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Memorable Manitobans: John Albert “Johnny Nash” Schuberg (1875-1953)

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J. A. Schuberg
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Showman, theatre manager.

Born in Sweden on 21 February 1875, he emigrated with his family to the United States, then came to Winnipeg in 1894. He partnered with veteran showman Fred Burrows to play at fairs and carnivals. In 1898, he married Nettie Cecelia Burrows, his partner’s daughter. During their honeymoon in Vancouver, Schuberg purchased an Edison moving picture machine and film stock from a company in Seattle, Washington. After returning to Winnipeg in 1899, he began displaying films in an outdoor black tent called the “Edison Electric Theatre” in a vacant lot on the west side of Main Street near Logan Avenue.

He managed the Unique Theatre beginning in 1903, the Bijou in the Clement Block adjacent to the Union Bank Tower (now the Royal Bank Building) in 1906, and the Province Theatre in 1909. He went on to own and manage several theatres in Manitoba and the central United States that came to be known as the “Nash Circuit.” Although most of these theatres offered American vaudevillian variety entertain, Schuberg remained convinced that film was “a coming form of entertainment” and films were often shown to audiences in his theatres as part of the playbill.

In 1919, he sold his theatre circuit with the exception of the Province Theatre to the up-and-coming Allen theatre chain and settled in Vancouver until his death on 13 December 1953. Copies of his unpublished memoirs entitled “Fifty Years a Showman” are available through special collections from the Vancouver Public Library.

See also:

Movie Exhibition in Manitoba: The Case of J. A. Schuberg by Robert M. Seiler and Tamara P. Seiler
Manitoba History, Number 58, June 2008

Sources:

Death registration, British Columbia Vital Statistics.

We thank Darlene Green for providing additional information used here.

This profile was prepared by Peter Andrusiak and Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 11 September 2013

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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