'Gotta Get a Ticket'

It was early evening of December 10, 1910. The mix of motor cars and carriages tied up at the entrance to New York's Metropolitan Opera House stretched for blocks, while police on the sidewalk pushed back a bulging crowd of elegantly dressed and bejeweled patrons. The cause of the melee was the requirement that before admittance, [to a Puccini opera premiere] each ticket be signed by the ticketholder, and the signature compared with the one on the back of the ticket when purchased. The reason for this ritual was the determination by the Met's Directors to put an end to the notorious ticket scalping....

The elaborate precautions were not completely successful. Some tickets, prices for which were already doubled by the Met, went for as much as thirty times the box-office price.

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