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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • RAINIER NATIONAL PARK: c. 1920s

The Fight: 1913

The Fight: 1913

New York, 1913. "Quality Shop and Hudson Theatre." Where the audience for Bayard Veiller's drama The Fight included a grand jury probing charges that the play was "indecent and a public nuisance." 8x10 glass negative. View full size.

 

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Comstockery

According to John Houchin's "Censorship of the American Theatre in the Twentieth Century", many early twentieth-century plays dramatized female sexual abuse (fueled by a moral panic over "white slavery"). What the authorities took exception to in "The Fight" was a confrontation set in a bordello, where the heroine (campaigning for public office) accuses her opponents of corrupting young women and the community for their own profit. In anticipation of the grand jury's visit, Veiller rewrote the second act and merely described the bordello scene, instead of showing it onstage, and after viewing the revised version, the grand jury dropped all charges.

Leo. Feist, Inc.

Above the theater is one of the offices of Leo. Feist, Inc., as shown on the open windows and also by the large brass plate on the corner of the building. Leopold Feist founded and ran a music publishing firm in the early 1900s. By the 1920's, Feist was among the seven largest publishers of sheet music in the world. He had offices in major cities around he globe. His largest selling piece of sheet music was "My Blue Heaven" published in 1927. Emblazoned -- at least once on every music sheet he published -- was the slogan "You Can't Go Wrong With Any Feist Song". After his death in 1930, most of the Feist music catalog was acquired by MGM.

Hudson Theatre is still there

It's still in business at 141 W. 44th Street. After serving as a movie theater, studio for CBS and NBC, a legitimate theater, a porno house and finally a rock night club, the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission declared the interior and exterior an official landmark in 1987. Now restored to its original 1903 appearance, the Hudson is part of the Millennium Broadway Hotel next door, and is used as a conference center and venue for special events.

Red BML

I would surmise, as letters painted with that color would show up darker when using orthochromatic emulsion (no guess as to Pantone color shade though.)

Quality Replacement Letters

could probably be purchased at the aptly named, and handily located, shop a mere two doors down.

[The letters are not actually missing, they're just semi-invisible thanks to the emulsions used in the days before panchromatic film. - Dave]

Business Men's Lunch

Three martinis and some pretzels.

I certainly hope

that those two usiness en enjoy their unch at Café Signage.

The alphabet thief

is in town - see usiness en's unch.

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