Motion Picture News (Sept-Oct 1916)

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October 21, 1916 MOTION PICTURE NEWS 2513 Another Big Merger of Producing Interests Oliver Morosco and Pallas Pictures Effect Merger with Famous Players-Lasky Corporation — Identity of Pictures to Be Kept Distinct — Papers Signed at a Conference in New York Last Thursday — Believe Better Pictures and Greater Variety Will Be the Resvilt ANOTHER affiliation of important motion picture producing companies was effected last Thursday, announcement being made that the Oliver Morosco Photoplay Company and Pallas Pictures, productions of both of which appear on the Paramount Program, have merged with the Famous Players Film Company and the Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Company in the Famous PlayersLasky Corporation. The last-named company, organized more than a month ago, is capitalized at $12,500,000. This new alignment of film interests represents the completion of plan's, the consummation of which h^is been contemplated for nearly two years. Together, the producing companies named represent the forces of photoplay production constituting the entire Paramount Program, which releases 104 feature plays annually, or two every week. The identities of the several companies 'represented in the Famous Players-Lasky Corporation will continue to be distinct in the productions seen on the screens of theatres throughout the world. The negotiations tending to this affiliation began in Los Angeles and were terminated last Thursday in New York. These conferences were attended by Adolph Zukor, president of Famous Players-Lasky Corporation ; Jesse L. Lasky, vice-president; Arthur S. Friend, treasurer; E. J. Ludvigh, secretary ; Oliver Morosco, president of the Oliver Morosco Photoplay Company ; Miss Melodile Garbutt, president Pallas Pictures ; Frank A. Garbutt, vice-president ; William C. Demorest, Frederick G. Lee and Daniel Frohman. Miss Garbutt and Mr. Garbutt came to New York from Los Angeles recently to attend the conferences. This combination will bring under one banner the greatest number of popular stage and screen stars ever assembled in a single organization, including Marguerite Clark, Pauline Frederick, Marie Doro, Fannie Ward, Leonore Ulrich, Blanche Sweet, Mae Murray, Myrtle Stedman, Louise Huff, Owen Moore, Marguerite Courtot, Jack Pickford, Vivian Martin, Cleo Ridgley, Lou-Tellegen, Dustin Farnum, Ann Pennington, Sessue Hayakawa, George Beban, Wallace Reid and others. The photoplay productions bearing the names of " Morosco " and " Pallas " in the future, as in the past, will be produced at their big studio in Los Angeles. The merging of the resources of this extensive studio with the Lasky studio at Hollywood, California, and the Famous Players studio in New York, will probably bring about a higher and more artistic standard of motion picture productions than has obtained in the past. Adolph Zukor, in commenting upon the amalgamation of these film interests, said : " This latest coalition unites under one government and one system of operation all the producing forces that create the Paramount Program. While these individual companies formerly co-operated with complete harmony toward the maintenance of the highest possible standard of motion picture production, under the new arrangement the opportunities for common artistic endeavor will be more numerous and extensive. This is the aspiration of all the factors in the Paramount group of producers, and undoubtedly the results that will accrue will be as beneficial as are all the effects' of a unity of purpose. The interchange of stars, plays and studio equipment among the four plants will also constitute a more elastic and expansive producing force." Frank A. Garbutt, of the Pallas-Morosco companies, said : " This amalgamation of interests is the logical outcome of plans which have been in contemplation ever since the formation of Paramount two years ago. Each company will retain its individuality and will go on manufacturing pictures as heretofore. The individual companies will, however, have a direct interest in the welfare and success of the other producers, thereby tending to provide the Paramount Program with pictures of increasing excellence in quality." Oliver Morosco, president of the Oliver Morosco Photoplay Company, in speaking of the affiliation, said: "The merging of our interests with those of the Famous Players and the Jesse L. Lasky Company is the natural tendency of the times toward quality photoplays. The photoplay industry is gradually undergoing parallel changes to those in the theatrical business, namely, the survival of the fittest. To this end the coalition of the Four Paramount prodticing companies is a step in the right direction. The advantages to the producers are economy in operation and increased efficiency; to Paramount this new step means a pronounced increase in the merit of the pictures ; to the exhibitors it is an insurance that Paramount Pictures will keep pace with the demands of the day." Hiram Abrams, president of the Paramount Pictures Corporation, upon being advised of the culmination of the merger, congratulated the factors involved and made the following statement : " At last the complete unification of the producing interests of Paramount has been accomplished. The combination under one management of the four producers may be expected to result in both a greater variety and a greater consistency of merit in the productions to appear on the Paramount Program." Unicorn Reorganizes and Increases Service Five-Reel Feature of Tested Merit Headed by Well-Known Star to Be Released Every Two Weeks— New Officers Elected AN important event in the Motion Picture industry during the past week was the reorganization of the Unicorn Film Service Corporation, with offices at 130 West 46th Street, New York. The firm has been releasing up to date twentyone reels a week, consisting of one, two and three reel dramas and comedies, including several western features. The new board of officers consist of Ike Schlank, President; Fred B. Murphy, Vice-President ; P. A. Chase, Treasurer, and H. A. Palmer, Secretary. Through Mr. Schlank, it was announced that Unicorn intends a considerable broadening of its activities, of which full details will be given in a later announcement. It is reported on good authority that the Unicorn's new policy will embrace beside the one, two and three reel features, such as has made the Unicorn program notable in the past, a five reel feature starring a noted dramatic artist every two weeks. " Our new policy," said Mr. Schlank, in discussing the new plans of the Unicorn, " will embrace an even wider field of endeavor than has been the case in the past. Of course, every concern under the sun, promises the exhibitor service and co-operation, but most of these claims have been merely hot air. The exhibitor, who has entered into business relations with the Unicorn during the past few months, realizes fully the practical help that we have tried to afford him, not merely by supplying him with a program of consistent excellence, but by the fact that in planing Unicorn features, he has had constantly back of him the service of a powerful organization . " Our new regime contemplates a far wider field of activity than we have maintained in the past. For instance, we are contemplating giving the exhibitor a five reel feature of real and tested merit, every two weeks. Each of these features will be headed by a star of celebrity, supported by an adequate company of dramatic artists. We intend that these pictures should be 100 per cent, efficient, and also 100 per cent, candidates for the favor of the public. During the forthcoming week I shall have some further announcements to make in connection with our new plan of campaign." IVAN SELLS AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND RIGHTS Messrs. Vogel and Howell, representing David Howells of Australia and the Cooperative Film Service of New Zealand, have made arrangements whereby these two companies will distribute Ivan productions in Australia and New Zealand. The first two Ivan productions to be shown in this territory will be " Faded Flower " and " Her Surrender," prints of which have already been shipped to this territory. These pictures will be exhibited about the first of November in both Australia and New Zealand.