The Information

RedondaJohnsonIn 1916, Jack Johnson tried to prove luck in a profession much removed from the combats, opening its own advertising agency in Spain. «Advertising was a profesion wich had attracted me to a considerable extent, and one wich I understood quite well because of my extensive use of publicity in the theatrical and boxing world», he wrote in his book The Autobiography of Jack Johnson. In the Ring and Out (Carol Publishing Group, New York, 1992).

The company called «The Information – Jack Johnson and Co.» and his social head office was in the numbers 30 and 32 of the Rambla of the Center (Barcelona). The boxer had to improve all that could his knowledge of the Spanish language to take charge promoting the business. In the Excelsior Cafe, he began to tackle all kinds of businessmen to offer his services:  «This Society of Modern Publicity has to be shortly one of the first ones of Spain for the sure, strong and faced well efficacy of his procedures of claim and propaganda that the best and most positive guarantees allow him to offer to the advertisers. Known it is, that in Spain, as in other countries, the withdrawal of the advertiser is often effect of his suspicion. And kill this fear comes “The Information”, which complies with what it offers and only offers what it can deliver.

La-Informacion-Todo

Neither the resounding speech by former champion managed to get on with the business. Although it went so far as to be provided with some brilliant collaborators, as the drawer Jasón or the photographer Vela, « The Information » scarcely received orders. Almost no merchant risked putting in Jack’s hands to promote his products. In fact, most did not take too seriously the fighter’s entrepreneurship.

AnuncioNestleThe newspaper La Tribuna (Madrid) pubished the following article on September 24, 1916:

In Barcelona there is, as in Madrid, rare types that provoke the hilarity of the public… In Barcelona, two persons who make the people of Barcelona laugh are of higher lineage: they are two ex-kings. One about which one has spoken much is Muley Haffid, the ex-sultan of Morocco; other, about which one has not spoken anything during his permanence in Barcelona, is Jack Johnson, the ex-king of the boxing. About Muley Haffid many curious things have been said, because, although he is a strong man, it is not possible to punish those who speak badly about him, because his social condition it is prevented. More that it does is to take revenge for the journalists, saying that it gives them money and clocks. About Johnson, on the other hand, one does not speak at all because he knows very well Spanish, circulates along the streets of Barcelona, and, especially, because it has an aspect that it imposes. His muscles are of steel; the punches of this man must be wreckers. Johnson is an elephant without horn, but elephant to the end. Well, Jack Johnson has mounted an advertising agency in Barcelona, ensuring that its procedures are unique and positive results. It would be funny to see how the king of boxing will make announcements. Surely, when visiting advertisers move less language than the arms. He will conquer the publicity by force of punches! Anyone stands up black convincing argument Johnson! However, advertisers in Barcelona, and non-advertisers, laugh a lot of black. And besides laughing, are not advertised.

While some scoffed at the agency, others looked askance. Among those who sympathized with the cause of the allies in the World War I, began to spread rumors that pointed to «The Information» as a support center of the German side in front. Two factors fueled the rumors: the renowned friendliness of Jack Johnson by the German cause and the inclusion in the staff of the agency of Moritz Moisevics, an anarchist revolutionary who had been imprisoned in a French concentration camp at the beginning of the war and who had threatened to do everything possible for collaborating in the defeat of the Allied Forces.

The Movie

Strength and Nobility, jack johnson, boxer, movie, film, serial, 1917, ricard de baños, heavyweight champion, boxer_as_an_actor, star_movie; johnson_jack; reel mystery thrillersJack Johnson developed many activities  in Spain. Maybe the most striking was his debut as a film actor. The former heavyweight champion had become friendly with Catalan film director Ricard de Baños, who wanted to turn his good friend into the rival of Maciste, one of the first strong ones of the history of the cinema, personified by the Italian actor Bartolomeo Pagano. The project title: Strength and Nobility.

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The story of Strength and Nobility was divided into four parts: The Will of a Prince, Among Beasts, The Film Developer, and Jack Johnson, Death Wish. The serial narrated the thrilling adventures of Jack, «a handsome man of gigantic stature and strong muscles so that his body resembles the legend of Atlas», as would say the press of the time.

Strength and Nobility, jack johnson, boxer, movie, film, serial, 1917, ricard de baños, heavyweight champion, boxer_as_an_actor, star_movie; johnson_jack; reel mystery thrillers

The plot was simple: In the exotic city of Osmalia, the legendary champion of boxing has to help Prince Federico to recover legitimately the throne and restore the monarchy. Of course, to get it soon had to face countless dangers and the most ruthless villains.

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The shooting of Strength and Nobility began in May 1917, when Barcelona were exhibiting several successful serials movies, as Ultus and the Grey Lady (George Pearson, 1916), Judex (Louis Feuillade, 1916) and Mysteries of the Grand Hotel (James W. Horne, 1915).