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F.F. Proctor

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F.F. Proctor

"Dean of Vaudeville"

Proctor, Frederick Freeman or Francis [Fred Levantine] (1851-1929) American Vaudeville manager (‘Dean of Vaudeville’) and theatre owner. Born in Dexter, Maine he began his theatrical career as part of an acrobat act traveling the United States and Europe as Fred Levantine. A frugal teetotaler, he used his savings to buy an interest in a small theatre in Albany, NY in 1886 where he discontinued the practice of serving drinks, cleaned up the acts and offered wholesome family vaudeville. In 1889 he opened the 23rd St Theatre in New York City as a legitimate house. By 1890 with his partner Henry Jacobs he owned a dozen cut-rate vaudeville houses. When the partnership went sour in that same year he moved to New York. Beginning with New York’s Proctor Pleasure Palace in 1894 he devoted his interest exclusively to vaudeville entertainment establishing the first vaudeville circuit and ultimately owning 25 theatres up and down the east coast. In 1906 he joined his arch-rival B.F. Keith as head of the United Booking Office, a large chain of first-class vaudeville theatre. He sold out his theatrical holding shortly before his death to the Radio-Keith-Orpheum circuit.. In 1912, Proctor built his estate, Proctoria, on 1142 acres of land in Central Valley, NY. He constructed five large homes, various barns, and "The Gatehouse" which marked the impressive entrance to the estate. Following Proctor's death in 1929, the estate was put up for sale, finally being acquired by the United States Military Academy (West Point). All the buildings, except the Gatehouse and small Carriage House directly behind, were destroyed so the lands could be used for military and parachute maneuvers.

(click on photo to enlarge)

FF Proctor at 18-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (26983 bytes)

FF Proctor at 21 (in 1872)-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (61639 bytes)

Fred Levantine (Mr. Proctor), Equilibrist of the 1870's_Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (171687 bytes)

at age 18 at age 21 Fred Levantine 1870's

Proctor's Theatre (Interior)Schenectady, NY-Photo-Color.jpg (77401 bytes)

An audience at Proctor's Pleasure Palace, 1899-Resized.jpg (519909 bytes)

Night picture of Proctor's Newark Theatre 1906-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (296010 bytes)

Interior of Proctor's Theatre in
Schenectady, NY
An audience at Proctor's Pleasure Palace 1899 Proctor's Newark Theatre 1906

The Gate House on the 1200 acre estate Proctoria at Central Valley, NY-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (105196 bytes)

Mr Proctor's Coat of Arms-Illustration-B&W-Resized.jpg (131578 bytes)

Mr & Mrs Proctor on their 1200 acre estate Proctoria at Central Valley, NY 1900-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (136092 bytes)

The Gate House on the Proctor Estate in Central Valley, NY Proctor's Coat of Arms Mr. & Mrs. Proctor on their 1200 acres estate "Proctoria" in
 Central Valley, NY

FF Proctor in 1905-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (145449 bytes)

F.F. Proctor's 25th Anniversary Jubilee Program cover-B&W-Resized.jpg (185876 bytes)

Mr Proctor's last photograph taken when he retired from active control of his theatres-B&W-Resized.jpg (120727 bytes)

in 1905

25th Anniversary Jubilee Program Cover

Last photo taken when he retired from active control of his theatres

Joseph Haworth & F.F. Proctor

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