Inside facts of stage and screen (February 15, 1930)

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PAGE TWO INSIDE FACTS OF STAGE AND SCREEN SATURDAY, FEB. IS, 1930 ACT ON SPANISH-TONGUE FILMS A Bad Oversight Press agentry is one of the most diversified pastimes in the world. It is not a profession which can be taught, for its effect- iveness depends upon an individual initiative crashing into new fields of public interest and corresponding public interest. But like every other profession in the world, there are cer- tain fundamental formulas which a public relations counsellor, a press representative or even a press agent cannot transgress without a hurt to the business interest of his clients. All novel- makers, no matter how different their type of yarn, must stick to the rules of ascending interest and plot intricacy; all pic- ture-makers and playwrights must do likewise; all architects, no matter how unique the gingerbread on top of a building, must follow certain specifications in the foundations; all sur- geons must follow the fundamentals of antiseptics and sanita- tation; and so on through the entire list of professions. For the press agents the biggest of all fundamental rules is to sell their employers’ product for at least full value. If the boss goes haywire and manufactures or buys something of no real value, nonetheless—and even more so—the p. a. must ham- mer at its immense interest to the public. But when the prod- uct of the boss is well-selected, then the most serious breach of etiquette a p. a. can commit is not to hammer on it for full measure of financial returns possible. A case in point is the failure the Orpheum publicity chief is making on the current bill. Bob Hamilton, featured organ- ist at the house, is offering a fifteen-minute specialty which is stealing the show. On the night when reviewed by Inside Facts, and from reports of others who have been there at other per- formances, Hamilton’s “The Organ Speaks” is the best-liked feature offered, and that which is drawing most appreciation and favorable word-of-mouth comment. As Hamilton on the prior bill had another knockout number, “Meet the Organ," which built him into an unquestionable pull to the Orph box- office, the publicity on the current show should have given Hamilton an easily read spot. It means money to the RKO exchequer. But, doubtlessly through some oversight, the pub- licity is hitting entirely on the Weak picture fare offered, and Inside Facts offers as a friendly suggestion that not only can the current b. o. figures be augmented by playing Hamiltons’ name, but also a steady draw will be in the building for the house which no succession of pictures, no matter how good, can accomplish. Look, for instance, at what Publix has done with Milton Charles at the Paramount Theatre, and what Publix is doing with Gaylord Carter at the U. A. Theatre. The RKO cant’ afford to see Publix take all the jump on organ draw through oversight. OF THOSE MEETING Operating through the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sci- ences and the M.P.P.D.A.A., the American film industry is taking steps which are designed to main- tain the supremacy of American films in foreign countries. Threat to this supremacy came with the talkies, the difference in language and dialects being the cause. Great Britain has heard rum- bles of the matter from various sources, going as high as the House of Commons. Speeches have been made there against the “corruption of the English tongue by American movies,” and bitter tirades have been delivered in papers and other mediums of edi- torial expression. Similar mutters against Ameri- can talkies were heard in various other parts of the world, all based on the one fact that, so it was charged, the American talkies would misrepresent the talking qualities of the various nations. While all of this was believed largely inspired by jealousy of America’s film acumen, part of it was inspired by true patriotism. It is to the latter that the Ameri- can industry has hearkened, and which has caused the Academy, the Producers’ Association and other factors in picture making to deter- mine upon the utmost care in the making of their foreign product. Local Ramification ‘BAMBINA’ BUSINESS NOT SO FORTE; REPORTED DUE TO FOLD The Majestic Theatre, with the • Macloon-Albertson musical “New Moon,” continues to maintain the record pace it set for itself ever since its opening. $18,000 was rung into the boxoffice during the week and the going is practically sell- out for the next two weeks. “Bambina,” the new Gallagher operetta at the Mayan, did not pull M-G-M IN MIDST OF BUSY SKED; 7 SHOOTING Nine productions are under way at M-G-M, with a total of 20 in some phase of shooting, cutting or preparing. Several more are due to start soon. Fifty-three writers are preparing material and sixteen song writers. Sammy Lee, dance director, has four assistants training ballet num- bers. Pictures are now being made in French, German and English at the studios. Among pictures in production are “The Singer of Se- ville,” in which Charles Brabin is directing Ramon Novarro; “The Gay Nineties,” starring Marion Davies, directed by Harry Beau- mont; “Le Spectre Vert,” French version of “The Unholy Night,” directed by Jacques Feyder; “Father’s Day,” with Louis Mann, directed by Sam Woods; “Margin Mugs,” with Marie Dressles and Polly Moran, directed by Charles Reisner; “The Sea Bat,” being filmed in Mazatlan by Wesley Ruggles; “The March of Time” revue, “The Divorcee,” starring Norma Shearer and directed by Robert Z. Leonard; “Good News,” featuring Bessie Love; “The Cir- cle,” directed by David Burton, and closing work on “Trader Horn” mostly filmed in Africa. GOOD TIE-UP A clever publicity tie-up was accomplished between Duffy’s Hol- lywood Playhouse and Sparklett’s drinking water. Every bottle of water put out carries a sticker with the photograph of Robert McWade and the statement which quotes McWade as saying that “It Pays to Advertise” (the cur- rent attraction at the theatre), that one’s health is improved by drinking copiously of the water. Many thousands of these bottles are distributed about the city in homes, offices and stores. so forte during its initial period and is slated to fold up on the twenty-second. It is reported that $12,000 tells the tale of the takings with the overhead quite in excess of that. At the El Capitan, Mary Boland in “Ladies of the Jury” is drawing steadily, the initial period getting $5900. At the President, Kolb and Dill in “Givb and Take” are pack- ing them in. $5900 for their first week is almost capacity for this house. The Hollywood Playhouse, with “It Pays To Advertise” in its next to closing week, tolled $5000. This farce has drawn much better business than was anticipated for its run. It will be followed next Sunday with Frank Craven in “Salt Water.” The second week of Lucille La Verne in “Sun-up,” at the Vine St., got $4200, which is not at all bad, all things considered. It will be followed next Sunday with Brown- ell’s “The Nut Farm.” The Civic Repertory Theatre, at the Hollywood Music Box, seems to be holding its own with “And So To Bed.” It got $3500 for its second week. “A Bill of Divorce- ment” is in rehearsal for next week’s offering. The Japanese Sword Players are in the Figueroa Playhouse. The Belasco is still showing “Journey’s End” to the best busi- ness this house has had since “Front Page.” The Biltmore and Mason are dark. BEAUTY WINNERS HERE The Fanchon and Marco girls who got the F. and M. jobs through a beauty contest in the New York Graphic, arrived here this week and will appear at Loew’s State Saturday night at the midnight performance as an added attraction together with the regular “Sunshine” Idea. The girls will later appear in an Idea. NEW F. B. T. SECRETARY Emma Abtlanalt is the new sec- rectary at. the Film Board of Trade here, replacing Lola Gentry, who has been very ill for the past few months. Molly Pollack remains as assistant. She has been acting secretary since December. NEW DANCE CLASS Earl Wallace announces a new class for adult beginners in tap dancing to start next Wednesday at 7 p. m. A local ramification of the mat- ter was a letter filed by official representatives in Los Angeles of the 2i Spanish-speaking republic of North and South America, as exclusively printed in Inside Facts issue of Feb. 1. This letter set forth that because of the political and social differences,' the reported intention to use Castillian Spanish as the official language of the Spanish-language talkies, would re- sult in disaster and financial ruin and create a situation that would perhaps he difficult of solution in the countries which have different versions of Spanish as their na- tional tongues. Following this, Arturo A. Romero, chancellor at the Mexican consulate here, brought the matter to the atten- tion of the producers. Though no steps had been taken in Hollywood to make Castillian the official Spanish language, the report being unsupported by facts, the Academy, at a meeting last week appointed a committee to consider the matter, not only as it pertains to the Spanish problem but among all fields of foreign languages including French, Ger- man, Czech, Polish, Hungarian and Italian. Paul Kohner, of Universal Stu- dios, was chosen as chairman, and Geoffrey Shurlock, of Paramount, as secretary, of the committee. Additional members include John Stone, head of foreign department, Fox; Frank Davis, Jerome Lack- enbruch and Salvador de Alberich, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer; Leon d’Us- seau, RKO, and Heinz Blanke and DeLeon Anthony, Warner Broth- ers. Lester Cowan, assistant sec- retary of the Academy, represented the Academy at the meeting, and representatives of the M. P. P. D. A. were present. Other Steps The matter was also taken up by the Hays organization which formed a Committee on Foreign Production. As a result Spanish- speaking actors who have had ex- perience on the Spanish speaking stage are being invited to register at a special bureau of the Asso- ciation of Motion Picture Pro- ducers which will be in session every Saturday afternoon, starting next Saturday, Feb. 15, at 2 o’clock at the headquarters of the associa- tion, 5504 Hollywood boulevard, room 324. Special invitations will be sent out to the Spanish speaking tal- ent now known to studios, while others with stage experience in Spanish-speaking countries who are not yet registered may apply for registration by writing the association for an appointment. A representative board was ap- pointed by the committee to take charge of all available talent in Los Angeles. “It has been determined,” says (Continued on Page 3) Progre ssive P olicy E. B. Derr, the new production head at Pathe, is going after reorganization of that studio’s policies in a way that will bear watching. It is too early to say just how far up the ladder Pathe will go under the new policies, but Derr’s businesslike manner of doing things is impressive. And most marked for favorable com- ment is that he seems to be a man who is not bound by Holly- wood tradition, but has the nerve to pioneer into paths which seem logical ones for a live-wire exec to traverse. Derr, while doing nothing in the way of trying to line up new stars, is concentrating on his directors and his writers, particularly the latter. The list he has to date, considering that Pathe is to make but 30 specials and no programmers, is im- posing. Eugene Walters is the dialogue editor, with Laura Hope Crews with him in an advisory capacity. The remaining personnel is Joseph Lovett, Clara Barenger^ Claire Kummer, Sada Cowan, Russell Medkraft, Maurice Coon (“Armatage Trail”), Paul Scofield, W. C. Tuttle, Lynn Riggs, James Sey- mour, A.' A. Kline and Harold Swartz. Directors are Paul Stein, Tay Garnett, Joseph Santley, Ed- ward H. Griffith and Russell Mack. With this array of writing and directorial talent, Derr has a program of thirty specials, no programmers, 52 two-reel come- dies, the latter of which will be included in a total of 450 short subjects, including the Pathe News, Sportlights, Fables, etc. For the casts, he will use his few stars, Ann Harding, Ina Claire, Constance Bennett, William Boyd, Eddie Quillan, and his juvenile team of Helen Twelvetrees and Fred Scott, and will not have any contract players other than these, building up his casts according to role requirements and from, the choice of the freelance talent in Hollywood. For a further revolutionary departure, Derr has let it be known that he will not have a definite budget on any picture, but will expend such reasonable sums on every picture’s phases as is most likely to bring back biggest returns proportionately. It is a distinct departure in studio procedure, and one which under talkie regime looks like a winner. Other studios may well watch with interest. FILM HOUSE GROSSES UP; 4 PICTURES ARE OUTSTANDING Business in the picture houses+chestra and shorts were the sup- was up all along the line last port. week, with Marion Davies’ “Not So Dumb” (M-G-M) and Ramon Novarro’s “Devil May Care” (M- G.-M) the weakest spots in the up week. The Davies film was. only about average, and Novarro didn’t do so good with about $3000 over house average, which is not forte for the early time of its scheduled run. Greta Garbo’s first talkie, “Anna Christie” (M - G - M), Lawrence Tibbett’s “Rogue Song” (M-G-M), Rudy Vallee’s “Vagabond Lover” (Radio), and Richard Barthelmess’ “Son of the Gods” (F. N.) were the outstanding money-getters of the week. The Garbo film, supported by all-screen entertainment, did the figure of $22,002, which is way up for this theatre, setting a house record for the time of its run. The RKO Theatre, with Rudy Vallee’s picture, vaudeville and Eddy Eben at the organ, took a big jump upward from the off boxoffice done by F. N.’s “Dark Street,” going from $16,000 for that film to $21,000 on the current offering. The Ri-chard Barthelmess film, “Son of the Gods’’ (F. N.), had ’em standing out for the eve- ning shows at Warner Brothers’ Downtown Theatre. With screen shorts in support, it grossed $34,- 900, some three or four thousand more than double house average. The Lawrence Tibbett vehicle, “The Rogue Song,” still held up for about double average boxoffice at the Chinese, doing $30,273 for six days constituting the current week’s report. A stage show and screen shorts are in support. “No, No, Nanette” (F. N.), with Bernice Claire and Alexander Gray heading a cast which had no name draws, played to a weak $25,000 at the Orpheum. Bob Hamilton at the organ, with a drawing offering, and screen shorts were in support. Pauline Frederick’s “The Sacred Flame” (W. B.) did well at Warner Brothers’ Hollywood The- atre, grossing $23,400. Screen shorts and publicity that it is not a picture which children should see supported. The $23,400 figure is some $9000 over house average. The Marion Davies (M-G-M picture, “Not So Dumb,” sup- ported by the F. and M. “Eyes Idea,” just held its own at Loew’s State to the tune of $27,029. But the house had ’em standing out on the week following with the first popular-priced run of Fox’s “The Cockeyed World.” The Ramon Novarro M-G-M picture, “Devil May Care,” was another weak sister in the week of good grosses. It did but $16,- 159. Carli Elinor’s Symphony Or- Paramount’s judgment in hold- ing Maurice Chevalier’s Paramount picture, “The Love Parade,” over for three weeks was fully vindi- cated by the returns on the third stanza. Gross was $25,500, which is about $500 better than house average. Milton Charles at the organ and shorts supported. Good exploitation 'brought fairly good business for “The Locked Door” at the United Artists The- atre. In eleven days it took in $23,000, which was better than expected for this film. . Gaylord Carter at the organ and shorts were on the supporting bill. U. A.’s “Lummox” was next. The Egyptian did its fourth straight week of big business, this time having Fox’s “Romance of the Rio Grande” and F,. and M.’s “Manila Bound Idea.” The figure was $13,150. The Boulevard boxoffice alsp took a jump up to the figure of $11,569 with “Sunny Side Up,” Slim Martin supporting and no stage show. CHRISTIE PROGRAM DONE; SHOOTING STOPS Shooting has stopped at the Christie studio with the completion of their last comedy on the cur- rent program entitled “Shamrock Alley” featuring Charles Murray. This is the thirty-seventh two- reeler that Christie has made for Paramount release and is the last of their three years contract, com- pleting the program of 1929-30. In accrodance with the usual custom at this studio, there will be no resumption of work there until April 1. It was not stated at the studio whether or not there would be a renewal of the Para- mount contract but rumor has it that the future Christie product will be distributed through other channels. LEVY ILL WITH FLU Leon Levy, manager at the Unit- ed Artists Theatre here, has been confined to his home for the past week with a bad attack of the flu. Gus Eyssel, manager at the Para- mount, has doubled up on both managerial assignments d u ri n g Levy’s absence. ORANGE GROVE REVUE A new extravaganza in which Carolynne Snowden and a Creole Revue of 25, is being presented for a second week at the Orange Grove Cafe, Sixth and Spring Streets. Harry M. Miller and Harry E. Fabb, proprietors, had entire change of program for the second stanza.