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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

HOYT, HARLOWE RANDALL

HOYT, HARLOWE RANDALL

HOYT, HARLOWE RANDALL (1882-24 Oct. 1970) chronicled the Cleveland theater scene as a drama critic for more than half a century. He came by his theatrical interest by inheritance, as his grandfather had owned the local Concert Hall in his birthplace of Beaver Dam, Wis. Hoyt began his career as drama critic with the Milwaukee Free Press in 1902. He served in the same capacity with the Milwaukee Sentinel and the Evening Wisconsin. His practical experience was rounded out as a press agent for Milwaukee's Davidson Theater and as advance man for a road show. When motion pictures made their appearance, Hoyt served as press agent for D.W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation in Wisconsin and Michigan and started the first syndicated movie column under the pseudonym Robert Grandon. He penned an old-fashioned melodrama, The Defender of Cameron Dam, and what he claimed to be the first historical movie scenario, The Miniature. Hoyt came to Cleveland in 1916 as movie-drama editor and Sunday editor for the CLEVELAND LEADER, moving to the PLAIN DEALER when it absorbed the Leader the following year. He covered drama with the Plain Dealer until his retirement in 1962. In 1955 he published Town Hall Tonight, a memoir of the "gaslight era" of the late-19th century American theater based largely on his experiences with his grandfather's hall in Beaver Dam, which Hoyt still owned at the time. Following his retirement from the Plain Dealer, Hoyt continued to write drama reviews for FINE ARTS MAGAZINE. he survived his first wife, Irene Thayer, and was survived by his second, Rickie Boasberg.