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The Property-Man in Vaudeville Theatre

The Property-man

(from The vaudeville theatre, building, operation, management, by Edward Renton, 1918)

“Resourcefulness” should be the middle name of the individual who is competent to occupy the position of property-man in a theatre. There are other important qualifications, but this one is essential. He may be called upon to supply anything from an Egyptian mummy to a three week-old child, upon a moment’s notice. He must be a bit of a carpenter, something of an artist, a great deal of a diplomat, and he must be “on the job” from the rising of the sun to considerably after the setting thereof-in other words, this is not the place for a lazy or a shiftless man.

A property-man should have the ability to meet people pleasantly and to make a favorable impression. He should cultivate cordial relations with transfer companies, with the various merchants of the city, and with other persons from whom he is likely to need favors in the way of borrowed properties. He will be faced with the necessity of requesting loans from homes, pawn-shops, museums and other public institutions, stores and individuals. He should be able to convey the impression of responsibility- and should live up to it. To a peculiar degree, he has the reputation of the theatre in his keeping; it is absolutely essential that he call for properties loaned or rented at the time agreed upon, that he care for such articles most assiduously while they are being used and that
he return them promptly and in the same condition as when borrowed.

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