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Ebay mystery

January 9, 2008 | 11:36 am


Los Angeles Times file photo

Pat Collins, left, Edward G. Robinson and Julian Eltinge for a performance by the Dominos Club, Nov. 25, 1935.

Well, that explains it.

1917_0723_davies Yes, I was trolling EBay again in my continual search for reasonably priced items from the Mason Operahouse. What should I find but a program from a 1917 benefit performance for the family of Maitland Davies, featuring our old friend Julian Eltinge. Plus Charlie Chaplin, Leo Carrillo, William S. Hart, Douglas Fairbanks Sr., and an audience that without exaggeration was an array of the era's stage and screen luminaries.

A little research reveals that Davies was a dramatic critic for one of The Times' competing papers. But having been a critic at one point in my career, it is difficult to imagine such an outpouring of goodwill for someone who reviewed the performing arts.

Aha! Further research reveals that before going to the dark side, Davies was a singer and actor of some renown, although given the sketchy resource material in the early online newspapers, it's difficult to tell whether he was particularly prominent.

Although he died in Los Angeles, he apparently wasn't worth an obituary in The Times, but Davies received a few lines in the New York Times, which noted that he died during an operation "at his home." His obituary in the Chicago Tribune says that Davies was a well-known singer before becoming a dramatic critic for the Los Angeles Evening Express and the Los Angeles Tribune. The Chicago paper also noted that Davies was the brother of the late Acton Davies, for many years the dramatic critic of the New York Sun.

Another EBay mystery solved.

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