Motion Picture Herald (Jul-Aug 1944)

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THIS WEEK IN THE NEWS $205,000,000 Tax EXCEEDING the previous year's collections by nearly a million dollars a week, Treasury revenues from the Federal admission tax amounted to $205,289,025 for the fiscal year ended last June 30, it was announced by the Internal Revenue Bureau Thursday. This was an increase of $50,838,302 over the preceding fiscal year, when collections amounted to $154,450,722, but $29,000,000 of that increase was shown to have been obtained in May and June, under the higher rates, of tax now applicable. June collections were reported as $26,240,195, more than $2,000,000 under the May total of $28,617,079, but $15,000,000 above the $11,109,477 recorded in the corresponding month last year, the report showed. Approximately half of the drop between May and June was centered in the third New York (Broadway) district, where collections declined from $4,360,450 to $3,262,426. Box office collections in the district dropped from $3,755,806 to $2,711,637, and receipts from roof gardens and cabarets declined from $575,151 to $514,487, but revenue on tickets sold by brokers increased from $29,493 to $36,302 during the period involved. VITACRAPH PASSES [Continued from preceding page] toonist and chalk talk artist, and Mr. Albert E. Smith, prestidigitator and spirit cabinet performer, acquired an Edison projector with a handful of film and entered as exhibitors with an itinerant show. They christened their machine the Vitagraph, simulating the name of the prior and antecedent Armat Vitascope. In time they found themselves in competition with Mr. William T. Rock, a one-time scrivener in London, and currently the proprietor of a billiard hall in 125th Street, New York, and supplying film service and projection to variety theatres. Mr. Rock owned two Vitascopes and territorial right to Louisiana, but he preferred New York. They settled, joined, and in 1900 incorporated the Vitagraph company— capital, $6,000. In 1908, in the great peace of that December, it became a component of the Motion Picture Patents Company group, and thence prospered mightily. Vitagraph brought great names to the screen: Florence Turner, Mabel Normand, the Talmadges, John Bunny, Flora Finch, Lillian Walker and Maurice Cosfello among them. Vitagraph and its exchange system was acquired by Warner Brothers in 1925, after which it became a distribution subsidiary label of only legal import. The old Vitagraph belonged to an era that went with the wind and the decline of its Patents Company contemporaries. Mr. Smith is the only survivor of the triumvirate which formed the company. Long retired, he lives in Hollywood. — Terry Ramsaye WAR themes drop to twelve per cent of product for 1944-45 Page 13 FRENCH plan to clamp rigid control on motion pictures Page 14 WMC grants film worker exemptions in New York area Page 14 RANK moves to consolidate position in world film market Page 31 ON THE MARCH— Red Kann discusses use of Audience Research Page 32 RKO to offer 50 or more for release during 1944-45 season Page 33 SERVICE DEPARTMENT Hollywood Scene Page 49 In the Newsreels Page 60 Managers' Round Table Page 69 Picture Grosses Page 57 Shorts on Broadway Page 68 INDEPENDENT exhibitors win fight on OC plans for building Page 4 URGE theatres to send drive reports on Fift War Loan promptly Page 4)1 THE newspapers of New York comment bJ "Since You Went Away" Page 5m GOVERNMENT official rebuffs British Stat1: control advocates Page 5 BOX Office Champions for the month cB June Page 5j EXHIBITORS tell what war has done at th box office Page 5 What the Picture Did for Me Page . 6 IN PRODUCT DIGEST SECTION Showmen's Reviews Page 201 Short Subjects Chart Page 201 The Release Chart Page 202 [.: "Breakage" or Holdout? MAYOR Fiorello H. La Guardia, "Butch" to New Yorkers, is fighting mad again. Now he is embroiled with several New York night clubs over a matter of $231,862.93 which the city claims is owed by the owners of the Stork Club, the Copacabana and La Vie Parisienne for unpaid sales and business taxes. The city staged its own show dramatically enough last Saturday night when it installed custodians in the clubs to protect the city's tax interests and, incidentally, it was reported, to enjoy the amusement, food and drinks which the establishments so discriminatingly set up for the paying customers. The basis of the owners' defense is that the city is not entitled to the odd cents "breakage" which the clubs charge patrons to bring checks to an even five cents. Wednesday notice was served on the Copacabana and La Vie Parisienne that their assets would be sold at auction next Monday unless the claims were satisfied by that time or unless they posted bond or, following the example of the Stork Club, brought the matter to court for judicial determination of their alleged liability to the city. wrought this change. Undoubtedly the sobe ing effect of the war, and the newspapers ai responsible for the vastly improved state affairs.' " Theatre operators used to nail down furniture and call the police when Mr. Kruj was playing a stage engagement with Benr Goodman, for whom he formerly beat tl drums. tl 15% Silent THE War Production Board last week rl ported that only 85 percent of the nation's 4t! 000,000' radios are in working order, makir them the household appliance most in nen of repair. This information is based on a sup vey made last April for the WPB Office Civilian Requirements which covered 4,5(, households. The OCR has periodically r ported on shortages of consumer goods as result of the war. Reformed Youth NEW YORK'S adolescents now have "considerate and refined manners," according to Ben Serkowich, press agent of the Capitol theatre, on Broadway, where jazz-drummer Gene Krupa's band is holding forth on the stage while David O. Selznick's "Since You Went Away" is on the screen. Mr. Serkowich attributes this remarkable discovery to "veteran Broadwayites," who have been watching the youngsters sit in their seats instead of the aisles. And, again in the words of Mr. Serkowich's release : " 'It is wonderful,' joyfully exclaimed manager Herman Landwehr. 'Something has First Run Unit ALL first run managements in the Los Angel sector, except Fox West Coast circuit, ha' formed a California Theatre Council, the pu pose of which as described by Tom W. Bail executive director, is to function as a type "theatres' chamber of commerce, for clearii information, ideas, and ideals of the industr and furthering the successful prosecution of t'"i war. The purposes are manifold," he addf "and among them is to study and keep abree of post-war matters, set up liaison between cil county, and Federal agencies, build better u derstanding between the theatres, public, pr« and public officials." Other officers are Louis J. Halper, Warner Nat Holt, RKO ; Rodney Pantages, Hollywo Pantages Corporation; Marc Wolf, Fanch and Marco, and a representative from Pai mount. MOTION PICTURE HERALD, JULY 29, 1-9