Plays and Players


As it does now, Philadelphia housed a busy theater scene in 1914, and the Exponent was there to chronicle it.

Perhaps the biggest name in town was the now-forgotten George MacFarlane starring in The Midnight Girl at the Lyric Theatre.

MacFarlane’s name may be unfamiliar today — although he does merit a Wikipedia entry — but he was a big star then. In the years immediately prior to 1914, he starred on Broadway in productions of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado, H.M.S. Pinafore and The Pirates of Penzance.

Later, he served as one of the first motion picture “talkie” stars, appearing in 17 films between 1929 and his death in 1932, when he was killed crossing a street on the way to a preview of one of his films.

Other than MacFarlane, theater patrons could see Bert Baker and Bon Ton Girls with Babe La-Tour at the Casino Theatre. And those willing to forgo Shabbat services that Friday night could participate in a tango dancing contest. 


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