Edward Franklin Albee II

Edward Franklin Albee II

Edward Franklin Albee II (October 8, 1857 – March 11, 1930) was a vaudeville impresario, and the adoptive grandfather of Edward Franklin Albee III, the playwright.

He was born in Machias, Maine to Edward Franklin Albee I. He toured with P.T. Barnum as a ticket collector, then in 1885 he partnered with Benjamin Franklin Keith in operating the Boston Bijou Theatre in Boston. In 1885 Reed married Lora S., and he had the following children: Reed A. Albee (1886–1961); and Ethel Albee (1890-?). With the success of their business, it grew into the Keith-Albee theatre circuit of vaudeville theatres. Albee gradually took managerial control of Keith's theatrical circuit. They were the first to introduce moving pictures in the US. Albee was president of the United Bookings Office from its formation in 1900 or 1906. Albee had most of the major vaudeville circuits give him control of their bookings. They charged acts a 5% commission for bookings. Acts Albee disliked were not booked. When performers tried to form a union, he set up National Vaudeville Artists and made membership in it a requirement for booking through his company. His partner Keith died in Palm Beach, Florida in 1914. Albee made several misjudgments in the 1920s. He built lavish new theaters, and created extravagant shows, at a time when movies were becoming a low cost alternative to the shows. The Keith-Albee-Orpheum (KAO) corporation was formed in Delaware on January 28, 1928. Joseph P. Kennedy partnered with Albee then took full control of the company. The newly formed RKO turned the Orpheum vaudeville circuit into a chain of movie houses.

He died on March 11, 1930 in Palm Beach, Florida.

ee also

* with Albees in Manhattan


*New York Times; March 12, 1930. E.F. ALBEE DIES AT PALM BEACH; Retired Head of B.F. Keith Vaudeville Circuit Heart Disease Victim. CONTROLLED 700 THEATRES 15,000 Performers Under Management of His Company, Largest in the World. Called a Great Organizer. A Native of Maine. Introduced the "Mikado." First Theatre in Boston. The Big Vaudeville Merger. PALM BEACH, Fla.--Edward F. Albee, who became associated with the late B.F. Keith in the vaudeville business forty-five years ago, died here suddenly tonight in his room at the Breakers Hotel from...
*New York Times; March 16, 1930. THRONG AT FUNERAL OF EDWARD F. ALBEE; Notables of Stage and Other Fields at Services in Cathedral of St. John.BISHOP MANNING PRESIDES Cathedral Clergy Assist in Impressive Requlem -- 700 Theatres Pay Tribute to Former Head. The Honorary Pallbearers. Some of Those Present. Tribute at 700 Theatres.. Vaudeville stars, old-time luminaries of the stage, vaudeville executives from cities far West as Chicago, people connected in every conceivable way with the stage and many others paid homage yesterday morning to Edward F. Albee, former ...
*New York Times; March 23, 1930. E.F. ALBEE: CO-FOUNDER OF VAUDEVILLE; Long Head of a Large Amusement Enterprise, He Was Among the Most Untheatrical of Managers. The late Edward Franklin Albee, co-founder of vaudeville. As an American amusement institution and for half a century a manager, was, without doubt, one or the most untheatrical of the theatre's overlords. His funeral services ...
*Time; March 24, 1930. "Died. Edward Franklin Albee, 73, Manhattan theatrical manager; at Palm Beach; of angina pectoris. As a boy he ran away from his native Machias, Maine, to join a wagon show. Working for the late, great Phineas Taylor ("P. T.") Barnum. he met Benjamin Franklin Keith. Together they built theatres, organized a vaudeville circuit which ultimately became $67.000,000 Keith-Albee-Orpheum, bought by Radio Corp. two years ago."
*Time; June 8, 1931. Bu the [National Variety Artists' Club in West 46th Street in Manhattan] club has always run an annual deficit. For years Edward Franklin Albee variety tycoon (Keith-Albee), footed the losses until his death in 1930."

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