Morosco Holding Company, Inc. (Broadway, Park Swindle)
Morosco Holding Company, Inc. (Broadway, Park Swindle)
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Nicely engraved antique stock certificate from the Morosco Holding Company, Inc. dating back to the 1920's. This document, which contains the signatures of the company Vice President and Treasurer, was printed by the American Bank Note Company, and measures approximately 11 1/2" (w) by 7 1/2" (h).
This certificate's vignette features an allegorical female figure leaning on a staff. She is flanked by a helmet and a globe.
The Morosco Holding Company was a New York City producer and theater owner/operator.
The company operated the Morosco Theater which was designed by architect Herbert J. Krapp. The theater was built by the Shuberts for Oliver Morosco (his tenure as manager lasted 7 years) in gratitude for Morosco helping them to break the monopoly of the Theatrical Syndicate. The Shuberts lost it in the Depression and City Playhouses, Inc. bought it in an auction in 1943. It was sold in 1968 to Bankers Trust Company and, after protests failed, it was destroyed in 1982 to build Marriott Marquis hotel and theatre.
The theater housed a number of productions including The Lady Killer, Not So Fast and Craig's Wife.
The Morosco family had a long history of entertainment related ventures. During the late teens George Bentel (who has signed this piece as the company Vice-President) became involved in the business affairs of Oliver Morosco, a Los Angeles-based theater chain owner, and the founder of the Oliver Morosco Photoplay Company, an early movie production company that was merged into Famous Players-Lasky Corporation in 1916.
The pair formed the Morosco Productions Company, a California motion picture concern and in 1921 formed a real estate development company called the Morosco Holding Company. Morosco Holdings had grand plans for 100-acre Disneyland-style entertainment park called Moroscotown, its principal features consisting of villages representing places in England, France, Germany and other continental countries.
Morosco supplied the 100-acre tract and invested well over of $2.5 million of his own money in the project. Bentel spearheaded the financing and development of the project, serving as the firm’s vice-president.
During late 1924 it became apparent that the scheme was a giant stock swindle and in 1924 the partner’s were indicted for mail fraud. Although Morosco was cleared of all charges, Bentel and two partners, Benjamin Leven and C. Amos, were found guilty of using the mails to defraud investors in 1926.
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