Beautiful certificate from the Metropolitan Playhouses
issued in 1944. This historic document was printed by Northern Banknote Company and has an
ornate border around it. This item has the signatures of the Company's Vice-President and Secretary and is over 63 years old. The certificate was issued to issued to Spyros P Skouras and was signed twice boldly on seperate stock power Spyros P Skouras. Spyros P Skouras was the Chairman of Twentieth Century Fox Studios.
Spyros P Skouras Signatures
Fox Metropolitan Theatres was re-named Metropolitan Playhouses, which was a holding company for all the theatres that the bankrupt William Fox had built himself or acquired from others in the Greater New York-New Jersey area. Randforce Amusement Corporation was a subsidary of Metropolitan Playhouses and ran all of the Brooklyn theatres (except the downtown Fox, which was controlled by its mortgage holders and leased to Fabian Theatres).
Spyros P. Skouras (March 28, 1893 – August 16, 1971) was an American movie executive who was the chairman of the Twentieth Century Fox from 1942 to 1962. He resigned June 27, 1962 effective September 30. An immigrant to America from Greece, his accent was so pronounced that Bob Hope would joke "Spyros has been here twenty years but he still sounds as if he's coming next week." Skouras oversaw the production of such epics as "Cleopatra" with Elizabeth Taylor, as well as the creation of Century City.
Born in Skourohorion, Greece, Skouras along with his brothers Charles Skouras and George Skouras arrived in St. Louis from Greece, the sons of a poor sheep herder rose to become top movie executives in some of Hollywood's biggest studios.
Living frugally on wages as busboys and bartenders in downtown hotels, the brothers pooled their savings of $3500 in 1914. In partnership with two other Greeks, the Skourases constructed a modest nickelodeon at 1420 Market Street on the site of today's Kiel Opera House. This initial property was named the Olympia, was quickly followed by the acquisition of other theaters.
The Skouras Brothers Co. of St. Louis dream of building a world-class movie palace in downtown St. Louis was grandly realized in 1926 when the $5.5 million Ambassador Theatre Building opened. This theatre opened in 1939 as the New Fox Theatre. They incorporated with $400,000 capital stock with more than thirty local theaters belonged to the Skouras empire by 1924. Five years later, the triumvirate sold out to Warner Brothers and moved east to claim top executive places in the industry.
In 1932, the Skouras Brothers (Spyros, George and Charles) took over the management of over 500 Fox-West Coast theaters. Spyros helped merge Fox with 20th Century films in the 1930's and he served as president from 1942 to 1962. During Skouras' tenure he worked to rescue the faltering movie industry from television's lure. 20th Century Fox's famous advertising slogan, Movies are Better than Ever, gained credibility in 1953 when Spyros introduced Cinemascope in the studio's groundbreaking feature film The Robe. With the introduced of Cinemascope, Skouras did much to save the movie industry from its newly invented competitor -- television..
Skouras died from a heart attack at the age of 78.
History from Wikipedia and OldCompanyResearch.com (old stock certificate research service).