Robson, Guy Bates Post, and Charlotte Greenwood. Duffy often played leads with his own companies, as did his wife, Dale Winter--both apparently ingratiating themselves with their audiences. When Duffy could not show a play concurrently with its New York run, he was frequently able to import the original Broadway cast for its first production outside of New York. And it was Duffy who first introduced the "guest-star" concept to theatres in the Northwest.
A good stock manager, Duffy was also a shrewd businessman alert to the importance of the church and its interest in preserving the morals of the community. Duffy seemed especially appreciative of the relationship between full houses and church approval. He attempted a consistent offering of recent Broadway successes, and these were always "light" entertainments--comedies, romances, or mysteries, but he insisted that every play he handled must be "clean and wholesome" family fare.
The Duffy theatres in California ran each show for as many weeks as was profitable, and frequently the runs were long. His houses in the Northwest, however, operated on a system somewhat different and more closely in line with the policies of a "typical" stock company. A weekly change of bill was standard, although his Portland productions sometimes ran longer. While he continued to present the most recent Broadway plays he could find, it was in the Northwest theatres that he sometimes slipped in a play ten or fifteen years old. A standard scale of admission prevailed at all Duffy theatres: matinees were 25 cents, 50 cents, and 75 cents; evening performances were 35 cents, 50 cents, 75 cents, $1.00, and $1.25.
By 1930 the blight that all stock suffered affected the Duffy chain. The financial depression was hard on his expanded interests, and the talkies were buying up any Broadway plays which might otherwise have been available to stock. By the middle of the year Duffy was bankrupt. Although he lost his own theatres, he continued his career by directing, producing, and acting for others.
Los Angeles Times, November 2, 1947.
Variety, November 22, 1961.
Rohrer Mary Katherine. The History of Seattle Stock Companies from Their Beginnings to 1934. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1945.
Spencer Dorothy, February 15, 1977.
DURBAN-SHEELER STOCK COMPANY. C. L. Durban and J. A. Sheeler assumed management of Philadelphia's Girard Avenue Theatre in the summer of 1897. This theatre had been the home of the renowned Girard Avenue Stock