Publix Opinion (Dec 20, 1929)

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6 POPPED BY KANKAKEE Publix showmen who complain that their towns are too small for any sensational publicity or exploitation stunts would do well to take an example from City Manager M. E. Berman, of Kankakee, IlL., who pulled a midnight premiere in a town of 18,000 that still has the community all agog with excitement. Not only was the stunt terrific from a publicity . standpoint but, on the night of the opening, the Majestic Theatre, where the premiere was held, sold 60 seats beyond its capacity and had to turn away from three to four hundred people. “This town has never had a mid-night premiere of any big motion picture,’ says Berman, “so we decided to try it out with the ‘Cock-Eyed World.’ In planning our campaign our first thought was to get the merchants of the town to cooperate on a double page spread in the newspapers and to remain open until the show was out. When this idea was presented to them many gave us the ha, ha, saying Kankakee was a nine o’clock town. And 0 our ‘merchant cooperation was out. Rearranged Plans ‘‘Rearranging our plans, for we were out for blood this time, our first stop was the Mayor’s office and after about a half hour of explaining what the new talking picture era was doing for every town, (namely making the presentation of pictures in Kankakee identically the same as in the big Broadway theatres), he finally promised to be present. Our next stop was the City Hall. There we got the promises of chief of police, fire chief and a very popular judge. By this time things began to look kinda rosy, but in order to inject more local spirit to the unusual affair, we made arrangements with ‘the American Legion drum and bugle corps, of this city, to march from the Armory to the theater at eleven o'clock at night. The Legion Post of this city is one of the best in the United States. Its membership consists © of about sixty. in the drum corps, and wherever they go the whole town is for them. Street Car Tie-up “The street cars stop running at eleven o’clock, so our next logical step was a tie-up with both companies to run cars until 12:30 o’clock. This was effected, after considerable debate. “Now comes the miracle of the ages! Who said that a Scotchman won’t give? We induced Mac Brooms, the leading restaurant of the town, to serve free coffee to every patron attending the midnight performance. It was the talk of the town for days before the show and a week afterwards. Everybody wants to know how we hypnotized him to do this. Electric Lights “The next thing we did was arrange to have electric lights strung from the Main Street of the town to the Majestic theatre, a distance of 300 feet. ; “Our next call was the newspaper offices. We were able to get notices of the mid-night premiere four days before the show and also the opening night. This was gotten thru the fact that the city Officials and the Legion were to be guests of the theatre. “Then came the night. Everything looked great until about eleven o’clock, when it started to snow and HOW! At eleven there was three inches and still it was snowing. But here is where the local interest was shown. The PUBLIX OPINION, WEEK OF DECEMBER 20TH, 1929 Legion left the armory at eleven and arrived in front of the theatre five minutes later, where they lined up to have their picture taken: At 11:15 there was a line from the Majestic theatre to the main street of the town, at 11:30 there wasn’t even standing room. The Mayor arrived at 11:45. We had previously reserved twenty seats for his party but in the rush for seats we gave up ten. In came the Mayor’s party which consisted of twenty of the most prominent citizens of town. We were in a tight spot, but by merely mentioning it to ten of the Legion mem ‘bers, they were glad to give up their seats. Net Results “Here is the net results of the show: our seating capacity is 924 seats, we sold 980 tickets, which does not include the 100 guests. This is the biggest occasion we can remember ever being held in this house. We had to turn away between 300 to 400 people. We even had the fire commissioner ushering in the balcony. To cap the climax the Scotchman’s restaurant was swamped after the show.” HUEY IS MANAGER W. C. Huey replaced Jack Mayo as manager of the Isis Theatre, Pensacola. HOLMES FOR SMART . Coney Holmes has replaced Roy Smart as manager of the Publix Kettler, West Palm Beach as well as City Manager at. West Palm Beach and Palm Beach. : Photographs and) newspaper publicity on the se Berman at the Majestic Theatre, Kan. paraded. Center photo shows the sitri shows the theatre lobby on opening night jammed with cars. | Steam Laundry This herald on “The Virginian” was printed by Arthur Swanke, manager of the Publix Strand Theatre in Anderson, S. C. By arrangement with the largest laundry in town, one was enclosed with each bundle sent out for three days before the opening of the picture, AT NO COST. — “The Virginian” Showing at The STRAND MON. TUES. WED. Said:— “When you say that, smile!” We Say:— “You always smile when you use the Anderson nsational midnight opening staged by City Manager M. E. kakee. Top picture shows the American Legion Drum Corps which ng of lights leading from Main Sireet to the theatre. Bottom picture SWANKEIDEA || Novel Stunts . Sell Coming Attractions Lobbies that are ‘“‘alive!!’? now are uppermost in the minds of many managers. It is already taken for granted that ‘fronts’ are always cleanly and colorfully attention-arresting. But inside the lobby, the things that ‘sell’? your COMING attractions to-your patrons as they leave your current show, is a sales opportunity over which the circuit is now conducting an inquiry. Posters in which a loudspeaker is concealed in a poster ‘‘head,”’ from whence comes a sales speech and song made locally on a dictaphone-record is the ‘‘ace’’ of stunts that is being worked by managers who have brought their projectionist and poster artist into conference on the practical working out of the idea. Another good stunt is to use stage and pit talent in the lobby, softly playing improvisations in a bower of next week’s posters. Other managers are getting noted local-talent, for this purpose, and giving them a chance to get experience on the stage, also, by }| working in the final-performance of each evening. MIDNIGHT PREMIERE IN NINE O’CLOCK TOWN! BIG SHOCKER|) THE WHOLE TOWN TURNED OUT! NOVELTIES OF MUSIC. DEPT. ACCLAIMED So great has been the reception accorded to the synchronized musical novelties produced by the Non-Syne division of the Music Department, according to Boris Morros, general director of music for Publix, that this activity now overshadows the non-sync phase of the division, and it will henceforth be known as the ‘Musical Novelties Department.’’ Following up on the wide distribution of the Thanksgiving novelty, the Musical Novelties Department now has ready short synchronized subjects for Christmas and New Year’s. Working under the general supervision of Mr. Morros, the department is outlining a schedule which will call for the production of several synchronized novelties a month. From three or five minutes in running time, these invaluable program-fillers will commemorate the more important holidays on the calendar, and cover a variety of other subjects as well. The Music Department will, of course, continue its original function of servicing the theatres with non-syne novelties, organ solos, and slides, in addition to giving its attention to this new and successful activity. : MAKES OWN FLASH F. C. Croson, manager of the Fremont Theatre, Fremont, Nebraska, made his own pennants with which to decorate the theatre front and the streets of Fremont during the showing of “So This Is College.”’ eS eo ee : Tuunnannnrantnnnucannnnggnyuangunnseagngnenneegganguanccgeg nance eee TET A New Version Evert R. Cummings, dis_ trict manager of Des Moines, Sioux City, Omaha and Council Bluffs sent this revised poem, as a frontispiece in a Christmas manual, to the managers of his circuit: Twas the night before Christmas, And all through the house, Not a single seat taken — Oh, what a louse! The manager frantically tore at his hair, And wondered why _ customers just weren’t there. The show up the street was packing ’em in, The manager met everyone with a grin. The Christmas before he’d not done a tap, But had just settled down for a long winter’s nap, Business was poor—the boss made such a clatter, He made up his mind to see what was the matter. This year it came to him like a flash, He laid all his plans and then made a dash, Down the street and interviewed merchants galore, And came back with tie-ups he’d ne’er had before. ™Twas the night before . Christmas, : His whole house was packed, His program was pleasing, there was nothing he lacked. He walked down the street past the opposish house, Where no one was stirring, not even a mouse. He chuckled with glee, he * had no laments, His hard work had’ turned into dollars and cents. i unre iN 3 ms ty we pesanuvangaeanaeaannuannananuia ' MT ee ecu enna ucaocneeedborsoeenesacrenecatnacouecsauncasacneat eneten! pvuwenneoneevscssceneusueeasisunvoseumMenneuscesnesuversenenenecgusstesstovcescnsseneraneseserussuesceesusnuasueasesuenaesascanenucessescansuastaccensenccestasseausauesseeasesuensuescusucareaseantenuenneosusanenucnncencaueasuegueastagcsnessseauegueescenunsuesteneceasengeaseeaneaneauaceenernsuasescassategneaucesveseedvercesocstnee