CSUN University Library


Theater Owners Booking Association (T.O.B.A.) Listings:

8/18/23-9/8/23 = Nothing regarding T.O.B.A.
9/15/23 Pt 2, pg 11; "Something New in Baltimore, pg 11, col 3.
9/22/23 Pt 2, pg 11; "Afro-American" (African American newspaper, Baltimore, MD) - editorial on Douglas Theater (was a T.O.B.A. theater); "Theaters Withdrawn from T.O.B.A. Circuit", pg 11, col 3.
9/29/23-11/17/23 Pt 2, pg 11; for the dates: 9/29/23-10/13/23 there was movie ads (Elmore Theater), but NO T.O.B.A. ads; also NO J.A. Jackson (formerly Theatrical Editor for the newspaper) "Page" for any of the dates listed
11/24/23-1/16/26 Pt 2, pgs 8-11 and 15; Essentially, mention of the T.O.B.A. circuit was rare or an after thought.
1/23/26 Pt 1, pg 10; "Reevin and Dudley (Sam E. and S.H.) to jar Milton Starr", pg 10, cols 4-5 - they felt that Starr was spending his time and money "for his own interests, rather than for the T.O.B.A. interests.
1/30/26 Pt 2, pgs 9-10; "T.O.B.A. to meet in Chattanooga", pg 9, col 3 - stockholders meeting (Jan 28) to discuss "discordant actors and toughnut managers", secrecy was to be maintained; "Ethel Waters, Blues Singer on T.O.B.A. time, pg 9, col 4 (bottom of page); Grand Theater ad, pg 10, cols 1-2.
2/6/26 Pt 2, pg 10; T.O.B.A. = no mention.
2/13/26 Pt 2, pg 10; "Theatre Owners' Booking Association hold annual Meeting at Chattanooga", pg 10, cols 7-8: annual election - with results - of officers; stockholders listed, and absent members were also listed; Colored Actors' Union (CAU) was represented by J.A. "Billboard" Jackson - now with "Washington Tribune" - who planned to present concerns/etc. of the CAU to the T.O.B.A.; S.H. Dudley, T.O.B.A. officer and stockholder was also president of the CAU.
12/31/27 Pt 2, pg 2; "Miller (Irvin C.) Productions, Inc Starts work on shows", Pt 2, col 1, by "Chappy" Gardner - T.O.B.A. Executive Committee "had voted $25,000 to be given Miller for producing "ten new revues for the T.O.B.A. circuit.
1/28-12/29 = dates missing, unable to locate.
1/4/30 Pt 2, pg 6; "Hard Times Cause of Scarcity of Good Road Shows - Reevin", pg 6, cols 1-3 by William G. Nunn - Sam Reevin, Treasurer of the T.O.B.A. had been traveling to many of the big cities in order to assess the reasons for "hard times" in the theatrical world, i.e. why attendance at theaters were declining, and what was the solution for reversing this trend. He wanted also to refute the view that the T.O.B.A. Circuit was the "laughing stock of the country, and that there was a lack of proper management". His findings, he said, were that the public 1) wanted good shows; 2) these shows were expensive; and 3) the public was unwilling to pay the price for them. As to the production of these shows, white producers used capital from whites, not borrow from T.O.B.A., and when they failed, the T.O.B.A. leaders weren't concerned. On the other hand, the T.O.B.A. leadership had lent a race (black) producer money to build shows "which he felt his people would like… to be returned to the T.O.B.A. at the rate of $250 per month, with the usual 6 per cent interest…" the producer "produced no shows" and did not pay back any of the money. Reevin recognized that show business was difficult all across the country; the South, particularly "far South", was difficult for "race" performers, and that it was also difficult to get New Yorkers to leave New York - work was good/more plentiful in New York, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Chicago, etc. Finally, Reevin wanted the various national newspapers' theatrical editors - primarily the "Chicago Defender" and the "Pittsburgh Courier" - to "encourage race consciousness among the public and patronize only those houses which did not segregate them to 'peanut heaven', i.e. usually balcony; "Elmore Theater", Pt 2, pg 10 - changed policy to "high class" talking pictures because of "inability to get a sufficient number of high class stage attractions to keep up the attendance record at the popular hill playhouse"; the theater had been a movie house prior to 1923; also planned to show "big time stage productions" only = probably precluded T.O.B.A. shows.
1/11/30 Pt 2, pg 16; "Reevin says Jews Would Boycott any 'Jim Crow' Theater", pg 16, col 4 - stated Reevin "… It's a shame the way, the colored people will insist on going into white theaters, where they are segregated and sent into 'peanut heaven' for their money. It seems to me that they have a peculiar complex into shoving themselves into places where they aren't wanted. Were the same restrictions placed against Jews there wouldn't be two of them enter one of these houses in 99 years".
1/18/30 Pt 2, pg 16; "T.O.B.A. Shows play the following cities this week; Where Toby Shows play this week", pg 16, col 2; T.O.B.A. ad, pg 16, col 4 (bottom of page).
1/25/30 Pt 2, pg 16; Williams & Brown Co of T.O.B.A. closed without notice in Atlanta, and left actors broke; actors had not been paid for two months, it was said that the wife and stepson of Williams - who was said to be a responsible individual - were irresponsible; "Where Toby Shows Play This Week", pg 16, col 7; T.O.B.A. ad, pg 16, col 5 (bottom of page).
2/1/30 pgs 16-17; "T.O.B.A. Routes This Week", pg 16, col 5; T.O.B.A. ad, pg 16, col 5 (bottom of page).
2/8/30 pgs 16-17; "T.O.B.A. Routes", pg 16, col 8; T.O.B.A. ad, pg 16, col 4 (bottom of page).
2/15/30 pgs 16-17; "T.O.B.A. Officials Discuss Crisis in Show Game. Officers Re-Elected at meeting", pg 16, col 3 - "Three Race Men (Charles Turpin=President; S.H. Dudley=Vice President; Dr J.A.C. Lattimore=Secretary), and one white (Sam E. Reevin=Treasurer & Manager) Head Stage Organization"; T.O.B.A. ad, pg 16, col 4 (bottom of page); Bessie Smith's "Moaning Low", pg 17, col 2 - received a fair review: "Bessie Smith, herself has a fine blues voice", good spots, other spots=not so good; reviewer felt that the public interest now in blues singers was fading.
2/22/30 pgs 16-17; T.O.B.A. ad; Eddie Lemons' "Dashin' Dinah" show plays white house (theater) in Dallas and received well by audience; "Pickings from Dixie", pg 17, cols 7-8 - Billy and Mary Mack's company cast/musicians listed.
3/1/30 pgs 16-17; Managers and producers had difficulty getting stars/chorines to leave New York because: 1) New York theaters paid better guarantees so managers were able to offer to actors better wages; 2) Managers lacked capital to produce hits; 3) unscrupulous managers caused many chorines to be stranded far away from home; and 4) lack of management knowledge/talent by the managers, e.g. flop of shows on the road=sameness of type of shows, lack of costumes, new music and pretty girls; "T.O.B.A. Routes", pg 16, col 3; T.O.B.A. ad.
3/8/30-3/15/30 pgs 15-17; T.O.B.A. ad for both dates.
3/22/30 pgs 16-17; "Where They Play This Week (T.O.B.A.)"; T.O.B.A. ad.
3/29/30 pgs 16-17; "T.O.B.A. Routes", pg 16, col 5; T.O.B.A. ad.
4/5/30 Pt 2, pgs 6-7; "T.O.B.A. Routes", pg 6, col 4; T.O.B.A. ad.
4/12/30-4/19/30 Pt 2, pgs 6-7; T.O.B.A. ad for both dates.
4/26/30 Pt 2, pgs 6-7; T.O.B.A. ad; "Uncle Dud (S.H. Dudley) sells his Theatre", pg 7, col 3 - Dudley sold his "Mid-City Theater (Washington, DC) to a white corporation, and "will devote his time to real estate brokerage and booking business", was to remain Vice President/Eastern Representative of T.O.B.A.
5/3/30 Pt 2, pgs 6-7; T.O.B.A. ad.
5/10/30-6/7/30 Pt 2, pgs 6-7; = all dates and NO T.O.B.A. ad.
6/14/30 Pt 2, pgs 6-7; Dunbar Theater, Columbus, OH, (former T.O.B.A. house) became "bowling and billiard rendezvous", pg 6, col 4.
6/21/30 Pt 2, pgs 6-7; "T.O.B.A. to use only the Best", pg 6, col 6 - houses in many cities closed for summer - "won't play inferior shows"; performers felt public "has been worn threadbare with 'canned music' and similarity of offerings in vaudeville", so they decided to close theaters, enabling the managers and producers of shows and vaudeville "to pull themselves together, think out new ideas and build bigger and better shows for the coming fall season…"; NO T.O.B.A. ad.
6/28/30-7/5/30 Pt 2, pgs 6-7; NO T.O.B.A. ad for either date; Most of the theaters (stage shows) - at least two thirds (as noted on 7/5/30) - were closed for the summer, this was attributed partly to "moving pictures".
7/12/30 Pt 2, pgs 6-7; Sam Reevin (T.O.B.A. official) was touring for three weeks in the Mid-West "for business and pleasure"; "Stock People Wanted", pg 6, col 7 (bottom of page) - ad by C.H. Turpin for Booker Washington Theater, St Louis, MO.
7/19/30 Pt 2, pgs 6-7; "Lando Gets Exclusive T.O.B.A. Franchise Here: Road Shows are Coming This Fall", pg 6, col 3; "Road Shows Coming back bigger and better Than ever, Declares Reevin", pg 6, cols 1-2; C.H. Turpin (Washington Theater, ST Louis, MO) ad; Fire Tuesday night after announcing of Lando Theater to be T.O.B.A. in fall occurs; cause of fire unknown, was noticed at 11:15 - people in theater at time fire escaped unharmed - building had been fireproofed - interior = completely ruined, outside = unharmed; theater to be remodeled/repaired as necessary; fire was not to affect the contract with T.O.B.A. in any way.
7/26/30-8/2/30 Pt 2, pgs 6-7; both dates include Booker Washington Theater, St Louis, MO ad.
8/9/30 Pt 2, pgs 6-7; T.O.B.A. Officials and Owner/Managers of houses from Chicago, Detroit, Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and other T.O.B.A. franchise holders in other locales to meet in Cincinnati for meeting; "Lando (Theater) to arrange for big shows", pg 7, col 4; Booker Washington Theater ad.
8/16/30 Pt 2, pgs 6-7; "T.O.B.A. Moguls hold meeting in Cincinnati", pg 6, cols 1-2, "Lando Gets Ready for Opening", pg 7, col 3 - Lando Theater ready to be opened on or before Labor Day - not sure whether big stage revue to be presented; decision rests with T.O.B.A. officials.
8/23/30 Pt 2, pgs 6-7; "T.O.B.A. Facing Biggest Crisis of its Career This Year", pg 6, cols 4-6 (long article) - by Bill Nunn, Courier Theatrical Editor, who said that "Reevin is wide-awake to facts"; "Lando to open Friday with 'double feature'".
8/30/30-9/6/30 Pt 2, pgs 6-7; Washington Theater (St Louis, MO) ad = both dates.
9/13/30 Pt 2, pgs 6-7; "Irvin C. Miller to represent T.O.B.A. in East: Big Revue is sec secured by Reevin", pg 6, col 1 - Miller to act as New York representative of T.O.B.A., and several well known producers to produce shows in New York for circuit.
9/20/30 Unable to locate.
9/27/30 Pt 2, pgs 8-9; "Quintard Miller and his big revue to o pen current T.O.B.A. Season (Lando Theater, 9/28/30)", pg 8, cols 1-2 - Miller was brother of Irvin C. Miller, and was to present his "Keep Shufflin Company", starring Emmett "Gang" Anthony; Lando Theater ad, pg 8, col 1 (admission=thirty five cents).
10/4/30 Pt 2, pg 8; "Another Show for T.O.B.A.", pg 8, col 6 by W.R. Arnold from Nashville, TN Oct 2 - opening of new season (probably at Bijou) with Elmore Floyd's "Syncopated Sue" company to be out Oct 13, show might play some time over T.O.B.A. and "into some white theaters throughout the North"; Gertrude Saunders' "Midnight Steppers" to open at Lando Theater for week beginning Oct 6, making it second T.O.B.A. show for Lando Theater.
10/11/30 Pt 2, pgs 8-9; Admission for Lando Theater for movie only was twenty-five cents for adults and ten cents for children.
10/18/30 Pt 2, pgs 8-9; Roosevelt Theater in Cincinnati closed (was T.O.B.A. theater).
10/25/30-11/29/30 Pt 2, pgs 8-9; for all dates of newspaper, theatrical/entertainment pages were same, with Booker Washington Theater ads only appearing twice - 11/1/30 and 11/8/30.
12/6/30 Pt 2, pgs 8-9; Lando Theaters is movies only.
12/13/20-1/3/31 Pt 2, pgs 8-9; T.O.B.A.= zero.
1/10/31 Pt 2, pgs 8-9; "Dud's Dope", pg 8, col 1 - written by S.H. Dudley: "Was it mismanagement of the (T.O.B.A.) organization or was it the shows? Salaries were small, but the actors worked all the time and could be working now if they had only made a study of the show business. This they did not do so the audiences got tired of seeing the same thing week in and week out. Then the talking pictures with elaborate settings, beautiful women, gorgeous costumes came along with something new and the audiences of today fell for it. Now as to the managers: they never encouraged the producers of these shows for the T.O.B.A. to put out shows of the better kind by classifying them and paying a decent salary to those who would and could produce better attractions nor would they do things to build up their business. All hey cared for was to count the receipts and live for today without looking into the future. I pleaded with them at each meeting to do these things and now they see their mistakes…" Essentially the curtain descended for the T.O.B.A. circuit.

go to Campus_Homepage go to Library_Homepage Monica Burdex Home Page HTML 4.0 Checked!