b. Abraham Lincoln Erlanger, 4 May 1860, Buffalo, New York, USA, d. 7 March 1930, New York City, New York, USA. Together with his business partner, Marc Klaw, Erlanger built an elaborate showbusiness empire of production companies and theatrical real estate. Among Erlanger’s productions were George M. Cohan’s Forty-Five Minutes From Broadway (1906) and he backed Florenz Ziegfeld when the impresario was getting started. Erlanger and Klaw’s company was also responsible for the construction of new theatres in New York, notably The New Amsterdam and The Erlanger, the latter later becoming known as The St. James. Another of their enterprises was the Theatrical Syndicate with which they exercised ruthless control over bookings made by several hundred theatres across the nation. Setting rates and determining who could play where and when in a manner designed solely for their own financial benefit, Erlanger and Klaw made many enemies. Reviled by many for the ruthless and unnecessarily vicious manner in which he frequently did business, Erlanger sowed the seeds of his own destruction when he refused to honour agreements he had reached with Sam Shubert. This happened after the showman died in a railroad accident. The Shubert Brothers began a campaign against Erlanger, eventually bringing him to ruin.
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