Outside the Law Goes Legit on Broadway

Starring Priscilla Dean and Lon Chaney, “Outside the Law”  received a special “innovational” New York City première on January 16, 1921.

Exhibitor’s Herald, February 5, 1921:
“An innovational première was given Universal’s ‘Outside the Law’ on Sunday, January 16, when four legitimate New York theatres gave special matinée and evening performances, projectors, screens and fronts being installed the previous night after the close of the stage plays in engagement, which are not presented on Sunday.”

chaney2_pe (Medium)“The Longacre theatre, New York, as decorated by Universal for the four-theatre special engagement of ‘Outside the Law,’ an event of great interest to exhibitors who will play the picture”

chaney3_pe (Medium)“Early morning view of the Astor theatre, showing graphically the effect obtained by use of prison wall masking, a type of lobby decoration which will doubtless be used nationally in behalf of the picture.”

chaney5_pe (Medium)“‘Outside The Law’ advertising matter was superimposed upon that bearing the legitimate attraction in engagement at the Lyric theatre.

chaney4_pe (Medium)“Oil paintings of exceptional pictorial interest add to the strength of the prison wall effect, as illustrated in the display made up for the George M. Cohan theatre.”

chaney1_pe (Medium)“Every seat in the Astor theatre, New York, was sold before the opening of the special Sunday engagement of ‘Outside the Law’ on January 16.”

“Frequent applause and capacity attendance are reported as characterizing the Sunday showings and subsequent screenings at the Broadway theatre, where a week’s engagement followed.”

Outside the Law

Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres. The first two chosen 2010 OUTSTANDING BOOK OF THE YEAR by the Theatre Historical Society Final volume published in September 2014.

He is available for theatre talks and walks in 2015: historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc

Now selling “vintage” on Etsy.


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