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'In Spring The Public Fancy
T) C. FERRISS, DIRECTOR OF PUBLICITY AND ADvertising for the St. Paul theatres of Finkelstein and Ruben, writes :
"The enclosed full page ad is mailed to you as a sample of newspaper cooperation with the theatrical industry. In the writer's opinion it is just about the finest example he has seen in a long time.
"The 'St. Paul Daily News' donated the page to the theatres of St. Paul. The page seems especially valuable at this time, when Spring invites our patrons out of doors."
The text of the page submitted, which is designated "No. 2 of a Series — St. Paul Business Activities in 1922," is in part as follows. The bold face display line is THEATRICALLY SPEAKING
St. Paul is one of the most discriminating cities in the country. Its people delight in the best that the field of histrionics has to offer and they insist upon getting it.
This attitude on the part of the people is reflected in the efforts of local theatrical managers to obtain at all times the best works of the world's greatest artists of the stage and screen.
Likewise the showmen of St. Paul, ever alert to St. Paul tastes, have erected playhouses of the first magnitude in which to present their offerings. As a result this city can boast of some of the finest theatres in the United States. Millions of dollars are invested in the structures devoted to the presentation of entertainment in St. Paul.
Photoplay producers in particular are turning their attention more and more to the turning out of less quantity in the effort to make the quality better.
The past year has been marked by the exhibition in St. Paul of more big productions than ever before. The coming year will reveal even more of these special productions.
One of the most noteworthy facts in connection with the presentation of these super-photoplays is that they are shown here at prices much lower than prevail in the larger cities.
As a nation's welfare is measured by its happiness so is a city's. St. Paul with its many beautiful theatres presenting the varied diversions which are inherent in the theatre has ample opportunity to forget its troubles and smile.
And so we may evolve a St. Paul slogan: "Wear A Smile."
Mr. Ferris is first among showmen to mention the approach of Spring, always a contender for the attention of theatre-goers, and in mentioning it he supplies for the use of other showmen a valuable instrument with which rb counteract its effect upon attendance.
We venture to suggest that other showmen write to Mr. Ferriss for copies of the St. Paul Daily News with a view to requesting its duplication by other newspapers. Where such request is made by the theatremen of a community as a group it is almost certain to be granted. Thus a purpose of immediate importance may be served and a desirable precedent established.
A SITUATION ANALogous to that in which the theatre finds itself each year at Spring, not in itself impaired but set against a strong counter force, has been dealt with effectively by Bradford Rrayton, Majestic Theatre, Streator, 111., who
has developed public singing to an uncommon degree of popularity.
Labor trouble recently threw many of the Majestic patrons into idleness. Money became tight. Bank withdrawals caused a general wave of conservatism.
Mr. Brayton devised a colorful lighting arrangement which softened auditorium illumination ; he obtained colored slides suggestive of feature pictures exhibited ; he stationed a violin soloist at one side of the screen in a spotlight and projected the words of popular songs, asking that the audience sing. The score from "The Scandals of 1921" provided suitable numbers for "Wedding Bells." This process of selection was followed with each attraction.
The audience sang.
IT IS NOT TOO EARLY, nor too late, to lay plans for the coming of warm weather and the annual rush of human beings to the open air places of pastiming. This thoroughly normal urge is not escapable. indeed, it is not even deplorable, since likewise normal reaction brings a refreshed and correspondingly enthusiastic clientele back to the screen.
Defense should be erected, nevertheless, in order that box office inroads may be kept at a minimum. The lesson of a year ago should have implanted a deep respect for the competitive strength of the great outdoors.
Simple logic teaches that it is impossible to entirely prevent individual patrons from drawing away from the theatre for brief periods. It follows that effort to insure the brevity of that period, jy arranging for especially attractive programs, is most advisable. If the bulk clientele may be enlarged by, say. twenty per cent during the first month of good weather, it is apparent that the normal drop off will not result in an actual decrease in gross intake. The same means which produces this enlargement, especially attractive prograins especially advertised, will insure the quick return of straying supporters to habitual attendance.