Publix Opinion (Jan 17, 1930)

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Me ae ae ee ee PUBLIX OPINION, WEEK OF JANUARY 177H, 1930. BUILD RESPECT FOR TALKING PICTURES From time to time, PUBLIX OPINION has urged you to do everything possible to induce your | local newspaper men to become cognizant of the rapidly increasing intelligence in all phases of the motion picture industry. Recently we reprinted some emphatic comments made by Heywood Broun, noted leader of the international intelligentsia. Mr. Broun made a plea for the movies and bitterly condemned the alleged humorists who constantly depreciate the screen. At a recent cabinet meeting, Mr. Katz urged that Publix give more attention to the institutional selling of the modern talking screen. Now we have before us the February issue of ‘College Humor’’’, which contains an article written by Julia Pegler, from material given to her by Walter Wanger, general manager of Paramount’s Long Island production department. Make Copies Now PUBLIX OPINION urges every one who reads these lines to immediately make typewritten copies of this story, as well as all other material that has preceded it in this publication, and take them in person to editorial writers, columnists, Sunday editors and feature writers of local publications, so that the value of this story may be spread to the public as: widely as possible. While this will of course benefit Publix and-Paramount pictures, it will benefit the newspapers that print it also. The newspapers will benefit because they are adding to the happiness and knowledge of their readers, in connec. tion with a subject which those readers heartily approve. One hundred million weekly movie patrons can’t be wrong. Erratic Judgment A few years ago when the campaign of ridicule of the movies was at its height, the only sufferers were the publications which printed ridicule. The public continued to patronize the movies THIS SELLS SEATS! Merlin Lewis, Publicity Director of the Toledo-Paramount Theatre, mounted this photostat, four times enlarged, of the Liberty review of “Love Parade,” on an easel in his lobby 10 days in advance of the showing. Note how Lewis has blanked out all matter not pertaining to the picture and filled it with local selling copy. A good gag to use’ on any picture getting a favorable review in a national weekly. in constantly increasing number, and only regarded ridicule as erratic judgment. Of course there have been. cases, and probably always will be, where a certain amount of ridicule is justifiable. In the main, however, the viewpoint taken by Miss Pegler and Heywood Broun is the correct visualization of the industry, generally. If you will take the trouble to see that this information is loealized and reprinted in your local publications, you will find that it has permanent value in a great many directions. It is easy to localize this interview by offering it as material from the local manager, as gathered by him from many sources, and now made available for local readers. See the reproduction of Julia Pegler’s story below and copy the information for your local newspapers. , dhe Comment Sought on Brooklyn’s Radio Hour David J. Chatkin has requested everyone in Publix who can do so, to listen in and write to Managing Director Robert Weitman wee cewe of the Brooklyn the verdict of | Paramount Theahundreds of] tre, offering recee ee actions, advice first experis and constructive ment in| criticism on the Brooklyn last| Tuesday night A esday!] midnight broadght. ——i casts over the Columbia radio chain. The Brooklyn Paramount is “Vast box office value as well as good stage and air entertain FT Ad K RADIO PROGRAM GETS BIG HAND FROM FANS Last Saturday night’s program (January 11), one of the most entertaining which has been put on the air, was dedicated to the picture, ‘‘Seven Days Leave,’’ in which Gary Cooper is starred, with Beryl Mercer in support. The hundreds of letters and telegrams received from listeners attested to the welcome accorded the marvelous program from ‘coast-to-coast. Cooper and Miss Mercer were included in the list of performers who lent their talent to the occasion. This part of the hour came from the Paramount studio in Hollywood, rebroadcast over the Columbia system from the radio station in New York. All of the old favorites shared in presenting that portion of the program originating in New York, including Paul Ash, David: Mendoza, Jesse Crawford, Paul Small, Dorothy Adams and others. “T Have to Have You” and other popular dance and vocal selections vied with a symphonic arrangement entitled ‘“‘Gems of Melody’’ in the perfect melange of musical novelties and melodies offered for the approval of the radio fans. The Publix-Paramount hour is winning new friends each week. broadcasting its entire stage show every Tuesday night at 11:30. Simultaneously, the Metropolitan Theatre in Boston is doing likewise. The idea has been in operation for a number of years in some Publix Theatres. W. K. Hollander started stage broadcasts at the Chicago Theatre, almost at the inception of radio, and it later was developed to a high degree at other Balaban & Katz theatres in Chicago, where numerous performers participated. 4, LKIES SENSE IHE time seems to’ have come when the public and the public pundits must readjust their opinions of the intelligence of the moving pictures. I suppose it will remain fashionable for some time to twit the industry for its infant sins of banality. We have had some good jokes on this topic and good jokes are long lived. The one about the producer who turned down the Hunchback of Notre Dame on the ground that the public was tired of football scenarios will bear repetition years after it has ceased to represent, if it ever did represent, the intelligence of the general directorate of the industry. But the movies will shrug off this kind of thing and in a very brief while the public will come to acknowledge a bright, educated intelligence in an_ industry where formerly all was ee pay in proportion to his eminence in the business. We were on the eleventh floor of the Paramount Building, that beautiful, biscuit colored pile which rises in a superb arabesque against the sky at Times Square. Down in the Paramount Theater on the street level, Clara Bow, the star of Dangerous Curves, was murmuring cuddlesome conversation (see lithographs on the lobby boards), and Jesse Crawford was making the organ sob. In the long corridor outside Mr. Wanger’s office sat a lovely girl, clasping an envelope of photographs; a fat, moist woman holding the hand of a blondined child; and a swarthy man with shiny, crinkly hair. The beautiful girl and the woman had that air of brave patience and hope characteristic of those who sit in the anterooms of pro beautiful but dumb. I@College men who want to enter the motion picture business shouldn't be ducers’ and casting di find the moving picture afraid to fight. Yes-men are not sought,” says Walter F. Wanger, of the rectors’ offices. The man industry aspiring even to Paramount Famous Lasky Corporation, Alpha Delta Phi of Dartmouth. was doing arithmetic on a sort of intellectual leadership, recruiting book taught brains and preparing to take a place among the forces of education in the United States. They talk of a time when people may drop a nickel in the telephone slot and sit back to see and hear scenes far away. This is fantastic to the lay intelligence, but it is best to wait for it to come about, with an eight to five confidence that it will come about as radio did and more recently the talkies. Naturally, this development of the movies will require educated personnel, leading us up to the point that the whole industry is making itself inviting to college people. There is a man in an office in a tall building on Broadway, who has information and ideas on this subject. His name is Walter F. Wanger. He had a halting collegiate career at Dartmouth some years ago. He is now general manager of the production department of the Paramount Famous Lasky Corporation, and I will add, on information and belief, that he is one of the four or five most important individuals in the industry at the present time, receiving By JULIA PEGLER a used envelope. A gray haired man, who reminded me of those proud old Civil War soldiers who guard the doors of newspaper offices, met visitors as they came, inquired their business, disappeared, reappeared quietly. Quick, smart boys, like copy boys in a local room, came and went. The anteroom leading to Mr. Wanger’s office was like a movie set. There were great red roses in a porcelain jar, but the roses were waxen and'I suspect that the jar was made of beaver board. The wood paneling of the walls, so rich and impressive, was only painted on the plaster. But the office of the Big Shot was real. The walnut panels were hewn from trees, not dipped from cans. The dark, heavy doors were solid, like the doors of a small, old English chapel, not fiber shells tacked on frames in an illusion of massiveness. There were elfin bronzes on his desk. Good looking. Post collegiate. About thirty-five. Gray eyes. Black hair. Not shy but modest—extremely so. He put down the French phone on his desk and turned to me. “You may think that call was [Continued on page 111] arranged as theatrical business to impress you,” he said, “but I’ve been waiting for it all day. That was a message to tell me that Harvard University has just agreed to give us full cooperation in the development of educational films. The Harvard University Film Foundation has been organized, and they are discussing experiments with us regarding the creation of a university extension course in talking pictures. “Tt is hard to envision the future of the talking film. It reaches to the horizon of the ordinary intelligent understanding, and then goes on and on. Goodness knows how far it goes. “Soon,” he announced, “the system of education in the United States will be revolutionized through the talking motion picture. Five years from now, I don’t believe there will be a single school in the country that will not have the talking motion picture as the basis of education. There are a million school rooms in the country as compared with twenty thousand film theaters, so it is easy to see that the development of the educational value of the motion picture is much more important than its progress in the theatrical field. The talking motion picture is the greatest step in civilization, to my mind. It even exceeds the printing press in importance.” There is room for all manner of persons in this business—literally thousands of jobs being held by individuals of peculiar talents, and some with practically no talents but only the desire to work -hard at whatever task befalls them. “There is no sort of knowledge that cannot be useful in our business, whether it cultivates the artistic, literary or humanitarian point of view, or whether that intelligence be natural, absorbed or acquired,” said Mr. Wanger. In using the talking motion picture as an instrument of education, Mr. Wanger declares there will be a great¢and immediate need for the best teachers procurable, for college graduates with modern psychological background and those conversant with world events. “My dream,” said he, with a wistful look and a gathering of his black brows, “is for an educational community center where the talking motion picture will bring to the poor-: est person in the street the greatest academic advantages of the day. “In the morning,” he recited the’ program of his vision, “there would be a lecture, perhaps by Elsie DeWolfe, on interior decorating, or by Professor Einstein on his theory of relativity. In the afternoon and evening, there would be concerts by great singers and musicians, lectures by the most learned men and women in the world, addresses by states . men and scientists and philosophers, and news events from the entire universe. There would be a twelve hour program divided into sections, a sort of combination of Town Hall, correspondence school and university exten sion course, plus a review of the happenings in the day’s news. X “Theatrical producers are not equipped for this work,’ Mr. Wanger declared.. “We need educators, both American and foreign. French, German, Spanish, Italian must be taught by native professors so that American students may learn the languages with the proper accent. When we can have Ramsay McDonald and his cabinet talk for half an hour, as Fox did recently, there is no limit to the value or the possibilities of the talking motion picture. This medium should make education more attractive than it has ever been before. The talkie has changed _ the motion picture from a theatrical enter prise and a luxury to a commodity. For our business, we now need trained scholars, academicians, and also the type of educator who is an executive. We theater people can’t take too much license with education.” Although Mr. Wanger believes that the biggest future of the talking motion picture is in the non-theatrical field, he also insists that it means improvement in the business of the legitimate theater. “Tt is not going to ruin the theater, as some people think,” he reasoned. “It will help it, just as the radio has helped concerts. Peo~ ple, want the real thing, certainly, but reproduction is a godsend when they can’t have it. Naturally, anyone would rather see Ethel Barrymore in the flesh on the stage or hear Kreisler in person if that is possible, but if it isn’t possible, the talking motion picture gives the next best thing—a reproduction of the sound of her voice or the sound of his violin.” : There are an enormous number of college men and women in the motion, picture industry, Mr. Wanger said. < “When I came into the business, less than ten years ago, I'seldom came across a college man,” he said, “but the further away the motion picture theater gets from the nickelodeon, the more college people come into it.” At Dartmouth, he wrote college plays and . was head of the dramatic association for a time. His fraternity is Alpha Delta Phi. After leaving college, he worked for Granville Barker—for twenty-five dollars a week. In 1917, he produced Ception Shoals, starring Nazimova, and shortly thereafter entered the war as an aviator. Fearful that I might have gained the impression that he had been a brilliant student at college, Mr. Wanger wrote me a note a few days after I had talked with him. The note, I think, is worth quoting (begging his pardon). It read% fe “T forgot to tell you the other day that after the first term of my freshman year, I was flunked out of college, went abroad to study and came back the following September, and left college in my senior year to go with Granville Barker, without waiting for a degree. I am writing you this, as I do not want you to think I am a Phi Beta Kappa student, but quite the contrary.” Helen Kane Acts” As Mistress Of Radio Hour Features of the ParamountPublix radio hour on January 25 will be the introduction of Helen Kane, celebrated boop-boop-a-doop girl, as mistress of ceremonies, and the debut of a new radio per See your lo| eal chain station and tie sonality, Mary . mae . S50 Charles, imperare sonator and singments into er extraordinary. The hour will be broadcast over the Columbia network at 10 o’clock (Eastern Standard Time). Selected from more than 150 radio candidates, this hour. Also plant photos and stories on your local radio news pages. Miss Charles is hailed by Para-_ mount-Publix officials as a real air ‘‘discovery.’’ to listeners a new and distinct personality in her portion of the hour which will be devoted to impersonations of such stars as Gertrude Lawrence, Irene Bordoni and Helen Morgan. This is Miss Charles’ radio debut. Another highlight of the hour will be the presenting of Paul Ash, back home again in Chicago after a brilliant two years in New York. Ash’s act will be broadeast from the stage of the Oriental Theatre, Chicago, relayed to New York and put on the air from station WABC. The stage show in the Paramount-Publix Playhouse—the deluxe theatre of the air—vwill be entitled ‘“‘Jazz a la Carte.’’ Some of the other well known radio entertainers on the _ program who will be introduced by John §S. Carlile are David Mendoza, conductor of the Paramount Symphony Orchestra, Jesse Crawford, organ soloist, Lillian Gordon, Paul Small and others. Richman at Paramount Harry Richman is acting as master of ceremonies at the New York Paramount and Rudy Vallee has returned to the Brooklyn Paramount. After the war, he again produced plays. Jesse Lasky sent for him and offered him the managership of the Charles Frohman Company. Meanwhile, Mr. Wanger had become interested in the study of the motion picture business and after a year and a half with the Paramount Company went to England to develop motion picture exhibition. He returned to this country three years later and has been associated with the Paramount Company ever since. “There are so many branches to this business that almost anyone with ability or the desire to work has a chance to succeed,” he told me. “We need clever men and women for writing, acting, directing, art directing, costuming, editing and for theater management. We need them in the production department, the exhibition department—which includes the contro] and running of our eight hundred theaters—and in the distribution department, which controls the selling of films throughout the world. “In a world-wide organization such as ours, it is necessary to have men who can understand languages and can work constructively in all parts of the globe. We need Jawyers for our legal department, artisans, mechanics and engineers. We want college men and women badly if they are not too theoretical and are not afraid of real, hard work and long hours. The -best-work most people do is done outside of office hours. No nine to five people are wanted in this business. _ “It is amazing how many college men there are without character,” Mr. Wanger deplored. “Yes-men are not sought. There are too many of them in the business already. College men who want to enter the motion picture business shouldn’t be afraid to fight. Too many of them come to us with letters of introduction or depend upon influence to get them a hearing. We have scouts out looking for likely prospects. If a fellow has any _ character or ability, he doesn’t need influence or other accessories, “We have to turn down many young college men who come seeking jobs, because they haven’t the faintest notion of what they want to do. Many have an inferiority complex. Before ever they apply for a job, they decide that there is no place for them in the business world and they’re whipped before they start. Others have a superiority complex. They know it all. We want the fellowr who has no complex at 2ll and knows what he wants to do.” Oe @llejeHumor February, 1930 She will bring: Exist PONE roy oh ane Ae Ay ‘4 Oo. BAS ASY eee, ee UAE Ve ORE eae