John J. Miller,
who formerly, (about 1915-20) had operated a burlesque show place
for colored people - King Street above Columbus Street, I believe
- bought the property where the Palace Theatre was built - copied
the design of our Victoria Theatre - borrowed money on a first mortgage
from the South Carolina Loan and Trust Company, to build with - but
ran out of money when half through.
Being a friend
of my Brother Santo - he requested Santo to talk to me and to help
the matter with Miller, he said that he needed $35,000, to finish
the building - that Don and Frank Towles - prominent Johns Island
farmers, had agreed to lend him $25,000 of it, provided I would join
in with them with the remaining $10,000.
The group met
- we agreed to put up the $10,000 and secured a second mortgage for
the $35,000 - I was to supervise payment of the loan.
the theatre (Milo Theatre) - opened it for colored patronage - stage
and screen shows - soon went broke - First mortgage was foreclosed
- we dropped out $35,000, as we didn't want any part of operating
leased the theatre - among them Miss Maude Gibbon, for the Charleston
Philharmonic Society - called it the Charleston
Theatre - the effort went broke.
Sims of Orangeburg
tried to run it - also Cook from Walterboro - all fizzled out.
I was then approached
by Louis Fischer, Trustee of the now defunct South Carolina Loan and
He begged me to
help him get some income from the place, so we leased if for five
years, at $200 a month - hoping to do something with the place - but
the depression was on and we kept it closed until the lease was up.
We then called
in Mr. Basil Kerr, who was operating the Elco Theatre and offered
to let him have the theatre at the same rental and gave him an option
to buy it, which we had from Louis Fischer.
Mr. Kerr bought
the property, including three small houses on Columbus Street, for
less than $30,000.
He closed up the
Elco as a theatre, (this was his own building) and ran the Palace
Theatre for many years profitably - our relations were always