Martin Beck (vaudeville)

Martin Beck (Vaudeville)

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Martin Beck (vaudeville)

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Martin Beck (1868- 1940) was a vaudeville theatre owner who founded Orpheum Circuit, Inc.

Early Life and Career

Martin Beck was born on 31 July, 1868 at Liptovský Mikuláš, a town in northern Slovakia that at the time of his birth was ruled by the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Beck secured passage with a troupe of actors on the SS Elbe and set sail from Bremen, Germany to America in May of 1884 . There he worked as a waiter in a Chicago beer garden, then went to San Francisco with the Schiller Vaudeville Company in the late 1880s. Beck became friends with the owner of the Orpheum Theatre in San Francisco, and when it was bought by Morris Meyerfeld Jr. in 1899, he helped Morris expand by acquiring other theaters. By 1905, Beck was running the organization, which extended from Chicago to San Francisco.

In 1910 he formed for the Orpheum, the United Booking Offices, Kohl and Castle and others the Beck-Butt Circuit linking America and Europe, joining forces with Alfred Butt, of the Palace in London and Alhambra in Glasgow, founder chairman of the Variety Theatre Controlling Company in Britain thus creating a booking organisation to engage performers who would have three years without playing the same theater twice. They also opened a vaudeville theater in Berlin in 1914 as part of this international agreement but new theaters...
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