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Mr. Lobel’s Apoplexy
by [?]

The real purpose of this is to tell about Mr. Lobel’s attack of apoplexy. What comes before must necessarily be in its nature preliminary and preparatory, leading up to the climactic stroke which leaves the distinguished victim stretched upon the bed of affliction.

First let us introduce our principal. Reader, meet Mr. Max Lobel, president of Lobel Masterfilms, Inc., also its founder, its chief stockholder and its general manager. He is a short, broad, thick, globular man and a bald one, wearing gold-rimmed spectacles, carrying a gold-headed cane and using a private gold-mounted toothpick after meals. His collars are of that old-fashioned open-faced kind such as our fathers and Mr. John D. Rockefeller, Sr., used to wear; collars rearing at the back but shorn widely away in front to show two things–namely, the Adam’s apple and that Mr. Lobel is conservative. But for his neckwear he patronizes those shops where ties are exclusively referred to as scarves and cost from five dollars apiece up, which proves also he is progressive and keeps abreast of the times. When he walks he favors his feet. Mostly, though, he rides in as good a car as domestic currency can buy in foreign marts.

Aside from his consuming desire to turn out those surpassing achievements of the cellular-cinema art known as Lobel’s Masterfilms, he has in life two great passions, one personal in its character, the other national in its scope–the first a craving for fancy waistcoats, the second a yearning to see the name of Max Lobel in print as often as possible and in as large letters as likewise is possible; and for either of these is a plausible explanation. Mr. Lobel has a figure excellently shaped for presenting the patternings of a fanciful stomacher to the world and up until a few years ago there were few occasions when he might hope to see the name Lobel in print. For, know you, Mr. Lobel has not always been in the moving-picture business. Nobody in the moving-picture business has always been in the moving-picture business–excepting some of the child wonders under ten years of age. And ten years ago our hero was the M. Lobel Company, cloak and suit jobbers in rather an inconspicuous Eastern town.

What was true of him as regards his comparatively recent advent into the producing and distributing fields was true of his major associates. Back in 1911 the vice president and second in command, Mr. F. X. Quinlan, moved upward into a struggling infantile industry via the stepping-stone of what in the vernacular of his former calling is known as a mitt joint–summers at Coney, winters in store pitches–where he guided the professional destinies of Madame Zaharat, the Egyptian seeress, in private, then as now, Mrs. F. X. Quinlan nee Clardy.

The treasurer and secretary, Mr. Simeon Geltfin, had once upon a time been proprietor of the Ne Plus Ultra Misfit Clothing Parlors at Utica, New York, a place where secondhand habiliments, scoured and ironed, dangled luringly in show windows bearing such enticing labels as “Tailor’s Sample–Nobby–$9.80,” “Bargain–Take Me Home For $5.60,” and “These Trousers Were Uncalled For–$2.75.”

The premier director, Mr. Bertram Colfax, numbered not one but two chrysalis changes in his career. In the grub stage, as it were, he had begun life as Lemuel Sims, a very grubby grub indeed, becoming Colfax at the same time he became property man for a repertoire troupe playing county-fair weeks in the Middle West.

As for the scenario editor and continuity writer, he in a prior condition of life had solicited advertisements for a trade journal. So it went right down the line.

At the time of the beginning of this narrative Lobel Masterfilms, Inc., had attained an eminence of what might be called fair-to-medium prominence in the moving-picture field. In other words, it now was able to pay its stars salaries running up into the multiples of tens of thousands of dollars a year and the bank which carried its paper had not yet felt justified in installing a chartered accountant in the home offices to check the finances and collect the interest on the loans outstanding. Before reaching this position the concern had passed through nearly all the customary intervening stages. Nearly a decade rearward, back in the dark ages of the filmic cosmos, the Jurassic Period of pictures, so to speak, this little group of pathfinders tracking under the chieftainship of Mr. Lobel into almost uncharted wilds of artistic endeavor had dabbled in slap-stick one reelers featuring the plastic pie and the treacherous seltzer siphon, also the trick staircase, the educated mustache and the performing doormat.