Motion Picture Herald (Nov-Dec 1944)

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:|tO li An international association of shozvmen meeting zveekly n MOTION PICTURE HERALD for mutual aid and progress HESTER FRIEDMAN, Editor GERTRUDE MERRIAM, Associate Editor Why Banish the Merchant? It is unfortunate that the distributing companies do not possess la greater understanding of the problems relevant to managing a C-heatre. Especially in that phase generally noted under the heading cf goodwill. I About two weeks ago we visited with a manager In one of the Neighborhood theatres. While engaged In conversation In the lobby, we were witness to two Instances where card pass holders, "merchants who display the theatre advertising all year round, were denied the privilege of admission. The current feature attraction had been contracted to play at advanced admission with the distributor's stipulation that no passes would be accepted during the run of the film. Despite the acknowledged importance of newspaper advertising , and the Increasing tendency towards radio promotions, there are still countless theatres which depend in measure upon window cards — or other outdoor media. These locations are frequently established at great pains on the part of the manager and are oald for with a season pass or trip passes which are issued each veek. There are many showmen who can testify to the value of this mportant instrument of advertising and experience proves that vhen a card 'Is accidentally left out for one week, the merchant is usually the first to notify the manager of this fact, prompted by the numerous queries he will get from customers. These same shopkeepers in their contact with the public are a veritable bulwark of theatre promotion through word-of-mouth advertising, especially when a picture has more than usual merit. The reaction of the merchant upon reaching the theatre only to find a sign in the boxoffice advising him that passes will not be honored during the engagement of a particular film is understandable. Mn addition to the Inconvenience, embarrassment and the blow to the merchant's personal pride, the prestige of the season pass decreases proportionately. Doubtless, there are many others in addition to the two we saw and heard who resolved to sever further relations with the theatre. in big cities and small communities alike, goodwill is far too essential to the success of the theatre to be thus lightly considered. The consequential loss of a few dozen choice window locations reacts upon the subsequent releases of the distributor as well as to the detriment of the theatre. invitational premieres for the press, Important people and the heterogeneous groups and organizations seem to have become an integral part of the ballyhoo and buildup associated with outstanding pictures. A portion of this patronage Is wasted. On the other hand, the merchant, a loyal supporter of the theatre all year around is deprived of his equitable rights. AAA Welcome For Servicemen Exhibitors and managers of small town operations will be interested In a promotion recently put Into effect by Charles W. Griffin, Jr., of the LaFayette theatre In LaFayette, Alabama. Mr. Griffin sold his Idea to the Junior Chamber of Commerce, which, with other clubs and merchants of the city, guarantees to pay the admission of every man and woman In uniform who enters the LaFayette theatre. The only stipulation Is that the serviceman sign a guest book. The Junior Chamber of Commerce provides a sum of money In advance so that the theatre accounts are in no way Inconvenienced. Servicemen are normally admitted to the theatre at reduced rates, but the city thus plays host to all. Mr. hi. G. Martin, head of the Martin Theatres, Columbus, Ga., with which the LaFayette is affiliated, accurately sums up the Idea In a letter in which he states: "The amount of goodwill cannot be measured In mere dollars and cents. There Is no price that can be attached to the smile of satisfaction that appears on the face of the serviceman or woman each time he Is told by the cashier: 'You are a member of the Armed Forces of the United States and our Junior Chamber of Commerce furnishes the money necessary for your admission. Your ticket Is paid by this civic club. We are glad to have you In the LaFayette'." AAA In April, 1943, Motion Picture Herald published a set of rules which we had devised and submitted to aid theatremen in curbing juvenile outbreaks and disturbances. One of the rules recommended the segregation of young boys, and girls who attended the theatre. An Associated Press dispatch which appeared in the New York newspapers recently Indicates that our suggestion has finally met with endorsement in one quarter. In Clones, Eire, boys who attend the local movie house are now to occupy one side of the theatre, girls the other. Married couples are exempt from the order. —CHESTER FRIEDMAN MOTION PICTURE HERALD. DECEMBER 2, 1944 41