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Beating the Broadway Drum

Condensed from The American Magazine (April '26)
An Interview with C. P. Greneker by Mary B. Mullett

CORES of men and women employ

a "publicity representative"; someone whose business it is to keep their names before the public. These persons include politicians, business men and women; social leaders; writers and lecturers, actors and actresses. Within the past ten years "handling publicity" has become recognized profession. The big idea is to keep a person, or an enterprise, before the public, and in a favorable light.



Of all the press agents in New York, and their name is legion, probably the best known and the busiest is C. P. Greneker, of the Shubert offices. supervises the paid advertisements of the "shows" he is handling. And he enhances this advertising with publicity, in the form of stories which are printed in the reading columns of the papers. They are not paid for, but are published like any other kind of


To get these stories into the papers is not easy, for the competition is fierce. Every day, batches of news items about the Shubert productions are sent to more than 1000 papers all Over the country. These shows may later reach these towns; if not, some of the people in these towns may visit New York. Mr. Greneker wants them to be interested in advance; and the best way to get them interested is to have things printed about the productions in local newspapers.

"One of the best ways to get people interested in play, or a star," Mr. Greneker explained, "is to make use of something in which they are already interested. Some years ago, for instance, Gaby Deslys, the French star, was brought to this country by the Shuberts. At the time, everybody was talking about the high cost of living, especially the high cost of

eggs. The scarcity of eggs was a topic of universal interest, so I made use of it. I cabled Gaby to bring a hen with her. Then I sent a story to the newspapers, saying that she had heard of the scarcity of eggs in America, that she could not exist without a fresh one every morning, and therefore she was importing a hen in order to be sure of a daily supply. When Gaby arrived, she actually had with her a hen, which she had christened "Henriette." The newspaper men photographed Gaby with the hen; and these pictures, with the amusing story, were printed all over the country. Not because the papers believed the story, but because it was in line with what people were interested in.

"But I didn't let it drop there. Henriette made the entire tour with the company. I had hundreds of jewel boxes made, costing $2 apiece. At each town, the editor of every local paper was presented with one of these boxes containing a fresh egg on which was rubber-stamped, 'From Henriette, with the compliments of Gaby Deslys.' In San Francisco, we made a good story about Henriette laying an egg on the stage. She really did it. The only time in the whole tour," he added, "that she laid an egg at all!

"Sometimes an important news event can be used in getting publicity. After the "Titantic' disaster, the 'Carpathia' rescued many of the passengers. When the 'Carpathia' arrived in New York, I invited the captain and his officers to be the Shuberts' guests at the Winter Garden. They occupied a box that evening and were given a great ovation by the audience. Naturally, every newspaper printed a story about it.

"When the 'Carpathia' arrived on her next trip, I had another stunt

planned. I had one of the Winter Garden chorus girls cut off her hair, dress as a boy, and go aboard the 'Carpathia,' and stay there until the ship left the pier. Then she allowed herself to be discovered. She explained to the captain that she had been so thrilled by the deeds of the 'Carpathia' officers that she wanted to show her admiration of them as heroes. So she had stowed away on board the ship, hoping to be carried as a cabin boy. Of course she was sent back on a tug; but her picture and the story of her exploit were printed in hundreds of papers.

"The next time the 'Carpathia' came, I had bought a fine black cat and provided her with an elaborate silver collar, inscribed, 'From the New York Winter Garden.' Members of the company took the cat down and presented her to the captain as a mascot for the ship. The papers printed the cat's picture and the story. And, of course, for a long time, every passenger on the 'Carpathia' heard about the cat.

"Of course, these publicity stunts sometimes fail. Mr. Shubert once engaged an East Indian dancer in Paris. It was my business to create interest in her; so I announced that she was so grieved at being exiled from her native land that she would not set foot on any foreign soil, and therefore was always carried about in a sedan chair. I cabled her agent to have her wear her native costume when she arrived. Then I rented a sedan chair, and engaged a troupe of Arab acrobats as bearers. I planned to keep them carting the lady around during her entire engagement.

"When the steamer arrived, I was at the pier with the Arabs and the sedan chair. A battery of newspaper cameras were waiting to photograph the But instead scene. of being dressed in native costume, the dancer was dressed in the latest Paris style! And she refused absolutely to enter the sedan chair. What! Get into that thing? Not she! A limousine for her.

"These publicity stunts are the high lights in a press agent's job; but they don't come often. In between, there is a steady stream of plain hard work, seizing every possible chance of rousing people's interest. 'Blossom Time,' for example, is based on the life of Franz Schubert, the great composer. Weeks before the opening, I sent letters to all the musical societies and private schools. I saw that the papers were supplied with material about Schubert, about the operetta itself, and the cast. And immediately after the first night, the societies, clubs and schools were circularized again, with reviews of the play.

"There is one form of publicity about which the actors and actresses are always fighting. There are different ways of presenting an actor's name in connection with a production. This applies to the paid advertisments, the programs, and the billboards. For ex ample, if the star has become so famous that he has more 'pulling power' than the production itself, his name is put at the top, even above the name of the play, and also in larger letters. The next step is to have the star's name in the same size letters as the title. The third uses the same form, but the star's name is in smaller let. ters than the title of the play. Next is what is called a 'featured position,' with the name of the production first, and then the name of one or two of the stars.

"I don't know whether the average playgoer notices the details of this scale of prominence. But believe me, the actors are ready to fight, bleed, and die to get the type and position they think they are entitled to. Every detail concerning the position of the name and the size of the letters is covered in the contract signed by the manager and the actor. Mr. Shuber recently made a contract with a sta actor, and it contained no fewer than seven clauses relating to the detail of how the star's name should appea in the program and in the advertising and billing."

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Passion Week in Paris, 1918

Condensed from The Dearborn Independent (March 27, '26)
William L. Stidger

HERE is no better time to tell it than this Passion Week of 1926, after eight years have passed. Friday, March 22, a week before Good Friday, the Big Gun began to fire on Paris. My diary of that date says:

"This is the first day on which a gun has been used by the enemy to fire a distance of 75 miles on a defenseless city filled with men, women and children. The city is stirred as never before since the days of the French Revolution. Business has stopped. Shops are closed. The tramways and subways are motionless. None but Americans are on the streets of Paris.

There is something dreadfully ominous in the very air. The awful uncertainty of those great shells dropping, regularly every 12 minutes from out of the sky, seemed to stiffle one. At first we did not know whether they were bombs from Gothas cr what. Then came the announcement late this afternoon that the shells are coming from the Big Gun."

Saturday, March 23

"Promptly at 7 the Big Gun dropped its first shell for today into the city. It shattered some glass in my hotel. We had an air raid again last night. Up yonder on the Somme the Big Drive has begun, and down here the air drive has begun. The Big Gun all day long and the Gothas at night. It is intended to terrify.

"Every 12 minutes the shells have dropped into the city. The railroad depots are literally crowded with people leaving the city with their children. I visited three gares today and baggage is piled up everywhere. talked with a man in charge about the possibility of checking a trunk for a friend who had to go to Bordeaux, and he said that they would not promise


to touch it for two weeks, because of the great exodus from the city of old men, and women and children. They were overwhelmed."

Sunday (Palm Sunday), March 24

"Another air raid last night, and the Big Gun promptly at seven this morning. It is a strange Palm Sunday. The papers are filled with the awfulness of the loss of life up on the Somme line. It looks dark. Bishop McConnell preached a Palm Sunday sermon and told us that he had spoken in the past week to a thousand Scottish guards the day before the big drive began. When he asked them what they wanted to sing they selected

'O God, Our Help in Ages Past, Our Hope for Years to Come.' The Bishop told us that he had preached to those boys on 'How Men Die,' and in a few days most of them had made the supreme sacrifice.

"While the Bishop was preaching three shells fell so close to the church that their explosion shook the windows. The newspapers humorously called it 'Bomb Sunday'."

Tuesday, March 26

"The Germans have taken Noyon, only 35 miles away. We have been notified as to where we shall get truck transportation in case the city is evacuated. Hand baggage only, allowed. I visited the Gare du Nord today. It is piled to the ceiling with the baggage of old men and women fleeing Paris. I saw old men and women in wheel chairs by the hundreds, men and women who have never been out of Paris in their lives. The Big Gun stopped shelling us for some reason this afternoon. We do not hear much news from the front, but we know that awful slaughter is going

on up there on the Somme. It is a weird time."

Wednesday, March 27

"Germany is sparing us for some reason. There is a rumor that she is so sure of entering Paris that the raids have stopped and the Big Gun has ceased firing. They do not want to destroy any more now that they are so near.

"I heard some French gamblers betting even money that the Germans would be in Paris in two weeks. The British have officially admitted that the situation is most serious. The French newspapers are saying, "The enemy is so close that it is becoming difficult for the Allied Armies to maneuver.' We went to bed last night with the Germans only an hour away by train."

Thursday, March 28

"Spent the whole day in the Gare du Nord caring for thousands of refugees pouring in from northern towns where the drive is pushing forward. I went down last night at one o'clock and have been there all day. It is an awful sight. Old women carrying tiny babies have tramped on foot 50 and 60 miles, with nothing to eat for three days. They have been driven by thousands from their homes. Three babies were born in the Gare last night.

"Never such a Passion Week since Christ!' one hears exclaimed on every side. That phrase seems to be on every lip. There are such strange parallels. The world seems to be betrayed this week. It looks as if the French and English armies will be separated and the channel ports taken. We say in our hearts that it shall not be, but we have to face facts."

Good Friday, March 29

"I have never spent a Good Friday in my life when I felt more in the atmosphere and memory of Christ's sufferings than I have today. In addition to the poor refugees with whom I worked all day and night, the piteousness of their suffering haunting me, I spent half an hour in the Made

leine this afternoon. The churches are crowded today. Half of the French who are pouring into them are wearing black. Thousands of women and little children with weep. ing eyes passed me as I stood at the steps of the Madeleine. This morning before daylight I came home from an all-night's work with the refugees. I stopped at a church where working men gather and it was packed to the doors.


"One of the refugees that we took to the hotel last night was an old We had to put the refugees to bed on the floor of the hotel lobby at the Pavilion. This dear old lady somehow lost her crucifix, and she wailed and cried and shrieked so that she kept the rest of the tired refugees awake. We could not quiet her. Finally she got the whole crowd of more than 200 refugees searching for that lost crucifix, until at last they found it and all could sleep.

"This afternoon the sky was COVered with heavy black clouds to the north. One imagined that it was the dense smoke from the big guns up on the Somme and around Noyon. The clouds drifted over Paris as from a burning world. A great air patrol was circling overhead. The Germans had been threatening a daylight raid for some time, and as they seemed to prefer sacred days for their terror, it was expected today. Full churches make good targets.

"About three o'clock I left the crowded Madeleine, to walk to my hotel. I was thinking of Good Friday in America-of my church folks-my family-all keeping worship. The Big Gun had been silent most of the day, but suddenly I heard an explosion. It was the Big Gun. The earth shook with convulsions.

"Then the news came. It spread like wild fire over Paris. The shell had struck the ancient and beautiful church of St. Gervais. Hundreds of people were kneeling in the church, and 75 were killed. More than a hundred others were terribly wounded. What I saw there will haunt me forever."


My 92 Years

Condensed from Current History (April '26)

Chauncey M. Depew

HEN I was a boy in Peekskill, N. Y., the ambitious man thought of fortune in terms of $100,000. If he could acquire so monumental a sum it would bring him $7,000 a year at 7 per cent, and $3,000 was adequate for his living. That included a coach and pair and two or three servants. We did not undertake to do such a variety of things in a brief space of time, but we lived comfortably, and the average man's chance of happiness was brighter then than now. The > pressure of latter-day life tends to rob

us of the capacity for happiness. We forget to smile, and of all human blessings a smile is the greatest.

Trains in those days crept slowly down to New York, though we regarded them as fast enough. Paddlewheel steamboats ran to Europe and the railroads slowly progressed westward. Our newspaper in Peekskill often published "three-day news from Europe," meaning that the bringing this news had arrived in New York three days before.



When we come to speak of changing social conditions it may not be amiss to recall that my first fee was $1.75, earned by several days of work in preparing a legal opinion. For a young man just out of Yale the fee was looked upon as adequate. Since I have ventured to say that a smile is the greatest blessing in life, add that an appreciation of money in its true value and provision against poverty is the first duty of Riches should not be a goal, but poverty is the worst of our social evils. The first $100 cleared from my practice went into a savings bank and still remains there, amounting to almost $900 in sixty years.


The outstanding discussion that occupied everybody's mind in the '40s

and '50s was tue question of property rights as applied to slaves. At the time I was graduated from Yale in 1856 this difference had reached the proportions of a breach. I entered actively into the campaign that elected Lincoln.

When the civil war was ended and the question of slavery decided, the great social question became the treatment that should be accorded to the South. Extremists upon the victorious side argued that the defeated states should never receive the full measure of their former rights. Others of more moderate opinion held that such rights could be returned only by degrees. A few men expressed the view that the status of the Southern States must be restored at once.

Of that group Lincoln was the outspoken leader, insisting upon a full restoration, saying in effect that these were our people and that we could not debar them from the Union in which they were forced to be citizens. Had Lincoln lived, his policies would have prevailed, to the early benefit of the South. But the death of Lincoln made way for the carpetbagger, and it was not until the Presidency of Grant that the vision of Lincoln received substance.

Once the two great divisions of the country had been fully reunited in a political whole and the West had begun to develop, the prosperity of the country passed all known bounds. The cloud upon this prosperity was the recurrence of panics. As the great

accumulations of capital were shifted about in new combinations and still greater enterprises became the order of the day, panic followed panic, with recurrent periods of depression and suffering. Happily we have seen the passing of panics, owing in large

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