Motion Picture Herald (Sep-Oct 1936)

Record Details:

Something wrong or inaccurate about this page? Let us Know!

Thanks for helping us continually improve the quality of the Lantern search engine for all of our users! We have millions of scanned pages, so user reports are incredibly helpful for us to identify places where we can improve and update the metadata.

Please describe the issue below, and click "Submit" to send your comments to our team! If you'd prefer, you can also send us an email to with your comments.

We use Optical Character Recognition (OCR) during our scanning and processing workflow to make the content of each page searchable. You can view the automatically generated text below as well as copy and paste individual pieces of text to quote in your own work.

Text recognition is never 100% accurate. Many parts of the scanned page may not be reflected in the OCR text output, including: images, page layout, certain fonts or handwriting.

The Theatre Must Be Kept Modern Says MORGAN WALSH the motion picture theatre is the most modern retail institution in the world, insists Morgan A. Walsh, dynamic vice-president and general manager of Redwood Theatres, Inc., important circuit headquartering in San Francisco, and having many affiliated groups of houses. And he holds that to keep it in its present proud position, the motion picture theatre must be kept just a step ahead of the business procession. A few glances around his office reveal numerous plans for new theatres and others for remodeling and re-equipping existing ones. One learns of a commitment of a hundred thousand dollars for this city, two hundred thousand for another, and quite surprising sums for communities not to be classed as large — all to keep entertainment on a modern plane. The best part of it is, the plans go through, the new houses dre erected and the old ones are modernized — with a smoothness that is refreshing. "We do not operate our theatres on the so-called 'chain' or 'circuit' plan," volunteered Mr. Walsh. "Rather, they are operated as a group. A 'chain' business is predicated largely on the idea of increased buying power, permitting it to buy cheaper, whether of film service, supplies or labor. We do not believe in this. "Our idea is that through group operation we can be better retail merchants of entertainment, for that is exactly what we are, and give better service to the public. Through group operation we are in a position to give a better balance of quality to each theatre commensurate with admission price. "Where we have more than one theatre in a town, we select one where the picture makes the policy. This enables us to run pictures of real merit longer than would otherwise be the case and permit more people to see them. This policy draws patrons from a wider territory and helps other retail merchants. This brings larger returns to us and to producers of better pictures and makes possible better and more modern theatres. "The public no longer goes blindly to the theatre, feeling that whatever is offered will be satisfactory. It selects its entertainment so carefully that real features gross more than ever, while standard program pictures gross less. We believe that the newspaper forms the best medium of advertising, and we believe in featuring the attractiveness of our theatres as well as the entertainment we have to offer. "We do not permit our theatres to deteriorate but try to keep each house in good • ONE OF A SERIES OF INTERVIEWS WITH • INTERESTING CINEMA FOLK shape. As retail merchants of entertainment we do not sell a tangible article of definite cash value. Rather, we sell a stimulation of human emotion, and the surroundings we offer must be as agreeable as possible. Only by offering comfort and beauty can we be sure that patrons really enjoy the efforts that have been put into the filming of the modern picture." Many of the managers of the twentyone houses in the group directed by Mr. Walsh have been brought up from the ranks and he is constantly on the lookout for new and promising talent. Few have served other exhibitors. It has been found advisable to train men for these responsible posts within the organization. Most of the theatres are located in comparatively small communities and it has been found that the best managers are men who have been brought up in such communities. Mr. Walsh is a firm believer in cooperating in civic affairs, particularly when pleasure can be brought to unfortunates. Throughout the group of theatres, work of this kind is carried on, particularly during the holiday season. That this is appreciated is shown again and again. When the theatre operated at Woodland was destroyed by fire a few months ago, the school department came to the front with the offer of a school auditorium for theatre purposes until a new house could be made ready. The American Legion Hall was also offered and has since been used for the purpose. A rather ambitious program of construction and modernization is now under way. A new 1,600-seat house is being erected at Modesto, and the capacity of two others is being increased at a cost of about $175,000. A 1,000-seat house is being built at Eureka, and another is being remodeled at a combined cost of $200,000. A 1,000-seat house is being erected at Woodland, and the old post office building is being transformed into a 500-seat theatre, the estimated cost of the two being $175,000. New houses are being planned for Marysville and Yuba City. An order for new sound equipment for fourteen theatres has been placed, and installations have been made in three. The rest of the equipment will be in place by the end of the year. Ten new marquees have been bought for existing houses, and eight are already in position. Five of the theatres have been completely reseated this year. Reseating, in fact, is treated as something of a consistent maintenance matter. By an arrangement with the American Seating Co., an expert of this concern visits all the theatres and keeps in touch with their requirements. Morgan A. Walsh, who now is 45, has been associated with the motion picture industry since 1909. He was with the Laemmle Service at Omaha when Westerns ruled and two-reelers were ambitious productions. When the Fox Film Corporation was organized, he cast his lot with it and later became branch manager at Los Angeles. Getting exhibitor's fever, he took over a first-run theatre at San Diego and operated it about a year. The state-right field then proved alluring and he secured the Warner Brothers franchise for California, Nevada, Arizona and the Hawaiian Islands. He sold his interests to this firm when it acquired Vitagraph, and for a time managed the San Francisco exchange. In 1931 he took over the T. & D. Theatre in Oakland, at that time the second largest house on the Pacific Coast, and a year later became associated with George M. Mann, who had several theatres in Northern California. The list of houses {Continued on page 76) October 17, 1936 17