27. Major Performers
John L. Stoddard-“Prince of Lecturers”
John L. Stoddard was the most famous of the lantern industry’s major performers. He was an enormously popular lecturer, capable of filling a 3,000-seat hall for two weeks straight.
An ad for a Portfolio of his pictures mocks those who think a guided tour can replace Stoddard’s Portfolio as an introduction to travel. The Portfolios were so successful that after Stoddard retired he brought out his lectures in book form—14 volumes of them. They made him a millionaire.
Stoddard was the first in a direct line of three superstar performers. When he retired he passed on his mantle to Burton Holmes, who lectured using lantern slides, and later mixed slides and movies. In 1946, Holmes pined his lapel gardenia on Thayer Soule, who had sometimes been giving lantern lectures in place of Holmes. See one of Soule’s movies here.
Superstars Compete at the Top