scored at last. After the sensational ending of the third
act, which was Sheridan's famous ride, he rushed back to the stage,
shook Henry Miller warmly by the hand, and said: "Henry, we've got it.
The horse is yours!"

He meant the horse that the general rode in the play.

This horse, by the way, was named Black Bess. It got so accustomed to
its cue that it knew when it had to gallop across the stage. One night
during the third act this cue was given as usual. Its rider, however,
was not ready, and the horse galloped riderless across the stage.

"Shenandoah" led to a picturesque friendship in Charles Frohman's life.
On the opening night a grizzled, military-looking man sat in the
audience. He watched the play with intense interest and applauded
vigorously. On the way out he met a friend in the lobby. He stopped him
and said, "This is the most interesting war play I have ever seen."

The friend knew Charles Frohman, who was standing with smiling face
watching the crowd go out. He called the little manager over and said:
"Mr. Frohman, I want you to meet a man who really knows something about
the Civil War. This is General William T. Sherman."

Sherman and Frohman became great friends, and throughout the engagement
of "Shenandoah" the old soldier was a frequent visitor at the theater.
He then lived at the Fifth Avenue Hotel, and often he brought over his
war-time comrades.

Not only did "Shenandoah" mark the epoch of the first real success in
Frohman's life, but it raised his whole standard of living, as the
following incident will show.

When "Shenandoah" opened, Frohman and Henry Miller, and sometimes other
members of the company, went around to O'Neil's on Sixth Avenue, scene
of the old foregatherings with Belasco, and had supper. As the piece
grew in prosperity and success, the supper party gradually moved up-town
to more expensive restaurants, until finally they were supping at
Delmonico's. "We are going up in the world," said Frohman, with his
usual humor. At their first suppers they smoked ten-cent cigars; now
they regaled themselves with twenty-five-cent Perfectos.

Unfortunately the successful run of "Shenandoah" at the Star had to be
terminated on October 12th because the Jefferson & Florence Company,
which had a previous contract with the theater and could not be disposed
of elsewhere, came to play their annual engagement in "The Rivals."
Frohman transferred the play to Proctor's Twenty-third Street Theater,
which was from this time on to figure extensively in his fortunes, and
the successful run of the play continued there. Wilton Lackaye retired
from the cast and was succeeded by Frank Burbeck, whose wife, Nanette
Comstock, succeeded Miss Shannon in the rôle of _Jenny Buckthorn_.

Frohman was now able to capitalize his brilliant road-company
experience. The success of the play now assured, he immediately
organized a road company, in which appeared such prominent actors as
Joseph Holland, Frank Carlyle, and Percy Haswell. He established an
innovation on October 26th by having this company come over from
Philadelphia, where it was playing, to act in the New York house.

The two-hundred-and-fiftieth performance occurred on April 19, 1890,
when the run ended. It was a memorable night. Katherine Grey and Odette
Tyler meanwhile had joined the company. The theater was draped in
flags, and General Sherman made a speech in which he praised the
accuracy of the production.

With his usual enterprise and resource, Charles Frohman introduced a
distinct novelty on this occasion. He had double and triple relays of
characters for the farewell performance. Both Lilla Vane and Odette
Tyler, for example, acted the part of _Gertrude Ellingham_; Wilton
Lackaye, Frank Burbeck, and George Osborne played _General Haverill_;
Alice Haines and Nanette Comstock did _Jenny Buckthorn_; while Morton
Selten and R. A. Roberts doubled as _Captain Heartsease_.

Frohman now put the original "Shenandoah" company on the road. Its first
engagement was at McVicker's Theater in Chicago. Frohman went along and
took Bronson Howard with him.

Most of the Chicago critics liked "Shenandoah." But there was one
exception, a brilliant Irishman on _The Tribune_. Paul Potter, whose
play, "The City Directory," was about to be produced in Chicago, was a
close friend of Howard. He wanted to do something for the Howard play,
so he got permission from Robert W. Patterson, editor in chief of _The
Tribune_, to write a Sunday page article about "Shenandoah." Frohman was
immensely pleased, and through this he met Potter, who became one of his

Then came the opening of Potter's play at the Chicago Opera House.
Although Potter knew most of the critics, there was a feeling that they
would forget all friendship and do their worst. Five minutes after the
curtain went up the piece seemed doomed.

But an extraordinary thing happened. From a stage box suddenly came
sounds of uncontrollable mirth. The audience, and especially the
critics, looked to see who was enjoying the play so strenuously, and
they beheld Charles Frohman and Bronson Howard. The critics were
puzzled. Here was a great playwright in the flush of an enormous success
and a rising young manager evidently enjoying the performance. The
mentors of public taste were so impressed that they praised the farce
and started "The City Directory" on a career of remarkable success.
Frohman and Howard were repaying the good turn that Potter had done for

* * *

Charles Frohman now had a money-making success. "Shenandoah" was the
dramatic talk of the whole country; it did big business everywhere, and
its courageous young producer came in for praise and congratulation on
all sides.

The manager might well have netted what was in those days a huge fortune
out of this enterprise, but his unswerving sense of honor led him to
immediately discharge all his obligations. He wiped out the Wallack's
tour debts, and he eventually took up notes aggregating forty-two
thousand dollars that he had given to a well-known Chicago printer who
had befriended him in years gone by. What was most important, he was now
free to unfurl his name to the breezes and to do business "on his own."

* * *

Charles immediately launched himself on another sea of productions. The
most important was Gillette's "All the Comforts of Home," which he put
on at Proctor's Twenty-third Street Theater. Frohman had just acquired
the lease of this theater. Already a big idea was simmering in his mind,
and the leasehold was essential to its consummation. On May 8, 1890, he
produced the new Gillette play, which scored a success.

This production marked another one of the many significant epochs in
Frohman's life because it witnessed the first appearance of little Maude
Adams under the Charles Frohman management.

Frohman had seen Miss Adams in "The Paymaster" down at Niblo's and had
been much taken with her work. He had been unable, however, to find a
part for her, so it was reserved for his brother Daniel to give her the
first Frohman engagement at thirty-five dollars a week in "Lord
Chumley." Subsequently Daniel released her so that she could appear in
the same cast with her mother in Hoyt's "The Midnight Bell."

While trying "All the Comforts of Home" on the road there occurred an
amusing episode. Frohman, who had been watching the rehearsals very
carefully, said to Henry Miller, who was leading man:

"Henry, you are something of a matinée idol. I think it would help the
play if you had a love scene with Miss Adams."

Accompanied by Rockwood, Frohman visited Gillette at his home at
Hartford, got him to write the love scene, and then went on to
Springfield, Massachusetts, for the "try-out."

That night the three assembled in the bleak drawing-room of the hotel.
Frohman ordered a little supper of ham sandwiches and sarsaparilla,
after which he rehearsed the love scene, which simply consisted of a
tender little parting in a doorway. It served to bring out the wistful
and appealing tenderness that is one of Maude Adams's great qualities.

"All the Comforts of Home" ran in Proctor's Theater until October 18th.
When the theater reopened it disclosed a venture that linked the name of
Charles Frohman with high and artistic effort--his first stock company.
With this organization he hoped to maintain the traditions established
by Augustin Daly, A. M. Palmer, Lester Wallack, and the Madison Square

He projected the Charles Frohman Stock Company in his usual lavish way.
He engaged De Mille and Belasco to write the opening play. This was a
very natural procedure: first, because of his intimate friendship with
Belasco, and, second, because De Mille and Belasco had proved their
skill as collaborators at Daniel Frohman's Lyceum Theater with such
successes as "The Wife," "The Charity Ball," and "Lord Chumley." The
result of their new endeavors was "Men and Women."

In this play the authors wrote in the part _Dora_ especially for Maude
Adams. They also created a rôle for Mrs. Annie Adams.

The cast of "Men and Women," like that of "Shenandoah," was a striking
one, and it contained many names already established, or destined to
figure prominently in theatrical history. Henry Miller had been engaged
for leading man, but he retired during the rehearsals, and his place was
taken by William Morris, who had appeared in the Charles Frohman
production of "She" and in the road company of "Held by the Enemy." In
the company that Frohman selected were Frederick de Belleville, who
played _Israel Cohen_, one of the finest, if not the finest, Jewish
characters ever put on the stage; Orrin Johnson; Frank Mordaunt; Emmet
Corrigan; J. C. Buckstone; and C. Leslie Allen, brother of Viola Allen.

In addition to Maude Adams were Sydney Armstrong, who was the leading
woman; Odette Tyler; and Etta Hawkins, who became the wife of William
Morris during this engagement.

At the dress rehearsal of "Men and Women" occurred a characteristic
Charles Frohman incident. When the curtain had gone down Frohman hurried
back to William Morris's dressing-room and said, "Will, that dress-suit
of yours doesn't look right."

"It's a brand-new suit, 'C. F.,'" he replied.

Frohman thought a moment and said: "Can you be at my office to-morrow
morning at eight o'clock? I've got a good tailor."

Promptly at eight the next day they went over to Frohman's tailor, whom
Frohman addressed as follows:

"I want you to make a dress-suit for William Morris by eight o'clock
to-morrow night."

"Impossible!" said the man.

"Nothing is impossible," said Frohman. "If that dress-suit is not in Mr.
Morris's dressing-room at eight o'clock you won't get paid for it."

The dress-suit showed up on time, and in it was a card, saying, "With
Charles Frohman's compliments."

Charles inaugurated his first stock season at Proctor's on October 21,
1890. Although the notices were uniformly good, the start into public
favor was a trifle slow. One reason was that a big bank failure had just
shaken Wall Street, and there was considerable apprehension all over the
city. By a curious coincidence there was a bank failure in the play. By
clever publicity this fact was capitalized; the piece found its stride
and ran for two hundred consecutive performances, when it was sent on
the road with great success.

For this tour Charles also introduced another one of the many novelties
that he put into theatrical conduct. He ordered a private car for the
company, and they used it throughout the tour. It was considered an
extravagance, but it was merely part of the Charles Frohman policy to
make his people comfortable. With this private car he established a
precedent that was observed in most of his traveling organizations.

* * *

With the stock company on tour in "Men and Women," the manager now
organized the Charles Frohman Comedy Company to fill in the time at
Proctor's. Once more he collected a brilliant aggregation of players,
for they included Henrietta Crosman, Joseph Holland, Frederick Bond, and
Thomas Wise. Each one became a star in the course of the next ten years.

The opening bill for the comedy company was Gillette's "Mr. Wilkinson's
Widows," and was presented on March 30th, immediately following the run
of "Men and Women." Henrietta Crosman subsequently withdrew from the
cast, and Esther Lyons took her place.

Charles Frohman reopened the theater on August 27th with a revival of
this play, in which Georgia Drew Barrymore, the mother of Ethel,
appeared as _Mrs. Perrin_. Emily Bancker, afterward a star in "Our
Flat," and Mattie Ferguson were in the cast.

On October 5th the company did Sardou's big drama of "Thermidor" for the
first time on any stage, with another one of the casts for which Charles
Frohman was beginning to become famous. It included a thin, gaunt
Englishman whose name in the bill was simply J. F. Robertson, and who
had just come from an engagement with John Hare in London. Subsequently
the J. F. in his name came to be known as Johnston Forbes, because the
man was Sir Johnston Forbes-Robertson.

In this company was Elsie De Wolfe, who later became a star and who
years after left the theater to become an interior decorator. Among the
male members of the company, besides Forbes-Robertson, was Jamison Lee
Finney, who had graduated from the amateur ranks and who became one of
the best-known comedians in the country.

In the mean time Charles had commissioned Henry C. De Mille to furnish a
play for his stock company which was now on its way back from the coast.
This play was "The Lost Paradise," which the American had adapted from
Ludwig Fulda's drama. De Mille joined the company in Denver and
rehearsals were begun there. By the time the company reached New York
they were almost letter-perfect, and the opening at Proctor's on
November 16th was a brilliant success. The play ran consecutively until
March 1st.

The cast was practically the same as "Men and Women," with the addition
of Cyril Scott, Odette Tyler, and Bijou Fernandez.

In "The Lost Paradise" Maude Adams scored the biggest success that she
had made up to that time in New York. She played the part of _Nell_, the
consumptive factory girl. This character, with its delicate and haunting
interpretation, made an irresistible appeal to the audience.

"There's big talent in that girl," said Frohman in speaking of Miss
Adams. He began to see the vision of what the years would hold for her.

* * *

By this time Charles Frohman had begun to make his annual visit to
London. Out of one of the earliest journeys came still another success
of the many that now seemed to crowd upon him.

He had taken desk space with Abbey, Schoeffel & Grau in Henrietta Street
in London. On the trip in question Belasco accompanied him. One night
Frohman said:

"There is a little comedy around the corner called 'Jane.' Let's go and
see it."

Frohman was convulsed with laughter, and the very next day sought out
the author, William Lestocq, from whom he purchased the American rights.
Out of this connection came another one of the life-long friendships of
Frohman. Lestocq, a few years later, became his principal English
representative and remained so until the end.

Frohman was now in a whirlpool of projects. Although he was occupying
himself with both the comedy and stock companies at Proctor's, he put on
"Jane" as a midsummer attraction at the Madison Square Theater with a
cast that included Katherine Grey, Johnstone Bennett, Jennie Weathersby,
and Paul Arthur.

"Jane" became such an enormous success that Charles put out two road
companies at once. In connection with "Jane" it may be said that his
first real fortune--that is, the first money that he actually kept for a
time--was made with this comedy.

Production after production now marked the Frohman career. Charles had
always admired Henry E. Dixey, so he launched him as star in "The
Solicitor" at Hermann's Theater, on September 8, 1891. It was the first
time that the famous "Charles Frohman Presents" was used. In this
company were Burr McIntosh, Sidney Drew, and Joseph Humphreys. It was
the failure of "The Solicitor" that led Frohman to put Dixey out again
as star in a piece called "The Man with a Hundred Heads" at the Star
Theater. This also failed, so he ventured with "The Junior Partner" at
the same theater with a cast that included E. J. Ratcliffe, Mrs. McKee
Rankin, Henrietta Crosman, and Louise Thorndyke-Boucicault.

Early the following year he tried his luck at Hermann's with "Gloriana,"
in which May Robson and E. J. Henley appeared. Hermann's Theater,
however, seemed to be a sort of hoodoo, so Frohman returned to the Star,
which had been his mascot, and made his first joint production with
David Belasco in a musical piece called "Miss Helyett." Frohman had seen
the play in Paris, and proceeded at once to buy the American rights from
Charles Wyndham. This production not only marked the first joint
presentation of Belasco and Charles, but it was the début of Mrs. Leslie
Carter, who had become a protégée of Mr. Belasco. When the piece was
moved to the Standard early in January, 1892, Mrs. Carter was starred
for the first time.

* * *

By this time Charles Frohman was a personage to be reckoned with.
"Shenandoah," the two stock companies, "Jane," and all the other
enterprises both successful and otherwise, had made his name a big one
in the theater. He now began to reach out for authors.

The first author to be approached was Augustus Thomas. He gave Charles a
play called "Surrender." It was put on in Boston. The original idea in
Thomas's mind was to write a satire on the war plays that had been so
successful, like "Shenandoah" and "Held by the Enemy." "Surrender"
began as a farce, but Charles Frohman and Eugene Presbrey, who produced
it, wanted to make it serious.

The cast was a very notable one, including Clement Bainbridge, E. M.
Holland, Burr McIntosh, Harry Woodruff, H. D. Blackmore, Louis Aldrich,
Maude Bancks, Miriam O'Leary, Jessie Busley, and Rose Eytinge.

The rehearsals of "Surrender" were marked by many amusing episodes.
Maude Bancks, for example, who was playing the part of a Northern girl
in a Southern town, had to wear a red sash to indicate her Northern
proclivities. This she refused to put on at the dress rehearsal because
it did not match her costume. Bainbridge, an actor who played a Southern
general, had a speech that he regarded as treason to his adopted
country, and quit. But all these troubles were bridged over and the play
was produced with some artistic success. It lasted sixteen weeks on the

After he had closed "Surrender" Frohman was telling a friend in New York
that he had lost twenty-eight thousand dollars on this piece.

"But why did you permit yourself to lose so much money on a play that
seemed bound to fail?"

"I believe in Gus Thomas. That is the reason," replied Frohman.

* * *

Although immersed in a multitude of enterprises, Frohman's activities
now took a new and significant tack. Through all these crowded years his
friendship for William Harris had been growing. Harris, who had
graduated from minstrelsy to theatrical management and was the partner
of Isaac B. Rich in the conduct of the Howard Athenæum and the Hollis
Street Theater in Boston, now added the Columbia Theater in that city to
his string of houses. Charles at once secured an interest in this lease,
and it was his first out-of-town theater. Quick to capitalize the
opportunity, he put one of the "Jane" road companies in it for a run and
called it the Charles Frohman Boston Stock Company.



The year 1892 not only found Charles Frohman established as an important
play-producing manager, but in addition he was reaching out for
widespread theater management. It was to register a memorable epoch in
the life of Charles and to record, through him, a significant era in the
history of the American theater. From this time on his life-story was to
be the narrative of the larger development of the drama and its people.

With the acquisition of his first big star, John Drew, he laid the
corner-stone of what is the so-called modern starring system, which
brought about a revolution in theatrical conduct. The story of Charles's
conquest in securing the management of Drew, with all its attendant
dramatic and sensational features, illustrates the resource and vision
of the one-time minstrel manager who now began to come into his own as a
real Napoleon of the stage.

Charles always attached importance and value to big names. He had paid
dearly in the past for this proclivity with the Lester Wallack Company.
Undaunted, he now turned to another investment in name that was to be
more successful.

About this time John Drew had made his way to a unique eminence on the
American stage. A member of a distinguished Philadelphia theatrical
family, he had scored an instantaneous success on his first appearance
at home and had become the leading man of Augustin Daly's famous stock
company. He was one of "The Big Four" of that distinguished
organization, which included Ada Rehan, Mrs. G. H. Gilbert, and James
Lewis. They were known as such in America and England. Drew was regarded
as the finest type of the so-called modern actor interpreting the
gentleman in the modern play. He shone in the drawing-room drama; he had
a distinct following, and was therefore an invaluable asset. The general
impression was that he was wedded to the environment that had proved so
successful and was so congenial.

Charles knew Drew quite casually. Their first meeting was
characteristic. It happened during the great "Shenandoah" run. Henry
Miller and Drew were old friends. It was Frohman's custom in those days
to have after-theater suppers on Saturday nights at his rooms in the old
Hoffman House, and sometimes a friendly game of cards.

One Saturday Miller called Frohman up and asked him if he could bring
Drew down for supper.

"Certainly; with pleasure," said Frohman.

That night after the play Miller picked Drew up at Daly's and took him
to the Hoffman House. Knowing the way to the Frohman rooms, he started
for them unannounced, when he was stopped by a bell-boy, who said, "Mr.
Frohman is expecting you in here," opening the door and ushering the
guests into a magnificent private suite that Frohman had engaged for the
occasion. It was the first step in the campaign for Drew.

[Illustration: _JOHN DREW_]

Although Frohman was eager to secure Drew, he made no effort to lure
the actor away from what he believed was a very satisfactory connection.

As the friendship between the men grew, however, he discovered that Drew
was becoming dissatisfied with his arrangement at Daly's. Up to that
time "The Big Four" shared in the profits of the theater. Daly canceled
this arrangement, and Drew suddenly realized that what seemed to be a
most attractive alliance really held out no future for him.

Drew's dissatisfaction was heightened by his realization that Augustin
Daly's greatest work and achievements were behind him. The famous old
manager was undergoing that cycle of experience which comes to all of
his kind when the flood-tide of their success begins to ebb.

Drew was speculating about his future when Frohman heard of his state of
mind. He now felt that he would not be violating the ethics of the
profession in making overtures looking to an alliance. He did not make a
direct offer, but sent a mutual friend, Frank Bennett, once a member of
the Daly company, who was then conducting the Arlington Hotel in
Washington. Through him Frohman made a proposition to Drew to become a
star. The actor accepted the offer, and a three-year contract was

The capture of John Drew by Charles Frohman was more than a mere
business stroke. Frohman never forgot that the great Daly had succeeded
in ousting him from his first booking-offices in the Daly Theater
Building. He found not a little humor in pre-empting the services of the
Daly leading man as a sort of reciprocal stroke.

When Drew told Daly that he had signed a contract with Frohman the then
dictator of the American stage could scarcely find words to express his
astonishment. He assured Drew that he was making the mistake of his
life, because he regarded Frohman as an unlicensed interloper. Yet this
"interloper," from the moment of the Drew contract, began a new career
of brilliant and artistic development.

Frohman's starring arrangement with Drew created a sensation, both among
the public and in the profession. It broke up "The Big Four," for Drew
left a gap at Daly's that could not be filled.

There was also a widespread feeling that while Drew had succeeded in a
congenial environment, and with an actress (Miss Rehan) who was
admirably suited to him, he might not duplicate this success amid new
scenes. Hence arose much speculation about his leading woman. A dozen
names were bruited about.

Charles Frohman remained silent. He was keenly sensitive to the
sensation he was creating, and was biding his time to launch another. It
came when he announced Maude Adams as John Drew's leading woman. He had
watched her development with eager and interested eye. She had made good
wherever he had placed her. Now he gave her what was up to this time her
biggest chance. The moment her name became bracketed with Drew's there
was a feeling of satisfaction over the choice. How wise Charles Frohman
was in the whole Drew venture was about to be abundantly proved.

* * *

Charles Frohman not only made John Drew a star, but the nucleus of a
whole system. It was a time of rebirth for the whole American stage.
Nearly all the old stars were gone or were passing from view. Forrest,
McCullough, Cushman, Janauschek were gone; Modjeska's power was waning;
Clara Morris was soon to leave the stage world; Lawrence Barrett and
W.J. Florence were dead; Edwin Booth had retired.

Frohman realized that with the passing of these stars there also passed
the system that had created them. He knew that the public--the new
generation--wanted younger people, popular names--somebody to talk
about. He realized further that the public adored personality and that
the strongest prop that a play could get was a fascinating and magnetic
human being, whether male or female. The old stars had made
themselves--risen from the ranks after years of service. Frohman saw the
opportunity to accelerate this advance by providing swift and
spectacular recognition. The new stars that were now to blossom into
life under him owed their being to the initiative and the vision of some
one else. Thus he became the first of the star-makers.

Charles was now all excitement. He had the making of his first big star,
and he proceeded to launch him in truly magnificent fashion.

A play was needed that would bring out all those qualities that had made
Drew shine in the drawing-room drama. The very play itself was destined
to mark an epoch in the life of a man in the theater. Through Elizabeth
Marbury, who had just launched herself as play-broker in a little office
on Twenty-fourth Street, around the corner from Charles Frohman's, his
attention was called to a French farcical comedy called "The Masked
Ball," by Alexandre Bisson and Albert Carre. Frohman liked the story and
wanted it adapted for American production. It was the beginning of his
long patronage of French plays.

"I know a brilliant young man who could do this job for you very well,"
said Miss Marbury.

"What's his name?" asked Frohman.

"Clyde Fitch, and I believe he is going to have a great career," was the
answer of his sponsor.

Fitch was given the commission. He did a most successful piece of
adaptation, and in this Way began the long and close relationship
between the author of "Beau Brummel" (his first play) and the man who,
more than any other, did so much to advance his career.

For Drew's début under his management Charles spared no expense. In
addition to Maude Adams, the company included Harry Harwood (who was
then coming into his own as a forceful and versatile character actor),
C. Leslie Allen, Mrs. Annie Adams, and Frank E. Lamb.

With his usual desire to do everything in a splendid way, Frohman
arranged for Drew's début at Palmer's Theater, the old Lester Wallack
playhouse which was now under the management of A. M. Palmer, then one
of the shining figures in the American drama, and located opposite
Drew's former scenes of activity. Thus Drew's first stellar appearance
was on a stage rich with tradition.

"The Masked Ball" opened October 3, 1892, in the presence of a
representative audience. It was an instantaneous success. Drew played
with brilliancy and distinction, and Frohman's confidence in him was
amply justified.

[Illustration: _CLYDE FITCH_]

[Illustration: _HENRY ARTHUR JONES_]

The performance, however, had a human interest apart from the star.
Maude Adams, for the first time in her career, had a real Broadway
opportunity, and she made the most of it in such a fashion as to
convince Frohman and every one else that before many years were past
she, too, would have her name up in electric lights. She played the part
of _Zuzanne Blondet_, a more or less frivolous person, and it was in
distinct contrast with the character that she had just abandoned, that
of _Nell_, the consumptive factory-girl in "The Lost Paradise."


As _Zuzanne_ in "The Masked Ball," Miss Adams went to a ball and
assumed tipsiness in order to influence her dissipated husband and
achieve his ultimate reformation. The way she prepared for this part was
characteristic of the woman. She wore a hat with a long feather, and she
determined to make it a "tipsy feather." This feature became one of the
comedy hits of the play, but in order to achieve it she worked for days
and days to bring about the desired effect. The result of all this
painstaking preparation was a brilliant performance. When the curtain
went down on that memorable night at Palmer's Theater the general
impression was:

"Maude Adams will be the next Frohman star."

The morning after the opening Frohman went to John Drew and said: "Well,
John, you don't need me any more now. You're made."

"No, Charles; I shall need you always," was the reply.

Out of this engagement came the long and intimate friendship between
Drew and Frohman. The first contract, signed and sealed on that
precarious day when Frohman was seeing the vision of the modern star
system, was the last formal bond between them. Though their negotiations
involved hundreds of thousands of dollars in the years that passed,
there was never another scrap of paper between them.

Seldom in the history of the American theater has another event been so
productive of far-reaching consequence as "The Masked Ball." It brought
Clyde Fitch into contact with the man who was to be his real sponsor; it
made John Drew a star; it carried Maude Adams to the frontiers of the
stellar realm; it gave Charles Frohman a whole new and distinguished
place in the theater.

Frohman was quick to follow up this success. With Drew he had made his
first real bid for what was known in those days as "the carriage
trade"--that is, the patronage of the socially elect. He hastened to
clinch this with another stunning production at Palmer's. It was Bronson
Howard's play, "Aristocracy."

The play, produced on November 14, 1893, was done in Frohman's usual
lavish way. The company included not less than half a dozen people who
were then making their way toward stardom--Wilton Lackaye, Viola Allen,
Blanche Walsh, William Faversham, Frederick Bond, Bruce McRae, Paul
Arthur, W. H. Thompson, J. W. Piggott. "Aristocracy" was Bronson
Howard's reversion to the serenity of the society drama after the
spectacle of war. The first night's audience was fashionable. The
distinction of the cast lent much to the success of the occasion.

* * *

When John Drew called on Charles Frohman for the first time at his
offices at 1127 Broadway, his way was impeded by a bright-eyed, alert
young office-boy who bore the unromantic name of Peter Daly. He
incarnated every ill to which his occupation seems to be heir. Without
troubling himself to find out if Mr. Frohman was in, he immediately
said, after the grand fashion of theatrical office-boys:

"Mr. Frohman is out and I don't know when he will return."

"But I have an engagement with Mr. Frohman," said Drew.

"You will have to wait," said the boy.

Drew cooled his heels outside while Frohman waited impatiently inside
for him. When he emerged at lunchtime he was surprised to find his man
about to depart.

Daly was immediately discharged by Julius Cahn, who was office manager,
but was promptly reinstated the next day by Frohman, who had been
greatly impressed with the boy's quick wit and intelligence.

This office-boy, it is interesting to relate, became Arnold Daly, the
actor. No experience of his life was perhaps more amusing or picturesque
than the crowded year when he manned the outside door of Charles
Frohman's office. Instead of attending to business, he spent most of his
time writing burlesques on contemporary plays, which he solemnly
submitted to Harry Rockwood, the bookkeeper.

During these days occurred a now famous episode. Young Daly was
luxuriously reclining in the most comfortable chair in the
reception-room one day when Louise Closser Hale, the actress, entered
and asked to see Charles Frohman.

"He is out," said Daly.

"May I wait for him?" asked the visitor.

"Yes," answered Daly, and the woman sat down.

After three hours had passed she asked Daly, "Where is Mr. Frohman?"

"He's in London," was the reply.

Afterward Daly became "dresser" for John Drew, the virus of the theater
got into his system, and before long he was an actor.

Thus even Charles Frohman's office-boys became stars.

* * *

Epochal as had been 1892, witnessing the first big Frohman star and a
great artistic expansion, the new year that now dawned realized another
and still greater dream of Charles Frohman, for it brought the
dedication of his own New York theater at last, the famous Empire.

Ever since he had been launched in the metropolitan theatrical
whirlpool, Frohman wanted a New York theater. As a boy he had witnessed
the glories of the Union Square Theater under Palmer; as a road manager
he had a part in the success of the Madison Square Theater activities;
in his early managerial days he had been associated with the Lester
Wallack organization; he had watched the later triumphs of the Lyceum
Theater Company at home and on the road. Quite naturally he came to the
conviction that he was ready to operate and control a big theater of his

The way toward its consummation was this:

One day toward the end of the 'eighties, William Harris came to New York
to see Frohman about the booking of some attractions. He said:

"Charley, I want a theater in New York, and I know that you want one.
Let's combine."

"All right," said Frohman. "You can get the Union Square. The lease is
on the market."

"Very well," said Harris.

On the way down-stairs he met Al Hayman, who asked him where he was

"I am going over to lease the Union Square Theater," he replied.

"That's foolish," said Hayman. "Everything theatrical is going up-town."

"Well," answered Harris, "C. F. wants a theater, and I am determined
that he shall have it, so I am going over to get the Union Square."

"If you and Frohman want a theater that badly, I will build one for
you," he responded.

"Where?" asked Harris.

"I've got some lots at Fortieth and Broadway, and it's a good site, even
if it is away up-town."

They went back to Frohman's office, and here was hatched the plan for
the Empire Theater.

"I can't go ahead on this matter without Rich," said Harris.

"All right," said Frohman. "Wire Rich."

Rich came down next day, and the final details were concluded for the
building of the Empire. Frank Sanger came in as a partner; thus the
builders were Al Hayman, Frank Sanger, and William Harris. Without the
formality of a contract they turned it over to Charles Frohman with the
injunction that he could do with it as he pleased.

Frohman was in his element. He could now embark on another one of the
favorite dream-enterprises.

He was like a child during the building of the theater. Every moment
that he could spare from his desk he would walk up the street and watch
the demolition of the old houses that were to make way for this
structure. Often he would get Belasco and take him up the street to note
the progress. One night as they stood before the skeleton of the theater
that stood gaunt and gray in the gloom Charles said to his friend:

"David, just think; the great dream is coming true, and yet it's only a
few years since we sat at 'Beefsteak John's' with only forty-two cents
between us."

Naturally, Frohman turned to Belasco for the play to open the Empire.
His old friend was then at work on "The Heart of Maryland" for Mrs.
Leslie Carter. He explained the situation to Frohman. As soon as Mrs.
Carter heard of it she went to Frohman and told him that she would
waive her appearance and that Belasco must go ahead on the Empire play,
which he did.

Just what kind of play to produce was the problem. Frohman still clung
to the mascot of war. The blue coat and brass buttons had turned the
tide for him with "Shenandoah," and he was superstitious in wanting
another stirring and martial piece. Belasco had become interested in
Indians, but he also wanted to introduce the evening-clothes feature.
Hence came the inspiration of a ball at an army post in the far West
during the Indian-fighting days. This episode proved to be the big
dramatic situation of the new piece.

Then came the night when Belasco read the play to Frohman, who walked up
and down the floor. When the author finished, Frohman rushed up to him
with a brilliant smile on his face and said:

"David, you've done the whole business! You've got pepper and salt,
soup, entrée, roast, salad, dessert, coffee; it's a real play, and I
know it will be a success."

Having finished the work, which Belasco wrote in collaboration with
Franklin Fyles, then dramatic editor of the New York _Sun_, they needed
a striking name. So they sent the manuscript to Daniel, down at the
Lyceum, for Charles always declared he had been happy in the selection
of play titles. Back came the manuscript with his approval of the work,
and with the title "The Girl I Left Behind Me." This they eagerly

Long before "The Girl I Left Behind Me" manuscript was ready to leave
Belasco's hands, Frohman was assembling his company. Instead of having a
star, he decided to have an all-round stock company. The success of this
kind of institution had been amply proved at Daly's, Wallack's, the
Madison Square, and the Lyceum. Hence the Charles Frohman Stock Company,
which had scored so heavily with "Men and Women" and "The Lost Paradise"
at Proctor's Twenty-third Street Theater, now became the famous Empire
Theater Stock Company and incidentally the greatest of all star
factories. William Morris was retained as the first leading man, and the
company included Orrin Johnson, Cyril Scott, W. H. Thompson, Theodore
Roberts, Sydney Armstrong, Odette Tyler, and Edna Wallace. The child in
the play was a precocious youngster called "Wally" Eddinger, who is the
familiar Wallace Eddinger of the present-day stage.

The rehearsals for "The Girl I Left Behind Me" were held in the Standard
Theater, which Frohman had already booked for productions, and were
supervised by Belasco. Frohman, however, was always on hand, and his
suggestions were invaluable.

"The Girl I Left Behind Me" was tried out for a week at Washington. The
company arrived there on Sunday afternoon, but was unable to get the
stage until midnight because Robert G. Ingersoll was delivering a
lecture there. At the outset of this rehearsal Belasco became ill and
had to retire to his bed, and Frohman took up the direction of this
final rehearsal and worked with the company until long after dawn.

The week in Washington rounded out the play thoroughly, and the company
returned to New York on the morning of January 25, 1893. Now came a
characteristic example of Frohman's resource. At noon it was discovered
that the new electric-light installation was not yet complete. Added to
this was the disconcerting fact that the paint on the chairs was
scarcely dry. Sanger, Harris, and Rich urged Frohman to postpone the
opening. "It will be useless to open under these conditions," they said.

"The Empire must open to-night," said Frohman, "if we have to open it by

In saying this Charles Frohman emphasized what was one of his iron-clad
rules, for he never postponed an announced opening.

That January night was a memorable one in the life of Frohman. He sat on
a low chair in the wings, and alongside of him sat Belasco. His face
beamed, yet he was very nervous, as he always was on openings. At the
end of the third act, when the audience made insistent calls for
speeches, Belasco tried to drag Frohman out, but he would not go. "You
go, David," he said. And Belasco went out and made a speech.

"The Girl I Left Behind Me" was a complete success, and played two
hundred and eighty-eight consecutive performances.

The opening of the Empire Theater strengthened Charles Frohman's
position immensely. More than this, it established a whole new
theatrical district in New York. When it was opened there was only one
up-town theater, the Broadway. Within a few years other playhouses
followed the example of the Empire, and camped in its environs. Thus
again Charles Frohman was a pioneer.

The Empire Theater now became the nerve-center of the Charles Frohman
interests. He established his offices on the third floor, and there they
remained until his death. He practically occupied the whole building,
for his booking interests, which had now grown to great proportions, and
which were in charge of Julius Cahn, occupied a whole suite of offices.
He now had his own New York theater, a star of the first magnitude, and
a stock company with a national reputation.

When the Empire Stock Company began its second season in the August of
1893, in R. C. Carton's play, "Liberty Hall," Charles Frohman was able
to keep the promise he had made to Henry Miller back in the 'eighties in
San Francisco. That handsome and dashing young actor now succeeded
William Morris as leading man of the stock company, Viola Allen became
leading woman, and May Robson also joined the company. "Liberty Hall"
ran until the end of October, when David Belasco's play, "The Younger
Son," was put on. This added William Faversham to the ranks, and thus
another star possibility came under the sway of the Star-Maker.

The Empire became the apple of Charles Frohman's eye, and remained so
until his death. No star and no play was too good for it. On it he
lavished wealth and genuine affection. To appear with the Empire Stock
Company was to be decorated with the Order of Theatrical Merit. To it in
turn came Robert Edison, Ethel Barrymore, Elita Proctor Otis, Jameson
Lee Finney, Elsie De Wolfe, W. J. Ferguson, Ferdinand Gottschalk, J. E.
Dodson, Margaret Anglin, J. Henry Benrimo, Ida Conquest, and Arthur

The Empire Stock Company became an accredited institution. A new play by
it was a distinct event, its annual tour to the larger cities an
occasion that was eagerly awaited. To have a play produced by it was the
goal of the ambitious playwright, both here and abroad.

Through the playing of the Empire Company Frohman introduced Oscar Wilde
to America, and with the stock-company opportunities he developed such
playwrights as Henry Arthur Jones, Haddon Chambers, Sydney Grundy,
Louis N. Parker, Madeline Lucette Ryley, Henry Guy Carleton, Clyde
Fitch, Jerome K. Jerome, and Arthur Wing Pinero.

Having firmly established the Empire Theater, Charles now turned to a
myriad of enterprises. He acquired the lease of the Standard Theater
(afterward the Manhattan) and began there a series of productions that
was to have significant effect on his fortunes.

In May, 1893, he produced a comedy called "Fanny," by George R. Sims, of
London, in which W. J. Ferguson, Frank Burbeck, and Johnston Bennett
appeared. It was a very dismal failure, but it produced one of the
famous Frohman epigrams. Sims sent Frohman the following telegram a few
days after the opening:

     _How is Fanny going?_

Whereupon Frohman sent this laconic reply:


Now came another historic episode in Frohman's career. He was making his
annual visit to London. The lure and love of the great city was in him
and it grew with each succeeding pilgrimage. He had learned to select
successful English plays, as the case of "Jane" had proved. Now he was
to go further and capture one of his rarest prizes.

Just about this time Brandon Thomas's farce, "Charley's Aunt," had been
played at the Globe Theater as a Christmas attraction and was staggering
along in great uncertainty. W. S. Penley, who owned the rights, played
the leading part.

Suddenly it became a success, and the "managerial Yankee birds," as they
called the American theatrical magnates, began to roost in London. All
had their claws set for "Charley's Aunt."

Frohman had established an office in London at 4 Henrietta Street, in
the vicinity of Covent Garden. His friendship with W. Lestocq, the
author of "Jane," developed. Lestocq, who was the son of a publisher,
and had graduated from a clever amateur actor into a professional,
conceived a great liking for Frohman. While all the American managers
were angling for "Charley's Aunt," he went to Penley, who was his
friend, and said:

"Frohman has done so well with 'Jane' in America, he is the man to do
'Charley's Aunt.'"

Penley agreed to hold up all his negotiations for the play until Frohman
arrived. A conference was held, and, through the instrumentality of
Lestocq, Frohman secured the American rights to "Charley's Aunt."

At the end of this meeting Lestocq said in jest, "What do I get out of

"I'll show you," said Frohman. "You shall represent me in London

Out of this conference came one of the longest and most loyal
associations in Charles's career, because from that hour until the day
of his death Lestocq represented Charles Frohman in England with a
fidelity of purpose and a devotion of interest that were characteristic
of the men who knew and worked with Charles Frohman.



Frohman now returned to America to produce "Charley's Aunt." In spite of
the success of the Empire, Frohman had "plunged" in various ways, and
had reached one of the numerous financial crises in his life. He
looked upon "Charley's Aunt" as the agency that was to again redeem him.
For the American production he imported Etienne Girardot, who had played
the leading rôle in the English production. He surrounded Girardot with
an admirable cast, including W. J. Ferguson, Frank Burbeck, Henry
Woodruff, Nanette Comstock, and Jessie Busley.

Frohman personally rehearsed "Charley's Aunt." He tried it out first at
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where the reception was not particularly
cordial. He returned to New York in a great state of apprehension,
although his good spirits were never dampened. On October 2, 1893, he
produced the play at the Standard, and it was an immediate success. As
the curtain went down on the first night's performance he assembled the
company on the stage and made a short speech, thanking them for their
co-operation. It was the first time in his career that he had done this,
and it showed how keenly concerned he was. It was another "Shenandoah,"
because it recouped his purse, depleted from numerous outside ventures,
inspired him with a fresh zeal, and enabled him to proceed with fresh
enterprises. It ran for two hundred nights, and then duplicated its New
York success on the road.

While gunning for "Charley's Aunt," Charles Frohman made his first
London production with "The Lost Paradise." He put it on in partnership
with the Gattis, at the Adelphi Theater in the Strand. It was a failure,
however, and it discouraged him from producing in England for some
little time.

These were the years when Frohman was making the few intimate
friendships that would mean so much to him until the closing hours of
his life. That of Charles Dillingham is an important one.

Dillingham had been a newspaper man in Chicago at a time when George
Ade, Peter Dunne, and Frank Vanderlip (now president of the National
City Bank) were his co-workers. He became secretary to Senator Squire,
and at Washington wrote a play called "Twelve P.M." A manager named
Frank Williams produced it in the old Bijou Theater, New York, just
about the time that Charles Frohman was presenting John Drew across the
street in "The Masked Ball." Dillingham had previously come on to New
York, and his hopes, naturally, were in the play. "Twelve P.M." was a
dismal failure, but it brought two unusual men together who became bosom
friends. It came about in this extraordinary way:

During the second (and last) week of the engagement of "Twelve P.M." at
the Bijou, Dillingham, who came every night to see his play, noticed a
short, stout, but important-looking man pass into the playhouse.

"Who is that man?" he asked.

He was told it was Charles Frohman.

A few days later he received a letter from Frohman, which said:

     _Your play lacks all form and construction, but I like the lines
     very much. Would you like to adapt a French farce for me?_

Dillingham accepted this commission and thus met Frohman. Dillingham was
then dramatic editor of the New York _Evening Sun_. One day he called on
Frohman and asked him to send him out with a show.

"When do you want to go?"

"Right away."

"Very well," said Frohman, who would always have his little joke. "You
can go to-morrow. I would like to get you off that paper, anyhow. You
write too many bad notices of my plays."

Dillingham first went out ahead of the Empire Stock Company and
afterward in advance of John Drew, in "That Imprudent Young Couple." He
left the job, however, and soon returned to Frohman, seeking other work.

"What would you like to do?" asked Frohman.

"Take my yacht and go to England," said Dillingham, facetiously.

"All right," said Frohman. "We sail Saturday," and handed him fifty
thousand dollars in stage money that happened to be lying on his desk.
Dillingham thought at first he was joking, but he was not. They sailed
on the _St. Paul_. Frohman had just established his first offices in
Henrietta Street. There was not much business to transact, and the pair
spent most of their time seeing plays. Dillingham acted as a sort of
secretary to Frohman.

One day a haughty Englishman came up to the offices and asked Dillingham
to take in his card.

"I have no time," said Dillingham, whose sense of humor is proverbial.

"What have you to do?" asked the man.

"I've got to wash the office windows first," was the reply.

The Englishman became enraged, strode in to Frohman, and told him what
Dillingham had said. Frohman laughed so heartily that he almost rolled
out of his chair. After the Englishman left he went out and
congratulated Dillingham on his jest. From that day dated a Damon and
Pythias friendship between the two men. They were almost inseparable

The time was at hand for another big star to twinkle in the Frohman
heaven. During all these years William Gillette had developed in
prestige and authority, both as actor and as playwright. The quiet,
thoughtful, scholarly-looking young actor who had knocked at the doors
of the Madison Square Theater with the manuscript of "The Professor,"
where it was produced after "Hazel Kirke," and whose road tours had been
booked by Charles Frohman in his early days as route-maker, now came
into his own. Curiously enough, his career was to be linked closely with
that of the little man he first knew in his early New York days.

Frohman, who had booked and produced Gillette's play "Held By the
Enemy," now regarded Gillette as star material of the first rank.
Combined with admiration for Gillette as artist was a strong personal
friendship. Gillette now wrote a play, a capital farce called "Too Much
Johnson," which Frohman produced with the author as star. In connection
with this opening was a typical Frohman incident.

The play was first put on at Waltham, Massachusetts. The house was small
and the notices bad. Frohman joined the company next day at Springfield.
Gillette was much depressed, and he met Frohman in this mood.

"This is terrible, isn't it? I'm afraid the play is a failure."

"Nonsense!" said Frohman. "I have booked it for New York and for a long
tour afterward."

"Why?" asked Gillette in astonishment.

"I saw your performance," was the reply.

[Illustration: _CHARLES DILLINGHAM_]

Frohman's confidence was vindicated, for when the play was put on at the
Standard Theater in November, 1894, it went splendidly and put another
rivet in Gillette's reputation.

Frohman now had two big stars, John Drew and William Gillette. A
half-dozen others were in the making, chief among them the wistful-eyed
little Maude Adams, who was now approaching the point in her career
where she was to establish a new tradition for the American stage and
give Charles Frohman a unique distinction.



When Charles Frohman put Maude Adams opposite John Drew in "The Masked
Ball" he laid the foundation of what is, in many respects, his most
remarkable achievement. The demure little girl, who had made her way
from child actress through the perils of vivid melodrama to a Broadway
success, now set foot on the real highway to a stardom that is unique in
the annals of the theater.

Brilliant as was his experience with the various men and women whom he
raised from obscurity to fame and fortune, the case of Maude Adams
stands out with peculiar distinctness. It is the one instance where
Charles Frohman literally manufactured a star's future.

Yet no star ever served so rigorous or so distinguished an
apprenticeship. Her five years as leading woman with John Drew tried all
her resource. After her brilliant performance as _Zuzanne Blondet_ in
"The Masked Ball," she appeared in "The Butterflies," by Henry Guy
Carleton. She had a much better part in "The Bauble Shop," which
followed the next year.

John Drew's vehicle in 1895 was "That Imprudent Young Couple," by Henry
Guy Carleton. This play not only advanced Miss Adams materially, but
first served to bring forward John Drew's niece, Ethel Barrymore, a
graceful slip of a girl, who developed a great friendship with Miss
Adams. Following her appearance in the Carleton play came "Christopher
Jr.," written by Madeline Lucette Ryley, in which Miss Adams scored the
biggest hit of her career up to this time.

It remained for Louis N. Parker's charming play, "Rosemary," which was
produced at the Empire Theater in 1896, to put Miss Adams into the path
of the man who, after Charles Frohman, did more than any other person in
the world to give her the prominence that she occupies to-day.

"Rosemary" was an exquisite comedy, and packed with sentiment. Maude
Adams played the part of _Dorothy Cruikshank_, a character of quaint and
appealing sweetness. It touched the hidden springs of whimsical humor
and thrilling tenderness, qualities which soon proved to be among her
chief assets.

Just about that time a little Scot, James M. Barrie by name, already a
distinguished literary figure who had blossomed forth as a playwright
with "Walker London" and "The Professor's Love Story," came to America
for the first time. For three people destined from this time on to be
inseparably entwined in career and fortune, it was a memorable trip. For
Barrie it meant the meeting with Charles Frohman, who was to be his
greatest American friend and producer; for Miss Adams it was to open the
way to her real career, and for Frohman himself it was to witness the
beginning of an intimacy that was perhaps the closest of his life.

Barrie's book, "The Little Minister," had been a tremendous success,
and, not having acquired the formality of a copyright in America, the
play pirates were busy with it. Frohman, after having seen the
performance of "The Professor's Love Story," had cabled Barrie, asking
him to make a play out of the charming Scotch romance. Barrie at first
declined. Frohman, as usual, was insistent. Then followed the
Scotchman's trip to America.

Under Frohman's influence he had begun to consider a dramatization of
"The Little Minister," but the real stimulus was lacking because, as he
expressed it to Frohman, he did not see any one who could play the part
of _Babbie_.

Now came one of those many unexpected moments that shape lives. On a
certain day Barrie dropped into the Empire Theater to see Frohman, who
was out.

"Why don't you stop in down-stairs and see 'Rosemary'?" said Frohman's

"All right," said Barrie.

So he went down into the Empire and took a seat in the last row. An hour
afterward he came rushing back to Frohman's office, found his friend in,
and said to him, as excitedly as his Scotch nature would permit:

"Frohman, I have found the woman to play _Babbie_ in 'The Little
Minister'! I am going to try to dramatize it myself."

"Who is it?" asked Frohman, with a twinkle in his eye, for he knew
without asking.

"It is that little Miss Adams who plays _Dorothy_."

"Fine!" said Frohman. "I hope you will go ahead now and do the play."

The moment toward which Frohman had looked for years was now at hand. He
might have launched Miss Adams at any time during the preceding four or
five seasons. But he desired her to have a better equipment, and he
wanted the American theater-going public to know the woman in whose
talents he felt such an extraordinary confidence. He announced with a
suddenness that was startling, but which in reality conveyed no surprise
to the few people who had watched Miss Adams's career up to this time,
that he was going to launch her as star.



Some of his friends, however, objected.

"Why split and separate a good acting combination?" was their comment,
meaning the combination of John Drew and Miss Adams. To this objection
Frohman made reply:

"I'll show you the wisdom of it. I'll put them both on Broadway at the
same time."

He therefore launched Miss Adams in "The Little Minister" at the Empire
and booked John Drew at Wallack's in "A Marriage of Convenience." His
decision was amply vindicated, for both scored successes.

* * *

Charles Frohman now proceeded to present Miss Adams with his usual
lavishness. First of all he surrounded her with a superb company. It was
headed by Robert Edeson, who played the title rôle, and included Guy
Standing, George Fawcett, William H. Thompson, R. Peyton Carter, and
Wilfred Buckland.

With "The Little Minister" Charles Frohman gave interesting evidence of
a masterful manipulation to make circumstances meet his own desires. He
realized that the masculine title of the play might possibly detract
from Miss Adams's prestige, so he immediately began to adapt several
important scenes which might have been dominated by _Gavin Dishart_, the
little minister, into strong scenes for his new luminary. These changes
were made, of course, with Barrie's consent, and added much to the
strength of the rôle of _Lady Babbie_.

To the mastery of the part of _Lady Babbie_ Maude Adams now consecrated
herself with a fidelity of purpose which was very characteristic of her.
Then, as always, she asked herself the question:

"What will this character mean to the people who see it?"

In other words, here, as throughout all her career, she put herself in
the position of her audience. She devoted many weeks to a study of
Scotch dialect. She fairly lived in a Scotch atmosphere. One of her
friends of that time accused her of subsisting on a diet of Scotch

As was his custom, Frohman gave the piece an out-of-town try-out. It
opened on September 13, 1897, a date memorable in the Charles Frohman
narrative, in the La Fayette Square Opera House in Washington. It was an
intolerably hot night, and, added to the discomfort of the heat, there
was considerable uncertainty about the success of the venture itself.
This was not due to a lack of confidence in Miss Adams, but to the
feeling that the play was excessively Scotch. A brilliant audience,
including many people prominent in public life, witnessed the début and
seemed most friendly.

Miss Adams regarded the first night as a failure. Financially the play
limped along for a week, for the gross receipts were only $3,500. Yet
when the play opened in New York two weeks later it was a spectacular
success from the start.

Here is another curious example of the importance of the New York
verdict. "Hazel Kirke," which became one of the historic successes of
the American stage, tottered along haltingly for weeks in Philadelphia,
Washington, and Baltimore. In the Quaker City, "Barbara Fritchie," with
Julia Marlowe in the title rôle, came dangerously near closing because
of discouraging business. Yet she came to New York, and with the
exception of "When Knighthood was in Flower," registered the greatest
popular triumph she has ever known. This was now the case with "The
Little Minister."

Miss Adams was irresistible as _Lady Babbie_. As the quaint, slyly
humorous, make-believe gipsy, she found full play for all her talents,
and she captured her audience almost with her first speech.

Charles Frohman sat nervously in the wings during the performance. When
the curtain went down his new star said to him:

"How did it go?"

"Splendidly," was his laconic comment.

"The Little Minister" ran at the Empire for three hundred consecutive
performances, two hundred and eighty-nine of which were to "standing
room only." The total gross receipts for the engagement were $370,000--a
record for that time.

On the last night of the run Miss Adams received the following cablegram
from Barrie:

     _Thank you, thank you all for your brilliant achievement. "What a
     glory to our kirk."_


Maude Adams was now launched as a profitable and successful star. Like
many other conscientious and idealistic interpreters of the drama, she
had a great reverence for Shakespeare, and she burned with a desire to
play in one of the great bard's plays. Charles Frohman knew this. Then,
as always, one of his supreme ambitions in life was to gratify her every
wish, so he announced that he would present her in a special all-star
production of "Romeo and Juliet."

Charles Frohman himself was always frank enough to say that he had no
great desire to produce Shakespeare. He lived in the dramatic activities
of his day. It was shortly before this time that his brother Daniel,
entering his office one day, found him reading.

"I am reading a new book," he said; "that is, new to me."

"What is that?" was the query?

"'Romeo and Juliet,'" he replied.

When Maude Adams dropped the rôle of _Babbie_ to assume that of _Juliet_
some people thought the transfer a daring one, to say the least. Even
Miss Adams was a little nervous. Not so Frohman. To him Shakespeare was
simply a playwright like Clyde Fitch or Augustus Thomas, with the
additional advantage that he was dead, and therefore, as there were no
royalties to pay, he could put the money into the production.

When Frohman went to rehearsal one day he noticed that the company
seemed a trifle nervous.

"What's up?" he asked, abruptly.

Some one told him that the players were fearful lest all the details of
the costume and play should not be carried out in strict accordance with

"Nonsense!" exclaimed Frohman. "Who's Shakespeare? He was just a man. He
won't hurt you. I don't see any Shakespeare. Just imagine you're looking
at a soldier, home from the Cuban war, making love to a giggling
school-girl on a balcony. That's all I see, and that's the way I want it
played. Dismiss all idea of costume. Be modern."

The production of "Romeo and Juliet" was supervised by William Seymour.
It was rehearsed in two sections. One half of the cast was in New York,
with Faversham and Hackett; the other was on tour with Miss Adams in
"The Little Minister." Seymour divided his time between the two wings,
with the omnipresent spirit of Frohman over it all.

Miss Adams had made an exhaustive study of the part. After his first
conference with her, Seymour wrote to Frohman as follows:

     _I thought I knew my Shakespeare, but Miss Adams has opened up a
     new and most wonderful field. An hour with her has given me more
     inspiration and ideas than twenty years of personal experience with

As usual, Frohman surrounded Miss Adams with a magnificent cast. William
Faversham played _Romeo_; James K. Hackett was _Mercutio_; W. H.
Thompson was _Friar Lawrence_; Orrin Johnson played _Paris_; R. Peyton
Carter was _Peter_. Others in the company were Campbell Gollan and
Eugene Jepson.

"Romeo and Juliet" was produced at the Empire Theater May 8, 1899, and
was a distinguished artistic success. Miss Adams's _Juliet_ was
appealing, romantic, lovely. It touched the chords of all her gentle
womanliness and gave the character, so far as the American stage was
concerned, a new tradition of youthful charm.

A unique feature of the first night's performance of "Romeo and Juliet"
was the presence of Mary Anderson. This distinguished actress, who had
just arrived from London for a brief visit, expressed a desire to see
the new _Juliet_, and to feel once more the thrill of a Broadway first
night. Miss Anderson herself had, of course, achieved great distinction
as _Juliet_. She was regarded, in her day, as the physical and romantic
ideal of the rôle.

When her desire to see the play was communicated to Charles, it was
found that every box had been sold except the one reserved for his
sisters. He therefore purchased this from them with a check for $200.

At the conclusion of the performance Miss Anderson was introduced to
Miss Adams, and congratulated her on her success.

* * *

It was in 1900 that Miss Adams first played the part of a boy, a type of
character that, before many years would pass, was to give her a great
success. Her début as a lad, however, was under the most brilliantly
artistic circumstances, because it was in Edmond Rostand's "L'Aiglon,"
adapted in English by Louis N. Parker. As the young Eaglet, son of the
great Napoleon, she had fresh opportunity to display her versatility. It
was a character in which romance, pathos, and tragedy were curiously
entwined. Bernhardt had done it successfully in Paris, but Miss Adams
brought to it the fidelity and brilliancy of youth. In "L'Aiglon" she
was supported by Edwin Arden, Oswald Yorke, Eugene Jepson, J. H.
Gilmour, and R. Peyton Carter.

* * *

When Charles Frohman put Miss Adams into "Romeo and Juliet" she received
a whimsical letter from J. M. Barrie, saying, among other things:

     _Are you going to take Willie Shakespeare by the arm and l'ave me?_

The time was now at hand when she once more took the fascinating Scot by
the arm. She now appeared in his "Quality Street," a new play with the
real Barrie charm, in which she took the part of an exquisite English
girl whose betrothed goes to the Napoleonic wars. She thinks he has
forgotten her, and allows herself to externally fade into spinsterhood.
When he comes back he does not recognize her. Then she suddenly blooms
into exquisite youth--radiant and beguiling--and he discovers that it is
his old love.

"Quality Street" was tried out in Toledo, Ohio, early in the season of
1901. On the opening night an incident occurred which showed Frohman's
attitude toward new plays. The third act dragged somewhat toward the
end, evidently on account of an anti-climax. On the following day
Frohman asked his business manager to sit with him during the third act,

"Last night Miss Adams played this act as Barrie wrote it. This
afternoon she will play it as I want it."

The act went much more effectively, and it was never changed after that
matinée performance.

"Quality Street" was another of what came to be known as a typical
"Adams success."

For her next starring vehicle, Charles presented Maude Adams in "The
Pretty Sister of José," a play which Mrs. Frances Hodgson Burnett made
of her well-known story. She was supported by Harry Ainley, at that time
England's great matinée idol. Here Miss Adams encountered for the first
time something that resembled failure, because she was not adapted to
the fiery, passionate character of the impetuous Spanish girl. The play,
however, made its usual tour after the local season, and with much
financial success.

The tour ended, Miss Adams suddenly disappeared from sight. There were
even rumors that she had left the stage. As a matter of fact, she had
retired to the seclusion of a convent at Tours, in France. There were
two definite reasons for her retirement. One was that she wanted time
for convalescence from an operation for appendicitis; the other, that
she wished to perfect her French in order to fulfil a long-cherished
desire to play _Juliet_ to Sarah Bernhardt's _Romeo_. Unfortunately,
this plan was never consummated, but it gave Miss Adams a very rare
experience, for she lived with the simple French nuns for months. Later,
when they were driven from France, she found them quarters near
Birmingham, in England, saw to their comfort, and got them buyers for
their lace.

* * *

Brilliant as had been Miss Adams's success up to this time, the moment
was now at hand when she was to appear in the rôle that, more than all
her other parts combined, would complete her conquest of the American
heart. Once more she became a boy, this time the irresistible _Peter

As _Peter Pan_ she literally flew into a new fame. This play of Barrie's
provided Frohman with one of the many sensations he loved, and perhaps
no production of the many hundreds that he made in his long career as
manager gave him quite so much pleasure as the presentation of the
fascinating little Boy Who Never Would Grow Up.

The very beginning of "Peter Pan," so far as the stage presentation was
concerned, was full of romantic interest. Barrie had agreed to write a
play for Frohman, and met him at dinner one night at the Garrick Club in
London. Barrie seemed nervous and ill at ease.

"What's the matter?" said Charles.

"Simply this," said Barrie. "You know I have an agreement to deliver you
the manuscript of a play?"

"Yes," said Frohman.

"Well, I have it, all right," said Barrie, "but I am sure it will not be
a commercial success. But it is a dream-child of mine, and I am so
anxious to see it on the stage that I have written another play which I
will be glad to give you and which will compensate you for any loss on
the one I am so eager to see produced."

"Don't bother about that," said Frohman. "I will produce both plays."

Now the extraordinary thing about this episode is that the play about
whose success Barrie was so doubtful was "Peter Pan," which made several
fortunes. The manuscript he offered Frohman to indemnify him from loss
was "Alice-Sit-By-The-Fire," which lasted only a season. Such is the
estimate that the author often puts on his own work!

When Frohman first read "Peter Pan" he was so entranced that he could
not resist telling all his friends about it. He would stop them in the
street and act out the scenes. Yet it required the most stupendous
courage and confidence to put on a play that, from the manuscript,
sounded like a combination of circus and extravaganza; a play in which
children flew in and out of rooms, crocodiles swallowed alarm-clocks, a
man exchanged places with his dog in its kennel, and various other
seemingly absurd and ridiculous things happened.

But Charles believed in Barrie. He had gone to an extraordinary expense
to produce "Peter Pan" in England. He duplicated it in the United
States. No other character in all her repertory made such a swift appeal
to Miss Adams as _Peter Pan_. She saw in him the idealization of
everything that was wonderful and wistful in childhood.

The way she prepared for the part was characteristic of her attitude
toward her work. She took the manuscript with her up to the Catskills.
She isolated herself for a month; she walked, rode, communed with
nature, but all the while she was studying and absorbing the character
which was to mean so much to her career. In the great friendly open
spaces in which little _Peter_ himself delighted, and where he was king,
she found her inspiration for interpretation of the wondrous boy.

The try-out was made in Washington at the old National Theater. It went
with considerable success, although the first-night audience was
somewhat mystified and did not know exactly what to say or do.

It was when the play was launched on November 6, 1905, at the Empire
Theater in New York, that little _Peter_ really came into his own. The
human birds, the droll humor, the daring allegory, above all the
appealing, almost tragic, spectacle of _Peter_ playing his pipe up in
the tree-tops of the Never-Never Land, all contributed to an event that
was memorable in more ways than one.

On this night developed the remarkable and thrilling feature in "Peter
Pan" which made the adorable dream-child the best beloved of all
American children. It came when _Peter_ rushed forward to the footlights
in the frantic attempt to save the life of his devoted little _Tinker
Bell_, and asked:

"Do you believe in fairies?"

It registered a whole new and intimate relation between actress and
audience, and had the play possessed no other distinctive feature, this
alone would have at once lifted it to a success that was all its own.

[Illustration: _MAUDE ADAMS_]

This episode became one of the many marvelous features of the memorable
run of "Peter Pan" at the Empire. Nearly every child in New York--and
subsequently, on the long and successful tours that Miss Adams made in
"Peter Pan," their brothers everywhere--became acquainted with the
episode and longed impatiently to have a part in it. On one occasion,
fully fifteen minutes before Miss Adams made her appeal, a little child
rose in a box at the Empire and said: "_I_ believe in fairies."

"Peter Pan" recorded the longest single engagement in the history of the
Empire. It ran from November 6, 1905, until June 9, 1906.

But "Peter Pan" did more than give Miss Adams her most popular part. It
became a nation-wide vogue. Children were named after the fascinating
little lad Who Never Would Grow Up; articles of wearing-apparel were
labeled with his now familiar title; the whole country talked and loved
the unforgettable little character who now became not merely a stage
figure, but a real personal friend of the American theater-going people.

It was on a road tour of "Peter Pan" that occurred one of those rare
anecdotes in which Miss Adams figures. Frohman always had a curious
prejudice against the playing of matinées by his stars, especially Maude
Adams. A matinée was booked at Altoona, Pennsylvania. Frohman
immediately had it marked off his contract. The advance-agent of the
company, however, ordered the matinée played at the urgent request of
the local manager, but he did not notify the office in New York. When
Charles got the telegram announcing the receipts, he was most indignant.
"I'll discharge the person responsible for this matinée," he said.

In answer to his telegraphed inquiry he received the following wire:

     _The matinée was played at my request. I preferred to work rather
     than spend the whole day in a bad hotel._


In connection with "Peter Pan" is a curious and tragic coincidence. Of
all the Barrie plays that Charles produced he loved "Peter Pan" the
best. Curiously enough, it was little _Peter_ himself who gave him the
cue for his now historic farewell as he stood on the sinking deck of the

At the end of one of the acts in "Peter Pan" the little boy says:

     _To die will be an awfully big adventure._

These words had always made a deep impression on Frohman. They came to
his mind as he stood on that fateful deck and said:

     _Why fear death? It is the most beautiful adventure in life._

Having made such an enormous success with "Peter Pan," Miss Adams now
turned to her third boy's part. It was that of "Chicot, the Jester,"
John Raphael's adaptation of Miguel Zamaceis's play "The Jesters." This
was a very delightful sort of Prince Charming play, fragile and
artistic. The opposite part was played by Consuelo Bailey. It was a
great triumph for Miss Adams, but not a very great financial success.

Now came the first of her open-air performances. During the season of
"The Jesters" she appeared at Yale and Harvard as _Viola_ in "Twelfth
Night." She gave a charming and graceful performance of the rôle.

* * *

But Maude Adams could not linger long from the lure that was Barrie's.
After what amounted to the failure of "The Jesters" she turned to her
fourth Barrie play, which proved to be a triumph.

For over a year Barrie had been at work on a play for her. It came forth
in his whimsical satire, "What Every Woman Knows." Afterward, in
speaking of this play, he said that he had written it because "there was
a Maude Adams in the world." Then he added, "I could see her dancing
through every page of my manuscript."

Indeed, "What Every Woman Knows" was really written around Miss Adams.
It was a dramatization of the roguish humor and exquisite womanliness
that are her peculiar gifts.

As _Maggie Wylie_ she created a character that was a worthy colleague of
_Lady Babbie_. Here she had opportunity for her wide range of gifts. The
rôle opposite her, that of _John Shand_, the poor Scotch boy who
literally stole knowledge, was extraordinarily interesting. As most
people may recall, the play involves the marriage between _Maggie_ and
_John_, according to an agreement entered into between the girl's
brothers and the boy. The brothers agree to educate him, and in return
he weds the sister. _Maggie_ becomes _John's_ inspiration, although he
refuses to realize or admit it. He is absolutely without humor. He
thinks he can do without her, only to find when it is almost too late
that she has been the very prop of his success.

At the end of this play _Maggie_ finally makes her husband laugh when
she tells him:

     _I tell you what every woman knows: that Eve wasn't made from the
     rib of Adam, but from his funny-bone._

This speech had a wide vogue and was quoted everywhere.

Curiously enough, in "What Every Woman Knows" Miss Adams has a speech in
which she unconsciously defines the one peculiar and elusive gift which
gives her such rare distinction. In the play she is supposed to be the
girl "who has no charm." In reality she is all charm. But in discussing
this quality with her brothers she makes this statement:

     _Charm is the bloom upon a woman. If you have it you don't have to
     have anything else. If you haven't it, all else won't do you any

"What Every Woman Knows" was an enormous success, in which Richard
Bennett, who played _John Shand_, shared honors with the star. Miss
Adams's achievement in this play emphasized the rare affinity between
her and Barrie's delightful art. They formed a unique and lovable
combination, irresistible in its appeal to the public. Commenting on
this, Barrie himself has said:

     _Miss Adams knows my characters and understands them. She really
     needs no directions. I love to write for her and see her in my

Nor could there be any more delightful comment on Miss Adams's
appreciation of all that Barrie has meant to her than to quote a remark
she made not so very long ago when she said:

     _Wherever I act, I always feel that there is one unseen spectator,
     James M. Barrie._

Maude Adams was now in what most people, both in and out of the
theatrical profession, would think the very zenith of her career. She
was the best beloved of American actresses, the idol of the American
child. She was without doubt the best box-office attraction in the
country. Yet she had made her way to this eminence by an industry and a
concentration that were well-nigh incredible.

People began to say, "What marvelous things Charles Frohman has done for
Miss Adams."

As a matter of fact, the career of Miss Adams emphasizes what a very
great author once said, which, summed up, was that neither nature nor
man did anything for any human being that he could not do for himself.

Miss Adams paid the penalty of her enormous success by an almost
complete isolation. She concentrated on her work--all else was

Charles Frohman had an enormous ambition for Miss Adams, and that
ambition now took form in what was perhaps his most remarkable effort in
connection with her. It was the production of "Joan of Arc" at the
Harvard Stadium. It started in this way:

John D. Williams, for many years business manager for Charles Frohman,
is a Harvard alumnus. Realizing that the business with which he was
associated had been labeled with the "commercial" brand, he had an
ambition to associate it with something which would be considered
genuinely esthetic. The pageant idea had suddenly come into vogue. "Why
not give a magnificent pageant?" he said to himself.

One morning he went into Charles Frohman's office and put the idea to
him, adding that he thought Miss Adams as _Joan of Arc_ would provide
the proper medium for such a spectacle. Frohman was about to go to
Europe. With a quick wave of the hand and a swift "All right," he
assented to what became one of the most distinguished events in the
history of the American stage.

Schiller's great poem, "The Maid of Orléans," was selected. In
suggesting the battle heroine of France, Williams touched upon one of
Maude Adams's great admirations. For years she had studied the character
of Joan. To her Joan was the very idealization of all womanhood.
Bernhardt, Davenport, and others had tried to dramatize this most
appealing of all tragedies in the history of France, and had practically
failed. It remained for slight, almost fragile, Maude Adams to vivify
and give the character an enduring interpretation.

"Joan of Arc," as the pageant was called, was projected on a stupendous
scale. Fifteen hundred supernumeraries were employed. John W. Alexander,
the famous artist, was employed to design the costumes. A special
electric-lighting plant was installed in the stadium.

Miss Adams concentrated herself upon the preparations with a fidelity
and energy that were little short of amazing. One detail will
illustrate. As most people know, Miss Adams had to appear mounted
several times during the play and ride at the head of her charging army.

This equestrianism gave Charles Frohman the greatest solicitude. He
feared that she would be injured in some way, and he kept cabling
warnings to her, and to her associates who were responsible for her
safety, to be careful.

Miss Adams, however, determined to be a good horsewoman, and for more
than a month she practised every afternoon in a riding-academy in New
York. Since the horse had to carry the trappings of clanging armor, amid
all the tumult of battle, she rehearsed every day with all sorts of
noisy apparatus hanging about him. Shots were fired, colored banners and
flags were flaunted about her, and pieces of metal were fastened to her
riding-skirt so that the steed would be accustomed to the constant
contact of a sword.

Although the preparations for her own part were most exacting and
onerous, Miss Adams exercised a supervising direction over the whole
production, which was done in the most lavish fashion. She had every
resource of the Charles Frohman organization at her command, and it was
employed to the very last detail.

"Joan of Arc" was presented on the evening of June 22, 1909, in the
presence of over fifteen thousand people. It was a magnificent success,
and proved to be unquestionably the greatest theatrical pageant ever
staged in this country. The elaborate settings were handled
mechanically. Forests dissolved into regal courts; fields melted into
castles. A hidden orchestra played the superb music of Beethoven's
"Eroica," which accentuated the noble poetry of Schiller.

The first scene showed the maid of Domremy wandering in the twilight
with her vision; the last revealed her dying of her wounds at the
spring, soon to be buried under the shields of her captains.

The battle scene was an inspiring feature. It had been arranged that
Miss Adams's riding-master should change places with her at the head of
the charging troops and ride in their magnificent sweep down the field.
It was feared that some mishap might befall her. When the charge was
over and the stage-manager rushed up to congratulate the supposed
riding-master on his admirable make-up, he was surprised to hear Miss
Adams's voice issue forth from the armor, saying, "How did it go?"
Strapped to her horse, she had led the charge herself and had seen the
performance through.

"Joan of Arc" netted $15,000, which Charles Frohman turned over to
Harvard University to do with as it pleased. There was unconscious irony
in this, for the performance aroused great admiration in Germany, and
the proceeds were devoted to the Germanic Museum in the university; in
the end, the Germans were responsible for his death.

Accentuating this irony was the fact that Charles Frohman had made a
magnificent vellum album containing the complete photographic record of
the play, and sent it to the German Kaiser with the following

     _To His Majesty the German Emperor. This photographic record of the
     first English performance in America of Friedrich von Schiller's
     dramatic poem, "Jungfrau von Orleans," given for the Building Fund
     of the Germanic Museum of Harvard University under the auspices of
     the German Department in the Stadium, Tuesday, twenty-second of
     June, 1909, is respectfully presented by Charles Frohman._

There is no doubt that "Joan of Arc" was the supreme effort of Miss
Adams's career. She was the living, breathing incarnation of the Maid.
When she was told that Charles Frohman had refused an offer of $50,000
for the motion-picture rights, she said:

     _Of course it was refused. This performance is all poetry and

The following June, in the Greek Theater of the University of
California, at Berkeley, Miss Adams made her first and only appearance
as _Rosalind_ in "As You Like It." Ten thousand people saw the
performance. Her achievement illustrates the extraordinary and
indefatigable quality of her work. She rehearsed "As You Like It" during
her transcontinental tour of "What Every Woman Knows," which extended
from sea to sea and lasted thirty-nine weeks.

* * *

Most managers would have been content to rest with the laurel that such
a performance as "Joan of Arc" had won. Not so with Charles Frohman.
Every stupendous feat that he achieved merely whetted his desire for
something greater. He delighted in sensation. Now he came to the point
in his life where he projected what was in many respects the most unique
and original of all his efforts, the presentation of Rostand's classic,

It was on March 30, 1910, that Charles crossed over from London to Paris
to see this play. It thrilled and stirred him, and he bought it
immediately. He realized that it would either be a tremendous success or
a colossal failure, and he was willing to stand or fall by it. In Paris
the title rôle, originally written for the great Coquelin, had been
played by Guitry. It was essentially a man's part. But Frohman, with
that sense of the spectacular which so often characterized him,
immediately cast Miss Adams for it.

When he announced that the elf-like girl--the living _Peter Pan_ to
millions of theater-goers--was to assume the feathers and strut of the
barnyard Romeo, there was a widespread feeling that he was making a
great mistake, and that he was putting Miss Adams into a rôle, admirable
artist that she was, to which she was absolutely unsuited. A storm of
criticism arose. But Frohman was absolutely firm. Opposition only made
him hold his ground all the stronger. When people asked him why he
insisted upon casting Miss Adams for this almost impossible part he
always said:

     _"Chantecler" is a play with a soul, and the soul of a play is its
     moral. This is the secret of "Peter Pan"; this is why Miss Adams is
     to play the leading part._

Miss Adams was in Chicago when Frohman bought the play, and he cabled
her that she was to do the title part. She afterward declared that this
news changed the dull, dreary, soggy day into one that was brilliant and
dazzling. "To play _Chantecler_," she said, "is an honor international
in its glory."

The preparations for "Chantecler" were carried on with the usual Frohman
magnificence. A fortune was spent on it. The costumes were made in
Paris; John W. Alexander supervised the scenic effects.

The casting of the parts was in itself an enormous task. Frohman amused
himself by having what he called "casting parties." For example, he
would call up Miss Adams by long-distance telephone and say:

     _I've got ten minutes before my train starts for Atlantic City. Can
     you cast a peacock for me?_

Whereupon Miss Adams would say:

     _Ten minutes is too short._

Never, perhaps, in the history of the American stage was the advent of a
play so long heralded. The name "Chantecler" was on every tongue. Long
before the piece was launched hats had been named after it,
controversies had arisen over its Anglicized spelling and pronunciation.
All the genius of publicity which was the peculiar heritage of Charles
Frohman was turned loose to pave the way for this extraordinary
production. It was a nation-wide sensation.

For the first time in his life Charles had to postpone an opening. It
was originally set for the 13th of January, 1911, but the first night
did not come until the 23d. This added to the suspense and expectancy of
the public.

The demand for seats was unprecedented. A line began to form at four
o'clock in the afternoon preceding the day the sale opened. Within
twenty-four hours after the window was raised at the box-office as high
as $200 was offered in vain for a seat on the opening night.

The Empire stage was too small, so the play was produced at the
Knickerbocker Theater. A brilliant and highly wrought-up audience was
present. Extraordinary interest centered about Miss Adams's performance
as _Chantecler_. "Will she be able to do it?" was the question on every
tongue. On that memorable opening-night Frohman, as usual, sat in the
back seat in the gallery and had the supreme satisfaction of seeing his
star distinguish herself in a performance that in many respects revealed
Miss Adams as she had never been revealed before. She was recalled
twenty-two times.

_Chantecler_ literally crowed and conquered!

Just how much "Chantecler" meant to Charles Frohman is attested by a
remark he made soon after its inaugural. A friend was discussing
epitaphs with him.

"What would you like to have written about you, C. F.?" asked the man.

The brilliant smile left Frohman's face for a moment, and then he said,

"All that I would ask is this: 'He gave "Peter Pan" to the world and
"Chantecler" to America.' It is enough for any man."

The last original production that Charles Frohman made with Maude Adams
was "The Legend of Leonora," in which she returned once more to Barrie's
exquisite and fanciful satire, devoted this time to the woman question.
In England it had been produced under the title of "The Adored One."

It was in the part of _Leonora_ that James M. Barrie saw Maude Adams act
for the first time in one of his plays. He had come to America for a
brief visit to Frohman, and during this period Miss Adams was having her
annual engagement at the Empire Theater.

Of course, Barrie had Miss Adams in mind for the American production,
and it is a very interesting commentary on his admiration for the
American star that about the only instructions he attached to the
manuscript of the play was this:

     _Leonora is an unspeakable darling, and this is all the guidance
     that can be given to the lady playing her._

On her last starring tour under the personal direction of Charles
Frohman, Miss Adams combined with a revival of "Quality Street" a clever
skit by Barrie called "The Ladies' Shakespeare," the subtitle being,
"One Woman's Reading of 'The Taming of the Shrew.'" With an occasional
appearance in Barrie's "Rosalind," it rounded out her stellar career
under him.

Charles Frohman lived to see Maude Adams realize his highest desire for
her success. She justified his confidence and it gave him infinite

Miss Adams's career as a star unfolds a panorama of artistic and
practical achievement unequaled in the life of any American star. It
likewise reveals a paradox all its own. While millions of people have
seen and admired her, only a handful of people know her. The aloofness
of the woman in her personal attitude toward the public represents
Charles Frohman's own ideal of what stage artistry and conduct should

It is illustrated in what was perhaps the keenest epigram he ever made.
He was talking about people of the stage who constantly air themselves
and their views to secure personal publicity. It moved him to this

"Some people prefer mediocrity in the lime-light to greatness in the

Herein he summed up the reason why Miss Adams has been an elusive and
almost mysterious figure. By tremendous reading, solitary thinking, and
extraordinary personal application she rose to her great eminence. With
her it has always been a creed of career first. Like Charles Frohman,
she has hidden behind her activities, and they form a worthy rampart.

The history of the stage records no more interesting parallel than the
one afforded by these two people--each a recluse, yet each known to the



Charles Frohman's talents and energies were very much like those of E.
H. Harriman in that they found their largest and best expression when
dedicated to a multitude of enterprises. Like Harriman, too, he did
things in a wholesale way, for he had a contempt for small sums and
small ventures.

Going back a little in point of time from the close of the preceding
chapter, the final years of the last century found Frohman geared up to
a myriad of activities. He had already assumed the rôle of Star-Maker,
for Drew and Gillette were on his roster, and Maude Adams was about to
be launched; the Empire Stock Company was an accredited institution with
a national influence; he had started a chain of theaters; his booking
interests in the West had assumed the proportions of an immense
business; he had begun to make his presence felt in London. Yet no event
of these middle 'nineties was more momentous in its relation to the
future of the whole American theater than one which was about to
transpire--one in which Charles Frohman had an important hand.

Despite the efforts made by the booking offices conducted by Charles
Frohman and Klaw & Erlanger, the making of routes for theatrical
attractions in the United States was in a most disorganized and
economically unsound condition. The local manager was still more or less
at the mercy of the booking free-lance in New York. The booking agent
himself only represented a comparatively few theaters and could not book
a complete season for a traveling attraction.

In New York the manager was an autocrat who frequently dictated
unbelievable terms to the traveling companies. Immense losses resulted
from small traveling companies being pitted against one another in
provincial towns that could only support one first-class attraction.
Most theatrical contracts were not worth the paper they were written on.

Charles Frohman had first counted the cost of this theatrical
demoralization when his great "Shenandoah" run at the old Star Theater
had to be interrupted while playing to capacity because another
attraction had been booked into that theater. He and all his
representative colleagues in the business realized that some steps must
be taken to rectify the situation. Piled on this was the general
business depression that had followed the panic of 1893.

One day in 1896 a notable group of theatrical magnates met by chance at
a luncheon at the Holland House in New York. They included Charles
Frohman, whose offices booked attractions for a chain of Western
theaters extending to the coast; A. L. Erlanger and Marc Klaw, who, as
Klaw & Erlanger, controlled attractions for practically the entire
South; Nixon & Zimmerman, of Philadelphia, who were conducting a group
of the leading theaters of that city, and Al Hayman, one of the owners
of the Empire Theater.

These men naturally discussed the chaos in the theatrical business.
They decided that its only economic hope was in a centralization of
booking interests, and they acted immediately on this decision. Within a
few weeks they had organized all the theaters they controlled or
represented into one national chain, and the open time was placed on
file in the offices of Klaw & Erlanger. It now became possible for the
manager of a traveling company to book a consecutive tour at the least
possible expense. In a word, booking suddenly became standardized.

This was the beginning of the famous Theatrical Syndicate which, in a
brief time, dominated the theatrical business of the whole country. It
marked a real epoch in the history of the American theater because
within a year a complete revolution had been effected in the business.
The booking of attractions was emancipated from curb and café; a
theatrical contract became an accredited and licensed instrument. The
Syndicate became a clearing-house for the theatrical manager and the
play-producer, and the medium through which they did business with each
other. Charles Frohman contributed his growing chain of theaters to the
organization and secured a one-sixth interest in it which he retained up
to the time of his death.

* * *

Once launched, the Syndicate proceeded to ride the tempest, for the
biggest storm in all American theatrical history soon began to develop.
Out of the long turmoil came a whole new line-up in the business. It
affected Charles Frohman less than any of his immediate associates in
the big combination because, first of all, he was a passive member, and,
second, he had a kingdom all his own. Yet the story of these turbulent
years is so inseparably linked up with the development of the drama in
this country that it is well worth rehearsing.

Although the Syndicate standardized the theatrical contract and made
efficient and economical booking possible, it did not immediately secure
the willing co-operation of some of the best-known traveling stars of
the day. They included Mrs. Fiske, Richard Mansfield, Joseph Jefferson,
Nat C. Goodwin, Francis Wilson (then in comic opera), and James A.
Herne. They were great popular favorites and had been accustomed to
appear at stated intervals in certain theaters in various parts of the
country. They booked their own "time" and had a more or less personal
relation with the lessees and managers of the theaters in which they

The Syndicate began to book these stars as it saw fit and as they could
be best fitted into the country-wide scheme. A scale of terms was
arranged that was regarded as equitable both to the attraction and the
local manager.

These stars, however, refused to be booked in this way. They denied the
right of the new organization to say when and where they should play.
Out of this denial came the famous revolt against the Syndicate which
blazed intermittently for more than two decades.

[Illustration: _FRANCIS WILSON_]

[Illustration: _WILLIAM COLLIER_]

Chief among the insurgents was Mrs. Fiske, who had returned to the stage
in "Tess of the D'Urbervilles," a dramatization of Thomas Hardy's great
novel. Her husband and manager, Harrison Gray Fiske, was editor and
publisher of _The Dramatic Mirror_, which became the voice of protest.
Mrs. Fiske refused to appear in Syndicate theaters, and she hired
independent houses all over the country. Such places were few and far
between in those days, and she was forced to play in public halls,
even skating-rinks.

Mansfield became one of the leaders of the opposition to the Syndicate.
He made speeches before the curtain, denouncing its methods. His lead
was followed by Francis Wilson, and subsequently by James K. Hackett,
David Belasco, and Henry W. Savage. The fight on the huge combination
became a matter of nation-wide interest.

All the while the Syndicate was growing in power and authority.
Gradually the revolutionists returned to the fold because desirable
terms were made for them. Only Mrs. Fiske remained outside the ranks. In
order to secure a New York City stage for her Mr. Fiske leased the
Manhattan Theater for a long term.

It was during these strenuous years, and as one indirect result of the
Syndicate fight, that a whole new theatrical dynasty sprang up. It took
shape and centered in the growing importance of three then obscure
brothers, Lee, Sam, and Jacob J. Shubert by name, who lived in Syracuse,
New York. They were born in humble circumstances, and early in life had
been forced to become breadwinners. The first to get into the theatrical
business was Sam, the second son, who, as a youngster barely in his
teens, became program boy and later on assistant in the box-office of
the Grand Opera House in his native town. At seventeen he was treasurer
of the Weiting Opera House there, and from that time until his death in
a railroad accident in 1905 he was an increasingly powerful figure in
the business.

Before Sam Shubert was twenty he controlled a chain of theaters with
stock companies in up-state New York cities and had taken his two
brothers into partnership with him. In 1900 he subleased the Herald
Square Theater in New York City and thus laid the corner-stone of what
came to be known as the "Independent Movement" throughout the country.
He had initiative and enterprise. Gradually he and his brothers and
their associates controlled a line of theaters from coast to coast. In
these theaters they offered attractive bookings to the managers who were
outside the Syndicate. The Shuberts also became producers and
encouragers of productions on a large scale.

For the first time the Syndicate now had real opposition. A warfare
developed that was almost as bitter and costly in its way as was the old
disorganized method in vogue before the business was put on a commercial
basis. It naturally led to over-production and to a surplus of theaters.
Towns that in reality could only support one first-class playhouse were
compelled to have a "regular" and an "independent" theater. Attractions
of a similar nature, such as two musical comedies, were pitted against
each other. In dividing the local patronage both sides suffered loss.

During the last year of Charles Frohman's life the Syndicate and the
Shuberts, wisely realizing that such an uneconomic procedure could only
spell disaster in a large way for the whole theatrical business, buried
their differences. A harmonious working agreement was entered into that
put an end to the destructive strife. Theatrical booking became an open
field, and the producer can now play his attractions in both Syndicate
and Shubert theaters.

* * *

Charles Frohman's activities were now nation-wide. Just as Harriman
built up a transcontinental railroad system, so did the rotund little
manager now set up an empire all his own. The building of the Empire
Theater had given him a closer link with Rich and Harris. Through them
he acquired an interest in the Columbia Theater, in Boston, and
subsequently he became part owner of the Hollis Street Theater in that
city. His third theater in Boston was the Park. By this time the firm
name for Boston operation was Rich, Harris, and Charles Frohman. Their
next venture was the construction of the magnificent Colonial Theater,
on the site of the old Boston Public Library, which was opened with
"Ben-Hur." With the acquisition of the Boston and Tremont playhouses,
the firm controlled the situation at Boston.

Up to this time Frohman had controlled only one theater in New York--the
Empire. In 1896 he saw an opportunity to acquire control of the Garrick
in Thirty-fifth Street. He wrote to William Harris, saying, "I will take
it if you will come on and run it." Harris assented, and the Garrick
passed under the banner of Charles Frohman, who inaugurated his régime
with John Drew in "The Squire of Dames." He put some of his biggest
successes into this theater and some of his favorite stars, among them
Maude Adams and William Gillette. To the chain of Charles Frohman
controlled theaters in New York were added in quick order the Criterion,
the Savoy, the Garden, and a part interest in the Knickerbocker.

During his early tenancy of the Garrick occurred an incident which
showed Frohman's resource. He produced a play called "The Liars," by
Henry Arthur Jones, in which he was very much interested. In the
out-of-town try-out up-state Frohman heard that the critic of one of the
most important New York newspapers had expressed great disapproval of
the piece on account of some personal prejudice. He did not want this
prejudice to interfere with the New York verdict, so he went to Charles
Dillingham one day shortly before the opening and said:

"Can you get me some loud laughers?"

Dillingham said he could.

"All right," said Frohman; "I want you to plant one on either side of
Mr. Blank," referring to the critic who had a prejudice against the

This was done, and on the opening night the "prop" laughers made such a
noisy demonstration that the critic said it was the funniest farce in

* * *

Charles Frohman's first foreign star, who paved the way for so many, was
Olga Nethersole. His management of her came about in a curious way. A
difference had arisen between Augustin Daly and Ada Rehan, his leading
woman. Miss Rehan had decided to withdraw from the company, and in
casting about quickly for a successor had decided upon Olga Nethersole,
then one of the most prominent of the younger English actresses. While
the deal was being consummated Daly and Miss Rehan adjusted their
differences, and the arrangements for Miss Nethersole's appearance in
America were abrogated.

Miss Nethersole was left without an American manager. Daniel Frohman,
then manager of the Lyceum Theater, stepped in and became her American
sponsor, forming a partnership with his brother Charles to handle her
interests. Jointly they now conducted an elaborate tour for her covering
two years, in which she appeared in "Denise," "Frou-Frou," "Camille,"
and "Carmen."

[Illustration: _MARGARET ANGLIN_]

[Illustration: _ANNIE RUSSELL_]

The sensational episode of her tour was the production of "Carmen." The
fiery, impetuous, emotional, and sensuous character of the Spanish
heroine appealed to Miss Nethersole's vivid imagination, and she gave a
realistic portrayal of the rôle that became popular and spectacular. In
all parts of the country the "Carmen Kiss" became a byword. The play, in
addition to its own merits as a striking drama, and its vogue at the
opera through Madame Calvé's performance of the leading rôle, became a
very successful vehicle for Miss Nethersole's two tours. Miss Nethersole
was the first star outside of Charles Frohman's own force who appeared
at the Empire Theater, where she played a brief engagement with
"Camille" and "Carmen."

* * *

From his earliest theatrical day Charles believed implicitly in
melodrama. His first production on any stage was a thriller. The play
that turned the tide in his fortunes was a spine-stirrer. He now turned
to his favorite form of play by producing "The Fatal Card," by Haddon
Chambers and B. C. Stephenson, at Palmer's Theater. He did it with an
admirable cast that included May Robson, Agnes Miller, Amy Busby, E. J.
Ratcliffe, William H. Thompson, J. H. Stoddart, and W. J. Ferguson.

A big melodrama now became part of his regular season. He leased the old
Academy of Music at Fourteenth Street and Irving Place in New York,
where, as a boy, he had seen his brother Gustave sell opera librettos,
and where he became fired with the ambition to make money. Here he
produced a notable series of melodramas in lavish fashion. The first was
"The Sporting Duchess." This piece, which was produced in England as
"The Derby Winner," was a sure-enough thriller. The cast included E. J.
Ratcliffe, Francis Carlyle, J. H. Stoddart, Alice Fischer, Cora Tanner,
Agnes Booth, and Jessie Busley.

Charles Frohman's next melodrama at the Academy was the famous "Two
Little Vagrants," adapted from the French by Charles Klein. In this cast
he brought forward a notable group destined to shine in the drama, for
among them were Dore Davidson, Minnie Dupree, Annie Irish, George
Fawcett, and William Farnum, the last named then just beginning to
strike his theatrical stride.

Still another famous melodrama that Charles introduced to the United
States at the famous old playhouse was "The White Heather," in which he
featured Rose Coghlan, and in which Amelia Bingham made one of her first
successes. With this piece Charles emphasized one of the customs he
helped to bring to the American stage. He always paid for the actresses'
clothes. He told Miss Coghlan to spare no expense on her gowns, and she
spent several thousand dollars on them. When she saw Frohman after the
opening, which was a huge success, she said:

"I am almost ashamed to see you."

"Why?" he asked.

"Because I spent so much money on my gowns."

"Nonsense!" said Frohman. "You did very wisely. You and the gowns are
the hit of the piece."

Frohman here established a new tradition for the production of melodrama
in the United States. Up to his era the producer depended upon thrill
rather than upon accessory. Frohman lavished a fortune on each
production. Any competition with him had to be on the same elaborate

Fully a year before Maude Adams made her stellar début Frohman put forth
his first woman star in Annie Russell. This gifted young Englishwoman,
who had appeared on the stage at the age of seven in "Pinafore," had
made a great success in "Esmeralda," at the Madison Square Theater.
Frohman, who was then beginning his managerial career, was immediately
taken with her talent. She appeared in some of his earlier companies. He
now starred her in a play by Bret Harte called "Sue." He presented her
both in New York and in London.

Under Frohman, Miss Russell had a long series of starring successes.
When she appeared in "Catherine," at the Garrick Theater, in her support
was Ethel Barrymore, who was just beginning to emerge from the obscurity
of playing "bits." In succession Miss Russell did "Miss Hobbs," "The
Royal Family," "The Girl and the Judge," "Jinny the Carrier," and "Mice
and Men."

In connection with "Mice and Men" is a characteristic Frohman story.
Charles ordered this play written from Madeleine Lucette Ryley for Maude
Adams. When he read the manuscript he sent it back to Miss Ryley with
the laconic comment, "Worse yet." She showed it to Gertrude Elliott, who
bought it for England. When Charles heard of this he immediately
accepted the play, and it proved to be a success. The moment a play was
in demand it became valuable to him.

Spectacular success seemed to have taken up its abode with Charles. It
now found expression in the production of "Secret Service," the most
picturesque and profitable of all the Gillette enterprises. The way it
came to be written is a most interesting story.

Frohman was about to sail for Europe when Gillette sent him the first
act of this stirring military play. Frohman read it at once, sent for
the author and said:

"This is great, Gillette. Let me see the second act."

Gillette produced this act forthwith, and Frohman's enthusiasm increased
to such an extent that he postponed his sailing until he received the
complete play. Frohman's interest in "Secret Service" was heightened by
the fact that he had scored two tremendous triumphs with military plays,
"Held by the Enemy" and "Shenandoah." He felt that the talisman of the
brass button was still his, and he plunged heavily on "Secret Service."

It was first put on in Philadelphia. Even at that time there obtained
the superstition widely felt in the theatrical business that what fails
out of town must succeed in New York. Frohman, who shared this
superstition, was really eager not to register successfully in the
Quaker capital.

But "Secret Service" smashed this superstition, because it scored
heavily in Philadelphia and then had an enormous run at the Garrick
Theater in New York. In "Secret Service" Maurice Barrymore had the
leading part, and he played it with a distinction of bearing and a dash
of manner that were almost irresistible.

William Gillette always proved to be one of Charles Frohman's mascots.
Practically whatever he touched turned to gold. He and Frohman had now
become close friends, and the actor-author frequently accompanied the
manager on his trips to London.

During their visit in 1899, "Sherlock Holmes" had become the literary
rage. Everybody was talking about the masterful detective of Baker

"We must get those Doyle stories," said Frohman to Gillette.

"All right," said the author.

Frohman personally went to see Conan Doyle and made a bid for the

"Certainly, Mr. Frohman," replied Doyle, "but I shall make one
stipulation. There must be no love business in 'Sherlock Holmes.'"

"All right," said Frohman; "your wishes shall be respected."

Frohman now engaged Gillette to make the adaptation, but he said
absolutely nothing about the condition that Doyle had made. Gillette, as
most American theater-goers know, wove a love interest into the
strenuous life of the famous detective.

A year later, Gillette and Frohman again were in England, Gillette to
read the manuscript of the play to Doyle. The famous author liked the
play immensely and made no objection whatever to the sentimental
interest. In fact, his only comment when Gillette finished reading the
manuscript was:

"It's good to see the old chap again."

He referred, of course, to _Sherlock Holmes_, who, up to this time, had
already met his death on four or five occasions.

"Sherlock Holmes" proved to be another "Secret Service" in every way.
Gillette made an enormous success in the title rôle, and after a long
run at the Garrick went on the road. Frohman revived it again and again
until it had almost as many "farewells" as Adelina Patti. The last
business detail that Charles discussed with Gillette before sailing on
the fatal trip in 1915 was for a revival of this play at the Empire.

The Frohman Star Factory was now working full time. Next in output came
William Faversham. This brilliant young Englishman had started with
Daniel Frohman's company at the Lyceum in a small part. At a rehearsal
of "The Highest Bidder" Charles singled him out.

"Where did you get your cockney dialect?" he asked.

"Riding on the top of London 'buses," was the reply.

"Well," answered Charles, "I want to do that myself some day."

This was the first contact between two men who became intimate friends
and who were closely bound up in each other's fortunes.

During his Lyceum engagement Faversham wanted to widen his activities.
He read in the papers one day that Charles was producing a number of
plays, so he made up his mind he would try to get into one of them. He
went to Frohman's office every morning at half-past nine and asked to
see him or Al Hayman. Sometimes he would arrive before Frohman, and the
manager had to pass him as he went into his office. He invariably looked
up, smiled at the waiting actor, and passed on. Faversham kept this up
for weeks. One day Alf Hayman asked him what he wanted there.

"I am tired of hanging round the Lyceum with nothing to do. I want a
better engagement," was the answer.

Hayman evidently communicated this to Frohman and Al Hayman, but they
made no change in their attitude. Every day they passed the waiting
Faversham as they arrived in the morning and went out to lunch, and
always Frohman smiled at him.

[Illustration: _WILLIAM FAVERSHAM_]

Finally one morning Charles came to the door, looked intently at
Faversham, puffed out his cheeks as was his fashion, and smiled all
over his face. Turning to Al Hayman, who was with him, he said:

"Al, we've got to give this fellow something to do or we won't be able
to go in and out of here much longer."

In a few moments Frohman emerged again, asked Faversham how tall he was.
When he was told, he invited Faversham into his office and inquired of
him if he could study a long part and play it in two days. Faversham
said he could. The result was his engagement for Rider Haggard's "She."
Such was the unusual beginning of the long and close association between
Faversham and Charles Frohman.

Faversham became leading man of the Empire Stock Company, and his
distinguished career was a matter of the greatest pride to Charles. He
now was caught up in the Frohman star machine and made his first
appearance under the banner of "Charles Frohman Presents," in "A Royal
Rival," at the Criterion in August, 1901.

Charles not only made Faversham a star, but provided him with a wife,
and a very charming one, too. In the spring of 1901 an exquisite young
girl, Julie Opp by name, was playing at the St. James Theater in London.
Frohman sent for her and asked her if she could go to the United States
to act as leading woman for William Faversham.

"I have been to America once," she said, "and I want to go back as a

When Frohman let loose the powers of his persuasiveness, Miss Opp began
to waver.

"I don't want to leave my nice London flat and my English maid," she

"Take the maid with you," said Frohman. "We can't box the flat and take
that to New York, but we have flats in New York that you can hire."

"I hate to leave all my friends," continued Miss Opp.

"Well, I can't take over all your friends," replied Frohman, "but you
will have plenty of new admirers in New York."

Miss Opp asked what she thought were unreasonable terms. Frohman said
nothing, but sent Charles Dillingham to see her next day. He said
Frohman wanted to know if she was joking about her price. "Of course,"
he said, "if you are not joking he will pay it anyhow, because when he
makes up his mind to have anybody he is going to have him."

This shamed Miss Opp. She asked a reasonable fee, went to the United
States, and not only became Faversham's leading woman, but his wife.
Frohman always took infinite delight in teasing the Favershams about
having been their matchmaker.

* * *

Charles, who loved to create a sensation in a big way, was now able to
gratify one of his favorite emotions with the production of "The
Conquerors." Like many of the Frohman achievements, it began in a
picturesque way.

During the summer of 1897, Frohman and Paul Potter, being in Paris,
dropped in at that chamber of horrors, the Grand Guignol, in the Rue
Chaptal. There they saw "Mademoiselle Fifi," a playlet lasting less than
half an hour, adapted by the late Oscar Metenier from Guy de
Maupassant's short story. It was the tale of a young Prussian officer
who gets into a French country house during the war of 1870, abuses the
aristocrats who live there, shoots out the eyes of the family
portraits, entertains at supper a number of loose French girls from
Rouen, and is shot by one of the girls for vilifying Frenchwomen.
Frohman was deeply impressed.

"Why can't you make it into a long play?" said Frohman.

"I can," said Potter.

"How?" queried Frohman.

"By showing what happened to the French aristocrats while the Prussian
officer was shooting up the place," answered the author.

"Do it," said Frohman, "and I'll open the season of the Empire Stock
Company in this drama, and get George Alexander interested for London."

As "The Conquerors" the play went into rehearsal about Christmas. Mrs.
Dazian, wife of Henry Dazian, the costumier, was watching a scene in
which William Faversham plans the ruin of Viola Allen, the leading

"Well," said Mrs. Dazian, "if New York will stand for that it will stand
for anything."

Frohman jumped up in excitement. "What is wrong with it?" he cried. "The
manuscript was shown to a dozen people of the cleanest minds. They found
nothing wrong. I've done the scene a dozen times. I have it up-stairs on
my shelves at this moment in 'The Sporting Duchess.'"

Mrs. Dazian was obdurate. "It is awful," she said.

The first night approached. Potter was to sail for Europe next day.
Frohman had provided him with sumptuous cabin quarters on the _New
York_. After the dress rehearsal, Potter appeared on the Empire stage,
where he found Frohman. The latter was worried.

"Paul," said he, "the first three acts are fine; the last is rotten.
You must stay and rewrite the last act."

Potter had to postpone his trip. At ten next morning the new act was
handed in; the company learned and rehearsed it by three in the
afternoon, and that night Frohman and the author stood in the box-office
watching the audience file in.

"How's the house, Tommy?" demanded Frohman of Thomas Shea, his house

"Over seventeen hundred dollars already," said Shea.

"You can go to Europe, Paul," said Frohman. "Your last act is all right.
We don't want you any more."

The American public agreed with Mrs. Dazian. They thought the play
excruciatingly wicked, but they were just as eager to see it on the
Fourth of July as they had been six months earlier.

A dozen details combined to make "The Conquerors" a storm-center. First
of all it was attacked because of its alleged immorality. In the second
place the author was charged with having appropriated some of Sardou's
"La Haine." In the third place, this play marked the first stage
appearance of Mrs. Clara Bloodgood, wife of "Jack" Bloodgood, one of the
best-known men about town in New York. Mr. Bloodgood became desperately
ill during rehearsals, and his wife divided her time between watching at
his bedside and going to the theater. Of course, the newspapers were
filled with the account of the event which was agitating all society,
and it added greatly to popular interest in the play.

[Illustration: _HENRY MILLER_]

"The Conquerors" not only brought Paul Potter and Frohman a great
success, but it sped William Faversham on to the time when he was to
become a star. The cast was one of the most distinguished that
Frohman had ever assembled, and it included among its women five
future stars--Viola Allen, Blanche Walsh, Ida Conquest, Clara Bloodgood,
and May Robson.

* * *

By this time Henry Miller had left the Empire Stock Company and had gone
on the road with a play called "Heartsease," by Charles Klein and J. I.
C. Clark. It failed in Cincinnati, and Miller wrote Frohman about it. A
week later the men met on Broadway. Miller still believed in
"Heartsease" and asked Frohman if he could read it to him.

"All right," replied Frohman; "come to-morrow and let me hear it."

Miller showed up the next morning and left Klein and Clark, who had
accompanied him, in a lower office. Frohman locked the door, as was his
custom, curled himself up on a settee, lighted a cigar, and asked for
the manuscript.

"I didn't bring it. I will act it out for you."

Miller knew the whole production of the play depended upon his
performance. He improvised whole scenes and speeches as he went along,
and he made a deep impression. When he finished, Frohman sat still for a
few moments. Then he rang a bell and Alf Hayman appeared. To him he
said, quietly:

"We are going to do 'Heartsease.'"

Miller rushed down-stairs to where Klein and Clark were waiting, and
told them to get to work revising the manuscript.

When the play went into rehearsal, Frohman, who sat in front, spoke to
Miller from time to time, asking, "Where is that line you spoke in my

This incident is cited to show Charles's amazing memory. Miller, of
course, had improvised constantly during his personal performance of the
play, and Frohman recognized that these improvisations were missing when
the piece came into rehearsal.

Charles now added a third star to his constellation in Henry Miller. He
first produced "Heartsease" in New Haven. Charles Dillingham sat with
him during the performance. When the curtain went down on a big scene,
and the audience was in a tumult, demanding star and author, Frohman
leaned over to speak to his friend. Dillingham thought he was about to
make a historic remark, inspired by the enormous success of the play
before him. Instead, Frohman whispered:

"Charley, I wonder if they have any more of that famous apple-pie over
at Hueblein's?"

He was referring to a famous article of food that had added almost as
much glory to New Haven as had its historic university, and for which
Frohman had an inordinate love.

Henry Miller now became an established Frohman star. After "Heartsease"
had had several successful road seasons, Frohman presented Miller in
"The Only Way," an impressive dramatization of Charles Dickens's great
story, "A Tale of Two Cities."

* * *

Charles Dillingham's friendship with Frohman had now become one of the
closest of his life. He always accompanied Frohman to England, and was
regarded as his right-hand man. Frohman had always urged his friend to
branch out for himself. The result was that Dillingham assumed the
managership of Julia Marlowe.

Dillingham presented Miss Marlowe at the Knickerbocker Theater in New
York in "The Countess Valeska." Frohman liked the play so much that he
became interested in the management of Miss Marlowe, and together they
produced "Colinette," adapted from the French by Henry Guy Carleton, at
this theater. "Colinette" inspired one of the many examples of Frohman's
quick retort.

The "try-out" was at Bridgeport, and Dillingham had engaged a private
chair car for the company. When Frohman tried to get on this car at
Grand Central Station the porter turned him down, saying:

"This is the Marlowe car."

Whereupon Frohman spoke up quickly and said: "I am Mr. Marlowe," and
stepped aboard.

The production of "Colinette" marked the beginning of another one of
Frohman's intimate associations. He engaged William Seymour to rehearse
and produce the play. Seymour later directed some of the greatest
Frohman undertakings and eventually became general stage-manager for his
chief. Frohman was now actively interested in Miss Marlowe's career.
Under the joint Frohman-Dillingham management she played in "As You Like
It" and "Ingomar."

By this time Clyde Fitch had steadily made his way to the point where
Frohman had ceased to regard him as a "pink tea" author, but as a really
big playwright. They became great friends. He gave Fitch every possible
encouragement. The time was at hand when Fitch was to reward that
encouragement, and in splendid fashion.

Once more the Civil War proved a Charles Frohman mascot, for Fitch now
wrote "Barbara Fritchie," founded on John G. Whittier's famous war poem.
He surrounded the star with a cast that included W. J. Lemoyne, Arnold
Daly, Dodson Mitchel, and J. H. Gilmour. The play opened at the Broad
Street Theater in Philadelphia. At the dress rehearsal began an incident
which showed Charles's ready resource.

In the second act the business of the play required that Miss Marlowe
take a gun and shoot a man. No gun was at hand. It was decided to send
the late Byron Ongley, assistant stage-manager of the company, to the
Stratford Hotel, where the star lived, with a gun and show her how to
use it there.

When Frohman, who came to see the rehearsal, heard of this he had an
inspiration for a fine piece of publicity.

"Why can't Ongley pretend to be a crank and appear to be making an
attempt on Miss Marlowe's life?"

He liked Ongley, and he really conceived the idea more to play one of
his numerous practical jokes than to capitalize the event.

Without saying a word to Ongley, Dillingham notified the Stratford
management that Miss Marlowe had received a threatening letter from a
crank who might possibly appear and make an attempt on her life. When
Ongley entered the hotel lobby innocently carrying the gun he was beset
by four huge porters and borne to the ground. The police were summoned
and he was hauled off to jail, where he spent twenty-four hours. The
newspapers made great capital of the event, and it stimulated interest
in the performance.

[Illustration: _WILLIAM H. CRANE_]

When "Barbara Fritchie" opened at the Criterion Theater in New York,
which had passed under the Frohman control, it scored an immediate
success. It ran for four months. Not only was Miss Marlowe put into the
front rank of paying stars, but the success of the play gave Clyde
Fitch an enormous prestige, for it was his first big triumph as an
original playwright. From this time on his interest was closely linked
with that of Charles Frohman, who became his sponsor.

In connection with Julia Marlowe is a characteristic Frohman story. The
manager always refused to accept the new relation when one of his women
stars married. This incident grew out of Julia Marlowe's marriage to
Robert Taber.

One day his office-boy brought in word that Mrs. Taber would like to see

"I don't know her."

After an interval of a few moments a dulcet voice came through the door,
saying, "Won't you see me?"

"Who are you?"

"Mrs. Taber."

"I don't know Mrs. Taber, but Julia Marlowe can come in."

* * *

Charles was now in a whirlwind of activities. He was not only making
stars, but also, as the case of Clyde Fitch proved, developing
playwrights. In the latter connection he had a peculiar distinction.

One day some years before, Madeline Lucette Ryley came to see him. She
was a charming English _ingénue_ who had been a singing soubrette in
musical comedies at the famous old Casino, the home of musical comedies,
where Francis Wilson, De Wolf Hopper, Jefferson De Angelis, and Pauline
Hall had achieved fame as comic-opera stars. She had also appeared in a
number of serious plays.

Mrs. Ryley made application for a position. Frohman said to her:

"I don't need actresses, but I need plays. Go home and write me one."

Mrs. Ryley up to that time had written plays only as an amateur. She
went home and wrote "Christopher Jr." and it started her on a notably
successful career as a playwright. In fact, she was perhaps the first of
the really successful women playwrights.

* * *

Charles Frohman celebrated the opening theatrical season of the new
twentieth century by annexing a new star and a fortune at the same time.
It was William H. Crane in "David Harum" who accomplished this.

Again history repeated itself in a picturesque approach to a Frohman
success. One morning, at the time when both had apartments at Sherry's,
Frohman and Charles Dillingham emerged from the building after
breakfast. On the sidewalk they met Denman Thompson, the old actor.
Frohman engaged him in conversation. Suddenly Thompson began to chuckle.

"What are you laughing at?" asked Frohman.

"I was thinking of a book I read last night, called 'David Harum,'"
replied Thompson.

"Was it interesting?"

"The best American story I ever read," said the actor.

Frohman's eyes suddenly sparkled. He winked at Dillingham, who hailed a
cab and made off. Frohman engaged Thompson in conversation until he
returned. In his pocket he carried a copy of "David Harum."

Frohman read the book that day, made a contract for its dramatization,
and from the venture he cleared nearly half a million dollars.

Frohman considered four men for the part of _David Harum_. They were
Denman Thompson, James A. Hearne, Sol Smith Russell, and Crane. Thompson
was too old, Hearne had been associated too long with the "Shore Acres"
type to adapt himself to the Westcott hero, and Sol Smith Russell did
not meet the requirements. Frohman regarded Crane as ideal.

His negotiations with Crane for this part were typical of his business
arrangements. It took exactly five minutes to discuss them. When the
terms had been agreed upon, Frohman said to Crane:

"Are you sure this is perfectly satisfactory to you?"

"Perfectly," replied Crane.

Frohman reached over from his desk and shook his new star by the hand.
It was his way of ratifying a contract that was never put on paper, and
over which no word of disagreement ever arose. Crane's connection with
Charles Frohman lasted for nine years.

Frohman personally rehearsed "David Harum." Much of its extraordinary
success was due to his marvelous energy. It was Frohman, and not the
dramatist, who introduced the rain-storm scene at the close of the
second act which made one of the biggest hits of the performance.
Throughout the play there were many evidences of Frohman's skill and

* * *

It was just about this time that the real kinship with Augustus Thomas
began. Frohman, after his first meeting with Thomas years before in the
box-office of a St. Louis theater, had produced his play "Surrender,"
and had engaged him to remodel "Sue." Now he committed the first of the
amazing quartet of errors of judgment with regard to the Thomas plays
that forms one of the curious chapters in his friendship with this
distinguished American playwright.

Thomas had conceived the idea of a cycle of American plays, based on the
attitude toward women in certain sections of the country. The first of
these plays had been "Alabama," the second "In Mizzoura." Thomas now
wrote "Arizona" in this series. When he offered the play to Frohman, the
manager said:

"I like this play, Gus, but I have one serious objection to it. I don't
see any big situation to use the American flag. Perhaps I am
superstitious about it. I have had such immense luck with the flag in
'Shenandoah' and 'Held by the Enemy' that I have an instinct that I
ought not to do this play, much as I would like to."

As everybody knows, the play went elsewhere and was one of the great
successes of the American stage.

Frohman now realized his mistake. He sent for Thomas and said: "I want
you to write me another one of those rough plays."

The result was "Colorado," which Frohman put on at the Grand Opera House
in New York with Wilton Lackaye in the leading rôle, but it was not a

A few years later Frohman made another of the now famous mistakes with
Thomas. Thomas had seen Lawrence D'Orsay doing his usual "silly ass"
part in a play. He also observed that the play lagged unless D'Orsay was
on the stage. He therefore wrote a play called "The Earl of Pawtucket,"
with D'Orsay in mind, and Frohman accepted it. When the time came to
select the cast, Thomas suggested D'Orsay for the leading part.

"Impossible!" said Frohman. "He can't do it."

[Illustration: _AUGUSTUS THOMAS_]

[Illustration: _SIR ARTHUR WING PINERO_]

Thomas was so convinced that D'Orsay was the ideal man that Frohman made
this characteristic concession:

"I think well of your play, and it will probably be a success," he
said, "but I do not believe that D'Orsay is the man for it. If you can
get another manager to do it I will turn back the play to you, and if
you insist upon having D'Orsay I will release him from his contract with

Kirk La Shelle took the play and it was another "Arizona."

Frohman produced a whole series of Thomas successes, notably "The Other
Girl," "Mrs. Leffingwell's Boots," and "De Lancey." To the end of his
days the warmest and most intimate friendship existed between the men.
It was marked by the usual humor that characterized Frohman's relations.
Here is an example:

Thomas conducted the rehearsals of "The Other Girl" alone. Frohman, who
was up-stairs in his offices at the Empire, sent him a note on a yellow
pad, written with the blue pencil that he always used:

"How are you getting along at rehearsals without me?"

"Great!" scribbled Thomas.

The next day when he went up-stairs to Frohman's office, he found the
note pinned on the wall.

Such was the mood of the man who had risen from obscurity to one of
commanding authority in the whole English-speaking theater.



While the star of Maude Adams rose high in the theatrical heaven,
another lovely luminary was about to appear over the horizon. The moment
was at hand when Charles Frohman was to reveal another one of his
protégés, this time the young and beautiful Ethel Barrymore. It is an
instance of progressive and sympathetic Frohman sponsorship that gave
the American stage one of its most fascinating favorites. Some stars are
destined for the stage; others are born in the theater. Ethel Barrymore
is one of the latter. Two generations of eminent theatrical achievement
heralded her advent, for she is the granddaughter of Mrs. John Drew,
mistress of the famous Arch Street Theater Company of Philadelphia, and
herself, in later years, the greatest _Mrs. Malaprop_ of her day. Miss
Barrymore's father was the brilliant and gifted Maurice Barrymore; her
mother the no less witty and talented Georgia Drew, while, among other
family distinctions, she came into the world as the niece of John Drew.

Despite the royalty of her theatrical birth, no star in America had to
labor harder or win her way by more persistent and conscientious effort.
At fourteen she was playing child's parts with her grandmother. A few
years later she came to New York to get a start. Though she bore one of
the most distinguished and honored names in the profession, she sat
around in agents' offices for six months, beating vainly at the door of
opportunity. Finally she got a chance to understudy Elsie De Wolfe, who
was playing with John Drew, in "The Bauble Shop," at the Empire. One day
when that actress became ill this seventeen-year-old child played the
part of a thirty-two-year-old woman with great success. Understudies
then became her fate for several years. While playing a part on the road
with her uncle in "The Squire of Dames," Charles Frohman saw her for the
first time. He looked at her sharply, but said nothing. Later, during
this engagement, she met the man who was to shape her career.

About this time Miss Barrymore went to London. Charles had accepted
Haddon Chambers's play "The Tyranny of Tears," in which John Drew was to
star in America. She got the impression that she would be cast for one
of the two female parts in this play, and she studied the costuming and
other details. With eager expectancy she called on Frohman in London.
Much to her surprise Frohman said:

"Well, Ethel, what can I do for you?"

"Won't I play with Uncle John?" she said.

"No, I am sorry to say you will not," replied Frohman.

This was a tragic blow. It was in London that Miss Barrymore received
this first great disappointment, and it was in London that she made her
first success. Charles Frohman, who from this time on became much
impressed with her appealing charm and beauty, gave her a small rôle
with the company he sent over with Gillette to play "Secret Service" in
the British capital. Odette Tyler played the leading comedy part. One
night when Miss Barrymore was standing in the wings the stage-manager
rushed up to her and said, excitedly:

"You will have to play Miss Tyler's part."

"But I don't know her lines," said Miss Barrymore.

"That makes no difference; you will have to play. She's gone home sick."

"How about her costume?" said Miss Barrymore.

"Miss Tyler was so ill that we could not ask her to change her costume.
She wore it away with her," was the reply.

Dressed as she was, Miss Barrymore, who had watched the play carefully,
and who has an extremely good memory, walked on, played the part, and
made a hit.

When the "Secret Service" company returned to America, Miss Barrymore
remained in London. She lived in a small room alone. Her funds were low
and she had only one evening gown. But she had the Barrymore wit and
charm, her own beauty, and was in much social demand. By the time she
prepared to quit England the one gown had seen its best days. She had
arranged to sail for home on a certain Saturday. The night before
sailing she was invited to a supper at the home of Anthony Hope. Just as
she was about to dress she received a telegram from Ellen Terry, who was
playing at the Lyceum Theater, saying:

    _Do come and say good-by before you go._

When she arrived at the Lyceum, the first thing that Miss Terry said
was, "Sir Henry wants to say good-by to you."

On going into the adjoining dressing-room the great actor said to her:

"Wouldn't you like to stay in England?"

"Of course," said Miss Barrymore.

"Would you like to play with me?" he asked.

Coining at her hour of discouragement and despair, it was like manna
from heaven. Her knees quaked, but she managed to say, "Y-e-s."

"All right," said Sir Henry. "Go down-stairs. Loveday has a contract
that is ready for you to sign."

With this precious contract stuffed into her bosom, Miss Barrymore now
rode in triumph to the Hope supper-party.

"What a pity that you have got to leave England," said Sir Herbert
Beerbohm Tree.

"But I am going to stay," said Miss Barrymore.

A gasp ran around the table.

"And with whom?" asked Tree.

"With Sir Henry and Miss Terry," was the proud response.

Miss Barrymore played that whole season most acceptably with Irving and
Terry in "The Bells" and "Waterloo," and afterward with Henry B. Irving
in "Peter the Great."

When she returned to America in 1898 she had a new interest for Charles
Frohman. Yet the Nemesis of the Understudy, which had pursued her in
America, still held her in its grip, for she was immediately cast as
understudy for Ida Conquest in a play called "Catherine" that Frohman
was about to produce at the Garrick Theater. She had several
opportunities, however, to play the leading part, and at her every
appearance she was greeted most enthusiastically. Her youth and
appealing beauty never failed to get over the footlights.

Frohman was always impressed by this sort of thing. It was about this
time that he said to a friend of his.

"There is going to be a big development in one of my companies before
long. There's a daughter of 'Barry' [meaning Maurice Barrymore] who gets
a big reception wherever she goes. She has got the real stuff in her."

Miss Barrymore's first genuine opportunity came when Charles cast her
for the part of _Stella De Gex_ in Marshall's delightful comedy "His
Excellency the Governor," which was first put on at the Empire in May,
1899. The grace and sprightliness that were later to bloom so
delightfully in Miss Barrymore now found their first real expression.
Both in New York and on the road she made a big success.

While rehearsing "His Excellency the Governor," Charles sat in the
darkened auditorium of the Empire one day. When the performance was over
he walked back on the stage and, patting Miss Barrymore on the shoulder,

"You're so much like your mother, Ethel. You're all right."

Frohman was not the type of man to lag in interest. He realized what the
girl's possibilities were, so early in 1901 he sent for Miss Barrymore
and said to her:

"Ethel, I have a nice part for you at last."

It was the rôle of _Madame Trentoni_ in Clyde Fitch's charming play of
old New York, "Captain Jinks." Now came one of those curious freaks of
theatrical fortune. "Captain Jinks" opened at the Walnut Street Theater
in Philadelphia, and seemed to be a complete failure from the start.
Although the Quakers did not like the play, they evinced an enormous
interest in the lovely leading woman. From the gallery they cried down:

"We loved your grandmother, Ethel, and we love you."

It was a tribute to the place that Mrs. John Drew had in the affections
of those staid theater-goers.

Despite the bad start in Philadelphia, Charles believed in Miss
Barrymore, and he had confidence in "Captain Jinks." He brought the play
into New York at the Garrick. The expectation was that it might possibly
run two weeks. Instead, it remained there for seven months and then
played a complete season on the road.

Now came the turn in the tide of Ethel Barrymore's fortunes. She was
living very modestly on the top floor of a theatrical boarding-house in
Thirty-second Street. With the success of "Captain Jinks" she moved down
to a larger room on the second floor. But a still greater event in her
life was now to be consummated.

During the third week of the engagement she walked over from
Thirty-second Street to the theater. As she passed along Sixth Avenue
she happened to look up, and there, in huge, blazing electric lights,
she saw the name "Ethel Barrymore." She stood still, and the tears came
to her eyes. She knew that at last she had become a star.

Charles had said absolutely nothing about it to her. It was his
unexpected way of giving her the surprise of arriving at the goal of her

The next day she went to Frohman and said, "It was a wonderful thing for
you to do."

Whereupon Frohman replied, very simply, "It was the only thing to do."

Ethel Barrymore was now a star, and from this time on her stage career
became one cycle of ripening art and expanding success. A new luminary
had entered the Frohman heaven, and it was to twinkle with increasing

Her next appearance was in a double bill, "A Country Mouse" and
"Carrots," at the Savoy Theater, in October, 1902. Here came one of the
first evidences of her versatility. "A Country Mouse" was a comedy;
"Carrots," on the other hand, was impregnated with the deepest tragedy.
Miss Barrymore played the part of a sad little boy, and she did it with
such depth of feeling that discriminating people began to realize that
she had great emotional possibilities.

Her appearance in "Cousin Kate" the next year was a return to comedy. In
this play Bruce McRae made his first appearance with her as leading man,
and he filled this position for a number of years. He was as perfect an
opposite to her as was John Drew to Ada Rehan. Together they made a
combination that was altogether delightful.

It was while playing in a piece called "Sunday" that Miss Barrymore
first read Ibsen's "A Doll's House." She was immensely thrilled by the
character. She said to Frohman at once: "I must do this part. May I?"

"Of course," he said.

Here was another revelation of the Barrymore versatility, for she
invested this strange, weird expression of Ibsen's genius with a range
of feeling and touch of character that made a deep impression.

Charles now secured the manuscript of "Alice-Sit-By-The-Fire." He was
immensely taken with this play, not only because it was by his friend
Barrie, but because he saw in it large possibilities. Miss Barrymore was
with him in London at this time. Frohman told her the story of the play
in his rooms at the Savoy, acting it out as he always did with his
plays. There were two important women characters: the mother, played in
London by Ellen Terry, who philosophically accepts the verdict of the
years, and the daughter, played by the popular leading woman Irene
Vanbrugh, who steps into her place.

"Would you like to play in 'Alice'?" asked Frohman.

"Yes," said Miss Barrymore.

"Which part?"

"I would rather have you say," said Miss Barrymore.

Just then the telephone-bell rang. Barrie had called up Frohman to find
out if he had cast the play.

"I was just talking it over with Miss Barrymore," he replied.

Then there was a pause. Suddenly Frohman turned from the telephone and

"Barrie wants you to play the mother."

"Fine!" said Miss Barrymore. "That is just the part I wanted to do."

In "Alice-Sit-By-The-Fire" Miss Barrymore did a very daring thing. Here
was an exquisite young woman who was perfectly willing to play the part
of the mother of a boy of eighteen rather than the younger rôle, and she
did it with such artistic distinction that Barrie afterward said of her:

"I knew I was right when I wanted her to play the mother. I felt that
she would understand the part."

"Alice-Sit-By-The-Fire" was done as a double bill with "Pantaloon," in
which Miss Barrymore's brother, John Barrymore, who was now coming to be
recognized as a very gifted young actor, scored a big success. Later
another brother, Lionel, himself a brilliant son of his father, appeared
with her.

The theater-going world was now beginning to look upon Ethel Barrymore
as one of the really charming fixtures of the stage. What impressed
every one, most of all Charles Frohman, was the extraordinary ease with
which she fairly leaped from lightsome comedy to deep and haunting
pathos. Her work in "The Silver Box," by John Galsworthy, was a
conspicuous example of this talent. Frohman gave the manuscript of the
play to Miss Barrymore to read and she was deeply moved by it.

"Can't we do it?" she said.

"It is very tragic," said Frohman.

"I don't mind," said Miss Barrymore. "I want to do it so much!"

In "The Silver Box" she took the part of a charwoman whose life moves in
piteous tragedy. It registered what, up to that time, was the most
poignant note that this gifted young woman had uttered. Yet the very
next season she turned to a typical Clyde Fitch play, "Her Sister," and
disported herself in charming frocks and smart drawing-room

* * *

Miss Barrymore's career justified every confidence that Charles had felt
for her. It remained, however, for Pinero's superb if darksome play
"Midchannel" to give her her largest opportunity.

When Frohman told her about this play he said: "Ethel, I have a big
play, but it is dark and sad. I don't think you want to do it."

After she had heard the story she said, impulsively: "You are wrong. I
want to play this part very much."

"All right," said Frohman. "Go ahead."

[Illustration: _ETHEL BARRYMORE_]

As _Zoe Blundell_ she had a triumph. In this character she was
artistically reborn. The sweetness and girlishness now stood aside in
the presence of a somber and haunting tragedy that was real. Miss
Barrymore literally made the critics sit up. It recorded a distinct
epoch in her career, and, as in other instances with a Pinero play, the
American success far exceeded its English popularity.

When Miss Barrymore did "The Twelve-Pound Look," by Barrie, the
following year, she only added to the conviction that she was in many
respects the most versatile and gifted of the younger American
actresses. Frohman loved "The Twelve-Pound Look" as he loved few plays.
Its only rival in his regard was "Peter Pan." He went to every
rehearsal, he saw it at every possible opportunity. Like most others, he
realized that into this one act of intense life was crowded all the
human drama, all the human tragedy.

Miss Barrymore now sped from grave to gay. When the time came for her to
rehearse Barrie's fascinating skit, "A Slice of Life," Frohman was ill
at the Knickerbocker Hotel. He was very much interested in this little
play, so the rehearsals were held in his rooms at the hotel. There were
only three people in the cast--Miss Barrymore, her brother John, and
Hattie Williams. It was so excruciatingly funny that Frohman would often
call up the Empire and say:

"Send Ethel over to rehearse. I want to forget my pains."

Charles Frohman lived to see his great expectations of Ethel Barrymore
realized. He found her the winsome slip of a fascinating girl; he last
beheld her in the full flower of her maturing art. He was very much
interested in her transition from the seriousness of "The Shadow" into
the wholesome humor and womanliness of "Our Mrs. McChesney," a part he
had planned for her before his final departure. It was one of the many
swift changes that Miss Barrymore has made, and had he lived he would
have found still another cause for infinite satisfaction with her.

* * *

Another star now swam into the Frohman ken. This was the way of it:

Paul Potter was making a periodical visit to New York in 1901. David
Belasco came to see him at the Holland House.

"Paul," said he, "C. F. and I want you to make us a version of Ouida's
'Under Two Flags' for Blanche Bates."

"I never read the novel," said Potter.

"You can dramatize it without reading it," remarked Belasco, and in a
month he was sitting in Frohman's rooms at Sherry's and Potter was
reading to them his dramatization of "Under Two Flags," throwing in, for
good measure, a ride from "Mazeppa" and a snow-storm from "The Queen of

"I like all but the last scene," said Frohman. "When _Cigarette_ rides
up those mountains with her lover's pardon, the pardon is, to all
intents and purposes, delivered. The actual delivery is an anti-climax.
What the audience want to see is a return to the garret where the lovers
lived and were happy."

As they walked home that night Belasco said to Potter:

"That was a great point which C. F. made. What remarkable intuition he

Frohman and Potter used to watch Belasco at work, teaching the actors to
act, the singers to sing, the dancers to dance.

Then came a hitch.

"Gros, our scene-painter," said Frohman, "maintains that _Cigarette_
couldn't ride up any mountains near the Algerian coast, for the nearest
mountains are the Atlas Mountains, eight hundred miles away."

He undertook to convert Mr. Gros. Fortunately for him the author of the
play stood in the Garden Theater while Belasco was rehearsing a dance.

"Oh," said he, "if it's a comic opera you can have all the mountains you
please. I thought it was a serious drama."

Then Frohman ventured to criticize the mountain torrent.

"What's the matter with the torrent?" called Belasco, while _Cigarette_
and her horse stood on the slope.

"It doesn't look like water at all," said Frohman.

Just then the horse plunged his nose into the torrent and licked it
furiously. Criticism was silenced. The play was a big, popular success,
and with it Blanche Bates arrived as star.

One day, a year later, Frohman remarked to Potter in Paris, "What do you
say to paying Ouida a visit in Florence?"

He and Belasco had paid her considerable royalties. He thought she would
be gratified by a friendly call. Frohman and Potter obtained letters of
introduction from bankers, consuls, and Florentine notables, and sent
them in advance to Ouida. The landlord of the inn gave them a
resplendent two-horse carriage, with a liveried coachman and a footman.
Frohman objected to the footman as undemocratic. The landlord insisted
that it was Florentine etiquette, and shrugged his shoulders when they
departed, seeming to think that they were bound on a perilous journey.

Through the perfumed, flower-laden hills they climbed, the Arno
gleaming below. The footman took in their cards to the villa of Mlle. de
la Ramée. He promptly returned.

"The signora is indisposed," he remarked.

The visitors sent him back to ask if they might come some other day.
Again he returned.

"The signora is indisposed," was the only answer he could get.

Potter and Frohman drove away. Frohman was hurt. He did not try to
conceal it.

"That's the first author," he said, "who ever turned me down. Anyway,
the pancakes at lunch were delicious." He met rebuff--as he met
loss--with infinite humor.

* * *

Stars now crowded quick and fast into the Frohman firmament. Next came
Virginia Harned. Daniel Frohman had seen her in a traveling company at
the Fourteenth Street Theater and engaged her to support E. H. Sothern.
She later came under Charles's control, and he presented her as star in
"Alice of Old Vincennes," "Iris," and "The Light that Lies in Woman's

Effie Shannon and Herbert Kelcey followed. Their first venture with him,
"Manon Lescaut," was a direful failure, but it was followed up with "My
Lady Dainty," which was a success.

Charles Frohman had various formulas for making stars. Some he
discovered outright, others he developed. Here is an example of his
Christopher Columbus proclivities:

One day he heard that there was a very brilliant young Hungarian actor
playing a small part down at the Irving Place German Theater in New York
City. He went to see him, was very much impressed with his ability, sent
for him, and said:

"If you will study English I will agree to take care of you on the
English-speaking stage."

[Illustration: _JULIA MARLOWE_]

The man assented, and Frohman paid him a salary all the while he was
studying English. Before many years he was a well-known star. His name
was Leo Ditrichstein.

Frohman now got Ditrichstein to adapt "Are You a Mason?" from the
German, put it on at Wallack's Theater, and it was a huge success.
Besides Ditrichstein, this cast, which was a very notable one, included
John C. Rice, Thomas W. Wise, May Robson, Arnold Daly, Cecil De Mille,
and Sallie Cohen, who had played Topsy in the stranded "Uncle Tom's
Cabin" Company, whose advance fortunes Frohman had piloted in his
precarious days on the road.

Just as Frohman led the American invasion in England, so did he now
bring about the English invasion of America. He had inaugurated it with
Olga Nethersole. He now introduced to American theater-goers such
artists as Charles Hawtrey, Mrs. Patrick Campbell, Charles Warner, Sir
Charles Wyndham, Mary Moore, Marie Tempest, and Fay Davis, in whose
career he was enormously interested. He starred Miss Davis in a group of
plays ranging from "Lady Rose's Daughter" to "The House of Mirth."

In connection with Mrs. Campbell's first tour occurred another one of
the famous Frohman examples of quick retort. He was rehearsing this
highly temperamental lady, and made a constructive criticism which
nettled her very much. She became indignant, called him to the
footlights, and said:

"I want you to know that I am an artist?"

Frohman, with solemn face, instantly replied:

"Madam, I will keep your secret."

One of the early English importations revealed Frohman's utterly
uncommercialized attitude toward the theater. He was greatly taken with
the miracle play "Everyman," and brought over Edith Wynne Mathison and
Charles Rann Kennedy to do it. He was unable to get a theater, so he put
them in Mendelssohn Hall.

"You'll make no money with them there," said a friend to him.

"I don't expect to make any," replied Frohman, "but I want the American
people to see this fine and worthy thing."

The play drew small audiences for some time. Then, becoming the talk of
the town, it went on tour and repaid him with a profit on his early

* * *

One of the happiest of Charles Frohman's theatrical associations now
developed. In 1903, when the famous Weber and Fields organization seemed
to be headed toward dissolution, Charles Dillingham suggested to Willie
Collier that he go under the Frohman management. Collier went to the
Empire Theater and was ushered into Frohman's office.

"It took you a long time to get up here," said the magnate. "How would
you like to go under my management?"

"Well," replied Collier, with his usual humor, "I didn't come up here to
buy a new hat."

The result was that Collier became a Frohman star and remained one for
eleven years. He and Frohman were constantly exchanging witty telegrams
and letters. Frohman sent Collier to Australia. At San Francisco the
star encountered the famous earthquake. He wired Frohman:

"San Francisco has just had the biggest opening in its history."

Whereupon Frohman, who had not yet learned the full extent of the
calamity, wired back:

"Don't like openings with so many 'dead-heads.'"

* * *

All the while, William Gillette had been thriving as a Frohman star.
Like many other serious actors, he had an ambition to play _Hamlet_.
With Frohman the wishes of his favorite stars were commands, so he
proceeded to make ready a production. Suddenly Barrie's remarkable play
"The Admirable Crichton" fell into his hands. He sent for Gillette and

"Gillette, I am perfectly willing that you should play _Hamlet_, but I
have just got from Barrie the ideal play for you."

When Gillette read "The Admirable Crichton," he agreed with Frohman, and
out of it developed one of his biggest successes. "Hamlet," with its
elaborate production, still awaits Gillette.

* * *

In presenting Clara Bloodgood as star in Clyde Fitch's play "The Girl
with the Green Eyes," Frohman achieved another one of his many
sensations. The smart, charming girl who had made her début under
sensational circumstances in "The Conquerors," now saw her name up in
electric lights for the first time. Frohman's confidence in her, as in
many of his protégés, was more than fulfilled.

* * *

Charles Frohman, who loved to dazzle the world with his Napoleonic
coups, launched what was up to this time, and which will long remain,
the most spectacular of theatrical deals. He greatly admired E. H.
Sothern, who had been associated with him in some of his early ventures.
The years that Julia Marlowe had played under his joint management had
endeared her to him. One day he had an inspiration. There had been no
big Shakespearian revival for some time, so he said:

"Why not unite Sothern and Marlowe and tour the country in a series of
magnificent Shakespearian productions?"

At that time Julia Marlowe had reverted to the control of Charles
Dillingham, while Sothern was still under the management of Daniel
Frohman. Charles now brought the stars together, offered them a
guarantee of $5,000 a week for a forty weeks' engagement and for three
seasons. In other words, he pledged these two stars the immense sum of
$200,000 for each season, which was beyond doubt the largest guarantee
of the kind ever made in the history of the American theater.

It was just about this time that Joseph Humphreys, Frohman's seasoned
general stage-manager, succumbed to the terrific strain under which he
had worked all these years, as both actor and producer. William Seymour
stepped into his shoes, and has retained that position ever since.

Charles was constantly bringing about revolutions. Through him Francis
Wilson, for example, departed from musical comedy, in which he had made
a great success, and took up straight plays. He began with Clyde Fitch's
French adaptation of "Cousin Billy," and thus commenced a connection
under Charles Frohman that lasted many years. With him, as with all his
other stars, there was never a scrap of paper.

[Illustration: _E. H. SOTHERN_]

Frohman and Wilson met at the Savoy Hotel in London one day. Frohman
had often urged him to quit musical comedy, and he now said he was ready
to make the plunge.

"All right," said Frohman. "I will give you so much a week and a
percentage of the profits."

"It's done," said Wilson.

"Do you want a contract?" asked Frohman.


This was about all that ever happened in the way of arrangements between
Frohman and his stars, to some of whom he paid fortunes.

During these years Charles had watched with growing interest the
development of a young girl from Bloomington, Illinois, Margaret
Illington by name. She had appeared successfully in the old Lyceum Stock
Company when it was transferred by Daniel Frohman to Daly's, and had
played with James K. Hackett and E. H. Sothern. Charles now cast her in
Pinero's play "A Wife Without a Smile." Afterward she appeared in
Augustus Thomas's piece "Mrs. Leffingwell's Boots," and made such a
strong impression that Frohman made her leading woman with John Drew in
Pinero's "His House in Order."

Just about this time Charles, whose interest in French plays had
constantly increased through the years, singled out Henri Bernstein as
the foremost of the younger French playwrights. He secured his
remarkable play "The Thief" for America. He now produced this play at
the Lyceum with Miss Illington and Kyrle Bellew as co-stars, and it
proved to be an enormous success, continuing there for a whole season,
and then duplicating its triumph on the road, where Frohman at one time
had four companies playing it in various parts of the country.



Great as were Charles Frohman's achievements in America, they were more
than matched in many respects by his activities in England. He was the
one American manager who made an impress on the British drama; he led
the so-called "American invasion." As a matter of fact, he _was_ the
invasion. No phase of his fascinatingly crowded and adventurous career
reflects so much of the genius of the man, or reveals so many of his
finer qualities, as his costly attempt to corner the British stage.
Here, as in no other work, he showed himself in really Napoleonic

Behind Charles's tremendous operations in London were three definite
motives. First of all, he really loved England. He felt that the theater
there had a dignity and a distinction far removed from theatrical
production in America. There was no sneer of "commercialism" about it.
To be identified with the stage in England was something to be proud of.
He often said that he would rather make fifteen pounds in London than
fifteen thousand dollars in America. It summed up his whole attitude
toward the theater in Great Britain.

In the second place, he knew that a strong footing in England was
absolutely necessary to a mastery of the situation in America. Just as
important as any of his other reasons was the conviction in his own mind
that to produce the best English-speaking plays in the United States he
must know English playwrights and English authors on their own ground,
and to produce, if possible, their own works on their home stages.

This latter desire led him to the long and brilliant series of
productions that he made in London, and which amounted to what later
became an almost complete monopoly on British dramatic output for the
United States.

The net result was that he became a sort of Colossus of the
English-speaking theater. Figuratively, he stood astride the mighty sea
in which he was to meet his death, with one foot planted securely in
England and the other in New York.

* * *

Charles's first visits to England were made in the most unostentatious
way, largely to look over the ground and see what he could pick up for
America. His first offices in Henrietta Street were very modest rooms.
Unpretentious as they were, they represented a somewhat historic step,
because Frohman was absolutely the first American manager to set up a
business in England. Augustin Daly had taken over a company, but he
allied himself in no general way with British theatrical interests.

When Frohman first engaged W. Lestocq as his English manager, as has
already been recorded, he made a significant remark:

"You know I am coming into London to produce plays. But I am coming in
by the back door. I shall get to the front door, however, and you shall
come with me."

No sooner had he set foot in London than his productive activities were
turned loose. With A. and S. Gatti he put on one of his New York
successes, "The Lost Paradise," at the Adelphi Theater. In this instance
he merely furnished the play. It failed, however. Far from discouraging
Frohman, it only filled him with a desire to do something big.

This play marked the beginning of one of his most important English
connections. The Gattis, as they were known in England, were prominent
figures in the British theater. They were Swiss-Italians who had begun
life in England as waiters, had established a small eating-house, and
had risen to become the most important restaurateurs of the British
capital. They became large realty-owners, spread out to the theater, and
acquired the Adelphi and the Vaudeville.

Charles Frohman's arrangement with them was typical of all his business
transactions. Some years afterward a well-known English playwright asked
Stephen Gatti:

"What is your contract with Frohman?"

"We have none. When we want an agreement from Charles Frohman about a
business transaction it is time to stop," was his reply.

With the production of a French farce called "A Night Out," which was
done at the Vaudeville Theater in 1896, Frohman began his long and
intimate association with George Edwardes. This man's name was
synonymous with musical comedy throughout the amusement world. As
managing director of the London Gaiety Theater, the most famous musical
theater anywhere, he occupied a unique position. Charles was the
principal American importer of the Gaiety shows, and through this and
various other connections he had much to do with Edwardes.

Frohman and Edwardes were the joint producers of "A Night Out," and it
brought to Charles his first taste of London success. This was the only
play in London in which he ever sold his interest. Out of this sale grew
a curious example of Frohman's disregard of money. For his share he
received a check of four figures. He carried it around in his pocket for
weeks. After it had become all crumpled up, Lestocq persuaded him to
deposit it in the bank. Only when the check was almost reduced to shreds
did he consent to open an account with it.

* * *

It remained for an American play, presenting an American star, to give
Charles his first real triumph in London. With the production of "Secret
Service," in 1897, at the Adelphi Theater, he became the real envoy from
the New World of plays to the Old. It was an ambassadorship that gave
him an infinite pride, for it brought fame and fortune to the American
playwright and the American actor abroad. Frohman's envoyship was as
advantageous to England as it was to the United States, because he was
the instrument through which the best of the modern English plays and
the most brilliant of the modern English actors found their hearing on
this side of the water.

Frohman was immensely interested in the English production of "Secret
Service." Gillette himself headed the company. Both he and Frohman were
in a great state of expectancy. The play hung fire until the third act.
When the big scene came British reserve melted and there was a great
ovation. It was an immediate success and had a long run.

One feature of the play that amused the critics and theater-goers
generally in London was the fact that the spy in "Secret Service," who
was supposed to be the bad man of the play, received all the sympathy
and the applause, while the hero was arrested and always had the worst
of it, even when he was denouncing the spy. Gillette's quiet but
forceful style of acting was a revelation to the Londoners.

It was during this engagement that an intimate friend said to Terriss,
the great English actor who was distinguished for his impulsiveness:

"Chain yourself to a seat at the Adelphi some night and learn artistic
repose from Gillette."

Concerning the first night of "Secret Service" is another one of the
many Frohman stories. When a London newspaper man asked the American
manager about the magnificent celebration that he was sure had been held
to commemorate Gillette's triumph, Frohman said:

"There was nothing of the sort. Mr. Dillingham, my manager, and I joined
Mr. Gillette in his rooms at the Savoy. We had some sandwiches and wine
and then played 'hearts' for several hours."

This episode inspired Frohman to give utterance to what was the very
key-note of his philosophy about an actor and his work. Talking with a
friend in England shortly after the opening of "Secret Service," about
the modest way in which Gillette regarded his success, he said:

"Nothing so kills the healthy growth of an actor and brings his
usefulness to an end so soon, as the idea that social enjoyment is a
means to public success, and that industrious labor to improve himself
is no longer necessary."

[Illustration: _ELSIE FERGUSON_]

Frohman always regarded the success of "Secret Service" as the
corner-stone of his great achievements in England. Once, in speaking of
this star's hit, he said:

"You know, what tickles me is the fact that it was left for England to
discover that Gillette is a great actor. It's one on America."

* * *

A few years later, Frohman made his first Paris production with "Secret
Service." The masterful little man always regarded the world as his
field; hence the annexation of Paris. He had a version made by Paul de
Decourcelle, and the play was put on at the Renaissance Theater. Guitry,
the great French actor, played Gillette's part. A very brilliant
audience saw the opening performance, but the French did not get the
atmosphere of the play. They could not determine whether it was serious
or comic. The character of _General Nelson_ was almost entirely omitted
in the play because the actors themselves could not tell whether it was
humor or tragedy. Besides, the French actors wanted to do it their own

Dillingham, who had charge of the production in Paris, realizing on the
opening night that it would be a failure, and knowing that he had to
send Frohman some sort of telegram, cabled, with his customary humor,
the following:

     _The tomb of Napoleon looks beautiful in the moonlight._

As was the case in England, Charles was the only American manager who
made any impression upon the French drama. From his earliest producing
days he had a weakness for producing adapted French plays. From France
came some of his hugest successes, especially those of Bernstein. He
"bulled" the French market on prices. The French playwright hailed him
with joy, for he always left a small fortune behind him.

Having established a precedent with Gillette, he now presented his first
American woman star in England. It was Annie Russell in Bret Harte's
story "Sue." He was very fond of this play, having already produced it
in the United States, and he was very proud of the impression that Miss
Russell made in London.

* * *

Up to this time Frohman had made his English productions in conjunction
with the Gattis or George Edwardes at the Adelphi, the Vaudeville, or
the Garrick theaters. This would have satisfied most people. But
Frohman, who wanted to do things in a big way, naturally desired his own
English theater, where he could unfurl his own banner and do as he

Early in 1897, therefore, he took what was up to that time his biggest
English step, for he leased the Duke of York's Theater for nineteen
years. His name went over the doorway and from that time on this theater
was the very nerve-center, if not the soul, of Charles Frohman's English
operations. It was one of the best known and the most substantial of
British playhouses, located in St. Martin's Lane, in the very heart of
the theatrical district. He took a vast pride in his control of it. He
even emblazoned the announcement of his London management on the walls
of the Empire on Broadway in New York. In his affections it was in
England what the Empire was to him in America. It was destined to be the
background of his distinguished artistic endeavors, perhaps the most

Charles now embarked on a sea of lavish productions. Typical of his
attitude was his employment of the best-known and highest-salaried
producer in London. This man was Dion Boucicault, son of the famous
playwright of the same name, who was himself a very finished and
versatile actor. He gave the Frohman productions a touch of genuine
distinction, and his wife, the accomplished Irene Vanbrugh, added much
to the attractiveness of the Frohman ventures.

The Frohman sponsorship of the Duke of York's was celebrated with a
magnificent production of Anthony Hope's "The Adventure of Lady Ursula,"
which had been a success in New York with E. H. Sothern. It ran the
entire season. The play was put on in the usual Frohman way, so much so
that the British critics said that "the production, from first to last,
was correct down to a coat-button."

Until the end of his life the Duke of York's Theater had a large place
in his heart. At the back of private box F, which was his own box, and
which was also used for royalty when it visited the play, was a
comfortable retiring-room, charmingly decorated in red. Here Frohman
loved to sit and entertain his friends, especially such close intimates
as Sir James M. Barrie, Haddon Chambers, Sir Arthur Pinero, Henry Arthur
Jones, Michael Morton, and other English playwrights.

These busy days at the Duke of York's furnished Frohman with many
amusing episodes. On one occasion he was caught in the self-operating
elevator of the theater and was kept a prisoner in it for over an hour.
His employees were in consternation. When he was finally extricated they
began to apologize most profusely.

"Nonsense!" said Frohman. "I am glad I got stuck. It's the first
vacation I have had in two years."

The lobby of the Duke of York's illustrates one of Charles's distinctive
ideas. Instead of ornamenting it with pictures of dead dramatic heroes
like Shakespeare and Garrick, he filled it with photographs of his live
American stars. The English theater-goers who went there saw huge
portraits of Maude Adams, Ethel Barrymore, Marie Doro, John Drew, Otis
Skinner, and William Gillette.

On one occasion he was held up at the entrance of the Duke of York's by
a new doorkeeper who asked for his ticket.

"I am Frohman," said the manager.

"Can't help it, sir; you've got to have a ticket."

"You're quite right," said Frohman, who went to the box-office and
bought himself a stall seat. When the house-manager, James W. Matthews,
threatened to discharge the doorkeeper, Frohman said:

"Certainly not. The man was obeying orders. If he had done otherwise you
should have discharged him."

Frohman so loved the Duke of York's that he would go back to it and
witness the same play twenty times. During his last visit to England,
when his right knee was troubling him, he telephoned down one night to
have his box reserved. Matthews, to spare him any trouble, had a little
platform built so that he would not have to walk up the steps. Two weeks
later, Frohman again telephoned that he wanted the box held, and added:

"I am better now. Don't bother to build a theater for me."

Curiously enough, the first failure that Charles had at the Duke of
York's was "The Christian," which had scored such an enormous success in
America. But failure only spurred him on to further efforts. When an
English friend condoled with him about his loss on this occasion he

"Forget it. Don't let's revive the past. Let's get busy and pulverize
the future."

* * *

To the average mind the extent of Frohman's London productions is
amazing. When the simple fact is stated that he made one hundred and
twenty-five of these, one obtains at a glance the immense scope of the
man's operations there. Many of them stand out brilliantly. Early among
them was the Frohman-Belasco presentation of Mrs. Leslie Carter in two
of her greatest successes at the Garrick Theater.

The first was "The Heart of Maryland." It was during this engagement
that Charles bought the English rights to "Zaza," then a sensational
success in Paris. It was his original intention to star Julia Marlowe in
this play. When Belasco heard of the play he immediately saw it was an
ideal vehicle for Mrs. Carter, and Frohman generously turned it over to
him. After its great triumph in the United States, Frohman and Belasco
produced "Zaza" in London.

It was a huge success and made the kind of sensation in which Frohman
delighted. There was much question as to its propriety, so much so that
the Lord Chamberlain himself, who supervised the censorship, came and
witnessed the performance. He made no objection, however.

An amusing incident, which shows the extraordinary devotion of Charles
Frohman's friends, occurred on the first night. While attending the
rehearsals at the Garrick, Frohman caught cold and went to bed with a
slight attack of pneumonia. On the inaugural night he lay bedridden. He
was so eager for news of the play that he said to Dillingham:

"Send me all the news you can."

Dillingham organized a bicycle service, and every fifteen minutes sent
encouraging and cheering bulletins to Frohman, who was so elated that he
was able to emerge from bed the next morning a well man.

Now the interesting thing about this episode is that Dillingham
fabricated most of the messages, because, until the end of the play and
for several days thereafter, its success was very much in doubt. Indeed,
it took more than a week for it to "catch on."

Charles followed up "Zaza" with a superb production of "Madame
Butterfly," in which he used Belasco's beautiful equipment. This
production put the artistic seal on Frohman's achievement as a London
manager. Up to this time there were some who believed that, despite the
lavishness of his policy, there was the germ of the commercial in him.
"Madame Butterfly" removed this, but if there had been any doubt
remaining, it would have been wiped out by his exquisite presentation of
"The First Born." Associated with this play is a story that shows
Frohman's dogged determination and resource.

Belasco had made the production of "The First Born" in America in lavish
fashion. He brought to it all his love and knowledge of Chinese art.

[Illustration: _EDNA MAY_]

A rival manager, W. A. Brady, wishing to emulate the success of "The
First Born," got together a production of "The Cat and the Cherub,"
another Chinese play, and secured time in London, hoping to beat
Frohman out. It now became a race between Frohman and Brady for the
first presentation in London. Both managers were in America. Brady got
his production off first. When Frohman heard of it he said:

"We must be in London first."

"But there are no sailings for a week," said one of his staff.

"Then we will hire a boat," was his retort.

However, there proved to be no need for this enterprise, because a
regular sailing developed.

"The Cat and the Cherub" won the race across the Atlantic and was
produced first. It took the edge off the novelty of "The First Born,"
which was a failure, but its fine quality gave Charles the premier place
as an artistic producer in England, and he never regretted having made
the attempt despite the loss.

Frohman became immersed in a multitude of things. In September, 1901,
for example, he was interested in five English playhouses--the Aldwych,
the Shaftesbury, the Vaudeville, and the Criterion, as well as the Duke
of York's. He had five different plays going at the same time--"Sherlock
Holmes," "Are You a Mason?" "Bluebell in Fairyland," "The Twin Sister,"
and "The Girl from Maxim's." This situation was typical of his English
activities from that time until his death.

* * *

The picturesqueness of detail which seemed to mark the beginning of so
many of Charles Frohman's personal and professional friendships attended
him in England, as the case of his first experience with Edna May shows.

One hot night late in the summer season of 1900 Frohman was having
supper alone on his little private balcony at the Savoy Hotel
overlooking the Thames. It was before the Strand wing of the hostelry
had been built. As he sat there, clad only in pajamas and smoking a
large black cigar, he heard a terrific din on the street below. There
was cheering, shouting, and clapping of hands. Summoning a waiter, he

"What's all that noise about?"

"Oh, it's only Miss Edna May coming to supper, sir."

"Why all this fuss?" continued Frohman.

"Well, you see, sir," answered the servant, "they are bringing her back
in triumph."

When Frohman made investigation he found that the doctors and nurses at
the Middlesex Hospital in London, where Edna May frequently sang for the
patients, had engaged the whole gallery of the Shaftesbury Theater where
she was singing in "The American Beauty," and attended in a body. After
the play they had surrounded her at the stage entrance, unhitched the
horse from her little brougham, and hauled her through the streets to
the Savoy.

This episode made a tremendous impression on Frohman. He was always
drawn to the people who could create a stir. He had heard that Edna May
was nearing the end of her contract with George Lederer, so he entered
into negotiations with her, and that autumn she passed under his
management and remained so until she retired in 1907.

In the case of Edna May there could be no star-making. The spectacular
rise of this charming girl from the chorus to the most-talked-of musical
comedy rôle in the English-speaking world--that of the Salvation Army
girl in "The Belle of New York"--had given her a great reputation.
Frohman now capitalized that reputation in his usual elaborate fashion.
He first presented Miss May in "The Girl from Up There."

She appeared under his management in various pieces, both in New York
and in London. Her company in New York included Montgomery and Stone,
Dan Daly, and Virginia Earle. When he presented Miss May at the Duke of
York's in "The Girl from Up There" the result was the biggest business
that the theater had known up to that time. In succession followed
"Kitty Gray," which ran a year in London, "Three Little Maids," and "La

All the while there was being written for Miss May a musical piece in
which she was to achieve one of her greatest successes, and which was to
bring Charles into contact with another one of his future stars. It was
"The School Girl," which Frohman first did in May, 1903, in London, and
afterward put on with great success at Daly's in New York.

In the English production of this play was a petite, red-haired little
girl named Billie Burke, who sang a song called "Put Me in My Little
Canoe," which became one of the hits of the play. Frohman was immensely
attracted by this girl, and afterward took her under his patronage and
she became one of his best-known stars.

Edna May, under Frohman's direction, was now perhaps the best known of
the musical comedy stars in England and America. He took keen delight in
her success. In "The Catch of the Season," which he did at Daly's in New
York in August, 1905, she practically bade farewell to the American
stage. Henceforth Frohman kept her in England. In "The Belle of Mayfair"
she was succeeded by Miss Burke in the leading part. Frohman's
production of "Nelly Neil" at the Aldwych Theater in 1907 was one of the
most superb musical comedy presentations ever made. For this Frohman
imported Joseph Coyne from America to do the leading juvenile rôle. He
became such a great favorite that he has remained in England ever since.

Just as Edna May had bidden farewell to America in "The Catch of the
Season," so she now bade farewell to the English stage in "Nelly Neil."
She had become engaged to Oscar Lewisohn, who insisted on an early
marriage. About this time Frohman and George Edwardes secured the
English rights to "The Merry Widow." They both urged Miss May to
postpone her marriage and appear in it. Miss May was now compelled to
decide between matrimony and what would have been perhaps her greatest
success, and she chose matrimony.

Her good-by appearance on the stage, May 1, 1907, was one of the most
extraordinary events in the history of the English theater. This lovely,
unassuming American girl had so completely endeared herself to the
hearts of the London theater-goers that she was made the center of a
tumultuous farewell. The day the seat-sale opened there was a queue
several blocks long. During the opening performance Charles sat in his
box alone. When some friends entered he was in tears. He had a genuine
personal affection for Miss May, and her retirement touched him very

[Illustration: _BILLIE BURKE_]

In connection with "Nelly Neil" there is a little story which
illustrates Charles's attitude toward his productions. He had spent a
fortune on "Nelly Neil," and it was not a financial success. After
giving it every chance he instructed Lestocq to put up the two weeks'
notice. Lestocq remarked that it was a shame to end such a
magnificent presentation. Whereupon Frohman turned around quickly and

"Shut up, or I'll run it another month. You know, Lestocq, if I don't
keep a hand on myself sometimes my sentiment will be the ruin of me."

* * *

By this time Frohman and James M. Barrie had become close friends. The
manager had produced "Quality Street" at the Vaudeville Theater with
great success. He now approached a Barrie production which gave him
perhaps more pleasure than anything he did in his whole stage life. The
advent of "Peter Pan" was at hand. The remarkable story of how Charles
got the manuscript of "Peter Pan" has already been told in this

The original title that Barrie gave the play was "The Great White
Father," which Frohman liked. Just as soon as Barrie suggested that it
be named after its principal character, Frohman fairly overflowed with
enthusiasm. In preparing for "Peter Pan" in England, Charles was like a
child with a toy. Money was spent lavishly; whole scenes were made and
never used. He regarded it as a great and rollicking adventure.

The first production of the Barrie masterpiece on any stage took place
at the Duke of York's Theater, London, on December 27, 1904. Frohman was
then in America. At his country place up at White Plains, only his close
friend, Paul Potter, with him, he eagerly awaited the verdict. It was a
bitterly cold night, and a snow-storm was raging. Frohman's secretary in
the office in New York had arranged to telephone the news of the play's
reception which Lestocq was expected to cable from London. On account of
the storm the message was delayed.

Frohman was nervous. He kept on saying, "Will it never come?" His heart
was bound up in the fortunes of this beloved fairy play. While he waited
with Potter, Frohman acted out the whole play, getting down on all-fours
to illustrate the dog and crocodile. He told it as _Wendy_ would have
told it, for _Wendy_ was one of his favorites. Finally at midnight the
telephone-bell rang. Potter took down the receiver. Frohman jumped up
from his chair, saying, eagerly, "What's the verdict?" Potter listened a
moment, then turned, and with beaming face repeated Lestocq's cablegram:

     _Peter Pan all right. Looks like a big success._

This was one of the happiest nights in Frohman's life.

The first _Peter_ in England was Nina Boucicault, who played the part
with great wistfulness and charm. She was the first of a quartet which
included Cissy Loftus, Pauline Chase, and Madge Titheradge.

Charles so adored "Peter Pan" that he produced it in Paris, June 1,
1909, at the Vaudeville Theater, with an all-English cast headed by
Pauline Chase. Robb Harwood was _Captain Hook_, and Sibyl Carlisle
played _Mrs. Darling_. It was produced under the direction of Dion
Boucicault. The first presentation was a great hit, and the play ran for
five weeks. On the opening night Barrie and Frohman each had a box.
Frohman was overjoyed at its success, and Barrie, naturally, could not
repress his delight. What pleased them most was the spectacle of row
after row of little French kiddies, who, while not understanding a word
of the narrative, seemed to be having the time of their lives.

From the date of its first production until his death, "Peter Pan"
became a fixed annual event in the English life of Charles Frohman. He
revived it every year at holiday-time. No occasion in his calendar was
more important than the annual appearance of the fascinating boy who had
twined himself about the American manager's heart.

* * *

Charles was now a conspicuous and prominent figure in English theatrical
life. The great were his friends and his opinion was much quoted. In
addition to his sole control of the Duke of York's, he had interests in
a dozen other playhouses. He liked the English way of doing business.
Yet, despite what many people believed to be a strong pro-British
tendency, he was always deeply and patriotically American, and he lost
several fortunes in pioneering the American play and the American actor
in England.

To name the American plays that he produced in London would be to give
almost a complete catalogue of American drama revealed to English eyes.
Curiously enough, at least two plays, "The Lion and the Mouse" and "Paid
in Full," that had made enormous successes in America, failed utterly in
England under his direction. He gave England such typically American
dramas as "The Great Divide," "Brewster's Millions," "Alias Jimmy
Valentine," "Years of Discretion," "A Woman's Way," "On the Quiet," and
"The Dictator."

In addition to Gillette he presented Billie Burke in "Love Watches,"
William Collier in "The Dictator" and "On the Quiet," and Ethel
Barrymore in "Cynthia."

With his presentation of Collier he did one of his characteristic
strokes of enterprise. Marie Tempest was playing at the Comedy in
London. He had always been anxious to try Collier's unctuous American
humor on the British, so the American comedian swapped engagements with
Miss Tempest. She came over to the Criterion in New York to do "The
Freedom of Suzanne," while Collier took her time at the Comedy in "The
Dictator." He scored a great success and remained nearly a year.

* * *

The time was now ripe for the most brilliant of all the Charles Frohman
achievements in England. Had he done nothing else than the Repertory
Theater he would have left for himself an imperishable monument of
artistic endeavor. The extraordinary feature of this undertaking was
that it was left for an American to finance and promote in the very
cradle of the British drama the highest and finest attempt yet made to
encourage that drama. The Repertory Theater would have proclaimed any
manager the open-handed patron of drama for drama's sake.

The National or Repertory Theater idea, which was the antidote for the
long run, the agency for the production of plays that had no sustained
box-office virtue, which took the speculative feature out of production,
had been preached in England for some time. Granville Barker had tried
it at the Court Theater, where the Shaw plays had been produced
originally. The movement lagged; it needed energy and money.

Barrie had been a disciple of the Repertory Theater from the start. He
knew that there was only one man in the world who could make the attempt
in the right way. One day in 1909 he said to Frohman:

"Why don't you establish a Repertory Theater?"

Then he explained in a few words what he had in mind.

Without a moment's hesitation Frohman said, briskly:

"All right, I'll do it."

With these few words he committed himself to an enterprise that cost him
a fortune. But it was an enterprise that revealed, perhaps as nothing in
his career had revealed, the depths of his artistic nature.

With his marvelous grasp of things, Frohman swiftly got at the heart of
the Repertory proposition. When he launched the enterprise at the Duke
of York's he said:

     _Repertory companies are usually associated in the public mind with
     the revival of old masterpieces, but if you want to know the
     character of my repertory project at the Duke of York's, I should
     describe it as the production of new plays by living authors.
     Whatever it accomplishes, it will represent the combined resources
     of actor and playwright working with each other, a combination that
     seems to me to represent the most necessary foundation of any
     theatrical success._

Frohman stopped at nothing in carrying out the Repertory Theater idea.
He engaged Granville Barker to produce most of the plays. Barker in turn
surrounded himself with a superb group of players. The most brilliant of
the stage scenic artists in England, headed by Norman Wilkinson, were
engaged to design the scenes. Every possible detail that money could buy
was lavished on this project.

The result was a series of plays that set a new mark for English
production, that put stimulus behind the so-called "unappreciated" play,
and gave the English-speaking drama something to talk about--and to
remember. The mere unadorned list of the plays produced is impressive.
They were "Justice," by John Galsworthy; "Misalliance," by Bernard Shaw;
"Old Friends" and the "The Twelve-Pound Look," by James M. Barrie; "The
Sentimentalists," by George Meredith; "Madras House," by Granville
Barker; "Chains," by Elizabeth Baker; "Prunella," by Lawrence Housman
and Granville Barker; "Helena's Path," by Anthony Hope and Cosmo Gordon
Lenox, and a revival of "Trelawney of the Wells," by Sir Arthur Pinero.

The way "The Twelve-Pound Look" came to be produced is interesting. When
the repertory for the theater was being discussed one day by Barrie and
Barker at the former's flat in Adelphi Terrace House, Barker said:

"Haven't you got a one-act play that we could do?"

Barrie thought a moment, scratched his head, and said:

"I think I wrote one about six months ago when I was recovering from
malaria. You might find it somewhere in that desk." He pointed toward
the flat-top table affair on which he had written "The Little Minister"
and "Peter Pan."

Barker rummaged around through the drawers and finally found a
manuscript written in Barrie's hieroglyphic hand. It was "The
Twelve-Pound Look."

[Illustration: _PAULINE CHASE_]

The production of "Justice" was generally regarded in England as the
finest example of stage production that has been made within the last
twenty-five years. Despite the expense, and the fact that Frohman
insisted upon making each play a splendid production, the Repertory
Theater prospered. It ran from February 21, 1910, until the middle of
May. Its run was temporarily terminated by the death of King Edward
VII., and it was impossible to revive the project successfully after
the formal period of mourning closed.

* * *

Frohman's constantly widening activities in London made it necessary for
him to have more spacious quarters. The story of his offices really
tells the story of his work, for they increased in scope as his
operations widened. When he leased the Aldwych Theater he set up his
headquarters there. With the acquisition of the Globe he needed more
room, and this theater became the seat of his managerial operations. In
1913, and with characteristic lavishness, he engaged what is perhaps the
finest suite of theatrical offices in London. They were in a marble
structure known as Trafalgar House, in Waterloo Place, one of the
choicest and most expensive locations in the city.

Here he had a suite of six rooms. Like the man himself, his own personal
quarters were very simple. There was a long, high-ceiled room, with a
roll-top desk, which was never used, at one end, and a low morris-chair
at the other. From this morris-chair and from his rooms at the Savoy
Hotel he ruled his English realm.

Charles's love for his stars never lagged, and wherever it was possible
for him to surround himself with their pictures he did so. As a result,
the visitor to his London rooms found him surrounded by the familiar
faces of Maude Adams, Ethel Barrymore, Ann Murdock, Marie Doro, Julia
Sanderson, William Gillette, and John Drew. On the roll-top desk, side
by side, were the pictures of his two _Peter Pans_, Miss Adams and
Pauline Chase.

Charles's last London production, strangely enough, consisted of two
plays by his closest friend, Barrie. This double bill was "The New
Word," a fireside scene, which was followed by "Rosy Rapture."

By a strange coincidence his first English venture was a failure, and so
was his last. Yet the long and brilliant journey between these two dates
was a highway that any man might have trod with pride. The
English-speaking drama received an impetus and a standard that it never
would have had without his unflagging zeal and his generous purse. He
left an influence upon the English stage that will last.

What endeared him perhaps more than anything else to England was the
smiling serenity with which he met criticism and loss. There may have
been times when the English resented his desire for monopoly, but they
forgot it in tremendous admiration for his courage and his resource. He
revolutionized the economics of the British stage; he invested it with
life, energy, action; he established a whole new relation between author
and producer. Here, as in America, he was the pioneer and the builder.



The fortunes of Charles Frohman's English productions ebbed and flowed;
actors and actresses came and went; to him it was all part of a big and
fascinating game. What really counted and became permanent were the
man's friendships, often made in the theatrical world of make-believe,
but always cemented in the domain of very sincere reality. In England
were some of his dearest personal bonds.

They grew out of the fact that Charles had the rare genius of inspiring
loyal friendship. He gave much and he got much. Yet, like Stevenson, it
was a case of "a few friends, but these without capitulation."

In England he seemed to be a different human being. The inaccessibility
that hedged him about in America vanished. He emerged from his unsocial
shell; he gave out interviews; he relaxed and renewed his youth in jaunt
and jest. His annual trip abroad, therefore, was like a joyous
adventure. It mattered little if he made or lost a fortune each time.

Frohman was happy in London. He liked the soft, gray tones of the somber
city. "It's so restful," he always said. Even the "bobbie" delighted
him. He would watch the stolid policeman from the curb and say,
admiringly: "He is wonderful; he raises his hand and all London stops."
He was greatly interested in the traffic regulations.

Although he had elaborate offices, his real London headquarters were in
the Savoy Hotel. Here, in the same suite that he had year after year,
and where he was known to all employees from manager to page, he
literally sat enthroned, for his favorite fashion was to curl up on a
settee with his feet doubled under him. More than one visitor who saw
him thus ensconced called him a "beaming Buddha."

From his informal eminence he ruled his world. Around him assembled the
Knights of the Dramatic Round Table. Wherever Frohman sat became the
unofficial capitol of a large part of the English-speaking stage. In
those Savoy rooms there was made much significant theatrical history. To
the little American came Barrie, Pinero, Chambers, Jones, Sutro,
Maugham, Morton, with their plays; Alexander, Tree, Maude, Hicks,
Barker, Bouchier, with their projects.

Like Charles Lamb, Frohman loved to ramble about London. Often he would
stop in the midst of his work, hail a taxi, and go for a drive in the
green parks. The Zoological Gardens always delighted him. He frequently
stopped to watch the animals. The English countryside always lured him,
especially the long green hedges, which held a peculiar fascination. He
walked considerably in the country and in town, and he took great
delight in peering in shop windows.

[Illustration: _JAMES M. BARRIE_]

In London, as in New York, the theater was his life and inspiration.
Almost without exception he went to a performance of some kind every
evening. At most of the London theaters he was always given the royal
box whenever possible. He liked the atmosphere of the British
playhouse. He always said it was more like a drawing-room than a place
of amusement.

* * *

To Charles, London meant J. M. Barrie, and to be with the man who wrote
"Peter Pan" was one of his supreme delights. The devotion between these
two men of such widely differing temperaments constitutes one of the
really great friendships of modern times. Character of an unusual kind,
on both sides, was essential to such a communion of interest and
affection. Both possessed it to a remarkable degree.

No two people could have been more opposite. Frohman was quick, nervous,
impulsive, bubbling with optimism; Barrie was the quiet, canny Scot,
reserved, repressed, and elusive. Yet they had two great traits in
common--shyness and humor. As Barrie says:

"Because we were the two shyest men in the world, we got on so well and
understood each other so perfectly."

There was another bond between these two men in the fact that each
adored his mother. In Charles's case he was the pride and the joy of the
maternal heart; with Barrie the root and inspiration of all his life and
work was the revered "Margaret Ogilvy." He is the only man in all the
world who ever wrote a life of his mother.

There was still another and more tangible community of interest between
these two remarkable men. Each detested the silk hat. Frohman had never
worn one since the Haverly Minstrel days, when he had to don the tile
for the daily street parade. Barrie, in all his life, has had only one
silk hat. It is of the vintage of the early 'seventies. The only
occasion when he wears the much-detested headgear is at the first
rehearsal of the companies that do his plays. Then he attires himself in
morning clothes, goes to the theater, nervously holds the hat in his
hand while he is introduced to the actors and actresses. Just as Charles
used to hide his silk hat as soon as the minstrel parade was over and
put on a cap, so does Barrie send the objectionable headgear home as
soon as these formalities are over and welcome his more comfortable
bowler as an old friend.

Curiously enough, Frohman and Barrie did not drift together at once.
When the little Scotchman made his first visit to America in 1896 and
"discovered" Maude Adams as the inspired person to act _Lady Babbie_, he
met the man who was to be his great friend in a casual business way
only. The negotiations for "The Little Minister" from England were
conducted through an agent.

But when Frohman went abroad the following year the kinship between the
men started, and continued with increasing intimacy. The men became
great pals. They would wander about London, Barrie smoking a short,
black pipe, Frohman swinging his stick. On many of these strolls they
walked for hours without saying a word to each other. Each had the great
gift of silence--the rare sense of understanding.

Barrie and his pipe are inseparable, as the world knows. There is a
legend in London theatrical lore that Frohman wanted to drive to
Barrie's flat one night. He was in his usual merry mood, so the
instruction he gave was this:

"Drive to the Strand, go down to Adelphi Terrace, and stop at the first
smell of pipe smoke."

Frohman never tired of asking Barrie about "Peter Pan." It was a
curious commentary on the man's tenacity of interest and purpose that,
although he made nearly seven hundred productions in his life, the play
of the "Boy Who Would Never Grow Up" tugged most at his heart. Nor did
Barrie ever weary of telling him how the play began as a nursery tale
for children; how their insistent demand to "tell us more" made it the
"longest story in the world"; how, when one pirate had been killed,
little Peter (the original of the character, now a soldier in the great
war) excitedly said: "One man isn't enough; let's kill a lot of them."

No one will be surprised to know that in connection with "Peter Pan" is
one of the most sweetly gracious acts in Frohman's life. The original of
_Peter_ was sick in bed at his home when the play was produced in
London. The little lad was heartsick because he could not see it. When
Frohman came to London Barrie told him about it.

"If the boy can't come to the play, we will take the play to the boy,"
he said.

Frohman sent his company out to the boy's home with as many "props" as
could be jammed into the sick-room. While the delighted and excited
child sat propped up in bed the wonders of the fairy play were unfolded
before him. It is probably the only instance where a play was done
before a child in his home.

As most people know, Barrie, at his own expense, erected a statue of
_Peter Pan_ in Kensington Gardens as his gift to the children of London
who so adored his play. It was done as a surprise, for the statue stood
revealed one May Day morning, having been set up during the night.

When he planned this statue Barrie mentioned it casually to Frohman, and
said nothing more about it. Frohman never visited the park to see it,
but when the model was put on exhibition at the Academy he said to
Lestocq one day:

"Where is that _Peter Pan_ model?" When he was told he said: "I want to
see it, but do I have to look at anything else in the gallery?" On being
assured that he did not, he said, "All right."

Frohman went to the Academy, bolted straight for the sculpture-room, and
stood for a quarter of an hour gazing intently at the graceful figure of
_Peter_ playing his pipe. Then he walked out again, without stopping to
look at any of the lovely things about him. It was characteristic of
Frohman to do just the thing he had in mind to do and nothing else.

Frohman and Barrie seldom wrote to each other. When they did it was a
mere scrawl that no other human being in the world could read. The only
cablegram that Barrie ever sent Frohman was about "What Every Woman
Knows." Hilda Trevelyan played _Maggie Wylie_. Barrie liked her work so
much that he cabled Frohman about it on the opening night. When the
actress went down to breakfast the next morning to read what the
newspapers said about her she found on her plate a cable from Frohman
doubling her salary. It was Frohman's answer to Barrie.

Frohman's faith in Barrie was marvelous. It was often said in jest in
London that if Barrie had asked Frohman to produce a dramatization of
the Telephone Directory he would smile and say with enthusiasm:

"Fine! Who shall we have in the cast?"

One of the great Frohman-Barrie adventures was in Paris. It illustrates
so completely the relation between these men that it is worth giving in

Frohman was in Paris, and after much telegraphic insistence persuaded
his friend to come over on his first visit to the French capital.
Frohman was aglow with anticipation. He wanted to give Barrie the time
of his life.

"What would a literary man like to do in Paris?" was the question he
asked himself.

In his usual generous way he planned the first night, for Barrie was to
arrive in the afternoon. He was then living at the Hôtel Meurice, in the
Rue Royale, so he engaged a magnificent suite for his guest. He ordered
a sumptuous dinner at the Café de Paris, bought a box at the Théâtre
Français, and engaged a smart victoria for the evening.

Barrie was dazed at the splendor of the Meurice suite, but he survived
it. When Frohman spoke of the Café de Paris dinner he said he would
rather dine quietly at the hotel, so the elaborate meal was given up.

"Now what would you like to do this evening?" asked his host.

"Are there any of those country fairs around here, where they have side
shows and you can throw balls at things?" asked Barrie.

Frohman, who had box seats for the most classic of all Continental
theaters in his pocket, said:

"Yes, there is one in Neuilly."

"All right," said Barrie, "let's go there."

"We'll drive out in a victoria," meekly suggested Frohman.

"No," said Barrie, "I think it would be more fun to go on a 'bus."

With the unused tickets for the Théâtre Français in his waistcoat, and
the smart little victoria still waiting in front of the Meurice (for
Frohman forgot to order the man home), the two friends started for the
country fair, where they spent the whole evening throwing balls at what
the French call "Aunt Sally." It is much like the old-fashioned
side-show at an American county fair. A negro pokes his head through a
hole in the canvas, and every time the thrower hits the head he gets a
knife. When Frohman and Barrie returned to the Meurice that night they
had fifty knives between them. The next night they repeated this
performance until they had knives enough to start a hardware-store. This
was the simple and childlike way that these two men, each a genius in
his own way, disported themselves on a holiday.

One more incident will show the amazing accord between Frohman and
Barrie. They were constantly playing jokes on each other, like two
youngsters. One day they were talking in Frohman's rooms at the Savoy
when a certain actress was announced.

"I would like to know what this woman really thinks of me," said Barrie.
"I have never met her."

"All right," said Frohman, "you pretend to be my secretary."

The woman came up and had a long talk with Frohman, during which she
gave her impressions, not very flattering, of British playwrights in
general and Barrie in particular. All the while the little Scot sat
solemnly at a near-by desk, sorting papers and occasionally handing one
to Frohman to sign. When the woman left they nearly exploded with

One of Frohman's delights when in England was to go to Barrie's flat in
London, overlooking the Victoria Embankment. He liked this place, first
of all, because it was Barrie's. Then, too, he could sit curled up in
the corner on a settee, smoking a fat, black cigar, and look out on the
historic Thames. Here he knew he would not have to talk. It was the
place of Silence and Understanding. He was in an atmosphere he loved. In
the flat above lives John Galsworthy; down-stairs dwells Granville
Barker; while just across the street is the domicile of Bernard Shaw,
whose windows face Barrie's.

When Barrie wanted to notify Shaw that Frohman was with him, he would
throw bread-crusts against Shaw's window-panes. In a few moments the
sash would fly up and the familiar, grinning, bearded face would pop
out. On one of the occasions Shaw yelled across:

"Are you inviting me to a feast, Barrie--are you casting bread upon the
troubled waters or is it just Frohman?"

In view of Frohman's perfect adoration of Barrie--and it amounted to
nothing else--it is interesting, as a final glimpse of the relation
between these men, to see what the American thought of his friend's
work. In analyzing Barrie's work once, Frohman said:

"Barrie's distinctive note is humanity. There is rich human blood in
everything he writes. He is a satirist whose arrows are never barbed
with vitriol, but with the milk of human kindness; a humanist who never
surfeits our senses, but leaves much for our willing imagination; an
optimist whose message is as compelling for its reasonableness as it is
welcome for its gentleness."

* * *

Through Barrie and "Peter Pan" came another close and devoted friendship
in Charles Frohman's life--the one with Pauline Chase. This American
girl had been engaged by one of Frohman's stage-managers for a small
part with Edna May in "The Girl from Up There." Frohman did not even
know her in those days. After she made her great success as the Pink
Pajama girl in "Liberty Belles," at the Madison Square Theater, Frohman
engaged her and sent her to England, where, with the exception of one
visit to the United States in "Our Mrs. Gibbs," she has remained ever

It was not until she played "Peter Pan" that the Frohman-Chase
friendship really began. The way in which Miss Chase came to play the
part is interesting. Cissie Loftus, who had been playing Peter, became
ill, and Miss Chase, who had been playing one of the twins, and was her
understudy, went on to do the more important part at a matinée in
Liverpool. Frohman said to her:

"Barrie and I are coming down to see you act. If we like you well enough
to play _Peter_, I will send you back a sheet of paper with a cross mark
on it after the play."

At the end of the first act an usher rapped on Miss Chase's
dressing-room door and handed her the much-desired slip with the cross.
Frohman sent word that he could not wait until the end of the play,
because he and Barrie were taking a train back to London. In this
unusual way Pauline Chase secured the part which helped to endear her to
the man who was her friend and sponsor.

Frohman, Barrie, and Miss Chase formed a trio who went about together a
great deal and had much in common, aside from the kinship of the
theater. It was for Miss Chase that Barrie wrote "Pantaloon," in which
she appeared in conjunction with "Peter Pan," and which gave her a
considerable reputation in England.

When Pauline Chase was confirmed in the little church in
Marlow-on-the-Thames, Barrie was her godfather and Miss Ellen Terry was
her godmother. Frohman attended this ceremony, and it made a tremendous
impression on him. He saw the spectacular side of the ceremony, and the
spiritual meaning was not lost on him.

The personal comradeship with Pauline Chase was one of the really
beautiful episodes in Frohman's life. He was genuinely interested in
this girl's career, and in tribute to her confidence in him she made
him, in conjunction with Barrie, her father confessor. Here is an
episode that is tenderly appealing, and which shows another of the many
sides of his character:

Frohman and Barrie were both afraid that Miss Chase would marry without
telling them about it, so a compact was made by the three that the two
men should be her mentors. There were many applicants for the hand of
this lovely American girl. The successful suitor eventually was Alec
Drummond, member of a distinguished English family, who went to the
front when the war began.

One reason for Miss Chase's devotion to Charles lay in the fact that the
American manager had the body of her mother removed from its
resting-place in Washington to the dreamy little churchyard at
Marlow-on-the-Thames. It is near Marlow that Miss Chase lived through
all the years of the Frohman-Barrie comradeship. Her little cottage at
Tree Tops, Farnham Common, five miles from Marlow, was one of the places
he loved to visit. On the vine-embowered porch he liked to sit and
smoke. On the lawn he indulged in his only exercise, croquet, frequently
with Barrie or Captain Scott, who died in the Antarctic, and Haddon
Chambers, who lived near by. Often he went with his hostess to feed the

But wherever he went he carried plays. No matter how late he retired to
his room, he read a manuscript before he went to bed. He probably read
more plays than any other manager in the world.

Frohman went to Marlow nearly every Saturday in summer. His custom was
to alight from the train at Slough, where Miss Chase would meet him in
her car and drive him over to Marlow, where they lunched at The Compleat
Angler, a charming inn on the river.

Miss Chase sometimes playfully performed the office of manicure for
Frohman. Once when she was in Paris he sent her this telegram:


Whereupon she wired back:

     _I am afraid you will have to bite them._

Frohman then sent her the telegram by mail, and under it wrote:

     _I have._

Of all spots in England, and for that matter in all the world, Charles
loved Marlow best. It is typical of the many contrasts in his crowded
life that he would seek peace and sanctuary in this drowsy English town
that nestled between green hills on the banks of the Thames. He always
said that it framed the loveliest memories of his life.

[Illustration: _PAUL POTTER_]

[Illustration: _HADDON CHAMBERS_]

When Miss Chase wrote Frohman that she was to be confirmed in the little
church in Marlow, she got the following reply from him, which showed how
dear the drowsy place was in his affection:

     _Dear Pauline:--I am glad about Marlow. That little church is the
     only one in the world I care for--that one across the river at
     Marlow. Whenever I see it I want to die and stay there.

     And Marlow with its long street and nobody on it is fine._

It was Haddon Chambers who first took Frohman to Marlow. It came about
in a natural way, because Maidenhead, which is a very popular resort in
England (much frequented by theatrical people) is only a short distance
away. One day Chambers, who was with Frohman at Maidenhead, said, "There
is a lovely, quiet village called Marlow not far away. Let's go over
there." So they went.

On this trip occurred one of the many humorous adventures that were
always happening when Frohman and Chambers were together. Chambers had
the tickets and went on ahead. When he reached the train he found that
Frohman was not there. On returning he found his friend held up by the
gateman, who demanded a ticket. Quick as a flash Chambers said to him:

"Why do you keep His Grace waiting?"

The gateman immediately became flurried and excited and made apologies.
In the mean time Frohman, who took in the situation with his usual
quickness, looked solemn and dignified and then passed in like a peer of
the realm.

Chambers rented a cottage at Marlow each summer, and one of the things
to which Frohman looked forward most eagerly was a visit with him there.
Frequent visits to Marlow made the manager known to the whole town. The
simplicity of his manner and his keen interest, humor, and sympathy won
him many friends. His arrival was always more or less of an event in the
little township.

It is a one-street place, with many fascinating old shops. Frohman loved
to prowl around, look in the shop windows, and talk to the tradesmen,
who came to know and love him and look forward to his advent with the
keenest interest. To them he was not the great American theatrical
magnate, but a simple, kindly, interested human being who inquired about
their babies and who had a big and generous nature.

Frohman once made this remark about the Marlow antique shops: "They're
great. When I buy things the proprietor always tells me whether they are
real or only fake stuff. That's because I'm one of his friends." It was
typical of the man that he was as proud of this friendship as with that
of a prince.

On the tramps through Marlow he was often accompanied by Miss Chase and
Haddon Chambers. He had three particular friends in the town. One was
Muriel Kilby, daughter of the keeper of The Compleat Angler. When
Frohman first went to Marlow she was a slip of a child. He watched her
grow up with an increasing pride. This great and busy man found time in
New York to write her notes full of friendly affection. A few days
before the _Lusitania_ went down she received a note from him saying
that he was soon to sail, and looked forward with eagerness to his usual
stay at Marlow.

Through Miss Kilby Frohman became more intimately a part of the local
life of Marlow. She was head of the Marlow Amateur Dramatic Society,
which gave an amateur play every year. Frohman became a member, paid the
five shillings annual dues, and whenever it was possible he went to
their performances. As a matter of fact, the Marlow Dramatic Society has
probably the most distinguished non-resident membership in the world,
for besides Frohman (and through him) it includes Barrie, Haddon
Chambers, Pauline Chase, Marie Lohr, William Gillette, and Marc Klaw.
Frohman always took his close American friends to Marlow. One of the
prices they paid was membership in the amateur dramatic society.

Like every really great man, Charles Frohman was tremendously simple, as
his friendship with W. R. Clark, the Marlow butcher, shows. Clark is a
big, ruddy, John Bull sort of man, whose shop is one of the main sights
of High Street in the village. Frohman regarded his day at Marlow
incomplete without a visit to Clark. One day he met Clark dressed up in
his best clothes. He asked Clark where he was going.

"I am going to visit my pigs," replied the butcher. Frohman thought this
a great joke, and never tired of telling it.

Once when Frohman gave out an interview about his friends in Marlow, he
sent the clipping to his friend Clark, who wrote him a letter, which
contained, among other things:

     _I can assure you I quite appreciate your kindness in sending the
     cutting to me. When the township of Marlow has obtained from His
     Majesty King George the necessary charter to become a county
     borough, and you offer yourself for the position of Mayor, I will
     give you my whole-hearted support and influence to secure your

Then, too, there was Jones, the Marlow barber, who shaved Frohman for a
penny because he was a regular customer.

"Jones is a great man," Frohman used to say. "He never charges me more
than a penny for a shave because I am one of his regular customers.
Otherwise it would be twopence. I always give his boy a sixpence,
however, but Jones doesn't know that."

Indeed, the people of Marlow looked upon Frohman as their very own. He
always said that he wanted to be buried in the churchyard by the river.
This churchyard had a curious interest for him. He used to wander around
in it and struck up quite an acquaintance with the wife of the sexton.
She was always depressed because times were so bad and no one was dying.
Then an artist died and was buried there, and the old woman cheered up
considerably. Frohman used to tell her that the only funeral that he
expected to attend was his own.

"And mark you," he said, for he could never resist a jest, "you must
take precious good care of my grave."

His wish to lie in Marlow was not attained, but in tribute to the love
he had for it the memorial that his friends in England have raised to
him--a fountain--stands to-day at the head of High Street in the little
town where he loved to roam, the place in which he felt, perhaps, more
at home than any other spot on earth. Had he made the choice himself he
would have preferred this simple, sincere tribute, in the midst of
simple, unaffected people who knew him and loved him, to stained glass
in the stateliest of cathedrals.

* * *

Charles cared absolutely nothing for honors. He was content to hide
behind the mask of his activities. He would never even appear before an
audience. Almost unwillingly he was the recipient of the greatest
compliment ever paid an American theatrical man in England. It happened
in this way:

One season when Frohman had lost an unusual amount of money, Sir John
Hare gathered together some of his colleagues.

"Frohman has done big things," Hare said to them. "He loses his money
like a gentleman. Let us make him feel that he is not just an American,
but one of us."

A dinner was planned in his honor at the Garrick Club. He is the only
American theatrical manager to be elected to membership in this
exclusive club. When Frohman was apprised of the dinner project he
shrank from it.

"I don't like that sort of thing," he said. "Besides, I can't make a

"But you won't have to make a speech," said Sir Arthur Pinero, who
headed the committee.

Frohman tried in every possible way to evade this dinner. Finally he
accepted on the condition that when the time came for him to respond he
was merely to get up, bow his acknowledgment, and say, "Thank you." This
he managed to do.

At this dinner, over which Sir John Hare presided, Frohman was presented
with a massive silver cigarette-box, on which was engraved the
facsimile signatures of every one present. These signatures comprise the
"Who's Who" of the British theater. These princes of the drama were
proud and glad to call themselves "A few of his friends," as the
inscription on the box read.

The signers were, among others, Sir Arthur Pinero, Sir Charles Wyndham,
Sir John Hare, Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree, Sir James M. Barrie, Alfred
Sutro, Cyril Maude, H. B. Irving, Lawrence Irving, Louis N. Parker,
Anthony Hope, A. E. W. Mason, Seymour Hicks, Robert Marshall, W. Comyns
Carr, Weedon Grossmith, Gerald Du Maurier, Eric Lewis, Dion Boucicault,
A. E. Matthews, Arthur Bouchier, Cosmo Hamilton, Allan Aynesworth, R. C.
Carton, Sam Sothern, and C. Aubrey Smith.

* * *

Nothing gave Charles more satisfaction in England perhaps than his
encouragement of the British playwright. He inherited Pinero from his
brother Daniel, and remained his steadfast friend and producer until his
death. Pinero would not think of submitting a play to any other American
manager without giving Frohman the first call. In all the years of their
relations, during which Charles paid Pinero a large fortune, there was
not a sign of contract between them.

Frohman practically made Somerset Maugham in America. His first
association with this gifted young Englishman was typical of the man's
method of doing business. Maugham had written a play called "Mrs. Dot,"
in which Marie Tempest was to appear. Frederick Harrison, of the
Haymarket Theater, had an option on it, which had just expired. Another
manager wanted the play. Frohman heard of it, and asked to be allowed
to read it. Maugham then said:

"It must be decided to-night."

It was then dinner-time.

"Give me three hours," said Frohman.

At one o'clock in the morning he called up Maugham at his house and
accepted the play, which was probably the quickest reading and
acceptance on record in England.

Another experience with Maugham shows how Frohman really inspired plays.

He was riding on the train with the playwright when he suddenly said to

"I want a new play from you."

"All right," said Maugham.

Frohman thought a moment, and suddenly flashed out:

"Why not rewrite 'The Taming of the Shrew' with a new background?"

"All right," said Maugham.

The result was Maugham's play "The Land of Promise," which was really
built around Frohman's idea.

Frohman produced all of Maugham's plays in America, and most of them
were great successes. He also did the great majority of them in England.
Maugham waxed so prosperous that he was able to buy a charming old
residence in Chesterfield Street which he remodeled in elaborate
fashion. On its completion his first dinner guest was Charles Frohman.
When Maugham sent him the invitation it read:

     _Will you come and see the house that Frohman built?_

In the same way he developed men like Michael Morton. He would see a
French farce in the Paris theaters, and, although he could not
understand a word of French, he got the spirit and the meaning through
its action. He would buy the play, go to London with the manuscript, and
get Morton or Paul Potter to adapt it for American consumption.

* * *

Life in London to Charles Frohman was one series of adventures. Like
Harun-al-Rashid in the _Arabian Nights_, he delighted to wander about,
often with Barrie, sometimes with Lestocq, seeking out strange and
picturesque places in which to eat.

These adventures began in his earliest days in England. Here is a
characteristic experience:

One day Madeline Lucette Ryley, the playwright, came to see him in his
office in Henrietta Street. A battered old man was hanging around the

"Did you see that man outside?" asked Frohman.

"Yes," said Mrs. Ryley. "Is he the bailiff?"

"Oh no," said Frohman, "he is a Maidenhead cabby." This is the story of
how he came there.

The day before Frohman had been down to Maidenhead alone for luncheon.
At the station he hailed a cabby who was driving a battered old fly.

"Where to, Governor?" asked the man.

"Number 5 Henrietta Street," said Frohman.

"No such place in Maidenhead," said the driver.

"Oh, I mean the place opposite Covent Garden in London."

The old cabby wasn't a bit flustered, but he said, "I will have to get a
new horse."

He changed horses and they made the long way to London, arriving there
considerably after nightfall. When Frohman asked for his bill the old
man said, with some hesitation:

"I'm afraid it will cost you five pounds."

"That's all right," said Frohman, and paid the bill.

To his great surprise, the cabby showed up next morning, saying: "I like
London. I think I'll stay here." It was with the greatest difficulty
that Frohman got rid of him. When the cabby finally started to go he

"Well, Governor, if you want to go back to Maidenhead I'll do it for

A short time after this incident Frohman, whose purse was none too full
then, asked some people to dine with him at the Hotel Cecil. By some
mistake he and his party were shown into a room that had been arranged
for a very elaborate dinner. Before he realized it the waiter began to
serve the meal. He soon knew that it was not the menu he had ordered,
and was costing twenty times more. But he was game and stuck to it. It
was midwinter, and when the fresh peaches came on he said to the woman
on his right:

"This will break me, I know, but we might as well have a good time."

Frohman almost invariably took one of his American friends to England
with him. It was usually Charles Dillingham, Paul Potter, or William

On one of Gillette's many trips with him Frohman got up an elaborate
supper for Mark Twain at the Savoy and invited a brilliant group of
celebrities, including all three of the Irvings, Beerbohm Tree, Chauncey
M. Depew, Sir Charles Wyndham, Haddon Chambers, Nat Goodwin, and Arthur
Bouchier. In his inconspicuous way, however, he made it appear that
Gillette was giving the supper.

Midnight arrived, and Twain had not shown up. It was before the days of
taxis, so Dillingham was sent after him in a hansom. After going to the
wrong address, he finally located the humorist in Chelsea. He found Mark
Twain sitting in his dressing-gown, smoking a Pittsburg stogie and
reading a book.

"Did you forget all about the supper?" asked Dillingham.

"No," was the drawling reply, "but I didn't know where the blamed thing
was. I had a notion that some one of you would come for me."

Mark Twain and Frohman were great friends. They were often together in
London. Their favorite diversion was to play "hearts."

The great humorist once drew a picture of Charles, and under it wrote:

     _N. B. I cannot make a good mouth. Therefore leave it out. There is
     enough without it, anyway. Done with the best ink.

     M. T._

Underneath this inscription he wrote:

     _To Charles Frohman, Master of Hearts._

Few things in England pleased Frohman more than to play a joke on
Gillette, for the author of "Secret Service," like his great friend,
relaxed when he was on the other side. When Frohman produced "Sue" in
England an amusing incident happened.

[Illustration: _OTIS SKINNER_]

Frohman had brought over Annie Russell and Ida Conquest for his piece.
The actresses were very much excited before the first night, and went
without dinner. After the play they were very hungry. On going to the
Savoy they encountered the English prohibition against serving women at
night when unaccompanied by men. After trying at several places they
went to their lodging in Langham Place almost famished.

In desperation they telephoned to Dillingham, who was playing "hearts"
at the Savoy with Frohman and Gillette. He hurriedly got some food
together in a basket, and with his two friends drove to where the young
women were staying. The house was dark; fruitless pulls at the door-bell
showed that it was broken. It was impossible to raise any one.

Dillingham knew that the actresses were occupying rooms on the second
floor front. He had five large English copper pennies in his pocket, and
so he started to throw them up to the window to attract their attention.
He threw four, and each fell short.

"This is the last copper," he said to Frohman. "If we can't reach the
girls with this they will have to go hungry."

Whereupon Frohman said: "Let Gillette throw it. He can make a penny go
further than any man in the world."

* * *

Such was Charles Frohman's English life. It was joyous, almost
rollicking, and pervaded with the spirit of adventure. Yet behind all
the humor was something deep, searching, and significant, because in
England, as in America, this man was a vital and constructive force, and
where he went, whether in laughter or in seriousness, he left his



The last decade of Charles Frohman's life was one of continuous
star-making linked with far-flung enterprise. He now had a chain of
theaters that reached from Boston by way of Chicago to Seattle; his
productions at home kept on apace; his prestige abroad widened.

Frohman had watched the development of Otis Skinner with great interest.
That fine and representative American actor had thrived under his own
management. Early in the season of 1905 he revived his first starring
vehicle, a costume play by Clyde Fitch, called "His Grace de Grammont."
It failed, however, and Skinner looked about for another piece. He heard
that Frohman, who had a corner on French plays for America, owned the
rights to Lavedan's play "The Duel," which had scored a big success in
Paris. He knew that the leading rôle ideally fitted his talent and

Skinner went to Frohman and asked him if he could produce "The Duel" in

"Why don't you do it under my management?" asked the manager.

"All right," replied the actor, "I will."

With these few remarks began the connection between Charles Frohman and
Otis Skinner.

It was during the closing years of Frohman's life that his genius for
singling out gifted young women for eminence found its largest
expression. Typical of them was Marie Doro, a Dresden-doll type of girl
who made her first stage appearance, as did Billie Burke and Elsie
Ferguson, in musical comedy.

Charles Frohman saw her in a play called "The Billionaire" at Daly's
Theater in New York, in which she sang and danced. He had an unerring
eye for beauty and talent. With her, as with others that he transported
from musical pieces to straight drama, he had an uncanny perception. He
engaged her and featured her in a slender little play called

Miss Doro made such an impression on her first appearance that Frohman
now put her in "Clarice," written by William Gillette, in which he also
appeared. Her success swept her nearer to stardom, for she next appeared
in a Frohman production which, curiously enough, reflected one of
Frohman's sentimental moods.

For many years Mrs. G. H. Gilbert was a famous figure on the American
stage. She had been one of the "Big Four" of Augustin Daly's company for
many years, and remained with Daly until his death. She was the beloved
first old woman of the dramatic profession. When the Daly company
disbanded Mrs. Gilbert did not prepare to retire. She was hearty and

Frohman realized what a warm place this grand old woman had in the
affection of theater-goers after all the years of faithful labor, so he
said to himself:

"Here is a wonderful old woman who has never been a star. She must have
this great experience before she dies."

He engaged Clyde Fitch to write a play called "Granny," in which Mrs.
Gilbert was starred. It made her very happy, and she literally died in
the part.

In the cast of "Granny" Miss Doro's youthful and exquisite beauty shone
anew. Her success with the press and the public was little short of
phenomenal. Charles now saw Miss Doro as star. He held youth, beauty,
and talent to be the great assets, and he seldom made a mistake. It was
no vanity that made him feel that if an artist pleased him she would
likewise please the public.

Frohman now starred Miss Doro in the stage adaptation of William J.
Locke's charming story, "The Morals of Marcus." She became one of his
pet protégées. With her, as with the other young women, he delighted to
nurse talent. He conducted their rehearsals with a view of developing
all their resources, and to show every facet of their temperaments.
Failure never daunted him so long as he had confidence in his ward. This
was especially the case with Miss Doro, who was unfortunate in a long
string of unsuccessful plays. Frohman's faith in her, however, was at
last justified, when she played _Dora_ in Sardou's great play,
"Diplomacy," with brilliant success a year in London and later in New

* * *

With the exception of Maude Adams and Ann Murdock, no Frohman star had
so swift or spectacular a rise as Billie Burke. Her story is one of the
real romances of the Frohman star-making.

[Illustration: _MARIE DORO_]

Billie Burke was the daughter of a humble circus clown in America. From
him she probably inherited her mimetic gifts. At the beginning of her
career she had obscure parts in American musical pieces.

It was in London, however, that she first came under the observation of
Charles. She had graduated from the chorus to a part in Edna May's great
success, "The School Girl." She had a song called "Put Me in My Little
Canoe," which made a great hit. Frohman became so much interested that
he thought of sending Miss Burke to America in the piece. He transferred
the song to Miss May, which left Miss Burke with scarcely any
opportunity. Subsequently she was put in "The Belle of Mayfair," and
afterward replaced Miss May when she retired.

Louis N. Parker saw her in this piece and agreed with Frohman that the
girl had possibilities as a serious actress. She was cast for her first
dramatic part in "The Honorable George," the play he was then producing
in London.

When Michael Morton adapted a very beguiling French play called "My
Wife," Frohman saw that here was Miss Burke's opportunity for America.
He secured her release from the Gattis, who controlled her English
appearances, and made her John Drew's leading woman. She met his
confidence by adapting herself to the rôle with great brilliancy and
effect. Indeed, with Miss Burke, Frohman introduced a distinct and
piquant reddish-blond type of beauty to the American stage. It became
known as the "Billie Burke type." Realizing this, Frohman was very
careful to adapt her personal appearance, humor, and temperament to her
plays. He literally had plays written about her peculiar gifts.

Miss Burke's great success in "My Wife" projected her into the Frohman
stellar heaven. She was launched as a star in "Love Watches," an
adaptation from the French, securely established herself in the favor
of theater-goers, and from that time on her appearance in a _chic_,
smart play became one of the distinct features of the annual Frohman
season. Her most distinguished success was with Pinero's play "Mind the
Paint Girl," in which Frohman was greatly interested.

Few of Frohman's "discoveries" justified his confidence with lovelier
success than Julia Sanderson. Her first public appearance on the stage
had been in vaudeville. When Frohman sought a comedienne with a certain
dainty, lady-like quality for the English musical play called "The
Dairymaids," which he produced at the Criterion in 1907, his attention
was called to this charming girl, then doing musical numbers in a New
York vaudeville theater. Frohman went to see her, and was fascinated by
her beauty and charm. He noted, most of all, a certain gentle quality in
her personality, and with his peculiar genius in adapting plays to
people and people to plays, she fairly bloomed under his persuasive and
sympathetic sponsorship.

Frohman now obtained "The Arcadians," in which Miss Sanderson was
featured. Of all the musical plays that he produced, this was perhaps
his favorite. He liked it so much that he told Miss Sanderson one day
during rehearsal:

"If the public does not like 'The Arcadians,' then I am finished with
light opera."

"The Arcadians," however, proved to be a gratifying success, and
Frohman's confidence was vindicated. Frohman was undergoing his long and
almost fatal illness at the Knickerbocker Hotel when "The Arcadians" was
being rehearsed. He was so fond of the music that whenever possible the
rehearsals in which Miss Sanderson sang were conducted in his rooms at
the hotel. He always said that he could see the whole performance in
her singing. In rehearsing her he always seemed to well-nigh break her
heart, but it was his way, as he afterward admitted, of provoking her
emotional temperament.

[Illustration: _JULIA SANDERSON_]

He next gave her a strong part in "The Siren," and subsequently made her
a co-star with Donald Brian in "The Sunshine Girl," which brought out to
the fullest advantage, so far, her exquisite and alluring qualities.

* * *

The last star to twinkle into life under the Frohman wand was Ann
Murdock. Here is presented an extraordinary example of the way that
Charles literally "made" stars, for seldom, if ever, before has a young
actress been so quickly raised from obscurity to eminence. Almost
overnight he lifted her into fame.

Miss Murdock, who was born in New York, and had spent her childhood in
Port Washington, Long Island, was not a stage-struck girl. She went on
the stage because she made up her mind that she wanted more nice frocks
than she was having. She rode over to New York one day and went to Henry
B. Harris's office to get a position. As she sat waiting among a score
of applicants, Harris came out. He was so much taken with her striking
Titian beauty and unaffected girlish charm that he immediately asked her
to come in ahead of the rest, and gave her a small part in one of "The
Lion and the Mouse" road companies. When Harris saw her act he took her
out of the cast and put her in a new production that he was making in
New York.

At the end of the season she wanted to get under Charles Frohman's
management, so she went to the Empire Theater to try her luck. There she
met William Gillette, who was making one of his numerous revivals of
"Secret Service." The moment he saw this fresh, appealing young girl he
immediately cast her in his mind for the part of the young Southern
girl. After he had talked with her, however, he said:

"I think it would be best if I wrote a part for you. I am now working on
a play, and I think you had better go in that."

Miss Murdock now appeared in Gillette's new play, "Electricity," in
which Marie Doro was starred. Charles Frohman saw her at the opening
rehearsal for the first time.

"Electricity" was a failure. Instead of following up her connection with
the Frohman office, she went to the cast of "A Pair of Sixes," in which
she played for a whole season on Broadway, displaying qualities which
brought her conspicuously before the public and to the notice of the man
who was to do so much for her.

One night Charles stopped in to see this farce. He had never forgotten
the lovely young girl who had played in "Electricity." The next day he
sent for Miss Murdock, offered her an engagement, and made another of
those simple arrangements, for he said to her:

"You are with me for life."

This was Frohman's way of telling an actor or actress that, without the
formality of a contract, they were to look to him each season for
employment and that they need not worry about engagements.

From this time on Frohman took an earnest interest in Miss Murdock's
career. He saw in her, as he had seen in only a few of his women stars,
an immense opportunity to create a new and distinct type.

[Illustration: _ANN MURDOCK_]

Just about this time he became very much interested in the English
adaptation of a French play which he called "The Beautiful Adventure,"
which was, curiously enough, one of the plays uppermost in his mind on
the day he went to his death.

He now did a daring but characteristic Frohman thing. He believed
implicitly in Miss Murdock's talents; he felt that the part of the
ingenuous young girl in this play was ideally suited to her pleading
personality, so, in conjunction with Mrs. Thomas Whiffen and Charles
Cherry, he featured her in the cast. Miss Murdock's characterization
amply justified Frohman's confidence, but the play failed in New York
and on the road. He wrote to Miss Murdock:

     _I am afraid our little play is too gentle for the West. Come back.
     I have something else for you._

He now put Miss Murdock into Porter Emerson Browne's play "A Girl of
To-day," which had its first presentation in Washington. Frohman, Miss
Murdock, and her mother were riding from the station in Washington to
the Shoreham Hotel. As they passed the New National Theater, where the
young actress was to appear, Miss Murdock suddenly looked out of the cab
and saw the following inscription in big type on the bill:

     _Charles Frohman presents Ann Murdock in "A Girl of To-day."_

It was the first intimation that she had been made a star, and she burst
into tears. In this episode Frohman had repeated what he had done in the
case of Ethel Barrymore ten years before.

Frohman had predicted great things for Miss Murdock, for at the time of
his death there was no doubt of the fact that she was destined, in his
mind, for a very remarkable career.

* * *

But those last years of Frohman's life were not confined exclusively to
the pleasant and grateful task of making lovely women stars. The men
also had a chance, as the case of Donald Brian shows. Frohman had been
much impressed with his success in "The Merry Widow," so he put him
under his management and starred him in "The Dollar Princess," which was
the first of a series of Brian successes.

Frohman saw that Brian had youth, charm, and pleasing appearance. He was
an unusually good singer and an expert dancer. He was equipped to give
distinction to the musical play Frohman wanted to present. He had
watched the interest of his audiences, and saw that young Brian was a
distinct favorite with women as well as men, and his success as star
justified all these plans.

While Frohman was making new stars, older ones came under his control in
swift succession, among them Madame Nazimova, William Courtnay, James K.
Hackett, Kyrle Bellew, Mrs. Fiske, Charles Cherry, John Mason, Martha
Hedman, Alexandra Carlisle, William Courtleigh, Nat Goodwin, Blanche
Bates, Hattie Williams, Gertrude Elliott, Constance Collier, Richard
Carle, and Cyril Maude.

Frohman now reached the very apex of his career. At one time he had
twenty-eight stars under his management; and in addition fully as many
more companies bore his name throughout the country. To be a Frohman
star was the acme of stage ambition, for it not only meant professional
distinction, but equitable and honorable treatment.

* * *

The year 1915 dawned with fateful significance for Charles Frohman. With
its advent began a chain of happenings that, in the light of later
events, seemed almost prophetic of the fatal hour which was now closing

Perhaps the most picturesque and significant of these events was the
reconciliation with his old friend David Belasco. Twelve years before,
through an apparently trivial thing, a breach had developed between
these two men whose fortunes had been so intimately entwined. They had
launched their careers in New York together; the old Madison Square
Theater had housed their first theatrical ambition; they had kept pace
on the road to fame; their joint productions had been features of the
New York stage. Yet for twelve years they had not spoken.

Frohman became ill, and lay stricken at the Knickerbocker Hotel. That he
had thought much of his old comrade, so long estranged, was evident. A
remarkable coincidence resulted. It was like an act in any one of the
many plays they had produced.

One afternoon Belasco, who had heard of the serious plight of Frohman,
sat in his studio on the top floor of the Belasco Theater. There, amid
his Old World curios, he pondered over the past.

"'C. F.' is lying ill at the Knickerbocker," he said to himself. "He may
die. I must see him. This quarrel of ours is a great mistake."

He started to write a note to his old friend, when the telephone-bell
rang. It was his business manager, Benjamin Roeder, who said:

"I have just had a telephone message from Charles Frohman. He wants to
see you."

When Belasco told Roeder that he was just in the act of writing to
Frohman to tell him that he wanted to see him, both men were amazed at
the coincidence.

That night, when the few friends who gathered each evening at Frohman's
bedside had gone, Belasco entered the sick-room at the Knickerbocker.
Frohman was so weak that he could hardly raise his hand. Belasco went to
him, took his right hand in both of his, and the old comrades put
together again the thread of their friendship just where it had been
broken twelve years before.

They talked over the old days. Frohman, whose mind was always on the
theater, suddenly said:

"Let's do a play together, David."

"All right," said Belasco.

"You name the play. I will get the cast, and we will rehearse it
together," added Frohman.

Out of this reconciliation came the magnificent revival of "A Celebrated
Case," by D'Ennery and Cormon. The cast included Nat Goodwin, Otis
Skinner, Ann Murdock, Helen Ware, Florence Reed, and Robert Warwick. On
Frohman's recovery he undertook the rehearsals. Belasco came in at the
end, but he had little to do.



_A photograph taken in Boston April 3, 1915, just after the two had
renewed their partnership, ending a separation of twenty years._]

Frohman and Belasco not only resumed their joint production of plays,
but they resumed part of their old life together. Now began again their
favorite diet of pumpkin and meringue pie and tea after the day's work
was done. Night after night they met after the theater, just as they had
done in the old Madison Square days when they went to O'Neil's, on Sixth
Avenue, for their frugal repast, dreaming and planning their futures.
Now each man had become a great personage. Frohman was the amusement
dictator of two worlds; Belasco, the acknowledged stage wizard of his

After a week in Boston the all-star cast in "A Celebrated Case" opened
at the Empire Theater in New York. History repeated itself. Frohman and
Belasco sat in the same place in the wings where they sat twenty-two
years before at the launching of "The Girl I Left Behind Me," which
dedicated the Empire. Now, as then, there were tumultuous calls for the
producers. Again David tried to induce Charles to go out, but he said:

"No, you go, David, and speak for me. Stand where you did twenty-two
years ago."

In 1915, as in 1893, Belasco went out and spoke Frohman's thanks and his

The revival of "A Celebrated Case" not only brought Frohman and Belasco
together, but led to an agreement between them to do a production
together every year.

* * *

There was a tragic hint of the fate which was shaping Charles Frohman's
end in his last production on any stage. It was a war play called "The
Hyphen," by Justus Miles Forman, the novelist. The scenes were laid in
Pennsylvania, and the story dealt with the various attempts to unsettle
the loyalty of German-Americans through secret agencies. The whole
problem of the hyphenated citizen, which had complicated the American
position in the great war, was set forth.

Even in his unconscious stage farewell, Charles was the pioneer, because
the acceptance of "The Hyphen" and the prompt organization of the
company established a new record in play-producing. Up to a certain
Saturday morning Charles Frohman had never heard of the play. That
afternoon the manuscript was put into his hands and he read it. A
messenger was sent off post-haste to find the author. In the mean time,
Frohman engaged W. H. Thompson, Gail Kane, and a notable group of
players for the cast, and gave orders for the construction of the
scenery. Late that afternoon Mr. Forman called on Charles, whom he had
never met. Without any further ado the manager said to the

"I am going to produce your play. We have nothing to discuss. A manager
often discusses at great length the play that he does not intend to
produce. Therefore all that I have to tell you is that your play is
accepted. I have already engaged the chief actors needed, and the
scenery was ordered two hours ago. I am glad to produce a play on this
timely subject, but I am especially glad that it is an American who
wrote it."

Charles was greatly interested in "The Hyphen." It was American to the
core; it flouted treachery to the country of adoption; it appealed to
his big sense of patriotism. He felt, with all the large enthusiasm of
his nature, that he was doing a distinct national service in producing
the piece. He personally supervised every rehearsal. He talked glowingly
to his friends about it. At fifty-five he displayed the same bubbling
optimism with regard to it that he had shown about his first independent

Now began the last of the chain of dramatic events which ended in death.
As soon as "The Hyphen" was announced, Frohman began to get threatening
letters warning him that it would be a mistake to produce so sensational
a play in the midst of such an acute international situation.
Pro-Germans of incendiary tendency especially resented it. To all these
intimations Frohman merely shrugged his shoulders and smiled. It made
him all the more determined.

"The Hyphen" was produced April 19th at the Knickerbocker Theater before
a hostile audience. Unpatriotic pro-Germans had packed the theater.
During the progress of the play the dynamite explosions in the Broadway
subway construction outside were misinterpreted for bombs, and there was
suppressed excitement throughout the whole performance.

The play was a failure. Yet Frohman's confidence in it was unimpaired.
He went to see it nearly every night of its short life in New York. He
even sent it to Boston for a second verdict, but Boston agreed with New
York. Like every production that bore the Charles Frohman stamp, he gave
it every chance. Reluctantly he ordered up the notice to close.

Frohman became greatly attached to Forman. With his usual generosity he
invited the author to accompany him on his approaching trip to England.

"I want you to come with me and meet Barrie and know some of my other
English friends," Charles said, little dreaming that the invitation to a
holiday was the beckoning hand of death to both.



During all these busy years Frohman had reigned supreme as king of
star-makers. Under his persuasive sponsorship more men and women rose to
stellar eminence than with all his fellow-managers combined. It was the
very instinct of his life to develop talent, and it gave him an
extraordinary satisfaction to see the artist emerge from the background
into fame.

His attitude in the matter of star-making was never better expressed
than in one of his many playful moods with the pencil. Like Caruso, he
was a caricaturist. Few things gave him more delight than to make a
hasty sketch of one of his friends on any scrap of paper that lay near
at hand. He usually made these sketches just as he wrote most of his
personal letters, with a heavy blue pencil.

On one occasion he was talking with Pauline Chase about making stars. A
smile suddenly burst over his face; he seized pencil and paper and made
a sketch of himself walking along at night and pointing to the moon with
his stick. Under the picture he wrote, as if addressing the moon:

    _Watch out, or I'll make a star out of you._

Once he said to Billie Burke, in discussing this familiar star

"A star has a unique value in a play. It concentrates interest. In some
respects a play is like a dinner. To be a success, no matter how
splendidly served, the menu should always have one unique and striking
dish that, despite its elaborate gastronomic surroundings, must long be
remembered. This is one reason why you need a star in a play."

[Illustration: _MARIE TEMPEST_]

[Illustration: _MME. NAZIMOVA_]

Despite the fact, as the case of Ann Murdock shows, that Charles could
literally lift a girl from the ranks almost overnight, he generally
regarded the approach to stardom as a difficult and hard-won path. Just
before the great European war, he made this comment to a well-known
English journalist, who asked him how he made stars:

"Each of my stars has earned his or her position through honest
advancement. If the President of the United States wants to reward a
soldier he says to him, 'I will make you a general.' By the same process
I say to an actor, 'I will make you a star.'

"All the stars under my management owe their eminence to their own
ability and industry, and also to the fact that the American is an
individual-loving public. In America we regard the workman first and the
work second. Our imaginations are fired not nearly so much by great
deeds as by great doers. There are stars in every walk of American life.
It has always been so with democracies. Cæsar, Cicero, and the rest were
public stars when Rome was at her best, just as in our day Roosevelt and
others shine.

"Far from fostering it, the star system as such has simply meant for me
that when one of my stars finishes with a play, that play goes
permanently on the shelf, no one ever hoping to muster together an
audience for it without the original actor or actress in the star part.

"Vital acting in plays of consequence is the foundation of theatrical
success. You have only to enumerate the plays to realize the drain even
one management can make upon what is, after all, a limited supply of
capable leading actors. This is because the American stage is short of
leaders. There is a world of actors, but too few leading actors."

"What do you mean by leading actor?" he was asked.

"I mean that if in casting a play you can find an actor who looks the
part you have in mind for him, be thankful; if you can find an actor who
can act the part, be very thankful; and if you can find an actor who can
look and act the part, _get down on your knees and thank God!_"

Frohman had a very definite idea about star material. He was once
talking with a well-known American publisher who mentioned that a
certain very rich woman had announced her determination to go on the
stage. The manager made one of his quick and impatient gestures, and

"She will never do."

"Why?" asked his friend.

"Because," replied Frohman, "in all my experience with the making of
stars I have seldom known of a very rich girl who made a finished
success on the stage. The reason is that the daughters of the rich are
taught to repress their emotions. In other words, they don't seem to be
able to let go their feelings. Give me the common clay, the kind that
has suffered and even hungered. It makes the best star material."

There is no doubt that Frohman liked to "make" careers. He wanted to
see people develop under his direction. To indulge in this diversion was
often a very costly thing, as this incident shows:

Chauncey Olcott, who had been associated with him in his minstrel days,
and become one of the most profitable stars in the country, once sent a
message to Frohman saying that he would like to come under his
management. To the intermediary Olcott said:

"Tell Mr. Frohman that I make one hundred thousand dollars a year. He
can name his own percentage of this income."

Frohman sent back this message:

"I greatly appreciate the offer, but I don't care to manage Olcott. He
is _made_. I like to _make_ stars."

One reason that lay behind Frohman's success as star-maker was the fact
that he wove a great deal of himself into the character of the stars. In
other words, the personal element counted a great deal. When somebody
once remonstrated with him about giving up so much of his valuable time
to what seemed to be inconsequential talks with his women stars, he

"It is not a waste of time. I have often helped those young women to
take a brighter view of things, and it makes me feel that I am not just
their manager, but their friend."

Indeed, as Barrie so well put it, he regarded his women stars as his
children. If they were playing in New York they were expected to call on
him and talk personalities three or four times a week. On the road they
sent him daily telegrams; these were placed on his desk every morning,
and were dealt with in person before any other business of the day. He
had the names of his stars printed in large type on his business
envelopes. These were so placed on his table that as he sat and wrote
or talked he could see their names ranked before him.

When his women stars played in New York he always tried to visit them at
night at the theater before the curtain went up. He always said of this
that it was like seeing his birds tucked safely in their nests. Then he
would go back to his office or his rooms and read manuscripts until

One phase of Charles's great success in life was revealed in this
attitude toward his women stars. He succeeded because he mixed sentiment
with business. He was not all sentiment and he was not all business, but
he was an extraordinarily happy blend of each of these qualities, and
they endeared him to the people who worked for him.

The attitude of the great star toward Frohman is best explained perhaps
by Sir Henry Irving. Once, when the time came for his usual American
tour, he said to his long-time manager, Bram Stoker, who was about to
start for New York:

"When you get to America just tell Frohman--you need not bother to write
him--that I want to come under his management. He always understands. He
is always so fair."

One detail will illustrate Frohman's feeling about stars, and it is
this: He never wanted them, male or female, to make themselves
conspicuous or to do commonplace things. He was sensitive about what
they said or did. For example, he did not like to see John Drew walk up
and down Broadway. He spent a fortune sheltering Maude Adams from all
kinds of intrusion. With her especially he exhausted every resource to
keep her aloof and secluded. He preferred that she be known through her
work and not through her personal self. It was so with himself.

Frohman was one of the most generous-minded of men in his feeling about
his co-workers. On one occasion when he was rehearsing "The Dictator,"
William Collier suggested a whole new scene. The next night Frohman took
a friend to see it. Afterward, accompanied by his guest, he went back on
the stage to congratulate his star. He slapped Collier on the back and,
turning to his companion, said:

"Wasn't that a bully scene that Willie put into the play?"

He was always willing to admit that his success came from those who
worked for him. Once he was asked the question:

"If you had your life to live over again would you be a theatrical

Quick as a flash Frohman replied:

"If I could be surrounded by the same actors and writers who have made
_me_--yes. Otherwise, no."

This feeling led him to say once:

"I believe a manager's success does not come so much from the public as
from his players. When they are ready to march with him without regard
to results, then he has indeed succeeded. This is my success. My
ambition frankly centers in the welfare of the actor. The day's work
holds out to me no finer gratification than to see intelligent, earnest,
deserving actors go into the fame and fortune of being stars."

Nothing could down his immense pride in his stars. Once he was making
his annual visit to England with Dillingham. At that time Olga
Nethersole, who had been playing "Carmen," was under his management.
She was also on the boat. The passenger-list included many other
celebrities, among them Madame Emma Calvé, the opera-singer, who had
just made her great success in the opera "Carmen" at the Metropolitan
Opera House. Naturally there was some rivalry between the two _Carmens_.

At the usual ship's concert both Nethersole and Calvé inscribed their
names on programs which were auctioned off for the benefit of the
disabled sailors' fund. Competition was brisk. The card that Calvé
signed fetched nine hundred dollars. When Nethersole's program was put
up Frohman led the bidding and drove it up to a thousand dollars, which
he paid himself. It was all the money he had with him. Dillingham
remonstrated for what seemed a foolish extravagance.

"I wanted my star to get the best of it, and she did," was the reply.

Frohman, as is well known, would never make a contract with his stars.
When some one urged him to make written agreements, he said:

"No, I won't do it. I want them to be in a position so that if they ever
become dissatisfied they know they are free to leave me."

Like all his other stars, William Collier had no contract with Charles,
merely a verbal understanding extending over a period of years. After
this agreement expired and another year and a half had gone by, Collier
one day asked Frohman if he realized that their original agreement had
run out. Frohman looked up with a start and said:

"Is that so? Well, it's all right, Willie, you know."

"Of course," said Collier, and that ended it.

The next Saturday when Collier got his pay-envelope he found inside a
very charming letter from Frohman, which said:

     _I'm sorry that I overlooked the expiration of our agreement. I
     hope that you will find a little increase in your salary

There was an advance of one hundred dollars a week.

Frohman literally loved the word "star," and he delighted in the
so-called "all-star casts." He had great respect for the big names of
the profession; for those who had achieved success. He liked to do
business with them.

In speaking about "all-star casts," he once said to his brother:

"I have to look after so many enterprises that I have no time to conduct
a theatrical kindergarten in developing actors or playwrights save where
the play of the unknown author or the exceptional talents of the unknown
actor or actress appeal to me strongly. There is an element of safety in
considering work by experts, because the theaters I represent need quick

In reply to the oft-repeated question as to why he took his American
stars to London when they could play to larger audiences and make more
money at home, he said:

"In the first place, such exchanges constitute the finest medium for the
development of actress or actor and the liberalizing of the public. Face
to face with an English audience the American actress finds herself
confronted by new tastes, new appreciations, new demands. She must meet
them all or fail. What does this result in? Versatility, flexibility,
and, in the end, a firmer and more comprehensive hold upon her art."

When Frohman was asked to define success in theatrical management he
made this answer:

"The terms of success in the theater seem to me to be the co-operating
abilities of playwright and actor with the principal burden on the
actor. In other words, the play is not altogether 'the thing.' The right
player in the right play is the thing."

The shaping of William Gillette's career is a good example of Frohman's
definition of a successful theatrical manager, whose best skill and
talents are employed largely in the matter of manipulating a hard-minded
person to mutual advantage.

The relationship between stars and audiences is of necessity a very
close one. The Frohman philosophy, however, was not the generally
accepted theory that audiences make stars.

On one of those very rare occasions in his life when he wrote for
publication, he made the following illuminating statement:

     _No star or manager should feel grateful to any audience for the
     success of a play in which he has figured. A play succeeds because
     it is a living, vital thing--and that is why it has got upon the
     stage at all. There is life in it and it does not, and will not,
     die. It keeps itself alive until the opportunity comes along. Often
     a kind of instinct makes the opportunity._

     _It is instinct also that prompts an audience to applaud when it is
     pleased, laugh when it is amused, weep when it is moved, hiss when
     it is dissatisfied. No actor should feel indebted to an audience
     for the recognition of good work, because that same audience that
     appears to be so friendly, at another time, when one character or
     play does not please it, will resent both actor and play. This is
     as it should be. The loyalty of English audiences to their old
     favorites is fine, but it is bad for the old favorites. It is

     _The various expressions of approval and disapproval that come from
     the spectators at a play are involuntary on the part of the
     spectators. They are hypnotized by the play and the acting. Who
     ever, on coming out of the theater after seeing a play that has
     pleased him, has felt a sense of happiness that his pleasure had
     also pleased the actor, or the author of the play, or the
     management of the production? Loyalty, generosity, and
     encouragement, as applied to audiences, are so many empty words.
     Play-goers who apply them to themselves cheat themselves. Miss
     Maude Adams is the only stage personage within my experience who
     has a distinct public following, loyal and encouraging to her in
     whatever she does._

Audiences interested Frohman immensely. He liked to be a part of them.
He had a perfectly definite reason for sitting in the last row of the
gallery on the first nights of his productions, which he once explained
as follows:

"The best index to the probable career of any play is the back of the
head of an auditor who does not know that he is being watched. The
play-goer in an orchestra stall is always half-conscious that what he
says or does may be observed. But the gallery gods and goddesses have
never thought of anything except what is happening on the stage. They
may yield the time before the rise of the curtain to watching the
audience entering the theater, but once the lights are up and the stage
is revealed they have no eyes or thoughts for anything except the life
unfolded by the actors. These people in the upper part of the theater
represent the masses. They are worth watching, for they are the people
who make stage successes."

Frohman had his own theories about audiences, too. Concerning them he

"An American at the theater feels first and thinks afterward. A European
at a play thinks first and feels afterward. In conversation a German
discusses things sitting down; a Frenchman talks standing up. But the
American discusses things walking about. Therefore each must have his
play built accordingly."

Once Frohman made this discriminating difference between English and
American audiences:

"In England the pit and the gallery of the audience come to the theater,
turn in their hard-earned shillings, and demand much. Failing to get
what they expect, the theater is filled with boos and cat-calls at the
end of the play. This does not mean that the play has failed. It more
nearly means that the less a man pays to get into a theater the more he
demands of the play.

"An American audience is different, because it has a fine sense of
humor. When an American pays his money through the box-office window he
feels that it is gone forever. Anything he receives after that--the
lights, the pictures on the walls, the music of the orchestra, the sight
of a few or many smiling faces--is so much to the good. So keen is the
American play-goer's sense of humor that often when a play is
wretchedly bad it comes to the rescue, and the applause is terrifically
loud. This does not mean that the play has succeeded. It means rather
that the play will die, a victim of the deadliest of all possible

Nor was Frohman often deceived about a first-night verdict. He always
said, "Wait for the box-office statement on the second night."

One of his characteristic epigrammatic statements about the failure of
plays was this:

"In America the question with a failure is, 'How soon can we get it off
the stage?' In London they say, 'How long will the play run even though
it is a failure?'"

Indeed, Frohman's whole attitude about openings was characteristic of
his deep and generous philosophy about life. He summed up his whole
creed as follows:

"A producer of plays, assuming that he is a man of experience, never
feels comfortable after a great reception has been given his play on a
first night. He knows that the reception in the theater does not always
correspond to the feelings of future audiences. Every thinking manager
knows that his play, in order to succeed, must send its audience away
possessed of some distinct feeling. A successful play is a play that
_reflects_, whatever the feeling it reflects.

"The great successes of the stage are plays that are played outside of
the theater: over the breakfast-table; in a man's office; to his
business associates; in a club, as one member tells the thrilling story
of the previous night's experience to another. Great successes upon the
stage are plays of such a sort that one audience can play them over to
another prospective audience, and so make an endless chain of attendance
at the theater.

"I have never in all my experience felt a success on the opening night.
I have only felt my failures.

"I invariably leave the theater after a first-night performance knowing
full well that neither my friends nor I know anything at all as to the
ultimate fortune of the play we have seen."

It is a matter of record that Frohman always viewed his first nights
with great nervousness. Although he attached but little importance, save
on very rare occasions, to tumultuous applause on first nights, he was
sometimes deceived by the reception that was given his productions.

He never tired of telling of one experience. He had left the theater on
the first night, as he expressed it, "with the other mourners." He
returned to his office immediately to cast a new play for the company.
Yet he lived to see this play run successfully for a whole season. This
led him to say:

"There's nothing more deluding to the player and the manager than
enthusiastic applause. The fine, inspired work of a star actor often
makes an audience enthusiastic to such a boisterous extent that one
forgets that it is an individual and not the play that has succeeded."

Here, as elsewhere in the Frohman outlook on life and work, one finds
clear-headed logic and reason behind the bubbling optimism.



One day not long before he sailed on the voyage that was to take him to
his death, Charles was talking with a celebrated English playwright in
his office at the Empire Theater. The conversation suddenly turned to a
discussion of life achievement.

"What do you consider the biggest thing that you have done?" asked the

Frohman rose and pointed with his stick at the rows of book-shelves
about him that held the bound copies of the plays he had produced. Then
he said with a smile:

"That is what I have done. Don't you think it is a pretty good life's

He was not overstepping the mark when he pointed with pride at that army
of plays. This list is the greatest monument, perhaps, to his boundless
ambition and energy, for it contains the four hundred original
productions he made in America, besides the one hundred and twenty-five
plays he put on in London. That Charles should have produced so many
plays is not surprising. He adored the theater; it was his very being.
To him, in truth, all the world was a stage.

Everything that he saw as he walked the streets or rode in a cab or
viewed from a railway train he re-visualized and considered in the terms
of the playhouse. If he saw an impressive bit of scenery he would say,
"Wouldn't that make a fine background?" If he heard certain murmurs in
the country or the tumult of a crowd on the highway, he instinctively
said, "How fine it would be to reproduce that sound."

He only read books with a view of their adaptability to plays. Where
other men found diversion and recreation in golfing, motoring, or
walking, Charles sought entertainment in reading manuscripts. He was
never without a play; when he traveled he carried dozens.

In the matter of plays Frohman had what was little less than a contempt
for the avowedly academic. He refused to be drawn into discussions of
the so-called "high brow" drama. When some one asked him to name the
greatest of English dramatists he replied, quick as a flash:

"The one who writes the last great play."

"Whom do you consider the greatest American dramatist?" was the question
once put to him. His smiling answer was:

"The one whose play the greatest number of good Americans go to see."

On this same occasion he was asked, "What seat in the theater do you
consider the best to view a drama or a musical comedy from?"

"The paid one," he retorted.

Back in Charles's mind was a definite and well-ordered policy about
plays. His first production on any stage was a melodrama, and, though in
later years he ran the whole range from grave to gay, he was always true
to his first love. This is one reason why Sardou's "Diplomacy" was, in
many respects, his ideal of a play. It has thrills, suspense, love
interests, and emotion. He revived it again and again, and it never
failed to give him a certain pleasure.

Once in London Frohman unbosomed himself about play requirements, and
this is what he said:

"I start out by asking certain requirements of every piece. If it be a
drama, it must have healthfulness and comedy as well as seriousness. We
are a young people, but only in the sense of healthy-mindedness. There
is no real taste among us for the erotic or the decadent. It is foreign
to us because, as a people, we have not felt the corroding touch of
decadence. Nor is life here all drab. Hence I expect lights as well as
shadows in every play I accept.

"Naturally, I am also influenced by the fitness of the chief parts for
my chief stars, but I often purchase the manuscript at once on learning
its central idea. I commissioned Clyde Fitch and Cosmo Gordon-Lennox to
go to work on 'Her Sister' after half an hour's account of the main
idea. Ethel Barrymore's work in that play is the best instance that I
can give of the artistic growth of that actress. The particular skill
she had obtained--and this is the test of an actress worth
remembering--is the art of acting scenes essentially melodramatic in an
unmelodramatic manner. After all, what is melodrama? Life itself is
melodrama, and life put upon the stage only seems untrue when it is
acted melodramatically--that is, unnaturally."

The foremost quality that Frohman sought in his plays was human
interest. His appraisal of a dramatic product was often influenced by
his love for a single character or for certain sentimental or emotional
speeches. He would almost invariably discuss these plays with his
intimates. Often he would act out the whole piece in a vivid and
graphic manner and enlarge upon the situations that appealed to his
special interest.

Plays thus described by him were found to be extremely entertaining and
diverting to his friends, but when presented on the stage to a
dispassionate audience they did not always fare so well. A notable
example was "The Hyphen." The big, patriotic speech of the old
German-American in the third act made an immense impression on Frohman
when he read the play. It led him to produce the piece in record time.
He recited it to every caller; he almost lost sight of the rest of the
play in his admiration for the central effort. But the audience and the
critics only saw this speech as part of a long play.

What Charles lacked in his study of plays in manuscript was the
analytical quality. He could feel that certain scenes and speeches would
have an emotional appeal, but he could not probe down beneath the
surface for the why and the wherefore. For analysis, as for details, he
had scant time. He accepted plays mainly for their general effect.

He was very susceptible to any charm that a play held out. If he found
the characters sympathetic, attractive, and lovable, that would outweigh
any objections made on technical grounds. When once he determined to
produce a play, only a miracle could prevent him. The more his
associates argued to the contrary, the more dogged he became. He had
superb confidence in his judgment; yet he invariably accepted failure
with serenity and good spirit. He always assumed the responsibility. He
listened sometimes to suggestions, but his views were seldom colored by

His association with men like J. M. Barrie, Haddon Chambers, Paul
Potter, William Gillette, Arthur Wing Pinero, and Augustus Thomas gave
him a loftier insight into the workings of the drama. He was quick to
absorb ideas, and he had a strong and retentive memory for details.

Frohman loved to present farce. He enjoyed this type of play himself
because it appealed to his immense sense of humor. He delighted in
rehearsing the many complications and entanglements which arise in such
plays. The enthusiasm with which French audiences greeted their native
plays often misled him. He felt that American theater-goers would be
equally uproarious. But often they failed him.

The same thing frequently happened with English plays. He would be swept
off his feet by a British production; he was at once sure that it would
be a success in New York. But New York, more than once, upset this
belief. The reason was that Frohman saw these plays as an Englishman. He
had the cosmopolitan point of view that the average play-goer in America

This leads to the interesting subject of "locality" in plays. Frohman
once summed up this whole question:

"As I go back and forth, crossing and recrossing the Atlantic, the
audiences on both sides seem more and more like one. Always, of course,
each has his own particular viewpoint, according to the side of the
Atlantic I happen to be on. But often they think the same, each from its
own angle.

"You bring your English play to America. Nobody is at all disturbed by
the mention of Park Lane or Piccadilly Circus. If there is drama in the
play, if in itself it interests and holds the audience, nobody pays any
attention to its locality or localisms.

"But an English audience sitting before an American play hears mention
of West Twenty-third Street or Washington Square, and while it is
wondering just where and what these localities are an important incident
in the dramatic action slips by unnoticed. Not that English audiences
are at all prejudiced against American plays. They take them in the same
general way that Americans take English plays. Each public asks, 'What
have you got?' As soon as it hears that the play is good it is

"English audiences, for example, were quick to discover the fun in 'The
Dictator' when Mr. Collier acted it in London, though it was full of the
local color of New York, both in the central character and in the
subject. Somehow the type and the speeches seemed to have a sort of
universal humor. I tried it first on Barrie. He marked in the manuscript
the places that he could understand. The piece never went better in

"On the other hand, one reason why 'Brewster's Millions' did not go well
in London was because the severely logical British mind took it all as a
business proposition. The problem was sedately figured out on the theory
that the young man did not spend the inherited millions.

"If the locality of an American play happens to be a mining village, it
is better to change its scenes to a similar village in Australia when
you take the play to London. Then the audience is sure to understand.
The public of London gave 'The Lion and the Mouse' an enthusiastic first
night, but it turned out that they had not comprehended the play. It
was unthinkable to them that a judge should be disgraced and disbarred
by a political 'ring.'"

The ideal play for Charles Frohman was always the one that he had in
mind for a particular star. His special desire, however, was for strong
and emotional love as the dominant force in the drama. He felt that all
humanity was interested in love, and he believed it established a
congenial point of contact between the stage and the audience.

Although he did not especially aspire to Shakespearian production, he
used the great bard's works as models for appraising other plays.
"Shakespeare invented farce comedy," he once said, "and whenever I
consider the purchase of such a thing I compare its scenes with the most
famous of all farces, 'The Taming of the Shrew.' It goes without saying
that when it comes to the stage of the production, my aim is to imbue
the performance with a spirit akin to that contained in Shakespeare's
humorous masterpiece."

Frohman often "went wrong" on plays. He merely accepted these mistakes
as part of the big human hazard and went on to something new. His
amazing series of errors of judgment with plays by Augustus Thomas is
one of the traditions of the American theater. The reader already knows
how he refused "Arizona" and "The Earl of Pawtucket," and how they made
fortunes for other managers.

One of the most extraordinary of these Thomas mistakes was with "The
Witching Hour." It was about the only time that he permitted his own
decision to be swayed by outside influence, and it cost him dearly.

The author read the play to Frohman on a torrid night in midsummer.
Frohman, as usual, sat cross-legged on a divan and sipped orangeade

Thomas, who has all the art and eloquence of a finished actor, read his
work with magnetic effect. When he finished Frohman sat absolutely still
for nearly five minutes. It seemed hours to the playwright, who awaited
the decision with tense interest. Finally Frohman said in a whisper:

"That is almost too beautiful to bear."

A pause followed. Then he said, eagerly:

"When shall we do it; whom do you want for star?"

"I'd like to have Gillette," replied Thomas.

"You can't have him," responded Frohman. "He's engaged for something

With this the session ended. Frohman seemed strangely under the spell of
the play. It made him silent and meditative.

The next day he gave the manuscript to some of his close associates to
read. They thought it was too psychological for a concrete dramatic
success. To their great surprise he agreed with them.

"The Witching Hour" was produced by another manager and it ran a whole
season in New York, and then duplicated its success on the road. This
experience made Frohman all the more determined to keep his own counsel
and follow his instincts with regard to plays thereafter, and he did.

Charles regarded play-producing just as he regarded life--as a huge
adventure. An amusing thing happened during the production of "The Other
Girl," a play by Augustus Thomas, in which a pugilist has a prominent

Lionel Barrymore was playing the part of the prize-fighter, who was
generally supposed to be a stage replica of "Kid" McCoy, then in the
very height of his fistic powers. In the piece the fighter warns his
friends not to bet on a certain fight. The lines, in substance, were:

"You have been pretty loyal to me, but I am giving you a tip not to put
any money down on that 'go' in October."

One day Frohman found Barrymore pacing nervously up and down in front of
his office.

"What's the matter, Lionel?" he asked.

"Well," was the reply, "I am very much disturbed about something. I made
a promise to 'Kid' McCoy, and I don't know how to keep it. You know I
have a line in the play in which the prize-fighter warns his friends not
to bet on him in a certain fight in October. The 'Kid,' who has been at
the play nearly every night since we opened, now has a real fight on for
October, and he is afraid it will give people the idea that it is a

"You mean to say that you want me to change Mr. Thomas's lines?" asked
Frohman, seriously.

"I can't ask you to do that," answered Barrymore. "But I promised the
'Kid' to speak to you about it, and I have kept my word."

Frohman thought a moment. Then he said, gravely:

"All right, Lionel, I'll postpone the date of the fight in the play
until November, even December, but not a day later."

Frohman was not without his sense of imitation. He was quick to follow
up a certain type or mood whether it was in the vogue of an actor or the
character of a play. This story will illustrate:

One night early in February, 1895, Frohman sat in his wonted corner at
Delmonico's, then on Broadway and Twenty-sixth Street. He had "The Fatal
Card," by Chambers and Stephenson, on the boards at Palmer's Theater; he
also had A. M. Palmer's Stock Company on the road in Sydney Grundy's
play "The New Woman." This naturally gave him a lively interest in Mr.
Palmer's productions.

Paul Potter, who was then house dramatist at Palmer's, bustled into the
restaurant with the plot of a new novel which had been brought to his
attention by the news-stand boy at the Waldorf. Frohman listened to his
recital with interest.

"What is the name of the book?" he asked.

"Trilby," replied Potter.

"Well," he continued, "it ought to be called after that conjurer chap,
Bengali, or whatever his name is. However, go ahead. Get Lackaye back
from 'The District Attorney' company to which Palmer has lent him.
Engage young Ditrichstein by all means for one of your Bohemians. Call
in Virginia Harned and the rest of the stock company. And there you

With uncanny precision he had cast the leading rôles perfectly and on
the impulse of the moment.

During the fortnight of the incubation of the play Potter saw Frohman
nightly, for they were now fast friends. Frohman was curiously
fascinated by "Bengali," as he insisted upon calling Svengali.

"We do it next Monday in Boston," said Potter, "and I count on your
coming to see it."

Frohman went to Boston to see the second performance. After the play he
and Potter walked silently across the Common to the Thorndyke Hotel. In
his room Frohman broke into speech:

"They are roasting it awfully in New York," he began. "Yet Joe Jefferson
says it will go around the world." Then he added, "They say you have cut
out all the Bohemian stuff."

"Nevertheless," replied Potter, "W. A. Brady has gone to New York
to-night to offer Mr. Palmer ten thousand dollars on account for the
road rights."

"Well," said Frohman, showing his hand at last, "Jefferson and Brady are
right, and if Palmer will let me in I'll go half and half, or, if he
prefers, I'll take it all."

At supper after the first performance at the Garden Theater in New York,
Frohman advised Sir Herbert Tree to capture the play for London.
Henceforth, wherever he traveled, "Trilby" seemed to pursue him.

"I've seen your old 'Bengali,'" he wrote Potter, "in Rome, Vienna,
Berlin, everywhere. It haunts me. And, as you cut out the good Bohemian
stuff, I'll use it myself at the Empire."

He did so in Clyde Fitch's version of "La Vie de Bohème," which was
called "Bohemia."

"How did it go?" Potter wrote him from Switzerland.

"Pretty well," replied Frohman. "Unfortunately we left out 'Bengali.'"

On more than one occasion Frohman produced a play for the mere pleasure
of doing it. He put on a certain little dramatic fantasy. It was
foredoomed to failure and held the boards only a week.

"Why did you do this play?" asked William H. Crane.

"Because I wanted to see it played," answered Frohman. "I knew it would
not be successful, but I simply had to do it. I saw every performance
and I liked it better every time I saw it."

Often Frohman would make a contract with a playwright for a play, and
long before the first night he would realize that it had no chance. Yet
he kept his word with the author, and it was always produced.

The case of "The Heart of a Thief," by the late Paul Armstrong, is
typical. Frohman paid him an advance of fifteen hundred dollars. After a
week of rehearsals every one connected with the play except Armstrong
realized that it was impossible.

Frohman, however, gave it an out-of-town opening and brought it to the
Hudson Theater in New York, where it ran for one week. When he decided
to close it he called the company together and said:

"You've done the best you could. It's all my fault. I thought it was a
good play. I was mistaken."

Frohman took vast pride in the "clean quality" of his plays, as he often
phrased it. His whole theatrical career was a rebuke to the salacious.
He originally owned Edward Sheldon's dramatization of Suderman's "The
Song of Songs." On its production in Philadelphia it was assailed by the
press as immoral. Frohman immediately sold it to A. H. Woods, who
presented it with enormous financial success in New York.

He was scrupulous to the last degree in his business relations with
playwrights. Once a well-known English author, who was in great
financial need, cabled to his agent in America that he would sell
outright for two thousand dollars all the dramatic rights to a certain
play of his that Frohman and an associate had on the road at that time.
The associate thought it was a fine opportunity and personally cabled
the money through the agent. Then he went to Frohman and said, with
great satisfaction:

"I've made some money for us to-day."

"How's that?" asked Frohman.

Then his associate told the story of the author's predicament and what
he had done. He stood waiting for commendation. Instead, Frohman's face
darkened; he rang a bell, and when his secretary appeared he said:

"Please wire Blank [mentioning the playwright's name] that the money
cabled him to-day was an advance on future royalties."

Then he turned to his associate and said:

"Never, so long as you work with me or are associated with me in any
enterprise, take advantage of the distress of author or actor. This
man's play was good enough for us to produce; it is still good enough to
earn money. When it makes money for us it also makes money for him."

* * *

By the force of his magnetic personality Charles amiably coerced more
than one unwilling playwright into submission to his will. An experience
with Margaret Mayo will illustrate.

Miss Mayo returned on the same steamer with him when he made his last
trip from London to the United States. As they walked up the gang-plank
at Liverpool the manager told the author that he had a play he wished
her to adapt.

"But I have decided to adapt no more plays," said Miss Mayo.

"Never mind," replied Frohman. "We will see about that."

Needless to say, by the time the ship reached New York the play was in
Miss Mayo's trunk and the genial tyrant had exacted a promise for the

Miss Mayo immediately went to her country house up the Hudson. For a
week she reproached herself for having fallen a victim to the Frohman
beguilements. In this state of mind she could do no work on the

With his astonishing intuition Frohman divined that the author was
making no progress, so he sent her a note asking her to come to town,
and adding, "I have something to show you."

Miss Mayo entered the office at the Empire determined to throw herself
upon the managerial mercy and beg to be excused from the commission. But
before she could say a word Frohman said, cheerily:

"I've found the right title for our play."

Then he rang a bell, and a boy appeared holding a tightly rolled poster
in his hand. At a signal he unfolded it, and the astonished playwright
beheld these words in large red and white letters:

      _Charles Frohman_



    _A Farce in Three Acts_

     _By Margaret Mayo_

Of course the usual thing happened. No one could resist such an attack.
Miss Mayo went back to the country without protest and she finished the
play. It was destined, however, to be produced by some other hand than

* * *

Frohman always sought seclusion when he wanted to work out the plans for
a production. He sometimes went to extreme lengths to achieve
aloofness. An incident related by Goodwin will illustrate this.

During the run of "Nathan Hale" in New York Goodwin entered his
dressing-room one night, turned on the electric light, and was amazed to
see Charles sitting huddled up in a corner.

"What are you doing here, Charley?" asked Goodwin.

"I am casting a new play, and came here to get some inspiration. Good
night," was the reply. With that he walked out.

* * *

There was one great secret in Charles Frohman's life. It is natural that
it should center about the writing of a play; it is natural, too, that
this most intimate of incidents in the career of the great manager
should be told by his devoted friend and colleague of many years, Paul

Here it is as set down by Mr. Potter:

We had hired a rickety cab at the Place Saint-François in Lausanne, and
had driven along the lake of Geneva to Morges, where, sitting on the
terrace of the Hôtel du Mont Blanc, we were watching the shore of Savoy
across the lake, and the gray old villages of Thonon and Evian, and the
mountains, rising ridge upon ridge, behind them. And Frohman, being in
lyric mood, fell to quoting "The Blue Hills Far Away," for Owen
Meredith's song was one of the few bits of verse that clung in his

"Odd," said he, relapsing into prose, "that a chap should climb hill
after hill, thinking he had reached his goal, and should forever find
the blue hills farther and farther away."

While he was ruminating the clouds lifted, and there, in a gap of the
hills, was the crest of Mont Blanc, with its image of Napoleon lying
asleep in the snow.

I have seen Frohman in most of the critical moments of his life, but I
never saw him utterly awe-stricken till then.

"Gee," said he, at length, "what a mountain to climb!"

"It is sixty miles away," I ventured to suggest.

"Well," he remarked, "I'll climb it some day. As John Russell plastered
the Rocky Mountains with 'The City Directory,' so I'll hang a shingle
from the top of Mont Blanc: 'Ambition: a comedy in four acts by Charles
Frohman.'" And as we went home to Ouchy he told me the secret desire of
his heart.

He wanted to write a play.

"Isn't it enough to be a theatrical manager?" I asked.

"No," said he, "a theatrical manager is a joke. The public thinks he
spends his days in writing checks and his nights in counting the
receipts. Why, when I wanted to become a depositor at the Union Bank in
London, the cashier asked me my profession. 'Theatrical manager,' I
replied. 'Humph!' said the cashier, taken aback. 'Well, never mind, Mr.
Frohman; we'll put you down as 'a gentleman.'"

"But is a playwright," I asked, "more highly reputed than a theatrical

"Not in America," said Frohman. "Most Americans think that the actors
and actresses write their own parts. I was on the Long Branch boat the
other day and met a well-known Empire first-nighter. 'What are you going
to give us next season, Frohman?' he said.

"'I open with a little thing by Sardou,' I replied.

"'Sardou!' he cried. 'Who in thunder is Sardou?'

"All the same," Frohman continued, "I mean to be a playwright. Didn't
Lester Wallack write 'Rosedale' and 'The Veteran'? Didn't Augustin Daly
make splendid adaptations of German farces? Doesn't Belasco turn out
first-class dramas? Then why not I? I mean to learn the game. Don't give
me away, but watch my progress in play-making as we jog along through

He got his first tip from Pinero. "When I have sketched out a play,"
observed the author of "The Second Mrs. Tanqueray," "I go and live among
the characters."

Frohman had no characters of his own, but he held in his brain a
fabulous store of other people's plays. And whenever they had a
historical or a literary origin he ran these origins to their lair. At
Ferney, on the Lake of Geneva, he cared nothing about Voltaire; he
wanted to see the place where the free-thinkers gathered in A. M.
Palmer's production of "Daniel Rochat." At Geneva he was not concerned
with Calvin, but with memories of a Union Square melodrama, "The Geneva
Cross." At Lyons he expected the ghosts of _Claude Melnotte_ and
_Pauline_ to meet him at the station. In Paris he allowed Napoleon to
slumber unnoticed in the Invalides while he hunted the Faubourg
Saint-Antoine for traces of "The Tale of Two Cities," and the Place de
la Concorde for the site of the guillotine on which _Sidney Carton_
died, and the Latin Quarter haunts of _Mimi_ and _Musette_, and the Bal
Bullier where _Trilby_ danced, and the Concert des Ambassadeurs where
_Zaza_ bade her lover good-by.

Any production was an excuse for these expeditions. Sir Herbert Tree had
staged "Colonel Newcome"; we had ourselves plotted a dramatization of
"Pendennis"; Mrs. Fiske had given "Vanity Fair"; so off we went, down
the Boulevard Saint-Germain, searching for the place, duly placarded,
where Thackeray lunched in the days of the "Paris Sketch-book" and the
"Ballad of Bouillabaisse."

In the towns of Kent we got on the trail of Dickens with the enthusiasm
of a Hopkinson Smith; in London, between Drury Lane and Wardour Street,
we hunted for the Old Curiosity Shop; in Yarmouth we discovered the
place where Peggotty's boat-hut might have lain on the sands. With
William Seymour, who knew every street from his study of "The Rivals,"
we listened to the abbey bells of Bath. And when "Romeo and Juliet" was
to be revived with Sothern and Marlowe, Frohman even proposed that we
should visit Verona. He only abandoned the idea on discovering that the
Veronese had no long-distance telephones, and that, while wandering
among the tombs of the Montagus and Capulets, he would be cut off from
his London office.

Having thus steeped himself in the atmosphere of his work, he set forth
to learn the rules of the game. I met him in Paris on his return from
New York. "How go the rules?" I asked.

"Rotten," said he. "Our American playwrights say there are no rules;
with them it is all inspiration. The Englishmen say that rules exist,
but what the rules are they either don't know or won't tell."

We went to the Concert Rouge. Those were the happy days when there were
no frills; when the price of admission was charged with what you drank;
when Saint-Saëns accompanied his "Samson and Delilah" with an imaginary
flute obligato on a walking-stick; when Massenet, with his librettist,
Henri Cain, dozed quietly through the meditation of "Thaïs"; when the
students and their girls forgot frivolity under the spell of

In a smoky corner sat a group of well-known French playwrights, headed
by G. A. Caillavet, afterward famous as author of "Le Roi." They were
indulging in a heated but whispered discussion. They welcomed Frohman
cordially, then returned to the debate.

"What are they talking about?" asked Frohman.

"The rules of the drama," said I.

"Then there are rules!" cried the manager, eagerly.

"Ask Caillavet," said I.

"Rules?" exclaimed Caillavet, who spoke English. "Are there rules of
painting, sculpture, music? Why, the drama is a mass of rules! It is
nothing but rules."

"And how long," faltered Frohman, thinking of his play--"how long would
it take to learn them?"

"A lifetime at the very least," answered Caillavet. Disconsolate,
Frohman led me out into the Rue de Tournon. Heartbroken, he convoyed me
into Foyot's, and drowned his sorrows in a grenadine.

From that hour he was a changed man. He apparently put aside all thought
of the drama whose name was to be stenciled on the summit of Mont Blanc;
yet, nevertheless, he applied himself assiduously to learning the
principles on which the theater was based.

Another winter had passed before we sat side by side on the terrace of
the Café Napolitain.

"I have asked Harry Pettitt, the London melodramatist," Frohman said,
"to write me a play. 'I warn you, Frohman,' he replied, 'that I have
only one theme--the Persecuted Woman.' Dion Boucicault, who was
present, said, 'Add the Persecuted Girl.' Joseph Jefferson was with us,
and Jefferson remarked, 'Add the Persecuted Man.' So was Henry Irving,
who said: 'Pity is the trump card; but be Aristotelian, my boy; throw in
a little Terror; with Pity I can generally go through a season, as with
'Charles the First' or 'Olivia'; with Terror and Pity combined I am
liable to have something that will outlast my life." And Irving
mentioned "The Bells" and "The Lyons Mail."

"But who will write you your Terror and Pity?" I asked Frohman.

"If Terror means 'thrill,'" said Frohman, "I can count on Belasco and
Gillette. If Pity means 'sympathy,' the Englishmen do it pretty well. So
does Fitch. So do the French, who used to be masters of the game."

"You don't expect," I said, "to pick up another 'Two Orphans,' a second
'Ticket of Leave Man'?"

"I'm not such a fool," said Frohman. "But I've got hold of something now
that will help me to feed my stock company in New York." And off we went
with Dillingham to see "The Girl from Maxim's" at the Nouveautés.

When we got home to the Ritz Frohman discussed the play after his
manner: "Do you know," he said, "I find the element of pity quite as
strongly developed in these French farces as in the Ambigu melodramas.
The truant husband leaves home, goes out for a good time, gets buffeted
and bastinadoed for his pains, and when the compassionate audience says,
'He has had enough; let up,' he comes humbly home to the bosom of his
family and is forgiven. Where can you find a more human theme than

"Then you hold," said I, "that even in a French farce the events should
be reasonable?"

"I wouldn't buy one," he replied, "if I didn't consider its basis
thoroughly human. Dion Boucicault told me long ago that farce, like
tragedy, must be founded on granite. 'Farce, well done,' said he, 'is
the most difficult form of dramatic composition. That is why, if
successful, it is far the most remunerative.'"

Years went by. The stock company was dead. "Charles Frohman's Comedians"
had disappeared. The "stars" had supplanted them. Frohman was at the
zenith of his career. American papers called him "the Napoleon of the
Drama." Prime Ministers courted him in the grill-room of the London
Savoy. The Paris _Figaro_ announced the coming of "the celebrated
impresario." I heard him call my name in the crowd at the Gare du Nord
and we bundled into a cab.

"So you're a great man now," I said.

"Am I?" he remarked. "There's one thing you can bet on. If they put me
on a throne to-day they are liable to yank me off to-morrow."

"And how's your own play getting along?"

"Don't!" he winced. "Let us go to the Snail."

In the cozy recesses of the Escargot d'Or, near the Central Markets, he
unraveled the mysteries of the "star system" which had made him famous.

"It's the opposite of all we ever believed," he said, while the mussels
and shell-fish were being heaped up before him. "Good-by to Caillavet
and his rules. Good-by, Terror and Pity. Good-by, dear French farce.
Give me a pretty girl with a smile, an actor with charm, and I will defy
our old friend Aristotle."

"Is it as easy as that?" I asked, in amazement.

"No," said he, "it's confoundedly difficult to find the girl with the
smile and the actor with charm. It is pure accident. There are players
of international reputation who can't draw a dollar. There are chits of
chorus-girls who can play a night of sixteen hundred dollars in
Youngstown, Ohio."

"And the play doesn't matter?" I inquired.

"There you've got me," said Frohman, as the crêpes Suzette arrived in
their chafing-dish. "My interest makes me pretend that the play's the
thing. I congratulate foreign authors on a week of fourteen thousand
dollars in Chicago, and they go away delighted. But I know, all the
time, that of this sum the star drew thirteen thousand nine hundred
dollars, and the author the rest."

"To what do you attribute such a state of affairs?"

"Feminine curiosity. God bless the women."

"Are there no men in your audiences?" I asked.

"Only those whom the women take," said Frohman. "The others go to
musical shows. Have some more crêpes Suzette."

"But what do the critics say?" I persisted.

"My dear Paul," said Frohman, solemnly, "they call me a 'commercial
manager' because I won't play Ibsen or Maeterlinck. They didn't help me
when I tried for higher game. I had years of poverty, years of
privation. To-day I take advantage of a general feminine desire to view
Miss Tottie Coughdrop; and, to the critics, I'm a mere Bulgarian, a
'commercial manager.' So was Lester Wallack when he admitted 'The World'
to his classic theater. So was Augustin Daly when he banished
Shakespeare in favor of 'The Great Ruby.' If the critics want to reform
the stage, let them begin by reforming the public."

In his cabin on the _Lusitania_ he showed me a mass of yellow
manuscript, scribbled over with hieroglyphics in blue pencil.

"That's my play," he said, very simply.

"Shall I take it home and read it?" I asked.

"No," he replied. "I will try it on Barrie and bring it back in better

So he shook hands and sailed with his cherished drama, which reposes
to-day, not on the summit of Mont Blanc, but at the bottom of the Irish



The real Charles Frohman emerged at rehearsals. The shy, sensitive man
who shunned the outside world here stood revealed as a dynamic force.
Yet he ruled by personality, because he believed in personality. He did
every possible thing to bring out the personal element in the men and
women in his companies.

In rehearsing he showed one of the most striking of his traits. It was a
method of speech that was little short of extraordinary. It grew out of
the fact that his vocabulary could not express his enormous imagination.
Instead of words he made motions. It was, as Augustus Thomas expressed
it, "an exalted pantomime." Those who worked with him interpreted these
gestures, for between him and his stars existed the finest kinship.

Frohman seldom finished a sentence, yet those who knew him always
understood the unuttered part. Even when he would give a star the first
intimation of a new rôle he made it a piece of pantomime interspersed
with short, jerky sentences.

William Faversham had complained about having two very bad parts. When
he went to see Frohman to hear about the third, this is the way the
manager expressed it to him:

"New play--see?... Fine part.--First act--_you_ know--romantic--light
through the window ... nice deep tones of your voice, you see?... Then,
audience say 'Ah!'--then the girl--see?--In the room ... you ... one
of those big scenes--then, all subdued--light--coming through
window.--See?--And then--curtain--audience say 'Great!' ... Now,
second act ... all that tremolo business--you know?--Then you get
down to work ... a tremendous scene ... let your voice go.... Great
climax ... (Oh, a great play this--a great part!) ... Now, last
act--simple--nice--lovable--refined ... sad tones in your voice--and,
well, you know--and then you make a big hit.... Well, now we will
rehearse this in about a week--and you will be tickled to death.... This
is a great play--fine part.... Now, you see Humphreys--he will arrange

Of course Faversham went away feeling that he was about forty-four feet
tall, that he was a great actor, and had a wonderful part.

Like the soldier who thrills at the sound of battle, Frohman became
galvanized when he began to work in the theater. He forgot time, space,
and all other things save the task at hand. To him it was as the breath
of life.

One reason was that the theater was his world; the other that Charles
was, first and foremost, a director and producer. His sensibility and
force, his feeling and authority, his intelligence and comprehension in
matters of dramatic artistry were best, almost solely, known to his
players and immediate associates. No stage-director of his day was more
admired and desired than he.

At rehearsal the announcement, "C. F. is in front," meant for every one
in the cast an eager enthusiasm and a desire to do something unusually
good to merit his commendation. His enormous energy, aided by his
diplomacy and humor, inspired the player to highest performance.

Such expressions as, "But, Mr. Frohman, this is my way of doing it," or
"I feel it this way," and like manifestations of actors' conceit or
argument would never be met with ridicule or contempt. Sometimes he
would say, "Try it my way first," or "Do you like that?" or "Does this
give you a better feeling?" He never said, "You _must_ do thus and so."
He was alert to every suggestion. As a result he got the very best out
of his people. It was part of his policy of developing the personal

The genial human side of the man always softened his loudest tones,
although he was seldom vehement. So gentle was his speech at rehearsals
that the actors often came down to the footlights to hear his friendly
yet earnest direction.

Frohman had that first essential of a great dramatic director--a
psychologic mind in the study of the various human natures of his actors
and of the ideas they attempted to portray.

He was an engaging and fascinating figure, too, as he molded speech and
shaped the play. An old friend who saw him in action thus describes the

"Here a comedian laughs aloud with the comic quaintness of the director.
There a little lady, new to the stage, is made to feel at home and
confident. The proud old-timer is sufficiently ameliorated to approve of
the change suggested. The leading lady trembles with the shock of
realization imparted by the stout little man with chubby smile who,
seated alone in the darkened auditorium, conveys his meaning as with
invisible wires, quietly, quaintly, simply, and rationally, so as to
stir the actors' souls to new sensibilities, awaken thought, and
viviby(?) glow of passion, sentiment, or humor."

At rehearsals Frohman usually sat alone about the tenth row back. He
rarely rose from his seat, but by voice and gesture indicated the moves
on his dramatic chess-board. When it became necessary for him to go on
the stage he did so with alacrity. He suggested, by marvelously simple
indications and quick transitions, the significance of the scene or the
manner of the presentation.

There was a curious similarity, in one respect, between the rehearsing
methods of Charles Frohman and Augustin Daly. This comparison is
admirably made by Frohman's life-long friend Franklin H. Sargent,
Director of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and the Empire School
of Acting, in which Frohman was greatly interested and which he helped
in every possible way. He said:

"Like a great painter with a few stray significant lines of drawing,
Frohman revealed the spirit and the idea. In this respect he resembled
Augustin Daly, who could furnish much dramatic intuition by a grunt and
a thumb-joint. Both men used similar methods and possessed equal
keenness of intelligence and sense of humor, except that Frohman was
rarely sarcastic. Daly usually was. Frohman's demeanor and relationship
to his actors was kindly and considerate. Rules, and all strictly
enforced, were in Daly's policy of theater management. Frohman did not
resort to rules. He regulated his theaters on broad principles, but with
firm decision when necessary. In Daly's theater there was obedience; in
Frohman's theater there was a willing co-operation. The chief interest
of both managers was comedy--comedy of two opposite kinds. Daly's jest
was the artificial German farce and Shakespearian refinement. Frohman's
tastes ranged between the French school--Sardou's 'Diplomacy' and the
modern realities--and the pure sentiments of Barrie's 'The Little
Minister.' Frohman was never traditional in an artificial sense, though
careful to retain the fundamental original treatment of imported foreign

"The verities, the humanities, the joys of life always existed and grew
with him as with a good landscape architect who keeps in nature's ways.
His departures into the classicism of Stephen Phillips, the romanticism
of Shakespeare, or the exotic French society drama were never as
valuable and delightful as his treatment of modern sentiment and

In this respect a comparison with the workmanship of another genius of
the American theater, David Belasco, is inevitable. Belasco, the great
designer and painter of theatrical pictures, holds quite a different
point of view and possesses different abilities from those of Charles
Frohman. Belasco revels in the technique of the actor. Frohman's
_métier_ was the essentials. The two men were in many ways complements
of each other and per force admirers of each other and friends. In
brief, Belasco is the technicist; Frohman was the humanitarian.

Charles usually left details of scenery, lighting, and minor matters to
his stage-manager. "Look after the little things," he would say, in
business as in art, for he himself was interested only in the larger
themes. The lesser people of the play, the early rehearsing of involved
business, was shaped by his subordinates. The smaller faults and the
mannerisms of the actor did not trouble him, provided the main thought
and feeling were there. He would merely laugh at a suggestion to
straighten out the legs and walk, to lengthen the drawl, or to heighten
the cockney accent of a prominent member of his company, saying:

"The public likes him for these natural things."

Frohman's ear was musically sensitive. The intonations, inflections, the
tone colors of voice, orchestral and incidental music, found him an
exacting critic.

To plays he gave thought, study, and preparation. The author received
much advice and direction from him. He himself possessed the expert
knowledge and abilities of a playwright, as is always true of every good
stage-director. Each new play was planned, written, cast, and revised
completely under his guidance and supervision. His stage-manager had
been instructed in advance in the "plotting" of its treatment. The first
rehearsals were usually left in charge of this assistant.

At the first rehearsals Frohman made little or no comments. He watched
and studied in silence. Thereafter his master-mind would reveal itself
in reconstruction of lines and scenes, re-accentuation of the high and
low lights of the story involved, and improvement of the acting and
representation. Frohman consulted with his authors, artists, and
assistants more in his office than in actual rehearsal. In the theater
he was sole auditor and judge. His stage-manager would rarely make
suggestions during rehearsals unless beckoned to and asked by his
manager. When the office-boy came in at rehearsal on some important
business errand, he got a curt dismissal, or at most a brief
consideration of the despatch, contract, or message.

Here is a vivid view of Frohman at rehearsal by one who often sat under
the magic of his direction:

"In the dim theater he sits alone, the stage-manager being at a
respectable distance. If by chance there are one or two others present
directly concerned in the production, they all sit discreetly in the
extreme rear. The company is grouped in the wings, never in the front.
The full stage lights throw into prominence the actors in the scene in
rehearsal. Occasionally the voice of Mr. Frohman calls from the
auditorium, and the direction is sometimes repeated more loudly by the
stage-manager. Everybody is listening and watching.

"The wonderfully responsive and painstaking nature of Maude Adams is
fully alive, alert, and interested in Mr. Frohman's directions even in
the scenes in which she has no personal part, during which, very likely,
she will half recline on the floor near the proscenium--all eyes and

"Or perhaps it is a strong emotional scene in which Margaret Anglin is
the central character. At the theatrically most effective point in the
acting the voice breaks in, Miss Anglin stops, hastens to the
footlights, and listens intently to a few simple, quiet words. Over her
face pass shadow and storm, and in her eyes tears form. Again she begins
the scene, and yet again, with cumulative passion. Each time, with each
new incitement from the sympathetic director, new power, deeper feeling,
keener thought develop, until a great glow of meaning and of might fills
the stage and the theater with its radiance. Mr. Frohman is at last
satisfied, and so the play moves on."

Just as Frohman loved humor in life, so did he have a rare gift for
comedy rehearsal. William Faversham pays him this tribute:

"I think Charles Frohman was the greatest comedy stage-manager that I
have known. I do not think there was a comedy ever written that he could
not rehearse and get more out of than any other stage-director I have
ever seen--and I have seen a good many. If he had devoted himself, as
director, entirely to one company, I think he would have produced the
greatest organization of comedians that Europe or America ever saw. I
don't suppose there is a comedy scene that he couldn't rehearse and play
better than any of the actors who were engaged to play the parts. The
subtle touches that he put into 'Lord and Lady Algy' were extraordinary.
The same with 'The Counsellor's Wife,' with 'Bohemia,' and again with a
play of H. V. Esmond's called 'Imprudence,' which we did. He seemed to
love this play, and I never saw a piece grow so in all my life as it did
under his direction. All the successes made by the actors and actresses
in that play were entirely through the work of Charles Frohman.

"He had a keen sense of sound, a tremendous ear for tones of comedy. He
could get ten or twelve inflections out of a speech of about four lines;
he had a wonderful method of getting the actors to accept and project
these tones over the footlights. He got what he wanted from them in the
most extraordinary way. With his disjointed, pantomimic method of
instruction he was able to transfer to them, as if by telepathy, what he

"For instance, he would say: 'Now, you go over there ... then, just as
he is looking at you ... see?--say--then ... that's it! you know?' And
simply by this telepathy you _did know_."

His terse summing up of scenes and facts was never better illustrated
than when he compressed the instructions of a whole sentimental act into
this simple sentence to E. H. Sothern:


In one detail he differed from all the other great producers of his
time. Most managers liked to nurse a play after its production and build
it up with new scenes or varied changes. With Frohman it was different.
"I am interested in a production until it has been made, and then I
don't care for it any more," he said. This is generally true, although
some of his productions he could never see often enough.

Frohman's perception about a play was little short of uncanny. An
incident that happened during the rehearsal of the Maude Adams all-star
revival of "Romeo and Juliet" will illustrate. James K. Hackett was cast
for _Mercutio_. He had worked for a month on the Queen Mab speech. He
had elaborated and polished it, and thought he had it letter and tone

Frohman sat down near the front and listened with rapt attention while
this fine actor declaimed the speech. When he finished Charles said, in
his jerky, epigrammatic way:

"Hackett, that's fine, but just in there somewhere--you know what I

As a matter of fact, Hackett, with all his elaborate preparation, had
slipped up on one line, and it was a very essential one. Frohman had
never read "Romeo and Juliet" until he cast this production, yet he
caught the omission with his extraordinary intuition.

Charles was the most indefatigable of workers. At one time, on arriving
in Boston at midnight, he had to stage a new act of "Peter Pan." He
worked over it with carpenters, actors, and electricians until three in
the morning. Then he made an appointment with the acting manager to take
a walk on the Common "in the morning."

The manager took "in the morning" to mean nine o'clock. When he reached
the hotel Frohman was just returning from his walk, and handed the man a
bunch of cables to send, telegrams to acknowledge, and memoranda of
information desired. At ten o'clock Frohman was conducting the rehearsal
of a new comedy by Haddon Chambers, which he finished at four. At five
he was on a train speeding back to New York, where he probably read
manuscripts of plays until two in the morning. This was one of the
typical "C. F." days.

* * *

Occasionally a single detail would fascinate him in a play. "The Waltz
Dream" that he did at the Hicks Theater in London in 1908 was typical.
Miss Gertie Millar, who sang the leading part, had an important song.
Frohman did not like the way she sang it, so he worked on it for two
weeks until it reached the perfection of expression that he desired. But
that song made the play and became the most-talked-of feature in it.
This led him to say:

"I am willing to give as much time to a single song as to the rehearsal
of a whole play."

Frohman had a phrase that he often used with his actors and directors.
It was:

"Never get a 'falling curtain.'"

By this he meant a curtain that did not leave interest or emotion
subdued or declining. He wanted the full sweep of rage, terror, pity,
suspense, or anger alive with the end of the act.

He always said, "A man who sees a play must feel that he is in the
presence of an act." It was his way of putting forth the idea that any
acted effort, no matter how humble, must have the ring of sincerity and

Charles had an almost weird instinct for what was right on the stage.
Once at rehearsals he pointed to a heavy candelabrum that stood on a

"I want that thing on the mantelpiece," he said.

"You mean the candelabrum?" asked one of his assistants.

"I don't know what it is, but I know that it belongs on the
mantelpiece." And it did.

* * *

Many of Frohman's rehearsals were held out of town. He was particularly
fond of "pointing up" a production in a strange environment. Then the
stage-director would ask the local manager for an absolutely empty
theater--"a clear auditorium."

"Peter Pan" was to be "finished off" at Washington. The call was issued,
the company assembled--everybody was present except Frohman. "Strange,"
was the thought in all minds, for he was usually so prompt. Ten minutes,
fifteen minutes passed until the stage-manager left the theater in
search of the manager. He was found at the front entrance of the
theater, unsuccessfully arguing with a German door-tender who, not
knowing him and immensely amused at the idea that he was pretending to
be Charles Frohman, refused to admit him until reassured by the company
stage-manager. Later, when the man came to apologize, Frohman's only
comment was:

"Oh! I forgot that an hour ago."

Few people knew the Frohman of rehearsals so well as William Seymour,
for many years his general stage-director. His illuminating picture of
the Little Chief he served so long is as follows:

"At rehearsals Charles Frohman was completely wrapped up in the play and
the players. His mind, however, traveled faster than we did. He often
stopped me to make a change in a line or in the business which to me was
not at all clear. You could not always grasp, at once, just what he was
aiming at. But once understood, the idea became illuminative, and
extended into the next, or even to succeeding acts of the play. He could
detect a weak spot quicker than any one I ever knew, and could remedy or
straighten it out just as quickly.

"After the rehearsal of a new play he would think of it probably all the
evening and night, and the next morning he had the solutions of the
several vague points at his fingers' ends. He was also very positive and
firm in what he wanted done, and how he thought it should be done. But
what he thought was right, he believed to be right, and he soon made you
see it that way.

"I confess to having had many differences of opinion and arguments,
sometimes even disagreements, with him. In some instances he came round
to my way of thinking, but he often said:

"'I believe you are right--I am sure you are right--but I intend doing
it my way.'

"It was his great and wonderful self-confidence, and it was rarely

"To his actors in a new play, after a week's 'roughing out' of the lines
and business, the announcement that 'C. F. will be here to-morrow' would
cause a flutter, some consternation, and to the newer members a great
fear. To those who had been with him before he was like a sheet-anchor
in a storm. They knew him and trusted and loved him. He was all
sympathy, all comfort, all encouragement--if anything, too indulgent and
overkind. But he won the confidence and affection of his people at the
outset, and I have rarely met a player who would not have done his
slightest bidding."

* * *

One of Frohman's characteristic hobbies was that he would never allow
the leading man or the leading woman of his theater, or anybody in the
company, no matter what position he or she held, to presume upon that
position and bully the property man, or the assistant stage-manager, or
any person in a menial position in the theater. He was invariably on the
side of the smaller people.

Very often he would say, "The smallest member of this organization, be
he of the staff or in the company, has as much right to his 'say' in an
argument as the biggest member has."

On one occasion a certain actor, who was rather fond of issuing his
wishes and instructions in a very loud voice, made his exit through a
door up the center of the stage which was very difficult to open and
shut. It had not worked well, and this had happened, quite by accident,
on several occasions during the run of the play. The actor had spoken
rather sharply to the carpenter about it instead of going, as he should
have done, to the stage-manager. He always called the carpenter
"Charley." The carpenter was a rather dignified person named Charles

On the night in question this actor had had the usual trouble with the
door. Heimley was not in sight, for he was evidently down in his
carpenter-shop under the stage. The actor leaned over the balustrade and
called out: "Charley! Charley!"

Frohman, who was just walking through the side door on his way to
William Faversham's dressing-room, turned to the star and said:

"Who is calling? Does he want me?"

"Oh no, he is calling the carpenter," replied Faversham.

Frohman tapped the noisy actor on the shoulder with his stick, and said,
"You mean _Mr. Heimley_, don't you?" He wanted the carpenter's position
to be respected.



The most distinctive quality in Charles Frohman's make-up was his sense
of humor. He mixed jest with life, and it enabled him to meet crisis and
disaster with unflagging spirit and smiling equanimity. Like Lincoln, he
often resorted to anecdote and story to illustrate his point. He summed
up his whole theory of life one day when he said to Augustus Thomas:

"I am satisfied if the day gives me one good laugh."

He had a brilliancy of retort that suggested Wilde or Whistler. Once he
was asked this question:

"What is the difference between metropolitan and out-of-town audiences?"

"Fifty cents," he replied.

* * *

Haddon Chambers was writing a note in Frohman's rooms at the Savoy.

"Do you spell high-ball with a hyphen?" he asked.

"No, with a siphon," responded Frohman.

* * *

Charles Dillingham, when in Frohman's employ, was ordered to hurry back
to New York. From a small town up New York state he wired:

     _Wash-out on line. Will return as soon as possible._

Frohman promptly sent the following reply:

     _Never mind your wash. Buy a new shirt and come along at once._

That he could also meet failure with a joke is shown by the following

He was producing a play at Atlantic City that seemed doomed from the
start. In writing to a member of his family he said:

     _I never saw the waves so high and the receipts so low._

Frohman and Pinero were dining in the Carleton grill-room one night when
a noisy person rushed up to them, slapped each on the shoulder, and

"Hello, 'C. F.'! Hello, 'Pin.'! I'm Hopkins."

Frohman looked up gravely and said:

"Ah, Mr. Hopkins, I can't say that I remember your name or your face,
but your manner is familiar."

* * *

When Edna May married Oscar Lewisohn she gave a reception on her return
from the honeymoon. She sent Charles one of the conventional engraved
cards that read:

     "_At home Thursday from four to six._"

Frohman immediately sent back the card, on which he had written, "So am

* * *

Once when Frohman and Dillingham were crossing to Europe on the
_Oceanic_ they had as fellow-passenger a mutual friend, Henry Dazian,
the theatrical costumer, on whom Charles delighted to play pranks. On
the first day out Dillingham came rushing back to Frohman with this

"There are a couple of card-sharks on board and Dazian is playing with
them. Don't you think we had better warn him?"

"No," replied Frohman. "Warn the sharks."

* * *

Some years ago Frohman sent a young actor named John Brennan out on the
road in the South in "Too Much Johnson." Brennan was a Southerner, and
he believed that he could do a big business in his home country. Frohman
then went to London, and, when playing hearts at the Savoy one night
with Dillingham, a page brought a cablegram. It was from Brennan,

     _Unless I get two hundred dollars by next Saturday night I can't

Whereupon Frohman wired him:

     _Keep going._

Frohman delighted to play jokes on his close friends. In 1900,
Dillingham opened the New Jersey Academy of Music with Julia Marlowe,
and it was a big event. This was before the day of the tubes under the
Hudson connecting New Jersey and New York. When Dillingham went down to
the ferry to cross over for the opening night he found a basket of
flowers from Frohman marked, "Bon voyage."

* * *

Nor could Frohman be lacking in the graceful reply. During a return
engagement of "The Man from Mexico," in the Garrick Theater, William
Collier became very ill with erysipelas and had to go to a hospital.
The day the engagement was resumed happened to be Frohman's birthday,
and Collier sent him the following cablegram:

     _Many happy returns from all your box offices._

He received the following answer from Frohman:

     _My happiest return is your return to the Garrick._

Behind all of Frohman's jest and humor was a serious outlook on life. It
was mixed with big philosophy, too, as this incident will show:

He was visiting Sir George Alexander at his country house in Kent.
Alexander, who is a great dog fancier, asked Frohman to accompany him
while he chained up his animals. Frohman watched the performance with
great interest. Then he turned to the actor-manager and said:

"I have got a lot of dogs out at my country place in America, but I
never tie them up."

"Why?" asked Alexander.

"Let other people tie up the dogs. You let them out and they will always
like you."

* * *

Frohman was known to his friends as a master of epigram. Some of his
distinctive sayings are these:

"The best seat at a theater is the paid one."

"An ounce of imagination is worth a pound of practicality."

"The man who makes up his mind to corner things generally gets

"You cannot monopolize theaters while there are bricks and mortar."

"When I hear of another theater being built I try to build another

"No successful theatrical producer ever died rich. He must make money
for everybody but himself."

"Great stage successes are the plays that take hold of the masses, not
the classes."

* * *

Frohman could always reach the heart of a situation with a pithy phrase
or reply. On one of the rare occasions when he attended a public dinner
he sat at the Metropolitan Club in New York with a group of men
representing a variety of interests. He condemned a certain outrageously
immodest Oriental dancer, who, at the moment, was shocking New York.

"She must have a nasty mind to dance like that," said Frohman.

"Don't be too hard on her," responded a playwright who sat near by.
"Consider how young she is."

"I deny that she is as young as you imply," retorted Frohman. "But I am
bound to admit that she is certainly a _stripling_."

* * *

Frohman's mind worked with amazing swiftness. Here is an example:

At the formation of a London society called the West End Managers
Association, Sir Charles Wyndham gave a luncheon at the Hyde Park Hotel
to discuss and arrange preliminaries. Most of the London managers were
present, including Frohman. There was a discussion as to what should be
the entrance fee for each member. Various sums were discussed from £100
downward. Twenty-five pounds seemed to be the most generally accepted,
when one manager said:

"Why should we not each give one night's receipts."

This was discussed for a little while, when Sir Charles said, "What do
you say, Frohman?"

The American replied, "I would sooner give a night's receipts than £25."

There was a short silence, then everybody seemed to remember that he had
at that moment a failure at his theater. The humor of it was hailed with
a shout of laughter.

* * *

Just as he mixed sentiment in business so did Frohman infuse wit into
most of his relations. He once instructed W. Lestocq, his London
manager, to conduct certain negotiations for a new play with a
Scotchwoman whose first play had made an enormous success in America,
and whose head had been turned by it. The woman's terms were ten
thousand dollars in advance and a fifteen-per-cent. royalty. When
Lestocq told Frohman these terms over the telephone, all he said was

"Did you tell her not to slam the door?"

* * *

Frohman would always have his joke in London, as this incident shows:

He had just arrived in town and went to a bank in Charing Cross with a
letter of credit, which he deposited. When he emerged he was smiling all

"I got one on that young man behind the counter," he said.

"How's that?" asked Lestocq, who was waiting for him.

"Well," he replied, "the young man bade me good morning and asked me if
I have brought over anything good this time. I replied, 'Yes, a letter
of credit on your bank, and I am waiting to see if _it_ is any good.'"

A manager, who for present purposes must be named Smith, called on
Frohman to secure the services of a star at that time under contract to
the latter. His plan was to drop in on Frohman at a busy hour, quickly
state the case, and, getting an affirmative answer, leave without
talking terms at all. Later he knew it would be enough to recall the
affirmative answer that had been given without qualification. The
transaction took but a moment, just as the manager wished.

"Well, then, I may have him?" said Smith.

"Er-m-ah-er-yes--I will let you have him," replied Frohman, at the same
time running over a paper before him. The visitor was already at the

"By the way, Smith," called out Frohman, "how much do you want me to pay
you for taking him off my hands?"

* * *

Frohman was as playful as a child. Once he was riding in a _petite
voiture_ in Paris. It was a desperately hot night. The old _cocher_ took
his hat off, hung it on the lamp, and wiped his forehead. Frohman took
the hat and hid it under his seat. When the driver looked for his hat it
was gone. He stopped the horse and ran back two or three blocks before
he could be stopped. Then he went on without it, muttering and cursing,
and turning around every few moments. Watching his opportunity, Frohman
slipped the hat back on the lamp, and there was the expected climax that
he thoroughly enjoyed.

On one of his trips to Paris he was accompanied by Dillingham. Knowing
Frohman's fondness for rich food, his friend decided to take him to dine
at Durand's famous restaurant opposite the Madeleine. He even went to
the café in the afternoon and told the proprietor that he was going to
bring the great American manager. Great anticipation prevailed in the

That night when they got to the restaurant Frohman gave Dillingham the
shock of his life by saying:

"I want to be a real American to-night. All I want is an oyster stew."

Dillingham instructed the chef how to make the stew. After long delay
there was a commotion. In strode the chef, followed by two assistants,
bearing aloft a gigantic silver tureen which was placed on the table and
opened with great ceremony. Inside was a huge quantity of consommé with
two lonely oysters floating on top.

Frohman regarded it as a great joke, and ever afterward when he met
anybody in Paris that he did not like, he would say to them:

"If you want the finest oyster stew in the world, go to Durand's."

* * *

Frohman, who was always playing jokes on his friends, was sometimes the
victim himself. He was crossing the ocean with Haddon Chambers when the
latter was accosted by two enterprising young men who were arranging the
ship's concert. Chambers was asked to take part, but declined. Then he
had an inspiration.

"We have on board the greatest American singer of coon songs known to
the stage."

"Who is that?" asked the men.

"It's Charles Frohman."

The men gasped.

"Of course we knew him as a great manager, but we never knew he could

"Oh yes," said Chambers. "He is a great singer."

He pointed out Frohman and hid behind a lifeboat to await the result.
Soon he heard a sputter and a shriek of rage, and the two men came
racing down the boat as if pursued by some terror. Up came Frohman, his
face livid with rage.

"What do you think?" he said to Chambers, who stood innocently by.
"Those men had the nerve to ask me to sing a coon song. I have never
been so insulted in all my life."

He was so enraged that he wrote a letter to the steamship line about it
and withdrew his patronage from the company for several years in

* * *

Here is another instance when the joke was on Frohman. No one viewed the
manager's immense success with keener pride or pleasure than his father,
Henry Frohman. As theater after theater came under the son's direction
the parent could gratify his great passion for giving people free passes
to its fullest extent. He would appear at the offices at the Empire
Theater with his pockets bulging with home-made cigars. The men in the
office always accepted the cigars, but never smoked them. But they gave
him all the passes he wanted.

One day the father stopped in to see Charles. It was a raw spring day.
Charles remarked that the overcoat Henry wore was too thin.

"Go to my tailor and get an overcoat," he said.

"Not much," said the father. "Your tailor is too expensive. He robs you.
He wouldn't make one under seventy-five dollars, and I never pay more
than twenty dollars."

Charles's eye twinkled. He said, quickly:

"You are mistaken. My tailor will make you a coat for twenty dollars. Go
down and get one."

Father went down to the fashionable Fifth Avenue tailor. Meanwhile
Frohman called him up and gave instructions to make a coat for his
father at a very low price and have the difference charged to him.

In an hour Henry Frohman came back all excitement. "I am a real business
man," he said. "I persuaded that tailor of yours to make me an overcoat
for twenty dollars."

Charles immediately gave him the twenty dollars and sent the tailor a
check for the difference between that and the real price, which was
ninety-five dollars. He dismissed the matter from his mind.

A few days later Charles had another visit from his father. This time he
was in high glee. He could hardly wait to tell the great news.

"You've often said I wasn't a good business man," he told his son.
"Well, I can prove to you that I am. The other night one of my friends
admired my new overcoat so much that I sold it to him for thirty-five

Charles said nothing, but had to pay for another
one-hundred-and-fifteen-dollar overcoat because he did not want to
shatter his father's illusion.

* * *

Here is still another. When Frohman got back to New York from a trip few
things interested him so much as a good dinner. It always wiped out the
memory of hard times or unpleasant experiences. Once he returned from a
costly visit to the West. On Broadway he met an old-time comedian who
had been in one of his companies. His greeting was cordial.

"And now, 'C. F.,'" said the comedian, "you've got to come to dinner
with me. We have a new club, for actors only, and we have the best roast
beef in town. We make a specialty of a substantial, homelike dinner.
Come right along."

The club rooms were over a saloon on the west side of Broadway, between
Thirty-first and Thirty-second streets. The two went up to the room and
sat down. The actor ordered dinner for two. The waiter went away and
Frohman's spirits began to rise.

"It's the best roast beef in New York, I tell you," said the host, by
way of an appetizer.

Then the waiter reappeared, but not with the food. He was visibly

"Sorry, sir," he said to the comedian, "but the steward tells me that
you can't have dinner to-night. He says you were posted to-day, and that
you can't be served again until everything is settled."

Charles used to tell this story and say that he never had such an
appetite for roast beef as he did when he rose from that club table to
go out again into Broadway.

* * *

Frohman was always interested in mechanical things. When the phonograph
was first put on the market he had one in his office at 1127 Broadway.
Once in London he found a mechanical tiger that growled, walked, and
even clawed. He enjoyed watching it crouch and spring.

He took it with him on the steamer back to New York, and played with it
on the deck. One day Richard Croker, who was a fellow-passenger, came
along and became interested in the toy, whereupon Frohman showed him how
it worked.

Frohman told of this episode with great satisfaction. He would always
end his description by saying:

"Fancy showing the boss of Tammany Hall how to work a tiger!"

* * *

The extraordinary affinity that existed between Frohman and a small
group of intimates was shown by an incident that occurred on shipboard.
He and Dillingham were on their way to Europe. They were playing
checkers in the smoking-room when an impertinent, pushing American came
up and half hung himself over the table. Frohman said nothing, but made
a very ridiculous move. Dillingham followed suit.

"What chumps you are!" said the interloper, and went away.

Frohman wanted to get rid of the man without saying anything. This was
his way of doing it, and it succeeded.

* * *

Frohman was always having queer adventures out of which he spun the most
amazing yarns. This is an experience that he liked to recount:

When Augustus Thomas had an apartment in Paris he received a visit from
Frohman. The flat was five flights up, but there was an elevator that
worked by pushing a button.

There was a ring at the bell of the Thomas apartment. When the
playwright opened the door he found Frohman gasping for breath, and he
sank exhausted on a settee.

"I walked up," he managed to say. When he was able to talk Thomas said
to him:

"Why in Heaven's name didn't you use the elevator?"

Frohman replied:

"I couldn't make the woman down-stairs understand what I wanted. She
made motions and showed me a little door, but I thought she had designs
on my life, so I preferred to walk."

* * *

That Charles Frohman had the happy faculty of saying the right thing and
saying it gracefully is well illustrated by the following:

When the beautiful Scala Theater in London was opened it made such a
sensation that Frohman asked Lestocq if he could not inspect it. The
proprietor, Dr. Distin Maddick, being an old friend of Lestocq, the
latter called informally with Frohman. While they were admiring the
white stone and brass interior, Maddick was suddenly called away. He
returned in a few minutes to say that a manager friend from Edinburgh,
hearing that Frohman was in the theater, had come in and asked to be
introduced. Of course Frohman acquiesced. After a little talk the
gentleman said:

"We have no beautiful theater like this in Edinburgh."

Quickly Frohman replied, with his fascinating smile, "No, but you have

* * *

Frohman hated exercise. In this he had a great community of interest
with Mark Twain.

On Sunday mornings, when he was out at his farm at White Plains, he
would read all the dramatic news in the papers, and then he searched
them carefully for items about people who had died from over-exertion.
When he found one he was greatly pleased, and always sent it to Mark

In order to get him to exercise Dillingham once took him for a stroll
and pretended to be lost. The second time he tried this, however,
Frohman discovered the subterfuge and refused to go walking.

* * *

Frohman could pack a world of meaning in a word or a sentence. As Sir
Herbert Beerbohm Tree once expressed it, "he was witty with a dry form
of humor that takes your breath away with its suddenness." He gave an
example of this with Tree one day in London. They were discussing French
plays for America. The question of American taste came up. Frohman
described certain primitive effects which delighted our audiences.

"Ah," said Tree, "America can stand that sort of thing. It is a new

"_Was_," came the laconic reply.

* * *

Frohman's retiring disposition and dislike for putting himself forward
was one of his chief traits. An illustration occurred when he controlled
the Garden Theater. It was during the presentation of Stephen Phillips's
play "Ulysses." There was a new man on the door one night when Frohman
dropped into the theater for a few minutes' look at the play. The
doorkeeper did not know the producer, his own employer, and would not
allow him to enter without a ticket. Instead of storming about the
lobby, Frohman simply walked quickly out of the door, around to the
stage entrance and through the theater. At the end of the act he walked
out of the main entrance. The doorkeeper, recognizing him as the man he
had "turned down," was about to ask him how he got in when the manager
of the house interposed.

* * *

He liked surprise and contrast. On one occasion his old chum, Anson
Pond, wanted to talk over business matters with him.

"Let's go to a quiet place," said Frohman.

They went to a Childs restaurant. Before their luncheon was served an
intoxicated man came in, ordered a plate of beans, and then exploded a
package of fire-crackers on it.

When he went to pay his check Frohman's comment was:

"I didn't know they had changed the date of the Fourth of July."

* * *

No other theatrical manager in New York had a better news sense than
Frohman. He knew just what a paper wanted, and all the matter sent out
from his offices was short, newsy, and direct. He knew how to shape a
big "story," and could offhand dictate an interview that was all "meat."
While he had little time in New York to greet newspaper men personally,
he was especially cordial to all that came to see him on the road. He
never went out of town without visiting some of the older critics he had
known throughout his career, men like George P. Goodale of _The Detroit
Free Press_, and Montgomery Phister of _The Commercial Tribune_ in
Cincinnati. When in Baltimore he invariably gave an hour for a long
interview to Walter E. McCann, the critic of The News of that city.

Frohman knew a newspaper's wants and limitations as far as theatrical
matter was concerned. He knew just how far his press representative
could be expected to go, and what his obstacles were.

On one occasion in Cleveland, when he was producing a play by Clyde
Fitch for the late Clara Bloodgood, the chief press representative from
the New York office was taken along to look after the work. The press
agent sent stories to all of the papers for Saturday morning's
publication, and to his dismay not a line was used. Feeling that Frohman
would be hurt about it (for Charles was hurt and not angered by the
failure of any of his men), he wrote a note to his chief, stating that
he was sorry nothing had been used in print and did not understand it.

At lunch that day Frohman remarked to the agent:

"Why did you send me that note about the papers?"

"Because," replied the young man, "I feared that you would think I had
not attended to my work."

"Well," said Frohman, "you sent matter to all the papers, didn't you?"

"Yes," said the agent, "all of them, of course."

"Then," said the manager, "what else could you do? You are not running
the papers."

It was not only an evidence of Frohman's fairness, but an instance of
his knowledge of newspapers.

* * *

Frohman had a remarkable memory. One night during Collier's London
engagement he asked the actor to meet him at the Savoy the next morning
at nine o'clock. Collier, who had been playing bridge until dawn, showed
up at the appointed time, whereupon Frohman said:

"How did you do it?"

"I sat up for it," said Collier.

Five years later Frohman asked Collier one night to meet him at nine
o'clock the next morning. Then he added, quickly:

"You can sit up for it."

* * *

Frohman got much amusement out of a butler named Max who was employed at
his house at White Plains. One of the most original episodes in which
this man figured happened on the opening night of "Catherine" at the
Garrick Theater.

The play was a little thin, and the whole action depended on a love
scene in the third act, in which the hero, a young swell played by J. M.
Holland, on telling his mother that he loved a humble girl, gets the
unexpected admonition to go and be happy with her. Dillingham had two
seats well down in the orchestra. Frohman was to sit in the back of a
box. Just before the curtain went up Frohman said to Dillingham, who
then had a house on Twenty-fourth Street, "Let us have some of those
nice little lamb chops and peas down at your house after the play."

"All right," said Dillingham, and he telephoned the instructions to Max,
who had been drafted for town service.

The curtain went up, the first two acts went off all right, and the
house was dark for the third act. The seat alongside Dillingham was
vacated, so Frohman came down and occupied it. The curtain went up and
the action of the play progressed. The great scene which was to carry it
was about to begin when Dillingham heard a loud thump, thump, thump down
the aisle. Frohman turned to Dillingham and said:

"What in the name of Heaven is that? The play is ruined!"

The thump, thump, thump continued, coming nearer. Just in the middle of
the act a German voice spoke up and said:

"Oxkuse me, Meester Dillingham, dere ain't a lam' chop in der house."

It was Max, the butler, who, worried over what seemed the imminent
failure of the midnight repast, had come to report to headquarters for
further instructions. Fortunately the interruption passed unnoticed and
the play made quite a hit.

* * *

On one occasion Nat C. Goodwin invited him to the Goodwin residence in
West End Avenue, New York. The comedian wanted to place himself under
the management of his guest. Goodwin stated the case, and Frohman then
asked how remunerative his last season had been. The host produced his
books. After a careful examination Frohman remarked, with a smile:

"My dear boy, you don't require a manager. What you need is a lawyer."



Great as producer, star-maker, and conqueror of two stage-worlds,
Charles Frohman was greater as a human being. Like Roosevelt, whom he
greatly admired, he was more than a man--he was an institution. His
quiet courage, his unaffected simplicity, his rare understanding, his
ripe philosophy, his uncanny penetration--above all, his abundant
humor--made him a figure of fascinating and incessant interest.

No trait of Charles Frohman was more highly developed than his shyness.
He was known as "The Great Unphotographed." The only time during the
last twenty-five years of his life that he sat for a photograph was when
he had to get a picture for his passport, and this picture went to a
watery grave with him. Behind his prejudice against being photographed
was a perfectly definite reason, which he once explained as follows:

"I once knew a theatrical manager whose prospects were very bright. He
became a victim of the camera. Fine pictures of him were made and stuck
up on the walls everywhere. He used to spend more time looking at these
pictures of himself than he did attending to his business. He made a
miserable failure. I was quite a young man when I heard of this, but it
made a great impression on me. I resolved then never to have my
photograph taken if I could help it."

Once when Frohman and A. L. Erlanger were in London he received the
usual request to be photographed by a newspaper camera man. The two
magnates looked something alike in that they had a more or less
Napoleonic cast of face. Frohman, who always saw a joke in everything,
hatched a scheme by which Erlanger was to be photographed for him. The
plan worked admirably, and pictures of Erlanger suddenly began to appear
all over London labeled "Charles Frohman."

He could be gracious, however, in his refusal to be photographed. One
bright afternoon he was watching the races at Henley when he was
approached by R. W. MacFarlane, of New York, who had been on the Frohman
staff. MacFarlane asked if he could take a photograph of Frohman and
give it to his niece, who was traveling with him.

"No," said the manager, "but you can take a picture of your niece and I
will pose her for it."

* * *

Frohman's shyness led to what is in many respects the most remarkable of
the countless anecdotes about him. It grew out of his illness. In 1913
he had a severe attack of neuritis in London. Although his friends urged
him to go and see a doctor, he steadfastly refused. He dreaded
physicians just as he dreaded photographers.

One day Barrie came to see him at his rooms at the Savoy. Frohman was in
such intense pain that the Scotch author said:

"Frohman, it is absurd for you not to see a doctor. You simply must have
medical attention. As a matter of fact, I have already made an
engagement for you to see Robson-Roose, the great nerve specialist, at
four o'clock to-morrow afternoon."

Frohman, who accepted whatever Barrie said, acquiesced. Next day, when
half-past three o'clock came, the manager was almost in a state of
panic. He said to Dillingham, who was with him:

"Dillingham, you know how I hate to go to see doctors. You also know
what is the matter with me. Why don't you go as my understudy and tell
the doctor what is the matter with you? He will give you a nice little
prescription or advise you to go to the Riviera or Carlsbad."

"All right," said Dillingham, who adored his friend. "I'll do what you

Promptly at four o'clock Dillingham showed up at the great
specialist's office and said he was Frohman. He underwent a drastic
cross-examination. After which he was asked to remove his clothes, was
subjected to the most strenuous massage treatment, and, to cap it all,
was given an electric bath that reduced him almost to a wreck. He had
entered the doctor's office in the best of health, He emerged from it
worn and weary.

When he staggered into Frohman's rooms two hours later and told his tale
of woe, Frohman laughed so heartily over the episode that he was a well
man the next day.

* * *

Frohman had a great fund of pithy sayings, remarkable for their brevity.
With these he indicated his wishes to his associates. His charm of
manner, his quick insight into a situation, and his influence over the
minds of others were great factors in the accomplishment of his end,
often attaining the obviously impossible.

For example, when he would tell his business manager to negotiate a
business matter with a man, and it would come to a point where there
would be a deadlock, he would say:

"I will see him. Ask him to come down to my hotel."

The next morning he would walk into the office with a smile on his face,
and the first thing he would say perhaps would be:

"I fixed it up all right yesterday; it is going your way."

"You are a wonder!" his associates would exclaim.

"Oh no! I just talked to him," was the reply.

* * *

Frohman disliked formality. He wanted to go straight to the heart of a
thing and have it over with. Somebody once asked him why he did not join
the Masonic order. He said:

"I would like to very much if I could just write a check and not bother
with all the ceremony."

* * *

Although he never spoke of his great power in the profession,
occasionally there was a glimpse of how he felt about it as this
incident shows:

Once, when Frohman and Paul Potter were coming back from Atlantic City,
Potter picked up a theatrical paper and said:

"Shall I read you the theatrical news?"

"No," said Frohman. "I _make_ theatrical news."

* * *

In that supreme test of a man's character--his attitude toward money--he
shone. Though his enterprises involved millions, Frohman had an
extraordinary disregard of money. He felt its power, but he never
idolized it. To him it was a means to an end. He summed up his whole
attitude one day when he said:

"My work is to produce plays that succeed, so that I can produce plays
that will not succeed. That is why I must have money.

"What I would really like to do is to produce a wonderful something to
which I would only go myself. My pleasure would be in seeing a
remarkable performance that nobody else could see. But I can't do that.
The next best thing is to produce something for the few critical people.
That is what I'm trying for. I have to work through the commercial--it
is the white heat through which the artistic in me has to come." It was
his answer to the oft-made charge of "commercialism."

No one, perhaps, has summed up this money attitude of Frohman's better
than George Bernard Shaw, who said of him:

"There is a prevalent impression that Charles Frohman is a hard-headed
American man of business who would not look at anything that is not
likely to pay. On the contrary, he is the most wildly romantic and
adventurous man of my acquaintance. As Charles XII. became an excellent
soldier because of his passion for putting himself in the way of being
killed, so Charles Frohman became a famous manager through his passion
for putting himself in the way of being ruined."

In many respects Frohman's feeling about money was almost childlike. He
left all financial details to his subordinates. All he wanted to do was
to produce plays and be let alone. Yet he had an infinite respect for
the man to whom he had to pay a large sum. He felt that the actor or
author who could command it was invested with peculiar significance.
Upon himself he spent little. He once said:

"All I want is a good meal, a good cigar, good clothes, a good bed to
sleep in, and freedom to produce whatever plays I like."

He was a magnificent loser. Failure never disturbed him. When he saw
that a piece was doomed he indulged in no obituary talk. "Let's go to
the next," he said, and on he went.

He lost in the same princely way that he spent. The case of "Thermidor"
will illustrate. He spent not less than thirty thousand dollars on this
production. Yet the moment the curtain went down he realized it was a
failure. He stood at one side of the wings and Miss Marbury, who had
induced him to put the play on, was at the other. With the fall of the
curtain Frohman moved smilingly among his actors with no trace of
disappointment on his face. But when he met Miss Marbury on the other
side of the stage he said:

"Well, I suppose we have got a magnificent frost. We'll just write this
off and forget it."

* * *

Frohman played with the theater as if it were a huge game. Like life
itself, it was a great adventure. In the parlance of Wall Street, he was
a "bull," for he was always raising salaries and royalties. Somebody
once said of him:

"What a shame that Frohman works so hard! He never had a day's fun in
his life."

"You are very much mistaken," said one of his friends. "His whole life
is full of it. He gets his chief fun out of his work." Indeed, work and
humor were in reality the great things with him.

One of the best epigrams ever made about Frohman's extravagance was

"Give Charles Frohman a check-book and he will lose money on any

To say that his word was his bond is to repeat one of the trite tributes
to him. But it was nevertheless very true. Often in discussing a
business arrangement with his representatives he would say:

"Did I say that?" On being told that he did, he would invariably reply,
"Then it must stand at that."

On one of these occasions he said:

"I have only one thing of value to me, and that is my word. I will keep
that until I am broke and then I'll jump overboard."

* * *

In starting a new venture his method was first to ascertain not how much
it would enrich him, but how much it would cost. Thus fortified, he
entered into it with enthusiasm, and if he lost he never murmured.
Having settled a thing, for good or ill, he would never refer to the
negotiations or anything that might have led up to the culmination of
that business, either for or against. If his attention was afterward
called to it, he would quietly say, "That's yesterday," and in this way
indicate that he did not wish the matter referred to again.

* * *

Frohman's great desire was to make money for other people. One of his
young authors had had a bad failure in London and was very much
depressed. Frohman finally worked out a plan to revive his spirits and
recoup his finances. He took Alfred Sutro in his confidence and invited
the young man to dine. He was like a child, eager to do something good
and pleasing. All through the dinner he chaffed the young man, who
visibly grew more despondent. Finally he said:

"I have decided to revive a very good play, and I have booked an
American tour for it." Then he told the young man that this play was his
first success.

* * *

Charles Frohman's ignorance of money matters was proverbial. One day
just as he was about to take the train for Washington a friend stopped
him and said:

"I've got a great investment for you."

"No," said Frohman, "I never invest in anything except theaters."

"But this is the real thing. The only possible fact that can spoil it is
war, and we are widely remote from war."

In order to get rid of the man Frohman consented to a modest investment.
When he got to Washington the first thing that greeted him was the
announcement that we were on the verge of war with Mexico.

* * *

William Harris once gently remonstrated with Frohman for such lavish
expenditure of money.

"It's simply awful, Charley, the way you spend money," he said.

Frohman smiled and said:

"It would be awful if I lost a finger or a foot, but spending money on
the things that you want to do and enjoy doing is never money wasted."

* * *

At one time he owed a great deal of money to actors and printers, but he
always scorned all suggestions that he go through bankruptcy and wipe
these claims out. He said he would pay in full some day, and he did,
with interest. An actor to whom he owed some four hundred dollars came
to him and offered to settle the claim for one hundred dollars. Frohman
said he did not believe in taking advantage of a man like that. He
advanced the actor one hundred dollars, and eventually paid the other
three hundred dollars.

* * *

Like every great man, Frohman's tastes were simple. He always wore
clothes of one pattern, and the style seldom varied. He wore no jewelry
except a Napoleonic ring on his little finger.

* * *

Frohman never married. A friend once asked him why he had chosen to be a

"My dear fellow," he answered, "had I possessed a wife and family I
could never have taken the risks which, as a theatrical manager, I am
constantly called upon to do."

He lived, in truth, for and by the theater; it was his world. His heart
was in his profession, and no enterprise was too daring, no venture too
perilous, to prevent him from boldly facing it if he believed the step
was expected of him.

* * *

To his intimates Frohman was always known as "C. F." These were the
magic initials that opened or shut the doors to theatrical fame and

* * *

Frohman loved sweet things to eat. Pies were his particular fondness,
and he never traveled without a box of candy. As he read plays he
munched chocolates. He ate with a sort of Johnsonian avidity. When he
went to Europe some of his friends, who knew his tastes well, sent him
crates of pies instead of flowers or books.

He shared this fondness for sweets with Clyde Fitch. They did not dare
to eat as much pastry as they liked before others, so they often retired
to Frohman's rooms at Sherry's or to Fitch's house on Fortieth Street,
in New York, and had a dessert orgy.

Frohman almost invariably ate as he worked in his office. When people
saw sandwiches piled upon his table, he would say:

"A rehearsal accompanied by a sandwich is progress, but a rehearsal
interrupted by a meal is delay."

* * *

Frohman's letters to his intimates were characteristic. He always wrote
them with a blue pencil, and on whatever scrap of paper happened to be
at hand. Often it was a sheet of yellow scratch-paper, sometimes the
back of an envelope. He wrote as he talked, in quick, epigrammatic
sentences. Like Barrie, he wrote one of the most indecipherable of
hands. Frequently, instead of a note, he drew a picture to express a
sentiment or convey an invitation. One reason for this was that the man
saw all life in terms of the theater. It was a series of scenes.

* * *

With regard to home life, Frohman had none. He always dwelt in
apartments in New York. The only two places where he really relaxed were
at Marlow, in England, and at his country place near White Plains in
Westchester County, New York. He shared the ownership of this
establishment with Dillingham. It entered largely into his plans. Here
his few intimates, like Paul Potter, Haddon Chambers, William Gillette,
and Augustus Thomas, came and talked over plays and productions. Here,
too, he kept vigil on the snowy night when London was to pass judgment
on the first production of "Peter Pan" on any stage.

The way he came to acquire an interest in the White Plains house is
typical of the man and his methods. Dillingham had bought the place. One
day Frohman and Gillette lunched with him there. Frohman was immensely
taken with the establishment. He liked the lawn, the garden, the trees,
and the aloofness. The three men sat at a round table. Frohman beamed
and said:

"This is the place for me. I want to sit at the head of this table." It
was his way of saying that he wanted to acquire an ownership in it, and
from that time on he was a co-proprietor.

With characteristic generosity he insisted upon paying two-thirds of the
expenses. Then, in his usual lavish fashion, he had it remodeled. He
wanted a porch built. Instead of engaging the village carpenter, who
could have done it very well, he employed the most famous architects in
the country and spent thirty thousand dollars. It was the Frohman way.

Out of the Frohman ownership of the White Plains house came one of the
many Frohman jests. Its conduct was so expensive that Frohman one day
said to Dillingham, "Let's rent a theater and make it pay for the
maintenance of the house."

Frohman then leased the Garrick, but instead of making money on it he
lost heavily.

The factotum at White Plains was the German Max, whom Dillingham had
brought over from the Savoy in London, where he was a waiter. Max
became the center of many amusing incidents. One has already been

One night Max secured some fine watermelons. As he came through the door
with one of them he slipped and dropped it. He repeated this performance
with the second melon. Frohman regarded it as a great joke, and roared
with laughter. Just then Gillette was announced.

"Now," said Frohman, quietly, to Dillingham, "we will have Max bring in
a watermelon, but I want him to drop it." In order to insure the success
of the trick they stretched a string at the door so that Max would be
sure to fall. Then they ordered the melon, and Max appeared, bearing it
aloft. He fell, however, before he got to the string, and the joke was

All this jest and joke was part of the game of life as Frohman played
it. Whatever the cost, there is no doubt that the charming
white-and-green cottage up in the Westchester valley gave him hours of
relaxation and ease that were among the pleasantest of his life.

This house at White Plains was indirectly the means through which
Dillingham branched out as an independent manager. At this time he was
in Frohman's employ. One day he said to himself:

"This establishment is costing so much that I will have to send out some
companies of my own."

He thereupon got "The Red Mill," acquired Montgomery and Stone, and thus
began a new and brilliant managerial career. No one rejoiced over
Dillingham's success more than Frohman. When Dillingham opened his Globe
Theater in New York Frohman addressed a cable to "Charles Dillingham,
Globe Theater, U. S. A."

It is a curious fact about Charles Frohman that though he had millions
of dollars at stake, he was never a defendant in litigation. Yet through
him foreign authors were enabled to protect their plays from the
customary piracy by the memorization of parts. It used to be accepted
that if a man went to a play and memorized its speeches he could produce
it without paying royalty. N. S. Wood did this with a play called "The
World," that Frohman produced. He took the matter to court as a test
case and won.

* * *

Charles was not good at remembering people's names or their addresses.
This is why he was much dependent upon his stenographers. His secretary
in England, Miss Frances Slater, was so extraordinary in anticipating
his words that he always called her "The Wonder." He used to say:

"Miss Slater, I want to write to the man around the corner," which
turned out to be Arthur Bouclier, the manager of the Garrick Theater,
which was not really around the corner; but when the subject of the
letter came to be dictated, Miss Slater knew whom he meant. He would
never express any surprise on these occasions when the letter handed him
to sign contained the right name and address. He seemed to take it as a
matter of course.

* * *

One day Frohman entered his London office and said to Lestocq:

"You would never guess where I have just come from. I have been to your
Westminster Abbey."



Lestocq expressed surprise, whereupon Frohman continued:

"Yes, I just walked in and spoke to a man in a gown and said, 'Where is
Mr. Irving buried?' He showed me, and I stood there for a few minutes,
said a couple of things, and came on here."

* * *

Frohman's office at the Empire Theater was characteristic of the man
himself. It was a room of considerable proportions, with the atmosphere
of a study. It was lined with rather low book-shelves, on which stood
the bound copies of the plays he had produced. Interspersed was a
complete set of Lincoln's speeches and letters.

On one side was a large stone fireplace; in a corner stood a grand
piano; the center was dominated by a simple, flat-topped desk, across
which much of the traffic of the American theater passed.

Near at hand was a low and luxurious couch. Here Frohman sat
cross-legged and listened to plays. This performance was a sort of
sacred rite, and was always observed behind locked doors. No Frohman
employee would think of intruding upon his chief at such a time.

Here, as in London, Frohman was surrounded by pictures of his stars.
Dominating them was J. W. Alexander's fine painting of Miss Adams in
"L'Aiglon." On a shelf stood a bust of John Drew. There were portraits
of playwrights, too. A photograph of Clyde Fitch had this inscription:

"To C. F. from c. f."

There was only one real art object in the office, a magnificent marble
bust of Napoleon, whom Frohman greatly admired. He was always pleased
when he was told that he looked like the Man of Destiny.

His sense of personal modesty was a very genuine thing. Shortly before
he sailed on the fatal trip he had a request from a magazine writer who
wanted to write the story of his life. He sent back a vigorous refusal
to co-operate, saying, among other things:

"It is most obnoxious to me in every way. It is forcing oneself on the
public so far as I am concerned, and I don't want that, and, besides,
they are not interested. It is only for the great men of our country. It
is not for me. It looks like cheek and presumption on my part, because
_it is_, and I ask you not to go on with it."

* * *

He believed in system. One day he said:

"We must have on file in our office the complete record of every
first-class theater in the United States, together with the name of
every dramatic editor and bill-poster." Out of this grew the famous
"Theatrical Guide" compiled by Julius Cahn.

* * *

Charles always provided special sleepers for his company when they had
to leave early in the morning. He felt that it was an imposition to make
the people go to bed late after a play and rise at five or six to get a
train. It not only expressed his kindness, but also his good business
sense in keeping his people satisfied and efficient.

* * *

One of Frohman's eccentricities was that he never carried a watch. On
being asked why he never carried a timepiece, he replied, tersely,
"Everybody else carries a watch," meaning that if he wanted to find out
the time of day he could do it more quickly by inquiring of his
personal or business associates than by looking for a watch that he may
have forgotten to wind up.

"Frohman," said a friend, "made it a rule in life not to do anything
that he could hire somebody else to do, thus leaving himself all the
time possible for those things that he alone could do. He probably
figured it out that if he carried a watch he would be obliged to spend a
certain amount of time each day winding it.

"And on the same principle he refused to worry as to whether he left his
umbrella behind or not, by simply not carrying one. If he couldn't get a
cab--a rare occurrence, doubtless, considering the beaten track of his
travel--he preferred to walk in the rain."

Some time before his death Frohman said to a distinguished dramatist who
is one of his closest friends:

"Whenever I make a rule I never violate it."

A visitor to his place at White Plains came away after spending a night
there, and declared that the "real Charles Frohman had three
dissipations--he smokes all day, he reads plays all night, and--" He

"What is it?" was the breathless query.

"He plays croquet."

* * *

Frohman had a rare gift for publicity. More than once he turned what
seemed to be a complete failure into success. An experience with "Jane"
will reveal this side of his versatility.

The bright little comedy hung fire for a while. One reason was that
newspaper criticism in New York had been rather unfavorable. Conspicuous
among the unfriendly notices was one in the _Herald_ which was headed,
"Jane Won't Go."

Frohman immediately capitalized this line. He had thousands of dodgers
stuck up all over New York. They contained three sentences, which read:

    "_Jane won't go._"
    _Of course not._
    _She's come to stay._

From that time on the piece grew in popularity and receipts and became a

* * *

In summing up the qualities that made Frohman great, one finds, in the
last analysis, that he had two in common with J. P. Morgan and the other
dynamic leaders of men. One was an incisive, almost uncanny, ability to
probe into the hearts of men, strip away the superficial, and find the
real substance.

His experience with Clyde Fitch emphasized this to a remarkable degree.
Personally no two men could have been more opposite. One was the product
of democracy, buoyant and self-made, while the other represented an
intellectual, almost effeminate, aristocracy. Yet nearly from the start
Frohman perceived the bigness of vision and the profound understanding
that lurked behind Fitch's almost superficial exterior.

In common, too, with Morgan, Roosevelt, and others of the same type,
Frohman had an extraordinary quality of unconscious hypnotism. Men who
came to him in anger went away in satisfied peace. They succumbed to
what was an overwhelming and compelling personality.

He proved this in the handling of his women stars. They combined a group
of varied and conflicting temperaments. Each wanted a separate and
distinct place in his affections, and each got it. It was part of the
genius of the man to make each of his close associates feel that he or
she had a definite niche apart. His was the perfecting understanding,
and no one better expressed it than Ethel Barrymore, who said, "To try
to explain something to Charles Frohman was to insult him."



And now the final phase.

The last years of Charles Frohman's life were racked with physical pain
that strained his courageous philosophy to the utmost. Yet he faced this
almost incessant travail just as he had faced all other
emergencies--with composure.

One day in 1912 he fell on the porch of the house at White Plains and
hurt his right knee. It gave him considerable trouble. At first he
believed that it was only a bad bruise. In a few days articular
rheumatism developed. It affected all of his joints, and it held him in
a thrall of agony until the end of his life.

Shortly after his return to the city (he now lived at the Hotel
Knickerbocker) he was compelled to take to his bed. For over six months
he was a prisoner in his apartment, suffering tortures. Yet from this
pain-racked post he tried to direct his large affairs. There was a
telephone at his bedside, and he used it until weakness prevented him
from holding the receiver.

He could not go to the theater, so the theater was brought to him. More
than one preliminary rehearsal was held in his drawing-room. This was
particularly true of musical pieces. The music distracted him from his

Though prostrate with pain, his dogged determination to keep on doing
things held. Barrie sent him the manuscript of a skit called "A Slice of
Life." It was a brilliant satire on the modern play. Frohman picked
Ethel Barrymore (who was then playing in "Cousin Kate" at the Empire),
John Barrymore, and Hattie Williams to do it, and the rehearsals were
held in the manager's rooms at the Knickerbocker.

Frohman was as much interested in this one-act piece as if it had been a
five-act drama. His absorption in it helped to divert his mind from the
pain that had sadly reduced the once rotund body.

With "A Slice of Life" he introduced another one of the many innovations
that he brought to the stage. The play was projected as a surprise. No
announcement of title was made. The advertisements simply stated that
Charles Frohman would present "A Novelty" at the Empire Theater at eight
o'clock on a certain evening.

Frohman was unable to attend the opening performance, so he wrote a
little speech which was spoken by William Seymour. The speech was
rehearsed as carefully as the play. A dozen times the stage-director
delivered it before his chief, who indicated the various phrases to be

It was during the era of the New Theater when the so-called "advanced
drama" was much exploited. Frohman had little patience with this sort of
dramatic thing. The little speech conveys something of his satirical
feeling about the millionaire-endowed theatrical project which was then
agitating New York.

Here is the speech as Frohman wrote it:

     _Ladies and Gentlemen:--My appearance here to-night is by way of
     apology. I am here representing Mr. Charles Frohman--you may have
     heard of him--the manager of this theater, the Empire._

     _His idea in announcing a novelty in connection with Miss
     Barrymore's play, "Cousin Kate," was really for the purpose of
     getting you here once in time for the ringing up of the curtain.
     This will be a special performance of a play to be given by a few
     rising members of the School of Acting connected with this theater,
     the Empire, of which he is proud--very proud. It is not an old
     modern play, but what is called to-day "The Advanced Drama," made
     possible here to-night by the momentary holiday of the New Theater,
     and it is called "A Slice of Life."_

During those desperate days when, like Heinrich Heine, he seemed to be
lying in a "mattress grave," his dauntless humor never forsook him, as
this little incident will show: Some years previous, Gillette suffered a
breakdown from overwork. When the actor-playwright went to his home at
Hartford to recuperate his sister remonstrated with him.

"You must stop work for a long while," she said. "That man Frohman is
killing you." Gillette afterward told Frohman about it.

Frohman now lay on a bed of agony, and Gillette came to see him. The
sick man remembered the episode of the long ago, and said, weakly, to
his visitor:

"Gillette, tell your sister that _you_ are killing me."

With the martyrdom of incessant pain came a ripening of the man's
character. Frohman developed a great admiration for Lincoln. Often he
would ask Gillette to read him the famous "Gettysburg Address." Simple,
haunting melodies like "The Lost Chord" took hold of him. Marie Doro was
frequently summoned to play it for him on the piano. Although his
courage did not falter, he looked upon men and events with a larger and
deeper philosophy.

During that first critical stage of the rheumatism he sank very low. His
two devoted friends, Dillingham and Paul Potter, came to him daily. Each
had his regular watch. Dillingham came in the morning and read and
talked with the invalid for hours. He managed to bring a new story or a
fresh joke every day.

Potter reported at nine in the evening and remained until two o'clock in
the morning, or at whatever hour sleep came to the relief of the sick
man. One of the compensations of those long vigils was the phonograph.
Frohman was very fond of a tune called "Alexander's Rag-Time Band." The
nurse would put this record in the machine and then leave. When it ran
out, Potter, who never could learn how to renew the instrument, simply
turned the crank again. There were many nights when Frohman listened to
this famous rag-time song not less than twenty times. But he did not
mind it.

In his illness Frohman was like a child. He was afraid of the night. He
begged Potter to tell him stories, and the author of so many plays spun
and unfolded weird and wonderful tales of travel and adventure. Like a
child, too, Frohman kept on saying, "More, more," and often Potter went
on talking into the dawn.

Potter, like all his comrades in that small and devoted group of Frohman
intimates, did his utmost to shield his friend from hurt. When Frohman
launched a new play during those bedridden days Potter would wait until
the so-called "bull-dog" editions of the morning papers (the very
earliest ones) were out. Then he would go down to the street and get
them. If the notice was favorable he would read it to Frohman. If it was
unfriendly Potter would say that the paper was not yet out, preferring
that the manager read the bad news when it was broad daylight and it
could not interfere with his sleep.

The humor and comradeship which always marked Frohman's close personal
relations were not lacking in those nights when the life of the valiant
little man hung by a thread. When all other means of inducing sleep
failed, Potter found a sure cure for insomnia.

"Just as soon as I talked to Frohman about my own dramatic projects," he
says, "he would fall asleep. So, when the night grew long and the travel
stories failed, and even 'Alexander's Rag-Time Band' grew stale, I would
start off by saying: 'I have a new play in mind. This is the way the
plot goes.' Then Frohman's eyes would close; before long he would be
asleep, and I crept noiselessly out."

Occasionally during those long conflicts with pain Frohman saw through
the glass darkly. His intense and constant suffering, for the time, put
iron into his well-nigh indomitable soul.

"I'm all in," he would say to Potter. "The luck is against me. The star
system has killed my judgment. I no longer know a good play from a bad.
The sooner they 'scrap' me the better."

His thin fingers tapped on the bedspread, and, like Colonel Newcome, he
awaited the Schoolmaster's final call.

"You and I," he would continue, "have seen our period out. What comes
next on the American stage? Cheap prices, I suppose. Best seats
everywhere for a dollar, or even fifty cents; with musical shows alone
excepted. Authors' royalties cut to ribbons; actors' salaries pared to
nothing. Popular drama, bloody, murderous, ousting drawing-room comedy.
Crook plays, shop-girl plays, slangy American farces, nude women
invading the auditorium as in Paris."

"And then?" asked Potter.

"Chaos," said he. "Fortunately you and I won't live to see it. Turn on
the phonograph and let 'Alexander's Rag-time Band' cheer us up."

He got well enough to walk around with a stick, and with movement came a
return of the old enthusiasm. A man of less indomitable will would have
succumbed and become a permanent invalid. Not so with Frohman. He even
got humor out of his misfortune, because he called his cane his "wife."
He became a familiar sight on that part of Broadway between the
Knickerbocker Hotel and the Empire Theater as he walked to and fro. It
was about all the walking he could do.

He kept on producing plays, and despite the physical hardships under
which he labored he attended and conducted rehearsals. With the pain
settling in him more and more, he believed himself incurable. Yet less
than four people knew that he felt that the old titanic power was gone,
never to return.

The great war, on whose stupendous altar he was to be an innocent
victim, affected him strangely. The horror, the tragedy, the wantonness
of it all touched him mightily. Indeed, it seemed to be an obsession
with him, and he talked about it constantly, unmindful of the fact that
the cruel destiny that was shaping its bloody course had also marked him
for death.

Early during the war he saw some verses that made a deep impression on
him. They were called "In the Ambulance," and related to the experience
of a wounded soldier. He learned them by heart, and he never tired of
repeating them. They ran like this:

    "_Two rows of cabbages;
      Two of curly greens;
    Two rows of early peas;
      Two of kidney-beans._"

    _That's what he's muttering,
      Making such a song,
    Keeping all the chaps awake
      The whole night long._

    _Both his legs are shot away,
      And his head is light,
    So he keeps on muttering
      All the blessed night:_

    "_Two rows of cabbages;
      Two of curly greens;
    Two rows of early peas,
      And two of kidney-beans._"

It was Frohman's intense feeling about the war, that led him to produce
"The Hyphen." Its rejection by the public hurt him unspeakably. Yet he
regarded the fate of the play as just one more phase of the big game of
life. He smiled and went his way.

The rheumatism still oppressed him, but he turned his face resolutely
toward the future. War or peace, pain or relief, he was not to be
deprived of his annual trip to England. He was involved in some
litigation that required his presence in London. Besides, the city by
the Thames called to him, and behind this call was the appeal of old and
loved associations. With all his wonted enthusiasm he wrote to his
friends at Marlow telling them that he was coming over and that he would
soon be in their midst.

Frohman now made ready for this trip. When he announced that he was
going on the _Lusitania_ his friends and associates made vigorous
protest, which he derided with a smile. Thus, in the approach to death,
just as in the path to great success, opposition only made him all the
more decided. With regard to his sailing on the _Lusitania_, this
tenacity of purpose was his doom.

Whether he had a premonition or not, the fact remains that he said and
did things during the days before he sailed which uncannily suggested
that the end was not unexpected. For one thing, he dictated his whole
program for the next season before he started. It was something that he
had never done before.

When Marie Doro came to his office to say good-by he pulled out a little
red pocket note-book in which he jotted down many things and suddenly

"Queer, but the little book is full. There is no room for anything

Just as he was warned not to produce "The Hyphen," so was he now
cautioned by anonymous correspondents (and even by mysterious telephone
messages) not to take the _Lusitania_. But all this merely tightened his

He met the danger with his usual jest. On the day before he sailed he
went up to bid his old friend and colleague, Al Hayman, good-by. Hayman,
like all his associates, warned him not to go on the _Lusitania_.

"Do you think there is any danger?" asked Frohman.

"Yes, I do," replied Hayman.

"Well, I am going, anyhow," was the answer.

After he had shaken hands he stopped at the door and said, smilingly:

"Well, Al, if you want to write to me just address the letter care of
the German Submarine U 4."

Those last days ashore were filled with a strange mellowness. Ethel
Barrymore came down from Boston to see him. They had an intimate talk
about the old days. When she left him she saw tears in his eyes. That
night, just as she was about to go on in "The Shadow" in Boston, she
received this telegram from him:

     _Nice talk, Ethel. Good-by. C. F._

The _Lusitania_ sailed at ten o'clock on Saturday morning, May 1, 1915.
Even at the dock Frohman could not resist his little joke. When Paul
Potter, who saw him off, said to him:

"Aren't you afraid of the U boats, C. F.?"

"No, I am only afraid of the I O U's," was the reply.



In his farewell steamer letter to Dillingham, written as the huge ship
was plowing her way down the bay, he drew a picture of a submarine
attacking a transatlantic liner. The last lines he wrote on the boat
were prophetic of his fate. Ann Murdock had sent him a large steamer
basket in the shape of a ship. The lines to her, brought back by the
ship's pilot, were:

    _The little ship you sent is more wonderful
    than the big one that takes me away from you._

Like most of his distinguished fellow-voyagers, and they included
Charles Klein, Elbert Hubbard, Justus Miles Forman, and Alfred G.
Vanderbilt, Frohman had frequently traveled on the _Lusitania_. By a
curious coincidence he had once planned to use her sister ship, the
_Mauretania_, for one of his daring innovations. He had a transatlantic
theater in mind. In other words, he proposed to produce whole plays on
shipboard. He took over a small company headed by Marie Doro to try out
the experiment. Early on the voyage Miss Doro succumbed to seasickness
and the project was abandoned.

The last journey of the _Lusitania_ was uneventful until that final
fateful day. Frohman had kept to his cabin during the greater part of
the trip. He was still suffering great pain in his right knee, and
walked the deck with difficulty. Occasionally he appeared in the
smoking-room, and was present at the ship's concert on the night before
the end.

At 2.33 o'clock on the afternoon of May 7th the great vessel rode to her
death. Eight miles off the Head of Kinsale, and within sight of the
Irish coast, she was torpedoed by a German submarine. She sank in half
an hour, with frightful loss of life, including more than a hundred

Frohman's hour was at hand, and he met it with the smiling equanimity
and unflinching courage with which he had faced every other crisis in
his life. When the crash came he was on the upper promenade deck. He had
just come from his luncheon and was talking with George Vernon, the
brother-in-law of Rita Jolivet, the actress, who was also on board. They
were now joined by Captain Scott, an Englishman on his way from India to
enlist. When Miss Jolivet reached them Frohman was smoking a cigar and
was calm and apparently undisturbed.

Scott went below to get some life-belts. He returned with only two. He
had started up with three, but gave one to a woman on the way. Miss
Jolivet had provided herself with a belt.

Scott started to put one of the life-preservers on Frohman, who
protested. Finally, with great reluctance, he acquiesced. There was no
belt left for Scott. Frohman insisted that he get one, whereupon the
soldier said:

"If you must die, it is only for once."

There was a responsive look and a whimsical smile on Frohman's face at
this remark. He kept on smoking. Then he started to talk about the
Germans. "I didn't think they would do it," he said. He was apparently
the most unruffled person on the ship.

The great liner began to lurch. Frohman now said to Miss Jolivet:

"You had better hold on the rail and save your strength."

The ship's list became greater; huge waves rolled up, carrying wreckage
and bodies on their crest. Then, with all the terror of destruction
about him, Frohman said to his associates, with the serene smile still
on his face:

"Why fear death? It is the most beautiful adventure of life."

Instinctively the four people moved closer together, they joined hands
by a common impulse, and stood awaiting the end.

The ship gave a sudden lurch; once more a mighty green cliff of water
came rushing up, bearing its tide of dead and debris; again Frohman
started to say the speech that was to be his valedictory. He had hardly
repeated the first three words--"Why fear death?"--when the group was
engulfed and all sank beneath the surface of the sea.

No situation of the thousands that he had created in the theater was so
vividly or so unaffectedly dramatic as the great manager's own exit from
the stage of life. Smilingly he had made his way through innumerable
difficulties; smilingly and with the highest heroism he met his fate.

The only survivor of the quartet that stood hand in hand on those
death-cluttered decks was Miss Jolivet, and it was she who told the
story of those last thrilling minutes.

Charles Frohman's body was recovered the next day and brought to
Queenstown. A fortnight later it reached New York. On the casket was the
American flag that the dead man had loved so well. Though princes of
capital, famous playwrights, and international authorities on law and
art went down with him, the loss of Frohman overshadowed all others. In
the eyes of the world, the loss of the _Lusitania_ was the loss of
Charles Frohman.

His noble and eloquent final words, so rich with courageous philosophy,
not only joined the category of the great farewells of all time, but
wherever read or uttered will give humanity a fresher faith with which
to meet the inevitable. In a supreme moment of the most colossal drama
that human passion ever staged, fate literally hurled him into the
universal lime-light to enact a part that gave him an undying glory.
The shyest of men became the world's observed.

The last tribute to Charles Frohman was the most remarkable
demonstration of sorrow in the history of the theater. The one-time
barefoot boy of Sandusky, Ohio, who had projected so many people into
eminence and who had himself hidden behind the rampart of his own
activities, was widely mourned.

The principal funeral services were held at the Temple Emanu-El in New
York. Here gathered a notable assemblage that took reverent toll of all
callings and creeds. It was proud to do honor to the man who had
achieved so much and who had died so heroically.

At the bier Augustus Thomas delivered an eloquent address that fittingly
summed up the life and purpose of the greatest force that the
English-speaking theater has yet known. Among other things he said:

"A wise man counseled, 'Look into your heart and write': 'C. F.' looked
into his heart and listened. He had that quoted quality of genius that
made him believe his own thought, made him know that what was true for
him in his private heart was true for all mankind. That was the secret
of his power. It was the golden key to both his understanding and

"He was a fettered and a prisoned poet, often in his finest moments
inarticulate. Working in the theater with his companies and stars, with
the women and the men who knew and loved him, he accomplished less by
word than by a radiating vital force that brought them into his
intensity of feeling. In his social intercourse and comradeship, telling
a dramatic or a comic story, at a certain pressure of its progress where
other men depend on paragraphs and phrases he coined a near-word and a
sign, and by a graphic and exalted pantomime ambushed and captured our

"His mind was clear and tranquil as a mountain lake, its quiet depths
reflecting all the varied beauty of the bending skies. He had the gift
of epitome. The men who knew him best valued his estimate, not only of
the things in his own profession, but of any notable event or deed or
tendency. Often his spontaneous comment on a cabled utterance or act
laid stress upon the word or moment that next day served as captions for
the significant review. The printed thought of the leading statesman,
the outlook of the financier, the decision of the commanding soldier, or
the vision of the poet found kinship in his sympathy, not because he
strove tiptoe to apprehend its elevation, but because his spirit was
native to that plane."

Coincident with the New York funeral, services were held at Los Angeles
at the instigation of Maude Adams; at San Francisco under the
sponsorship of John Drew; at Tacoma at the behest of Billie Burke; at
Providence under the direction of Julia Sanderson, Donald Brian, and
Joseph Cawthorn. Thus a nation-wide chain of grief linked the stars of
the Frohman heaven.

Nor did foreign lands fail to render homage to the memory of Charles
Frohman. A memorial was held at St.-Martins-in-the-Fields, in London,
almost within stone's-throw of the Duke of York's Theater, in which he
took so much pride. In the presence of a distinguished company that
included the chivalry and flower of the British theater, the sub-deacon
of St. Paul's conducted services for the self-made American who had
risen from advance-agent to be the theatrical master of his times.

In Paris the French Society of Authors eulogized the man who had been
their sympathetic envoy and sincere sponsor at the throne of American

Thus fell the curtain on Charles Frohman. As in life he had joined two
continents by the bonds of his daring and courageous enterprise, so on
his death did those two worlds unite to do him honor. He had not lived
in vain.

    _Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been
    So clear in his great office, that his virtues
    Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against
    The deep damnation of his taking off._

    --"Macbeth," I, vii.

_Appendix A_


Unlike many men of achievement, Charles Frohman was not a prolific
letter-writer. He avoided letter-writing whenever it was possible. When
he could not convey his message orally he resorted to the telegraph.
Letters were the last resort.

He had a sort of constitutional objection to long letters. The only
lengthy epistles that ever came from him were dictated and referred to
matters of business. They all have one quality in common. As soon as he
had concluded the discussion of the topic in mind he would immediately
tell about the fortunes of his plays. He seldom failed to make a
reference to the business that Maude Adams was doing (for her immense
success was very dear to his heart), and he always commented on his own
strenuous activities. He liked to talk about the things he was doing.

The really intimate Frohman letters were always written by hand on
scraps of paper, and were short, jerky, and epigrammatic. Most of these
were written, or rather scratched, to intimates like James M. Barrie,
Paul Potter, and Haddon Chambers.

As indicated in one of the chapters of this book, Frohman delighted in
caricature. To a few of his friends he would send a humorous cartoon
instead of a letter. He caricatured whatever he saw, whether riding on
trains or eating in restaurants. If he wanted a friend to dine with him
he would sketch a rough head and mark it "Me"; then he would draw
another head and label it "You." Between these heads he would make a
picture of a table, and under it scrawl, "Knickerbocker, Friday, 7

Frohman seldom used pen and ink. Most of his letters were written with
the heavy blue editorial pencil that he liked to use. He wrote an
atrocious hand. His only competitor in this way was his close friend
Barrie. The general verdict among the people who have read the writing
of both men is that Frohman took the palm for illegible chirography.

Frohman could pack a world of meaning into his letters. To a
fellow-manager who had written to Boston to ask if he had seen a certain
actress play, he replied: "No, I have had the great pleasure of _not_
seeing her act."

His letters reflect his moods and throw intimate light on his character.
He would always have his joke. To William Collier, who had sent him a
box for a play that he was doing in New York, he once wrote: "I do not
think I will have any difficulty in finding your theater, although a
great many new theaters have gone up. Many old ones have 'gone up' too."

His swift jugglery with words is always manifest. To Alfred Sutro he
sent this sentence notifying him that his play was to go into rehearsal:
"The die is cast--but not the play."

Through his letters there shines his uncompromising rule of life.
Writing to W. Lestocq, his agent in London, in reference to the English
failure of "Years of Discretion," he said: "It is a failure, and that is
the end of it. You can't get around failure, so we must go on to
something else."

* * *

The number of available Frohman letters is not large. The following,
gathered from various sources, will serve to indicate something of their

_To an English author whose play, a weak one, was rapidly failing:_

     No; it is not the war that is affecting your business. It is the
     play--nothing else.

_To Cyril Maude, whose penmanship is notably indecipherable:_

     I can't read your handwriting very well; but I wonder if you can
     read my typewriting. Just pretend I typed this myself.... Speaking
     of hits, Granville Barker arrived yesterday, and the city suddenly
     became terribly cold--awful weather. Barker will do well.

_To Haddon Chambers:_

     Last night we produced "Driven" against your judgment. The press
     not favorable. But still I'm hoping.

_To a colleague:_

     I announced "Driven" as a comedy. Next day I called it a play. But
     soon I may call it off.

_To W. Lestocq:_

     The American actors over here are worried about so many English
     actors in our midst. I employ both kinds--that is, I want good
     actors only.

_To an English author:_

     As to conditions here being bad for good plays; that is a joke. The
     distressful business is for the bad plays that I and other managers
     sometimes produce.

_To one of his managers:_

     Do not use the line "The World-Famous Tri-Star Combination." Just
     say "The Great Three-Star Combination." It is easier to understand.
     And all will be well.

_To one of his managers who spoke of the superiority of an actress who
had replaced another about to retire to private life:_

     But now that her stage life is over we should remember her years of
     good work. She had a simple, childish, fairy-like appeal. I write
     this to you to express my feeling for one who has left our work for
     good, and I can think now only of pleasant memories. I want you to
     feel the same.

_To an English author, January, 1915:_

     Over here they say the real heroes of the year are the managers
     that dare produce new plays.

_To a business colleague about a singing comedian who was laid up with a
serious illness:_

     I am sorry he is sick. But that was a rotten thing for him to
     do--to steal our song. I suppose he is better. Only the good die

_To Marie Doro:_

     I saw you in the picture play. It and you were fine. What a lot of
     money you make! When I return from London I'm going to see if I can
     earn $10 a day to play in some of the screens. We are all going up
     to the Atlantic Ocean Island to see them taking you in the "White
     Pearl" pictures.

_Refusing to go to a public banquet:_

     That's the first free thing that has been offered me this year. But
     there are three things my physician forbids me from doing--to eat,
     drink, or talk.

_To a manager:_

     There are no bad towns--only bad plays!

_On hearing that an actress in his employ had reflected on his

     In this message I am charged with neglecting your interests. This
     is a shock to me, because when one neglects his trust, he is
     dishonest. This is the first time I have ever been so accused, and
     I am wondering if you inspired the message. I think it important
     that you should know.

_Being adjured by one of the family to take more exercise:_

     I drove out to Richmond. Then I walked a mile. Now I hope you'll be

_To his sisters (he lived then at the Waldorf, but joined the family at
a weekly dinner up-town):_

     I am sending you a cook-book by Oscar of this hotel. You may find
     some use for it.

When he came to the next weekly dinner he was offered several choice
dishes prepared from Oscar's recipes. "I see my mistake," he said. "I
wanted my usual home dinner. You give me what I receive all the time at
the hotel."

_To Alfred Sutro, in London:_

     Give us something full of situations, and we will give you a bully
     time again in America.

_To William Seymour, his stage-manager, about a performance of one of
his plays:_

     When you rehearse to-day will you try and get the old woman out of
     too much crying; get some smiles, and stop her screwing up her face
     every time she speaks. Of course, it's nervousness, but it looks as
     if she were ill.

_To one of his associates:_

     Miss Adams's receipts last week in Boston were the largest in the
     history of Boston theaters or anywhere--$23,000. But I had some
     others which I won't tell you about.

_To an English author in 1913:_

     At present the taste is "down with light plays, down with literary
     plays." They want plays with dramatic situations, intrigue, sex
     conflict. There is no use in giving the public what it does not
     want and what they ought to have. I am just finding that out, with
     much cost.

_To a French agent:_

     It seems a little reckless to be asked to pay $2,500 for the
     privilege of reading a new French play. The author seems to want to
     get rich quickly. I would be willing to add to his wealth if he has
     something that can be produced without such a preliminary penalty.

_To W. Lestocq:_

     When one talks to an English author about "Diplomacy," he says,
     "Oh, that's a theatrical play!" I wish I could get another like it.

_To an English manager:_

     A hundred theaters here are a few too many. Houses have closed on a
     Saturday night without any warning. Boston, Chicago, and
     Philadelphia have been better. You see we have this wonderful
     country to fall back on, which makes it different from London.

_To an author in London:_

     What you say is quite true; a good play is a good play; but the
     difficulty I find is to ascertain through the public and the
     box-office what _they_ think is a good play. Our opinion is only
     good for ourselves. But give me a dramatic play and I'll put it at
     once to the test.

_To Hubert Henry Davies, the dramatist, during an interim of that
author's activities:_

     It grieves me when I can't get your material going, especially as I
     want to come over as soon as I can and get one of those nice
     lunches in your nice apartment.

_To the manager of an up-state New York theater regarding an impending
first-night performance:_

     I hope we shall draw a representative audience the first night. I
     know audiences with you are sometimes a little reluctant about
     first nights. I can't understand this myself. In my opinion there
     is an extra thrill for them in the experience of a first
     performance, as it is a special event.

_To Granville Barker, January, 1913:_

     I am very jealous of the Barrie plays, and I do want them for my
     own theater for revivals.... I hear such good reports about your
     Shakespearian work that I am awfully pleased. I have had a Marconi
     from Shakespeare himself, in which he speaks highly of what you
     have done for his work. I am sure this will be as gratifying to you
     as it is to me.

_Alluding to his painful rheumatism in a letter to George Edwardes, the
producer, in England, January, 1913:_

     I can't run twelve yards, but I can drink a lot of that bottled
     lemonade of yours when I get over. In fact, at the moment I think
     that is the best thing running in London.

_In February, 1913, Frohman made frequent trips to Baltimore to rehearse
and superintend the production of his plays in that city. He has this to
say of Baltimore in a letter to Tunis F. Dean, manager of a theater

     I was glad to have an opportunity of seeing your fine theater, for
     I have decided on a very important production with one of our
     leading stars there next season. So that I shall spend a week in
     Baltimore. I like that. There is no one living in Baltimore that
     has a greater regard for that fine, dignified city. I have had it
     for years, and with the beautiful theater and my feeling for
     Baltimore and you at the head of that theater, I am looking forward
     with pleasure to coming to you next season.

_Frohman was simple, direct, and forcible in his criticism of plays. In
rejecting a French play, he wrote to Michael Morton in defense of his
judgment, New York, February, 1913:_

     I was awfully glad you made arrangements for the play, the one I
     don't like, and I hope the other fellow is right. These
     three-cornered French plays are going to have a hard time over here
     in the future unless they contain something that is pretty big,
     novel, or human. The guilty wife is a joke here now, and they have
     lots of fun when they play these scenes in these plays. The
     American and English play is different. They get there quicker in a
     different manner instead of the old-fashioned scheme. Of course,
     French plays, as you say, may be laid in England and in America. I
     understand that. But even then it seems to be about the same as if
     they were in France.

_His brief, epigrammatic style of criticism is evident in a letter to
Charles B. Dillingham, wherein he speaks of a certain play under

     I think the end of the play is not good. It is that old-time
     stand-around-with-a-glass-of-wine-in-your-hand and wish success to
     the happy people.

_Extracts from an interview with Frohman which he wrote for the London
papers, March, 1913:_

     There will be no change in my work of producing for the London
     stage. I shall continue to do so at my own theaters or with other
     London managers just as long as I am producing on any stage, and I
     fear that will be for a long time yet, as I am younger now than I
     was twenty years ago.

_Prior to his departure for England he wrote the following to John Drew
in March, 1913:_

     Thanks for your fine letter. It is like this, John: I hope to get
     off next week, but I don't seem to be able to get the
     accommodations I want on either one of the steamers that I should
     like to travel on, and that sail next week. I need a little special
     accommodation on account of my leg, which still refuses to answer
     my call and requires the big stick.

_To Alfred Sutro, in January, 1913, on the current taste in plays:_

     These American plays with thieves, burglars, detectives, and
     pistols seem to be the real things over here just now. None of them
     has failed.

_Memorandum for his office-boy, Peter, for a week's supply of his
favorite drinks:_

     Get me plenty of orange-juice, lemon soda, ginger ale,
     sarsaparilla, buttermilk.

_To Alfred Sutro, 1913:_

     Haddon Chambers sails to-day. You may see him before you see this.
     He leaves behind him what I think will give him many happy returns
     (box-office) of the season, as Miss Barrymore is doing so well with
     his "Tante."

_To W. Lestocq, concerning one of his leading London actresses:_

     Miss Titheridge is all right, as I wrote Morton, if her emotions
     can be kept down, and if she can try to make the audience act more,
     and act less herself.

_To Michael Morton regarding an actress:_

     She needs to be told that real acting is not to act, but to make
     the audience feel, and not feel so much herself.

_To the editor of a popular monthly magazine upon its first birthday:_

     I understand that your September issue will be made to mark ----'s
     first birthday. Judging from your paper your birthday plans miss
     the issue; because---- becomes a year younger every September. I do
     _not_ congratulate you even upon this fact; because you cannot help
     it. I do _not_ congratulate your readers because they get your
     paper so very cheap. I _do_ congratulate myself, however, for
     calling attention to these wonderful facts.

_To W. Lestocq, referring to a statement made by R. C. Carton, the

     I don't quite understand what he means by "holding up" the play.
     Over here it is a desperate expression--one that means pistols and
     murder, and all that. I presume it means something different in
     London, where Carton lives.

_To Mrs. C. C. Cushing, the playwright, declining an invitation:_

     It is impossible to come and see you because I haven't got Cottage
     No. 4, but I've got Cell No. 3 on the stage of the Empire Theater,
     where I am passing the summer months.

_Even Frohman's cablegrams reflected his humor. In 1913 Billie Burke was
ill at Carlsbad, so he cabled her some cheering message nearly every
day. Here is a sample:_

     Drove past your house to-day and ran over a dog. Your brother
     glared at me.

_When Blanche Bates's first baby was born (she was at her country house
near Ossining at the time), Frohman sent her this message:_

     Ossining has now taken its real place among the communities of the
     country. Congratulations.

_To Alfred Sutro, January, 1913:_

     I was glad to hear from you. First let me strongly advise you to
     take the comedy side for the Alexander play. I honestly believe,
     unless it is something enormous, and for big stars and all that,
     the other side is no good any more. For the present, anyway, I
     speak of my own country. The usual serious difficulties between a
     husband and wife of that class--really they laugh at here now,
     instead of touching their emotions. They have gone along so
     rapidly. Take my advice in this matter, do! I am glad you have
     dropped that scene from the third act of your Du Maurier play.

     Now that I am back to town I intended writing you about it. I
     assure you I had a jolly good time for the first two acts of that
     farce, and I can see Gerald Du Maurier all through it. The third
     act worries me for this country, as I wrote you. But the
     performance may change all this. It is so difficult to judge
     farcical work where it is so thoroughly English in its scene that I
     speak of to get any idea from the reading of it for this country.
     Everything is going along splendidly.

_To Haddon Chambers, March, 1913:_

     I propose, and the troupes dispose! We had a lot of floods and
     things here which keep us on the move, or keep our troupes moving
     so much that I am compelled to postpone my sailing until April 12th
     on the _Olympic_, which makes it just a little later when I have
     the joy of seeing you. My best regards.

_To Richard Harding Davis, July, 1913:_

     All right, we'll fix the title. I am glad they are asking about it.
     About people, they all seem to want Collier salaries. As you have
     chiefly character parts, and they are so good, I think it would be
     a good idea for us to create a few new stars through you, and

     Yours truly,


_To George Edwardes, July, 1913:_

     First, I am glad to hear that you are away giving your heart a
     chance. I am back here trying to give my pocket-book a chance.

_To William Collier, September, 1913:_

     All right, all arranged, Thursday night in New York; Monday and
     Tuesday in Springfield, Massachusetts. I shall leave here Monday
     ready to meet the performance and anything else! I hope all is

_To Viola Allen, September, 1913:_

     I was awfully glad to get your letter. First let me say you had
     better come to see "Much Ado About Nothing" this Saturday, because
     it is the last week. We withdraw it to-morrow night and produce a
     new program at once. "Much Ado" wouldn't do for more than two
     weeks. After that it fell. Of course I find on Broadway it is quite
     impossible to run Shakespeare to satisfying "star" receipts. So
     come along to-morrow if you can. It would be fine to have you, and
     fine to have some of the original members of the Empire company to
     play in this house, and I should like it beyond words. I don't,
     however, believe in that sex-against-sex play. In these great days
     of the superiority of woman over mere man I don't think it would

_Referring to a young actress he wished to secure, he writes to Col.
Henry W. Savage in January, 1913:_

     My dear Colonel: I want to enter on your works in this way. You
     have a girl called----. I know she is very good, because I have
     never seen her act, but I understand she is not acting just as you
     want her to, and therefore not playing, either because she is
     laying off, or that you have stopped her from playing. I have a
     part for which I could use this girl. Will you let me have her, and
     in that way do another great wrong by doing me a favor? If she
     doesn't, or you do not wish her to play, perhaps it would be as
     much satisfaction to you if you thought you were doing me a favor
     and let her play in my company as if she were not playing at all.
     My best regards, and I hope this letter will not add much to the
     many pangs of the season to you.

_To Sir James M. Barrie, October, 1913:_

     As I wrote you, I felt we had a good opportunity here under the
     conditions here, and I produced your "The Dramatists Get What They
     Want" last night. It went splendidly with the audiences, and has
     very good press. Of course the class of first-night audience that
     we had last night understood it. The censor is a new thing over
     here. The general public don't understand it, and it may on that
     account not make so strong an impression on further audiences.
     However, that is all right. I am delighted with the way it went,
     and you would have been delighted had you been present. I think the
     press was very good when you consider the subject is so new to us.
     The three plays have all, I assure you, been nicely done, well
     produced and cast, and you would be pleased with them as I am
     pleased in having had them to produce. It helped considerably with
     plays that would not have made much of an impression without them.
     It has helped the general business of these plays, which, although
     it is not great, is good, and makes a fair average every week. It
     is chiefly what you would call "stall" business. "The Will" has
     been a fine thing for John Drew, and he is very happy in it. He has
     made a very deep impression indeed. I think the part with the
     changes of character as played by him has made it really a star
     part. If you have any more of them, send them along.

_To W. Somerset Maugham, October, 1913:_

     Regarding the first act of "The Land of Promise," this is what I
     think, and maybe you will think the same, and, if you do, give me a
     good speech. Send it as soon as you can. I think that we should
     have a different ending to the first act, uplifting the ending.
     After the girl tells about her brother being married, wouldn't it
     be a good idea for her to say something like this, in your own
     language, of course: "Canada! Canada! You are right." (Turning to
     Miss Pringle), "England, why should I stay in England? I'm young, I
     want gaiety, new life. Then why not go to a young country where all
     is life and gaiety and sunshine and joy and youth--the land of
     promise, the land for me?" Remember, in the last act she speaks of
     all she expected to find and how different the realization. This
     new idea of the end of the first act will help this speech, I
     think. And besides uplifting the ending, gives the great contrast
     we want to show in the play and is driven into the minds of the
     audience at the end of the first act. Give the girl a good
     uplifting speech at the end of the first act, instead of a downward
     one. That is what I mean. Then after that we get the contrast of
     the countries. I hope this is clear and you will understand what I

_To J. E. Dodson, October, 1913:_

     My greatest regret is that my profession takes me to Baltimore on
     the day that you are giving the dinner at the Lotus Club to my
     friend Cyril Maude. It would give me the greatest pleasure to eat
     his health with you. I rejoice that you are giving recognition on
     his first arrival here in New York to such a sincere actor and such
     a real man. He belongs to all countries.

_To Haddon Chambers, June, 1911:_

     Had a fine trip over. Found it hot here. Started in building your
     scenery. Am only dropping you a line because I want to ask you,
     while I think of it, if you will get a copy of that special morning
     dress that Gerald wears at the beginning of the second act, for
     Richard Bennett. I think it would be a good idea to bring it over.
     Bennett is not quite as tall as Du Maurier and just a bit thicker,
     and as it is a sort of loose dress there will be no difficulty in
     fitting it here.

     Now our cast is in good shape for your play, and I am very pleased
     with it. We have an asylum full of children awaiting your selection
     on your arrival.

_To Sir Arthur Wing Pinero, August, 1911:_

     The man I selected to produce your play is Charles Frohman. He is
     not only good at producing plays that have never been staged
     before, but he likes your play thoroughly. He has made such a
     careful study of it that he believes that he knows it in every
     detail. He feels confident of his ability to handle it and to make
     the changes you have made just as he thinks you and your public
     over here would like to have it done.

_To Sir James M. Barrie, London, September, 1911:_

     This will be signed for me, as I am still confined to my
     bed--fighting rheumatism. I thought I would not write you until you
     return to London. All goes well here. So far my new productions
     have met with success. Miss Barrymore began in Mason's play last
     night in Trenton, New Jersey. The play was well received before a
     large audience. Miss Adams begins the new season in Buffalo next
     Monday night. I am hoping within the next two weeks to be able to
     get out on crutches. I have been to many rehearsals. They carry me
     in a Bath chair to and from the theater.

_To Somerset Maugham, September, 1911:_

     Thanks for yours. I am still down with rheumatism--partly on
     account of the weather, but more especially because you are not
     doing any work.

_To a New York critic, October, 1911:_

     I hope in two or three weeks to be able to see myself as other good
     critics, like you, would see me--well and about again in my various

_To Sir James M. Barrie, November, 1911:_

     Your letter was a delight, and it will be fine news for Miss Adams.
     I hope you will send the material as soon as you can. Here I am
     dictating to you from bed; so I will be brief. My foot is now tied
     to a rope which is tied to the bed with weights. They are trying to
     stretch the leg. I am hoping that in three or four weeks I may be
     able to sit around. Five months on one's back is not good for much
     more than watching aeroplanes.

_To Sir James M. Barrie, December, 1911:_

     I was very glad to get your letter. I am still in bed, so that I am
     obliged to dictate this letter to you. The manuscript arrived, but
     found me out of condition to read it. I sent it on at once to Maude
     Adams. She telegraphed me how delighted she is with it, and I have
     had a letter from her telling me what a remarkable piece of work it
     is. When she gets back to town I shall read the manuscript. Any
     plan you work out for London will be fine. I should judge, without
     knowing, that your idea for matinées is the best.

     I am hoping that in another month I will be out; I am living on
     that hope. Then I will commence to think about coming over to you.
     I dare not think of it until I once more get out, I am afraid. All
     this has naturally disturbed my London season. I am happy in the
     thought that we will soon have "Peter" on again in London. What a
     difference your plays made to my London season!

     I shall write you again soon. "Peter and Wendy" is fine. My most
     affectionate remembrances.

_To Sir James M. Barrie, January, 1912:_

     I cabled you on receiving your letter because my voice was leaving
     me rapidly. It was a case of a bad throat, and I wanted to get some
     reply to you quickly. My throat is better now. I have had about
     everything, and I fear I shall have to keep to my rooms for some
     time to come. I hope to see you around the end of March.

     I think your Shakespearian play is a most wonderful work. I quite
     appreciate all you say about its chances. I rather felt that a
     Shakespearian novelty of this kind would be most striking if
     produced by Tree on top of his newspaper claim of having lost over
     40,000 pounds on Shakespeare.

     I am all bungled up here. I don't know quite what to do about
     London this season. As I understood what you wanted, I replied as I
     did. You know how I hate to lose any of your work for anybody or
     anywhere. Now you understand. That is splendid about the Phillpotts
     play, and I thank you. I am hoping about the Pinero play. I shall
     be glad to see you.

     This is all the voice I have left for dictation; so I end with my
     best regards.

_To David Belasco, February, 1912:_

     This is written for me. I am still confined to my rooms, and,
     although able to sit up during the day for work, I do not get out
     in the evening. I was glad to hear from you, and I hope you will
     telephone that you will come round any old night that suits you.

     I wish you could play "Peter Grimm" up here; I'd like to see it.

_To Sir James M. Barrie, February, 1912:_

     I haven't written you because lately I have been having a lot of
     pain. I sent you papers which will tell you how wonderfully your
     fine play--"A Slice of Life"--has been received. It has caused a
     tremendous lot of talk; but I just want to tell you that there is
     absolutely no comparison, in performance, as the play is given here
     and the way it was given in London. Fine actors, although the
     London cast had, my people here seem to have a better grasp of what
     you wanted. They have brought it out with a sincerity and
     intelligence of stroke that is quite remarkable. Ethel Barrymore
     never did better work. Her emotional breakdown, tears, her
     humiliation--when she confesses to her husband that she had been a
     good woman even before she met him, all this is managed in a keener
     fashion, and with even a finer display of stage pathos than she
     showed in her fine performance in "Mid-Channel."

     As the husband, Jack Barrymore is every inch a John Drew. He feels,
     and makes the audience feel, the humiliation of his position. When
     he confesses, it is a terrible confession. Hattie Williams, in her
     odd manner, imitated Nazimova--as Nazimova would play a butler.

     So these artists step out into the light--before a houseful of
     great laughter; one feels that they have struck the true note of
     what you meant your play should have. I think the impossible
     seriousness of triangle scenes in modern plays has been swept off
     the stage here--and "A Slice of Life" has done it....

     The effect of "A Slice of Life" is even greater and more general
     than "The Twelve-Pound Look." All agree that each year you have
     given our stage the real novelty of its theatrical season. And the
     fine thing about it is that you have given me the opportunity of
     putting these before the public.

     I am getting along very slowly. I am able to do my work in my rooms
     and go on crutches for a couple of hours at rehearsals. But always
     I am in great pain. I hope to see you by the end of March. I don't
     know whether you will shake my hand or my crutch. But I expect to
     be there. We can take up the matters of "A Slice of Life," etc.,

     I am so delighted about "Peter Pan" this season. I am wondering if
     you have done anything about that Shakespeare play, which I believe
     would be another big novelty.

_To Sir Arthur Wing Pinero, March, 1912:_

     Perhaps this will reach you on your return from the Continent. I
     hope you have made a good trip and that you are happy.

     I hope to give you for the "Mind the Paint Girl" Miss Billie Burke,
     who is an enormous attraction here. She played in her little piece
     from the French last week in St. Louis to $15,700. All the way
     along the line her houses are sold out completely before her
     appearance. Her play is only a slight thing--an adaptation from the
     French, but play-goers seem to have gone wild over her. Besides
     this, she is not only handsome, but every inch the very
     personification of the "Paint Girl." Moreover, she is a genuinely
     human actress. It will be a big combination for me to make--the
     large cast required for the "Paint Girl," together with this
     valuable star and your great play.

_To John Drew, March, 1912:_

     I am glad to hear from you and to know that you are having
     freezingly cold weather in the South. The joke is on the people
     here. They think you are having such nice warm weather.

     I am getting along pretty well. I am about the same as when you
     left me except that there is great excitement among my doctors
     because I can now move my small toe.

_To Sir James M. Barrie, September, 1913:_

     "Half an Hour" has been going splendidly and had a fine reception
     the first night. The majority of the press were splendid indeed,
     one or two felt an awakening to see the change in the work that you
     have been doing. I am awfully pleased the way it came out. I am
     delighted to see that you have added another act to the "Adored
     One." That makes it a splendid program for Miss Adams. Making it a
     three-act play is fine for this side, as I cabled you. All the
     Americans coming home who have seen your play are delighted with it
     in every way. Hope all is going well. I am leaving to-morrow to
     meet Maude Adams and see the piece that she is now playing called
     "Peter Pan." I shall be away from New York for perhaps a week, and
     on my return I will write you again fully.

_To Alfred Sutro, September, 1911:_

     You know how happy your success has made me. You know how I longed
     for it. You know all that so thoroughly that words were not
     necessary. My illness prevented me from reading the play. I shall
     read it in eight or ten days. But it is all understood, and when I
     get up and out I shall fix up all the business.

     John Drew, who is now free of worry concerning his new production,
     is to read "The Perplexed Husband" next week. I shall write you
     then. But the main thing is, we have the success and can take care
     of it. And I am extremely happy over it.

_To J. A. E. Malone, the London manager, regarding the American
presentation of "The Girl from Utah" and its instantaneous success:_

     Believe me that the success is due entirely to the _American_
     members, the _American_ work, and, of course, the _American_
     stars.... The English numbers went for nothing. In short, the
     American numbers caught on.

_To Haddon Chambers, in London in 1914:_

     There have been a number of failures already, but they would have
     failed if every day was a holiday. There has been just now a new
     departure here in play-writing--a great success--"On Trial." This
     is by a boy twenty-one years of age. The scenes are laid in the
     court-room, and as the witness gets to the dramatic part of the
     story the scene changes and the characters are shown to act out the
     previous incidents of the story that is told in court, and then
     they go back to the court and work that way through the play. It
     has been a great sensation and is doing great business.

_Concerning one of his English productions in London, he writes Dion

     I want on my side to have you understand, however, that as far as I
     am concerned I am keeping the theater open for the company and the
     employees, and not for myself. I should have closed positively if I
     had not my people in mind. That was my only reason....

_To Dion Boucicault:_

     It seems to me that there are too many English actors coming over
     here, and I fear some of them will be in distress, because there
     don't seem to be positions enough for all that are coming, and
     people are wondering why so many are coming instead of enlisting.
     It might be well for you to inform some of these actors that the
     chances are not so great now, because there are so many here on the
     waiting-list. I use a great _many_, but I also use a great _many_
     Americans, as merit is the chief thing.

_To Otis Skinner:_

     I felt all that you now feel about the vision effect when I saw the
     dress rehearsal. It looked to me like a magic-lantern scene that
     would be given in the cellar of a Sunday-school.

_To Dion Boucicault, October, 1914:_

     I am despondent as to what to do in London. I'd rather close. I
     don't want to put on things at losses, because I do not wish to
     send money to cover losses to London now. The rates of exchange are
     something terrific, and therefore I don't want to be burdened with
     this extra expense. Twelve pounds on every hundred pounds is too
     much for any business man to handle. Over here we are feeling the
     effects of the war, but the big things (and I am glad to say I am
     in some of them) are all right.

_To an English actor about to enlist in the army:_

     I have your letter. I am awfully sorry, but I haven't anything to
     offer. So therefore I congratulate the army on securing your

_Declining an invitation for a public dinner:_

     I thank you very much for your very nice invitation to be present
     at the dinner, but I regret that, first, I do not speak at dinners,
     and, next, I do not attend dinners.

_One of the lines that Frohman wrote very often, and which came to be
somewhat hackneyed, was to his general manager, Alf Hayman. It was:_

     Send me a thousand pounds to London.

_To W. Lestocq, in 1914, regarding another manager:_

     I notice that Mr. Z---- has a man who can sign for royalties I send
     him. I wonder why he can't find some one to sign for royalties that
     are due me!

_Of a production waiting to come to New York:_

     Broadway may throw things when we play the piece here, still I have
     failed before on Broadway.

_To James B. Fagan, in London, December, 1912, referring to his
production of "Bella Donna" in this country:_

     Mr. Bryant is giving an exceptionally good performance of the part,
     and is so much taken with my theater and company that I have the
     newspapers' word that he married my star (Nazimova).

_To Alfred Sutro, November, 1914:_

     It seems to me that a strong human play, with good characters (and
     clean), is the thing over here; and now, my dear Sutro, I do
     believe that throughout the United States a play really requires a
     star artist, man or woman--woman for choice....

_To W. Lestocq, in November, 1914:_

     I have just returned from Chicago, where Miss Adams has a very
     happy and delightful program in "Leonora" and "The Ladies'
     Shakespeare." "The Ladies' Shakespeare" is delightful, but very
     slight. The little scenes that Barrie has written that are spoken
     before the curtain are awfully well received, but the scenes from
     Shakespeare's play when they are acted are very short and the whole
     thing is played in less than an hour. Miss Adams, of course, is
     delightful in it, and it goes with a sparkle with her; and as it is
     so slight and so much Shakespeare and so little Barrie, although
     the Barrie part in front of the curtain is fine, I cannot say how
     it would go with your audiences [referring to the London public]. I
     am happy in the thought, however, that Barrie has furnished Miss
     Adams with a program that will last her all through the season and
     well into the summer.

_To Haddon Chambers:_

     Hubert Henry Davies's "Outcast" has made a hit, but he really has a
     wonderful woman--I should say the best young emotional actress on
     the stage--in Miss Ferguson. So he is in for a good thing.

_To Cyril Maude, in Boston, November, 1914:_

     Yours to Chicago has just reached me here in New York. As soon as I
     heard that you were going to write me to Chicago I immediately left
     for New York.

     I am glad you are doing so very big in Boston. They say you are
     going to stay all season. Things are terrible with me in London,
     and the interests I had outside of London have been shocking. I am
     hoping and believing, however, that all will be well again on the
     little island--the island that I am so devoted to.

In this letter, it is worth adding, Frohman made one of his very rare
confessions of bad business. He only liked to write about his affairs
when they were booming.

_To Margaret Mayo Selwyn, New York, November 30, 1914:_

     I was glad to receive your letter. I have been thinking about the
     revival of the play you mentioned. In fact, the thought has been a
     long one--three years--but I haven't reached it yet. I have been
     thinking more about the new play you are writing for me. I know you
     now have a lot of theaters, a lot of managers, and a lot of
     husbands and things like that, but, all the same, I _want_ that
     play. My best regards.

_Frohman loved sweets. He went to considerable trouble sometimes to get
the particular candy he wanted. Here is a letter that he wrote to
William Newman, then manager of the Maude Adams Company, in care of the
Metropolitan Opera House, St. Paul:_

     Will you go to George Smith's Chocolate Works, 6th and Robert
     Streets, St. Paul, and get four packages of Smith's Delicious Cream
     Patties and send them to me to the Knickerbocker Hotel, New York?

_Frohman had his own way of acknowledging courtesies. A London friend,
Reginald Nicholson, circulation manager of the Times, sent him some
flowers to the Savoy. He received this reply from the manager, scrawled
with blue pencil on a sheet of hotel paper:_

     A lot of thanks from Savoy Court 81.

Frohman's apartment for years at the Savoy Hotel was Savoy Court 81.

_To Paul Potter, written from the Blackstone, Chicago, in February,

Dear Paul:

     I received your telegram, and was glad to get it. The sun is
     shining here and all is well. I hope to see you Saturday night at
     the Knickerbocker.

C. F.

This is in every way a typical Charles Frohman personal note. He usually
had one thing to say and said it in the fewest possible words.

_One day Frohman sent a certain play to his brother Daniel for
criticism. On receiving an unfavorable estimate of the work he wrote him
the following memorandum:_

     Who are you and who am I that can decide the financial value of
     this play? The most extraordinary plays succeed, and many that
     deserve a better fate fail; so how are we to know until after we
     test a play before the public?

_In reply to Charles Burnham's invitation to attend the Theatrical
Managers' dinner, he wrote:_

     Thank you very much, but my condition is still such that my game
     leg would require at least four seats, and as we now have at least
     several managers to every theater, and several theaters in every
     block, I haven't the heart to accept the needed room, and thus
     deprive them of any.

_Writing to E. H. Sothern and Julia Marlowe, in April, 1915, he said:_

     I wonder why you don't both sail with me May 1 (_Lusitania_). As
     far as I am concerned, when you consider all the stars I have
     managed, mere submarines make me smile. But most affectionate
     regards to you both.

_Writing to John Drew, who was willing to prolong his touring season in
1915, he says:_

     All right. Why a young man like you cares to continue on his long
     tours, I don't know. I hope to get away on May 1st and to return
     shortly after you reach New York. Am in quest of something for you.
     Our last talk before you left gave me much happiness.

_Refusing to book his attractions in a city for a week where three
nights were sufficient, he said:_

     My stars like week stands, but they don't like weak business.

_To Haddon Chambers, in London:_

     I am hoping to get off on the _Lusitania_. It seems to be the best
     ship to sail on. I shall be glad to see you.

_Writing to S. F. Nixon, a business colleague, regarding Miss Barrymore
in "The Shadow":_

     You are quite right as to the play being terribly somber. I thought
     it a good idea to show what a representative American actress of
     serious parts she was; so that next season we will offer a
     contrast, and make the audiences laugh so much that they will be
     compelled to crowd the theater. She will play then as humorous a
     part ("Our Mrs. McChesney") as she did so earnestly a serious one.

_To J. C. O'Laughlin, of the Chicago_ Herald:

     We managers have certain ideas about plays. We produce a play and
     find our ideas and opinions often wrong. Our opinions are only
     sound, I think, as far as the question of a play being actable is
     concerned. My sympathetic feeling for all writers makes it very
     hard to venture an opinion detrimental to their work, especially as
     we find we are frequently wrong.

_To one of his leading women, April, 1915:_

     I appreciate the expression of your affection. It almost makes me
     turn westward instead of eastward. However, we must do our jobs,
     and so I do mine. I am sailing Saturday (per _Lusitania_). Heaven
     only will know where I am in July. I cannot tell this year anything
     about anything.

_To Booth Tarkington:_

     I don't suppose you have any idea of coming to New York. There are
     a lot of fine things here worth your while, including myself.

_Concerning Hubert Henry Davies, the author of "Outcast," Miss Elsie
Ferguson's very successful vehicle:_

     He is a delightful, charming, simple, splendid fellow. You will be
     delighted with him, and Miss Ferguson will be more than delighted
     with him, because he will be so delighted with her. It is a fine
     thing to have so nice a man as Davies arrive, and entirely
     misunderstanding the person he is to rehearse because the surprise
     will be all the greater. It pleases me, knowing what a fine
     emotional (one of the very best in the world) young actress our
     star is.

_To Harry Powers, manager of Powers Theater, Chicago, where his play
"The Beautiful Adventure," with Ann Murdock, was then running:_

     Regarding "The Beautiful Adventure," if I am doing wrong in making
     a clean situation out of one that is not clean, I am going to do
     wrong. The theater-going public in the cities may not always get a
     good play from me, but they trust me, and I shall try and retain
     that trust. We may not get the same amount of money, but if we can
     live through it we will get a lot more satisfaction for those we
     like and for ourselves.

_Some of the last letters written by Frohman were filled with a curious
tenderness and affection. In the light of what happened after he sailed
they seem to be overcast with a strange foreboding of his doom. The most
striking example of this is furnished in a letter he wrote to Henry
Miller on April 29th, a few days before he went aboard the_ Lusitania.
_He had not written to Miller for a year, yet this is what he said:_

     Dear Henry: I am going to London Saturday A.M. I want to say
     good-by to you with this--and tell you how glad I am you've had a
     good season.

C. F.

Miller was immensely touched by this communication. He wired to his son
Gilbert to find out what steamer Frohman was taking, and send him a
wireless. This message was probably the last ever received by Frohman,
for no other similar telegram was sent him in care of the _Lusitania_.

_The last letter written by Frohman, before leaving the Hotel
Knickerbocker on the morning the_ Lusitania _sailed, was to his intimate
friend and companion Paul Potter. Potter, who had telephoned that he
expected to meet him at the steamer, was much depressed, which explains
one of the sentences in Frohman's letter:_

Saturday A.M., May 1, 1915.

     Dear Paul: We had a fine time this winter. I hope all will go well
     with you. And I think luck is coming to you. I hope another
     "Trilby." It's fine of you to come to the steamer with all these
     dark, sad conditions.

C. F.

On his way to the _Lusitania_ Frohman stopped for a moment at his office
in the Empire Theater. There he dictated a note to Porter Emerson
Browne, the playwright. It was his last dictation. The note merely said,
"Good-by. Keep me posted." He referred to a new play that Browne was
writing for him.

_Appendix B_


Altogether Charles Frohman produced more than five hundred plays--a
greater number than any other manager of his time. The list of his
productions, therefore, is really a large part of the record of the
English-speaking stage during the last quarter of a century.

In the list which follows, the name of the star or stars appear
immediately after the title of the piece. Except when otherwise
indicated, the theater mentioned is in New York.

Here is the complete list of Frohman's productions in chronological




PLAY                                DATE          THEATER

_The Stranglers of Paris_           November 12   New Park


_The Pulse of New York_             May 10        Star

_Caprice_ (Minnie Maddern)          November 6    Indianapolis


_Victor Durand Road tour with Wallack's Theater_ Co.

_Moths_         "         "         "

_Lady Clare_    "         "         "

_Diplomacy_     "         "         "

_La Belle Russe_"         "         "

_The World_     "         "         "


_The Golden Giant_                  April 11      Fifth Avenue (McKee Rankin)

_A Toy Pistol_
(Tony Hart)                         February 20   New York Comedy

_A Wall Street Bandit_              September 20  Standard

_A Daughter of Ireland_             October 18    Standard (Georgia Cayvan)

_The Jilt_ (Dion Boucicault)        October 29    Standard


_Baron Rudolph_                     October 24    Fourteenth Street

_She_                               November 29   Niblo's Garden


_Held by the Enemy_                 Road tour


_Shenandoah_                        September 9   Star


_The Private Secretary_             August 26     Grand Opera House

_All the Comforts of Home_          September 8   Proctor's 23d Street

_Men and Women_                     October 20    Lyceum


_Mr. Wilkinson's Widows_            March 30      Proctor's 23d Street

_Diplomacy_                         June 12       Los Angeles, Cal.

_Jane_                              August 3      Madison Square

_The Solicitor_
(Henry E. Dixey)                    September 8   Hermann's

_Thermidor_                         October 12    Proctor's 23d Street

_The Man with a Hundred Heads_      November 2    Hermann's (Henry E. Dixey)

_Miss Helyett_ (Mrs. Leslie Carter) November 3    Star

_The Lost Paradise_                 November 16   Proctor's 23d Street

_The Junior Partner_                December 8    Hermann's


_Glorianna_                         February 15   Hermann's

_Settled Out of Court_              August 8      Hermann's

_The Masked Ball_ (John Drew)       October 3     Palmer's


_The Girl I Left Behind Me_         January 25    Empire

_Ninety Days_                       February 6    Broadway

_Liberty Hall_                      August 21     Empire

_Fanny_                             September 4   Standard

_The Other Man_                     September 4   Garden

_Lady Windermere's Fan_             October       Road tour

_Charley's Aunt_                    October 2     Standard

_The Younger Son_                   October 20    Empire

_The Councillor's Wife_             November 6    Empire

_Aristocracy_                       November 14   Palmer's


_Sowing the Wind_                   January 2     Empire

_Poor Girls_                        January 22    American

_The Butterflies_ (John Drew)       February 5    Palmer's

_Gudgeons_ and

_The Luck of Roaring Camp_          May 14        Empire

_The Bauble Shop_ (John Drew)       September 11  Empire

_The New Boy_                       September 17  Standard

_Too Much Johnson_                  November 26   Standard

_The Masqueraders_ (John Drew)      December 3    Empire

_The Fatal Card_                    December 31   Palmer's


_The Foundling_                     February 25   Hoyt's

_John A'Dreams_                     March 18      Empire

_The Importance of Being Earnest_   April 22      Empire

_The Sporting Duchess_              August 29     Academy of Music

_The City of Pleasure_              September 2   Empire

_That Imprudent Young Couple_       September 22  Empire
  (John Drew)

_The Gay Parisians_                 September 23  Hoyt's

_Christopher Jr._ (John Drew)       October 7     Empire

_Denise_ (Olga Nethersole)          December 2    Empire

_Frou Frou_ (Olga Nethersole)       December 5    Empire

_Camille_ (Olga Nethersole)         December 9    Empire

_Carmen_ (Olga Nethersole)          December 24   Empire


_Michael and His Lost Angel_        January 15    Empire

_The Squire of Dames_ (John Drew)   January 20    Empire

_A Woman's Reason_                  January 27    Empire

_A Social Highwayman_               February 3    Garrick
  (E. M. and Joseph Holland)

_Marriage_                          February 17   Empire

_Bohemia_                           March 9       Empire

_Thoroughbred_                      April 20      Garrick

_Rosemary_ (John Drew)              August 31     Empire

_The Liars_                         September 7   Hoyt's

_Albert Chevalier_                  September 7   Garrick

_Sue_ (Annie Russell)               September 15  Hoyt's

_Secret Service_                    October 5     Garrick

_Honors Are Easy_                   November 9    Montauk, Brooklyn

_Two Little Vagrants_               November 23   Academy of Music

_Under the Red Robe_                December 28   Empire


_Heartsease_ (Henry Miller)         January 11    Garden

_Spiritissime_                      February 22   Knickerbocker

_Never Again_                       March 8       Garrick

_Courted Into Court_                August 30     Newark, N. J.

_The Little Minister_ (Maude Adams) September 27  Empire

_The Proper Caper_                  October 4     Hoyt's

_The First Born_ and
_A Night Session_                   October 5     Manhattan

_A Marriage of Convenience_         November 8    Empire
  (John Drew)

_The White Heather_                 November 22   Academy of Music


_Salt of the Earth_                 January 3     Wallack's

_The Conquerors_                    January 4     Empire

_The Circus Girl_                   January 17    Columbia, Brooklyn

_Oh, Susannah_                      February 7    Hoyt's

_One Summer's Day_ (John Drew)      February 14   Wallack's

_The Master_ (Henry Miller)         February 15   Garden

_Little Miss Nobody_                September 5   Philadelphia

_A Brace of Partridges_             September 7   Madison Square

_The Countess Valeska_              September 26  Troy, N. Y.
  (Julia Marlowe)

_On and Off_                        October 17    Madison Square

_Catherine_ (Annie Russell)         October 24    Garrick

_As You Like It_ (Julia Marlowe)    November 7    Omaha, Nebraska

_Phroso_                            December 26   Empire

_Ingomar_ (Julia Marlowe)           December 26   Indianapolis


_Because She Loved Him So_          January 16    Madison Square

_Her Atonement_                     February 13   Academy of Music

_Lord and Lady Algy_                February 14   Empire

_The Cuckoo_                        April 3       Wallack's

_Colinette_ (Julia Marlowe)         April 10      Knickerbocker

_Romeo and Juliet_ (Maude Adams)    May 8         Empire

_His Excellency the Governor_       May 22        Empire

_Hamlet_ (Henry Miller)             August 1      San Francisco

_The Girl from Maxim's_             August 29     Criterion

_Miss Hobbs_ (Annie Russell)        September 7   Lyceum

_The Tyranny of Tears_ (John Drew)  September 11  Empire

_The Only Way_ (Henry Miller)       September 16  Herald Square

_Barbara Fritchie_ (Julia Marlowe)  October 23    Criterion

_Sherlock Holmes_                   November 6    Garrick
  (William Gillette)

_Make Way for the Ladies_           November 13   Madison Square

_My Lady's Lord_                    December 25   Empire


_Brother Officers_                  January 15    Empire

_The Surprises of Love_             January 22    Lyceum

_Coralie & Co., Dressmakers_        February 5    Madison Square

_Hearts Are Trumps_                 February 21   Garden

_My Daughter-in-Law_                February 26   Lyceum

_A Man and His Wife_ and

_The Bugle Call_                    April 2       Empire

_The Tree of Knowledge_             July 2        San Francisco
  (Henry Miller)

_A Royal Family_ (Annie Russell)    September 5   Lyceum

_The Rose of Persia_                September 6   Daly's

_The Husband of Leontine_           September 8   Madison Square

_Richard Carvel_ (John Drew)        September 11  Empire

_David Harum_ (W. H. Crane)         October 1     Garrick

_Self and Lady_                     October 8     Madison Square

_L'Aiglon_ (Maude Adams)            October 22    Knickerbocker


_Mrs. Dane's Defense_               January 7     Empire

_The Girl from Up There_            January 8     Herald Square
  (Edna May)

_My Lady Dainty_                    January 8     Madison Square
  (Herbert Kelcey and Effie Shannon)

_Captain Jinks_ (Ethel Barrymore)   February 4    Garrick

_Under Two Flags_                   February 5    Garden

_The Lash of a Whip_                February 25   Lyceum

_To Have and To Hold_               March 4       Knickerbocker

_Manon Lescaut_                     March 19      Wallack's
  (Kelcey and Shannon)

_Are You a Mason?_                  April 1       Wallack's

_A Royal Rival_                     August 26     Criterion
  (William Faversham)

_The Second in Command_             September 2   Empire
  (John Drew)

_A Message from Mars_               October 7     Garrick
  (Charles Hawtrey)

_Eben Holden_                       October 28    Savoy

_Quality Street_ (Maude Adams)      November 11   Knickerbocker

_Alice of Old Vincennes_            December 2    Garden
  (Virginia Harned)

_The Girl and the Judge_            December 4    Lyceum
  (Annie Russell)

_The Wilderness_                    December 23   Empire

_Sweet and Twenty_                  December 30   Madison Square


_Colorado_                          January 12    Grand Opera House

_The Twin Sister_                   March 3       Empire

_Sky Farm_                          March 17      Garrick

_The New Clown_                     August 25     Garrick

_The Mummy and the Humming-Bird_    September 4   Empire
  (John Drew)

_There's Many a Slip_               September 15  Garrick

_Aunt Jeanne_                       September 16  Garden
  (Mrs. Patrick Campbell)

_Iris_ (Virginia Harned)            September 22  Criterion

_Two Schools_                       September 29  Madison Square

_The Second Mrs. Tanqueray_         October 6     Garden
  (Mrs. Patrick Campbell)

_A Country Mouse_ and
_Carrots_                           October 6     Savoy
(Ethel Barrymore)

_Everyman_                          October 12    Mendelssohn Hall
  (Edith Wynne Mathison and Charles Rann Kennedy)

_The Joy of Living_                 October 23    Garden
  (Mrs. Patrick Campbell)

_Imprudence_ (William Faversham)    November 7    Lyceum

_The Girl with the Green Eyes_      December 25   Savoy
  (Clara Bloodgood)


_A Bird in the Cage_                January 12    Bijou

_The Unforeseen_                    January 12    Empire

_Mice and Men_ (Annie Russell)      January 19    Garrick

_Three Little Maids_ (G. P. Huntley) August 31    Daly's

_Ulysses_                           September 14  Garden

_Drink_ (Charles Warner)            September 14  Academy of Music

_The Man from Blankley's_           September 14  Criterion
  (Charles Hawtrey)

_Captain Dieppe_ (John Drew)        September 14  Herald Square

_Lady Rose's Daughter_              September 24  Garrick
  (Fay Davis)

_The Spenders_ (W. H. Crane)        October 5     Savoy

_The Best of Friends_               October 19    Academy of Music

_Cousin Kate_ (Ethel Barrymore)     October 19    Hudson

_Charlotte Wiehe_ (French Players)  October 21    Vaudeville

_The Girl from Kay's_               November 2    Herald Square
  (Sam Bernard)

_The Pretty Sister of José_         November 9    Empire
  (Maude Adams)

_The Admirable Crichton_            November 16   Lyceum
  (William Gillette)

_Elizabeth's Prisoner_              November 23   Criterion
  (William Faversham)

_Whitewashing Julia_                December 2    Garrick
  (Fay Davis)

_The Other Girl_                    December 23   Criterion

_Glad of It_ (Millie James)         December 28   Savoy


_My Lady Molly_ (Andrew Mack)       January 4     Daly's

_The Light that Lies in Woman's Eyes_
 (Virginia Harned)                  January 25    Criterion

_The Younger Mrs. Parling_          January 25    Garrick
  (Annie Russell)

_Man Proposes_ (Henry Miller)       March 14      Hudson

_The Dictator_ (William Collier)    April 4       Criterion

_Saucy Sally_ (Charles Hawtrey)     April 4       Lyceum

_Camille_                           April 18      Hudson
  (Margaret Anglin and Henry Miller)

_When Knighthood Was in Flower_     May 2         Empire
  (Julia Marlowe)

_Yvette_ (Hattie Williams)          May 12        Knickerbocker

_Ben Greet Players_                 October 5

_The School Girl_ (Edna May)        September 1   Daly's

_The Duke of Killiecrankie_         September 5   Empire
  (John Drew)

_Letty_ (William Faversham)         September 12  Hudson

_Business is Business_              September 19  Hudson
  (W. H. Crane)

_The Coronet of the Duchess_        September 21  Garrick
  (Clara Bloodgood)

_The Sorceress_                     October 10    New Amsterdam
  (Mrs. Patrick Campbell)

_Joseph Entangled_ (Henry Miller)   October 10    Garrick

_Shakespearian Repertory_           October 17    Knickerbocker
  (Julia Marlowe and E. H. Sothern)

_Granny_ (Mrs. G. H. Gilbert)       October 24    Lyceum

_David Garrick_                     November 14   Lyceum
  (Charles Wyndham)

_The Rich Mrs. Repton_              November 14   Criterion
  (Fay Davis)

_Sunday_ (Ethel Barrymore)          November 14   Hudson

_Brother Jacques_ (Annie Russell)   December 5    Garrick

_Mrs. Goringe's Necklace_           December 12   Lyceum
  (Charles Wyndham)

_A Wife Without a Smile_            December 19   Criterion
  (Margaret Illington)


_Cousin Billy_ (Francis Wilson)     January 2     Criterion

_The Case of Rebellious Susan_      January 9     Lyceum
  (Charles Wyndham)

_Mrs. Leffingwell's Boots_          January 11    Savoy

_Friquet_ (Marie Doro)              January 30    Savoy

_'Op o' My Thumb_                   February 6    Empire
  (Maude Adams)

_Jinny the Carrier_ (Annie Russell) April 10      Criterion

_The Freedom of Suzanne_            April 17      Empire
 (Marie Tempest)

_The Rollicking Girl_               May 1         Herald Square
  (Sam Bernard)

_A Doll's House_                    May 2         Lyceum
  (Ethel Barrymore)

_The Catch of the Season_           August 28     Daly's
  (Edna May)

_De Lancey_ (John Drew)             September 4   Empire

_The Beauty and the Barge_          September 6   Lyceum
  (Nat C. Goodwin)

_Just Out of College_               September 27  Lyceum
  (Joseph Wheelock)

_Shakespearian Repertory_           October 16    Knickerbocker
  (Julia Marlowe and E. H. Sothern)

_Wolfville_ (Nat C. Goodwin)        October 20    Philadelphia

_Peter Pan_ (Maude Adams)           November 6    Empire

_On the Quiet_ (William Collier)    November 27   Criterion

_La Belle Marseillaise_             November 27   Knickerbocker
  (Virginia Harned)

_Alice Sit By the Fire_ and
_Pantaloon_                         December 25   Criterion
  (Ethel Barrymore)


_Mispah_                            January 22   Baltimore

_The Duel_ (Otis Skinner)           February 12   Criterion

_The Mountain Climber_              March 5       Criterion
  (Francis Wilson)

_The American Lord_ (W. H. Crane)   April 16      Hudson

_The Little Father of the Wilderness_ April 16    Criterion
  (Francis Wilson)

_The Little Cherub_                 August 6      Criterion
  (Hattie Williams)

_The Price of Money_                August 29     Garrick
  (W. H. Crane)

_The Hypocrites_                    August 30     Hudson
  (Doris Keane and Richard Bennett)

_The Judge and Jury_                September 1   Wallack's

_His House in Order_ (John Drew)    September 3   Empire

_Clarice_ (William Gillette)        October 15    Garrick

_The House of Mirth_ (Fay Davis)    October 22    Savoy
  (William Collier)

_The Rich Mr. Hoggenheimer_         October 22    Wallack's
  (Sam Bernard)

_Caught in the Rain_                December 31   Garrick


_The Truth_ (Clara Bloodgood)       January 7     Criterion

_Captain Brassbound's Conversion_   January 28    Empire
  (Ellen Terry)

_Good Hope and Nance Oldfield_      February 11   Empire
  (Ellen Terry)

_The Silver Box_ (Ethel Barrymore)  March 18      Empire

_When Knights Were Bold_            August 20     Garrick
  (Francis Wilson)

_The Dairymaids_                    August 26     Criterion
  (Julia Sanderson and G. P. Huntley)

_My Wife_ (John Drew)               August 31     Empire

_The Thief_                         September 9   Lyceum
  (Margaret Illington and Kyrle Bellew)

_The Morals of Marcus_              November 18   Criterion
  (Marie Doro)

_The Toymaker of Nuremberg_         November 25   Garrick

_Her Sister_ (Ethel Barrymore)      December 25   Hudson

_Miss Hook of Holland_              December 31   Criterion
  (Thomas Wise)


_The Jesters_ (Maude Adams)         January 13    Empire

_Twenty Days in the Shade_          January 20    Savoy
  (Pauline Frederick and Richard Bennett)

_The Honor of the Family_           February 17   Hudson
  (Otis Skinner)

_The Irish Players_                 February 17   Savoy

_Father and the Boys_ (W. H. Crane) March 2       Empire

_Toddles_ (John Barrymore)          March 16      Garrick

_Love Watches_ (Billie Burke)       August 27     Lyceum

_The Mollusc_                       September 2   Garrick
  (Alexandra Carlisle and Joseph Coyne)

_The Girls of Gottenberg_           September 2   Knickerbocker
  (Gertie Millar)

_Diana of Bobson's_                 September 5   Savoy
  (Carlotta Nilsson)

_Fluffy Ruffles_ (Hattie Williams)  September 7   Criterion

_Jack Straw_ (John Drew)            September 14  Empire

_Miss Hook of Holland_              October 2     Albany
  (Frank Daniels)

_Samson_ (William Gillette)         October 19    Criterion

_Lady Frederick_ (Ethel Barrymore)  November 9    Hudson

_The Patriot_ (William Collier)     November 23   Garrick

The Sicilian Players                November 23   Broadway

_What Every Woman Knows_            December 23   Empire
  (Maude Adams)


_Kitty Grey_ (G. P. Huntley)        January 25    New Amsterdam

_The Richest Girl_ (Marie Doro)     March 1       Criterion

_An Englishman's Home_              March 23      Criterion

_The Happy Marriage_                April 12      Garrick
  (Doris Keane and Edwin Arden)

_The Mollusc_                       June 7        Empire
  (Sir Charles Wyndham and Mary Moore)

Isadora Duncan in Classical Dances  August 18     Criterion

_Detective Sparkes_                 August 23     Garrick
  (Hattie Williams)

_Arsène Lupin_ (William Courtnay)   August 26     Lyceum

_The Flag Lieutenant_               August 30     Criterion
  (Bruce McRae)

_The Dollar Princess_               September 6   Knickerbocker
  (Donald Brian)

_Inconstant George_ (John Drew)     September 20  Empire

_Samson_ (James K. Hackett)         October 1     Atlantic City

_The Harvest Moon_ (George Nash)    October 15    Garrick

_Israel_ (Constance Collier)        October 25    Criterion

_A Builder of Bridges_              October 26    Hudson
  (Kyrle Bellew)

_Penelope_ (Marie Tempest)          December 13   Lyceum

_The Bachelor's Baby_               December 27   Criterion
  (Francis Wilson)

_Fires of Fate_                     December 28   Liberty


_Your Humble Servant_               January 3     Garrick
  (Otis Skinner)

_The Arcadians_ (Julia Sanderson)   January 17    Liberty

_A Lucky Star_ (William Collier)    January 18    Hudson

_Mrs. Dot_ (Billie Burke)           January 24    Lyceum

_Mid-Channel_ (Ethel Barrymore)     January 31    Empire

_Caste_                             April 25      Empire
  (Marie Tempest, Elsie Ferguson, G. P. Huntley, Edwin Arden)

_Love Among the Lions_              August 8      Garrick
  (A. E. Matthews)

_The Brass Bottle_                  August 11     Lyceum

_Our Miss Gibbs_ (Pauline Chase)    August 29     Knickerbocker

_Smith_ (John Drew)                 September 5   Empire

_Decorating Clementine_             September 19  Lyceum
  (Hattie Williams and G. P. Huntley)

_A Thief in the Night_              September 30  Atlantic City
  (Marie Tempest)

_The Scandal_ (Kyrle Bellew)        October 17    Garrick

_Electricity_ (Marie Doro)          October 31    Lyceum

_Raffles_ (Kyrle Bellew)            November 1    Garrick

_The Speckled Band_                 November 21   Garrick
  (Edwin Stevens)

_The Foolish Virgin_                December 19   Knickerbocker
  (Mrs. Patrick Campbell)

_Suzanne_ (Billie Burke)            December 26   Lyceum

_United States Minister Bedloe_     December 28   Trenton, N. J.
  (W. H. Crane)


_The Philosopher in the Apple Orchard_
  (Billie Burke)                    January 20    Lyceum

_Chantecler_ (Maude Adams)          January 23    Knickerbocker

_Sire_ (Otis Skinner)               January 24    Criterion

_The Twelve-Pound Look_             February 13   Empire
  (Ethel Barrymore)

_The Zebra_                         February 13   Garrick

William Gillette in Repertory       March 13      Empire

_The Siren_ (Donald Brian)          August 28     Knickerbocker

_A Single Man_ (John Drew)          September 4   Empire

_The Mollusc_ (Kyrle Bellew)        September 11  Buffalo

_Passers-By_ (Richard Bennett)      September 14  Criterion

_The Other Mary_                    September 21  Utica
  (Madame Nazimova)

_The Runaway_ (Billie Burke)        October 9     Lyceum

_The Butterfly on the Wheel_        October 26    Atlantic City
  (Marie Doro)

_The Marionettes_                   December 3    Lyceum
  (Madame Nazimova)

_The Witness for the Defense_       December 4    Empire
  (Ethel Barrymore)

_Kismet_--with Klaw & Erlanger      December 25   Knickerbocker
  (Otis Skinner)


_A Slice of Life_                   January 29    Empire
  (Ethel Barrymore, Hattie Williams, and John Barrymore)

_Lady Patricia_ (Mrs. Fiske)        February 26   Empire

_Preserving Mr. Panmure_            February 27   Lyceum
  (Gertrude Elliott)

_Oliver Twist_                      March 25      Empire
  (Nat C. Goodwin, Marie Doro, Constance Collier, and Lyn Harding)

_The Girl from Montmartre_          August 5      Criterion
  (Hattie Williams and Richard Carle)

_The Model_ (William Courtleigh)    August 31     Harris

_The Perplexed Husband_             September 2   Empire
  (John Drew)

_Mind the Paint Girl_ (Billie Burke) September 9  Lyceum

_Passers-by_ (Charles Cherry)       September 19  Utica

_The Attack_ (John Mason)           September 23  Garrick

_Bella Donna_ (Madame Nazimova)     November 11   Empire

_The Conspiracy_ (John Emerson)     December 23   Garrick


_The Spy_ (Edith Wynne Mathison)    January 13    Empire

_The New Secretary_                 January 27    Lyceum
  (Marie Doro and Charles Cherry)

_The Sunshine Girl_                 February 3    Knickerbocker
  (Julia Sanderson)

_Liberty Hall_ (John Mason)         March 11      Empire

_The Witness for the Defense_       March 27      Poughkeepsie, N. Y.
  (Blanche Bates)

_The Amazons_ (Billie Burke)        April 28      Empire

_The Doll Girl_                     August 23     Globe
  (Hattie Williams and Richard Carle)

_Much Ado About Nothing_            September 1   Empire
    (John Drew)

_Who's Who?_ (William Collier)      September 15  Criterion

_The Marriage Market_               September 22  Knickerbocker
  (Donald Brian)

_The Will_ (John Drew)              September 29  Empire

_The Tyranny of Tears_ (John Drew)  September 29  Empire

_The Younger Generation_            September 29  Lyceum

_Half an Hour_ (Grace George)       September 29  Lyceum

_The Dramatists Get What They Want_ October 12    Globe
  (Williams and Carle)

_Indian Summer_ (John Mason)        October 27    Criterion

_Tante_ (Ethel Barrymore)           October 28    Empire

_The Land of Promise_ (Billie Burke) December 25  Lyceum


_A Little Water on the Side_        January 5     Hudson
  (William Collier)

_The Legend of Leonora_             January 5     Empire
  (Maude Adams)

_Half an Hour_ (Blanche Bates)      January 25    Vaudeville

_The Laughing Husband_              February 2    Knickerbocker
  (Curtice Pounds)

_Jerry_ (Billie Burke)              March 30      Lyceum

_A Scrap of Paper_                  May 11        Empire
  (Ethel Barrymore and John Drew)

_The Girl from Utah_                August 24     Knickerbocker
  (Julia Sanderson, Donald Brian, and Joseph Cawthorn)

_A Slice of Life_                   September 6   Vaudeville
  (Richard Carle and Hattie Williams)

_The Prodigal Husband_ (John Drew)  September 7   Empire

_The Beautiful Adventure_           September 7   Lyceum
  (Charles Cherry, Ann Murdock, and Mrs. Thomas Whiffen)

_The Heart of a Thief_              October 5     Hudson
  (Martha Hedman)

_Rosalind_ (Maude Adams)            October 12    Syracuse

_Diplomacy_                         October 19    Empire
  (William Gillette, Blanche Bates, and Marie Doro)

_The Ladies' Shakespeare_           October 26    Hamilton, Ont.
  (Maude Adams)

_The Song of Songs_                 October 29    Atlantic City

_Outcast_--with Klaw & Erlanger     November 2    Lyceum
  (Elsie Ferguson)

_Driven_ (Alexandra Carlisle)       December 14   Empire

_The Silent Voice_ (Otis Skinner)   December 29   Liberty


_Rosemary_ (John Drew)              January 11    Empire

_The Shadow_ (Ethel Barrymore)      January 25    Empire

_A Girl of To-day_ (Ann Murdock)    February 8    Washington

_A Celebrated Case_
--with David Belasco                April 7       Empire
  (Nat C. Goodwin, Ann Murdock, Otis Skinner,
   Helen Ware, Florence Reed, and Robert Warwick)

_The Hyphen_                        April 19      Knickerbocker
  (W. H. Thompson and Gail Kane)

The following productions were arranged by Charles Frohman before he
sailed on the

_Lusitania_ and were staged, just as he planned them,
after his death:


_The Duke of Killiecrankie and Rosalind_
 (Marie Tempest)                    September 6   Lyceum

_Grumpy_ (Cyril Maude)              September 13  Empire

_Sherlock Holmes_ (William Gillette) October 11   Empire

_Our Mrs. McChesney_                October 19    Lyceum
  (Ethel Barrymore)

_Secret Service_ (William Gillette) November 8    Empire

_The Chief_ (John Drew)             November 22   Empire

_Peter Pan_ (Maude Adams)           December 22   Empire

_Cock o' the Walk_ (Otis Skinner)   December 27   Cohan


_Sibyl_                             January 10    Liberty
  (Julia Sanderson, Donald Brian, and Joseph Cawthorn)

_The Little Minister_               January 11    Empire
  (Maude Adams)

_Margaret Schiller_
--with Klaw & Erlanger
--(Elsie Ferguson)                  January 31    New Amsterdam

_The Heart of Wetona_
--with David Belasco                February 29   Lyceum



The following is the complete list of productions made by Charles
Frohman in England, either alone or in collaboration with other
managers, such as the Gattis, George Edwardes, Seymour Hicks, Sir
Charles Wyndham, David Belasco, and Arthur Bourchier:


PLAY                                DATE          THEATER

_The Lost Paradise_                 December 22   Adelphi


_A Night Out_                       April 29      Vaudeville


_My Friend the Prince_              February 13   Garrick

_Secret Service_ (William Gillette) May 15        Adelphi

_Never Again_                       October 11    Vaudeville


_The Heart of Maryland_             April 8       Adelphi
  (Mrs. Leslie Carter)

_Too Much Johnson_                  April 19      Garrick

_Sue_                               June 10       Garrick

_Adventures of Lady Ursula_         October 11    Duke of York's

_On and Off_                        December 1    Vaudeville


_My Daughter-in-Law_                September 27  Criterion

_The Christian_                     October 16    Duke of York's

_Miss Hobbs_                        December 18   Duke of York's


_The Masked Ball_                   January 6     Criterion

_Zaza_ (Mrs. Leslie Carter)         April 16      Garrick

_Madame Butterfly_                  April 28      Duke of York's

_Kitty Grey_                        September 7   Apollo

_Self and Lady_                     September 19  Vaudeville

_The Lackey's Carnival_             September 28  Duke of York's

_The Swashbuckler_                  November 17   Duke of York's

_Alice in Wonderland_               December 19   Vaudeville


_The Girl from Up There_ (Edna May) April 23      Duke of York's

_Sweet and Twenty_                  April 24      Vaudeville

_Sherlock Holmes_                   September 9   Lyceum

_Are You a Mason?_                  September 12  Shaftesbury

_Bluebell in Fairyland_             December 8    Vaudeville


_The Twin Sister_                   January 1     Duke of York's

_The Girl from Maxim's_             March 20      Criterion

_All on Account of Eliza_           April 3       Shaftesbury

_Three Little Maids_ (Edna May)     May 10        Apollo

_The Marriage of Kitty_             August 19     Duke of York's

_Quality Street_                    September 17  Vaudeville


_The School Girl_ (Edna May)        May 9         Duke of York's

_Billy's Little Love Affair_        September 2   Criterion

_Little Mary_                       September 24  Wyndham's

_Letty_                             October 8     Duke of York's

_The Cherry Girl_                   December 21   Vaudeville

_Madame Sherry_                     December 23   Apollo


_Love in a Cottage_                 January 27    Terry's

_Captain Dieppe_                    February 15   Duke of York's

_The Duke of Killiecrankie_         January 20    Criterion

_The Rich Mrs. Repton_              April 20      Duke of York's

_Cynthia_                           May 16        Wyndham's

_Merely Mary Ann_                   September 8   Duke of York's

_The Catch of the Season_           September 9   Vaudeville

_The Wife Without a Smile_          October 12    Wyndham's

_The Freedom of Suzanne_            November 15   Criterion

_Peter Pan_                         December 27   Duke of York's


_The Lady of Leeds_                 February 9    Wyndham's

_Alice Sit By The Fire_             April 5       Duke of York's

_Leah Kleschna_                     May 2         New

_The Dictator_ (William Collier)    May 3         Comedy

_Clarice_                           September 13  Duke of York's

_On the Quiet_ (William Collier)    September 27  Comedy

_The Mountain Climber_              November 21   Comedy


_The Alabaster Staircase_           February 21   Comedy

_All of a Sudden Peggy_             February 27   Duke of York's

_The Beauty of Bath_                March 19      Aldwych

_Punch and Josephine_               April 5       Comedy

_The Belle of Mayfair_ (Edna May)   April 11      Vaudeville

_Fascinating Mr. Vandervelt_        April 26      Garrick

_Raffles_                           May 12        Comedy

_The Lion and the Mouse_            May 22        Duke of York's

_Toddles_                           December 3    Duke of York's


_Nelly Neil_ (Edna May)             January 10    Aldwych

_My Darling_                        March 2       Hicks'

_The Great Conspiracy_              March 4       Duke of York's

_The Truth_                         April 6       Comedy

_Brewster's Millions_               May 1         Hicks'

_The Hypocrites_                    August 27     Hicks'

_The Barrier_                       October 10    Comedy

_Miquette_                          October 26    Duke of York's

_Angela_                            December 4    Comedy


_Lady Barbarity_                    February 27   Comedy

_The Admirable Crichton_            March 2       Duke of York's

_A Waltz Dream_                     March 7       Hicks'

_Mrs. Dot_                          April 27      Comedy

_What Every Woman Knows_            September 3   Duke of York's

_Paid in Full_                      September 26  Aldwych

_Sir Anthony_                       November 28   Wyndham's


_Penelope_                          January 9     Comedy

_Samson_                            February 3    Garrick

_The Dashing Little Duke_           February 17   Hicks'

_Strife_                            March 29      Duke of York's

_Bevis_                             April 1       Haymarket

_Love Watches_                      May 11        Haymarket

_Arsène Lupin_                      August 30     Duke of York's

_Madame X_                          September 1   Globe

_The Great Divide_                  September 15  Adelphi

_Smith_                             September 30  Comedy

_A Servant in the House_            October 25    Adelphi

_Great Mrs. Alloway_                November 1    Globe


_Justice_                           February 21   Duke of York's

_Misalliance_                       February 23   Duke of York's

_The Tenth Man_                     February 24   Globe

_Old Friends_                       March 1       Duke of York's

_The Sentimentalists_               March 1       Duke of York's

_Madras House_                      March 9       Duke of York's

_Trelawney of the Wells_            April 5       Duke of York's

_The Twelve-Pound Look_             May 3         Duke of York's

_Helena's Path_                     May 3         Duke of York's

_Parasites_                         May 5         Garrick

_Chains_                            May 17        Duke of York's

_Alias_ Jimmy Valentine             June 7        Comedy

_A Slice of Life_                   June 7        Duke of York's

_A Bolt from the Blue_              September 6   Duke of York's

_A Woman's Way_                     September 14  Comedy

_Grace_                             October 15    Duke of York's

_Decorating Clementine_             November 28   Globe


_Preserving Mr. Panmure_            January 19    Comedy

_Loaves and Fishes_                 February 24   Duke of York's

_The Concert_                       August 28     Duke of York's

_Dad_                               November 4    Playhouse


_Mind the Paint Girl_               February 17   Duke of York's

_The Amazons_                       June 14       Duke of York's

_Rosalind_                          October 14    Duke of York's

_Widow of Wasdale Head_             October 14    Duke of York's

_Overruled_                         October 14    Duke of York's


_The Adored One_                    September 4   Duke of York's

_The Will_                          September 4   Duke of York's

_Years of Discretion_               September 8   Globe


_The Land of Promise_               February 28   Duke of York's

_The Little Minister_               September 3   Duke of York's


_Rosy Rapture_                      March 22      Duke of York's

_The New Word_                      March 22      Duke of York's


Charles Frohman's productions in Paris were these:

_Secret Service_                    May 25, 1900  Théâtre Renaissance

_Peter Pan_                         June 1, 1909  Vaudeville

_Peter Pan_                         June 2, 1910  Vaudeville

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Charles Frohman: Manager and Man" ***

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