Publix Opinion (Jan 17, 1930)

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* ' Theatre, ES aac’ PUBLIX OPINION, WEEK OF JANUARY 177u, 1930 eg ~ 4 IVE LOBBY’ STUNTS GET ADDITIONAL BUSINESS IN MANY LARGE OPERATIONS ‘In addition to the “live lobby” stunts outlined in the last issue of PUBLIX OPINION, many theatres in which the lobbies are of sufficient size to permit an entertainer to hold forth are going in for this phase of lobby exploitation. The Chicago Theatre was probably the pioneer in providing diversion for holdouts, featuring a concert pianist on the lobby mezzanine. In the Music Room of the New York Paramount, Hans Hanke, concert pianist with a real reputation in the better metropolitan music circles, has long been a fixture, and a drawing card as well, since a number of regular patrons of the Paramount come to the theatre mostly to visit the music room. BOB WEITMAN’S GAGS At the Brooklyn-Paramount, Managing Director Bob Weitman is working a number of successful ideas and has several more on tap. Here are some of them: 1. Lightning sketch artist. For a small salary, an artist in the lobby sketches the likeness of any patron asking it. In order to assure the return of that patron, the pictures are posted | on the bulletin in the theatre, and are given to the patron, the following week. 2. Crooning pianist. Miss Elsie Thompson, formerly featured organist at Publix F&R theatres, appears periodically at the twin console with Bob West, regular attraction at the theatre, in addition to her lobby entertainment work. 8. Walking accordionist. ‘Happy’ Frank Judnick, walks up and down the waiting lines, playing the accordion. So effective was his entertainment that he has been spotted in a unit show. 4. Punch and Judy show for, children, of all ages. 5. Mind reader stunt. Man (or woman) to walk up and down the lines, telling the date on! coins, names of persons, etc. 6. Billiard expert to stage exhibition in the lobby. Boston Scores The Metropolitan Theatre, Boston, found that lobby entertainers build up such a following that it was profitable to place them on the stage as a part of the regular presentation, and inasmuch as the | entertainers who scored so heavily were local talent engaged at a very low salary, the results were far in excess of the cost. Addie Berry, Jacksonville radio organist and singer, holds down a spot in the lobby of the Florida where she plays and sings request numbers. Curiously, ushers’ requests are always for Paramount theme songs! Excellent Plug ' In many cases lobby entertain ers can be utilized as a valuable exploitation angle. Evert R. Cummings, in Omaha, works an angle in connection with Sonny Burnett, the lobby feature at the Paramount, which results in an excellent plug for the forthcoming attraction. Each week the art department makes up a_ replica, about eight by ten feet in size, of| the cover-page of the hit-song from the next week’s feature... This is mounted on a draped parallel, and Burnett plays and sings on the parallel with the cover reproduction as a_ background. It is Mr. Cummings’ intention to make this set piece the SAAL PROTESTS ~ ON DELAYED REPORTS The confusion resulting in the Home Office booking and accounting departments because theatre managers are remiss in sending in their ‘‘missout’’ reports has assumed such proportions that William M. Saal, head of the Booking Department, urgently enjoins that all such reports be mailed on the day of the missout. “Often,” declared Mr. Saal, ‘‘the first intimation we have that a film has not played comes from a comparison of the theatre blue. print with our records. This necessitates a readjustment of our rental payments. In the case of small, independent distributors of shorts, this means a volume of corres ly out of proportion to the amounts involved—and in most cases something that would have been entirely unnecessary had the reports been sent us on time.”’ Plane Chartered Theatre managers with the cooperation of the booking department make every effort to obtain a print that is scheduled and no cause for complaint can be found on that score. In fact, there is one instance where a plane was chartered to fly the print of a feature from Des Moines to Rock Island to replace one that was out of synchronization. Everyone concerned realizes that the failure to receive a subject wrecks all advance billing, may necessitate in extreme cases, shutting the house for several shows, and in the case of shorts may throw a program out of balance. : But few managers seem to appreciate the volume of detail work that goes on long after their particular problem has been settled. The failure on their part to send immediate reports only intensifies the difficulties. Vigilance Needed The Home Office Booking De partment is largely concerned with eradicating chronic mishaps of this sort and constant vigilance on the part of all concerned, will, in the opinion of Mr. Saal, keep the exchanges up to scratch. It is for this reason that the Missout Report carries a space marked ‘‘No.”’ This refers to the number of miss-. outs during the year and tells the Booking Department just what theatres and exchanges need a special investigation. It is important that this space be filled in accurately on each report. It goes without saying that each theatre should have a supply of Missout Reports on hand or should immediately take steps to procure them from the Home Office. Wide au SNE Soe NS TO ANOTHER REX David E. Parrish, formerly manager of the Rex, Columbia, S. C., has been appointed manager of the recently opened Rex Theatre in Sumter, S. C. : a music and record booth is installed in the lobby, and the entertainment will be in charge of center of the music display when the booth. pondence and bookkeeping entire-_ Sebobeictolietoleiietoiietiok toletetotes RADIO PAGE? ¢ On every Monday, do you send a still-photo, or mat, and a radio story to each of your local radio editors on the subject of the Saturday night national-chain Publix-Paramount hour? Hundreds of theatre-merchandisers are doing it with great success, and these always include in the story the fact that whoever is on the program, will be seen at the local Publix theatre on a *¥ specific date in a specific at4 % traction. It’s a valuable op* * portunity that shouldn’t be is overlooked. teresferok Jololot he oor ae ae eae ae ac Jotoleiototoles 2 Peet 7 * 5 ie ie ic terk MANAGER FOR BOW John McCormack who has played the dual role of husband and manager for Colleen Moore has been signed by Paramount to serve as manager of Clara Bow as well. PROMOTIONS IN ADVERTISING DEPARTMENT ‘Following the promotion of Lou Goldberg to Division Advertising i Supervisor, a number of additional promotions have been announced in the Advertising and Publicity Department by A. M. Botsford, Director. The newly promoted men, all in Division A and, consequently, under Goldberg’s supervision, are: HARRY L. ROYSTER, Director of Advertising and Publicity of the New York Paramount, promoted to District Advertising, Manager under C. C. Perry, his territory to include Syracuse, Rochester and Toledo. EDDIE HITCHCOCK, Director of Advertising and Publicity of the Portland, Portland, Ore., promoted to the same post at the New York Paramount. J. C. FURMAN, Director of Advertising and Publicity of the Rialto, New York, promoted to District Advertising Manager under L. J. Finske. His territory will include Kansas City, Mo., Denver, Kansas City, Kan., Springfield, Mo. and Joplin, Mo. ARTHUR H. JEFFREY, of the Rialto Publicity and Advertising Staff, promoted to handle exploitation at the same theatre. ALEXANDER GOTTLIEB, New York 'newspaper man, will handle the newspaper work for this theatre. MAURICE BERGMAN, of the Publicity and Advertising Staff, Brooklyn-Paramount Theatre, promoted to Director of Advertising and Publicity at that theatre. HIGH PRESSURE IN DELUXE THEATRES! ASSISTING THE MANAGER “TO OPERATE EFFICIENTLY by CHESTER L. STODDARD Director, Department of Front House Operation The Department of Front House Operation is organized for the purpose of assisting the manager in the field to solidify each phase of his theatre that is included as of this department, by assisting in the development of manpower in the individual operations and in. stituting in each theatre those principles of operation that will enable our organization to maintain that refinement and efficiency in erowd contact, organization and care of theatre properties that has been characteristic of the name PUBLIX since its inception. In order to bring this about on an organized basis, there are at the present time ten men representing this department, each of whom is assigned to a division i the field. There will be additional men assigned from time to time. Following the company policy of promoting from within ranks, these men have been lifted from operations all over the country and promoted to this department. These representatives work thru and with the manager in order that he and his organization may get the fullest possible benefit from their contacts. The district and divisional managers are kept constantly advised in detail as to just what steps are being taken in each operation. : It is not the purpose of ‘these representatives to recommend changes which are not in keeping with local conditions. These local conditions, as regards volume of business, types of people, type of. operation, etc., all have a decided influence on every phase of theatre management. It is the company’s purpose to institute and maintain an efficient, tight front house organization in line with its policy ‘of economy, quality and efficiency in conformance with the local set, up : Cc. L. Stoddard The term “service”? has generally been confined to the usher staff. : Front house operation covers this interpretation of service, and embraces every phase of the operation that is not included as of the stage, projection and advertising, It includes service—which means ushers, cashiers, doormen; cleaning, which includes the theatre cleaning crew as well as day porters and maids; ventilation, which includes not the teaching of the engineers the mechanics involved in the manipulation of their plant, but rather instruction to develop an appreciation on the part of the entire executive and engineering staff of what proper ventilating conditions are and the methods of supervision necessary to get the required conditions where we have. refrigerating plants. i It ineludes not only the staffs above mentioned, but the organizing and development of the junior executive manpower in order that supervision may be maintained for the benefit of the individual as well as the operation as a whole. It includes instruction and assistance in all cashier’s work and theatre accounting forms, and the development of manpower. . Efficiency Sought When interpreting the term “service’ we are prone to think simply in terms of a body of young men placed in uniform and taught to stand like soldiers, do a right face and left face and say, ‘You, sir,” and “No, sir.” The usher staff is not a military body created for flash, it is a group of carefully selected, well trained and well organized young men, welded together as, first, an organized body created for the purpose of giving the maximum efficiency in the three phases of crowd movement—fill, spill and refill. Secondly, but equally important, it is created for the purpose of giving the maximum amount of satisfaction in the individual contact with the patron and creating within the operation an atmosphere of intimacy, pleasantness, hospitality and _ refine. ment, by the naturalness and graciousness with which the employees “handle themselves in these contacts. ; In the results first, the ‘achieved are directly reflected at the box-office, particularly during pressure business, and these results are proportional to the efficiency with which the staff has been organized. In the second purpose, the results are more or less indirect, but equally as important, in institutionalizing our operations and building good will on the part of those patrons coming in contact with our employees. It is this personal contact through which the patron receives his first tangible evidence of the type of business we operate, and whether that reaction is good, bad or indifferent is a reflection of the manner in which we have organized ourselves to present to him the maximum in perfection of entertainment and comfort. The unobtrusiveness of the staff's functioning, born of a naturalness in the individual contact plus efficiency—the result of carefully worked out plans of pro 6 cedure and training—is the key-. note to the success of the service organization. A. H. Jeffrey Maurice Bergman THESE ADVERTISING MEN WIN PROMOTIONS! J. C. Furman & H. L. Royster Be Fea Bie Se i ie aN a EE ia aaa ee i a ie i a a ae ER Sa Oe oe eo REMC eave eee Sot iN aloe 3 Cae eg Gal eka sate eet oeer a a Lea X ee Th onthe read ce alread ha a ela iia ts ge Ta ice ag ar 2 Sa eS a ae EN ee N eB a a BN pe ag a OE Ui i ie ca ek ae naan a TOSS rhe PR ee aaa) Hames