American Zeus

The Life of Alexander Pantages, Theater Mogul


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About the Book

Alexander Pantages was 13 when he arrived in the U.S. in the 1880s, after contracting malaria in Panama. He opened his first motion picture theater in 1902 and went on to build one of the largest and most important independently-owned theater chains in the country. At the height of the Pantages Theaters’ reach, he owned or operated 78 theaters across the U.S. and Canada. He amassed a fortune, yet he could not read or write English. In 1929, he was convicted of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old dancer—a scandal that destroyed his empire and reduced him to a pariah. The day his grandest theater, the Pantages Hollywood, opened in 1930, he lay sick in a jailhouse infirmary. His conviction was overturned a year later after an appeal to the California State Supreme Court, but the question remains: how should history judge this theater pioneer, wealthy magnate and embodiment of the American Dream?

About the Author(s)

Taso G. Lagos teaches at the University of Washington’s Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies in Seattle and conducts research on diaspora studies, nation branding and sports as religion.

Bibliographic Details

Taso G. Lagos

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 226
Bibliographic Info: 17 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6838-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3037-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments  ix
Preface  1
Introduction  7
1. Beginnings  17
2. Apprenticeship  35
3. Mogulhood  56
4. Mt. Olympus  78
5. 1929  101
6. Mogul’s Trial  129
7. Aftermath  153
8. Wrap-Up  170
Chapter Notes  179
Bibliography  203
Index  209