Showmen's Trade Review (Jan-Mar 1940)

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Jamiarv 6, 1940 SHOWMEN'S T R A IJ E REVIEW fagc 3 n The Stretch As Congress convenes in Washington the opponents of the Neely Bill are rallying their forces for the final drive to defeat the bill. It is sad to observe that they are doing now what they should have done a year ago. Namely; to intelligently rally exhibitor support in their fight against the bill. Whether, at this late hour, they will be able to make a showing sufficiently impressive to convince the lawmakers to vote against the bill, remains to be seen. Originally, while the supporters of the bill were sue cessfuUy lining up their forces for the measure the opponents seemed to prefer a campaign of propaganda. As a result, many Congressmen and Senators received letters and wires on behalf of the bill and few against it. If, at the same time, several thousand exhibitors had been encouraged to express themselves against the bill the present status might have been different. We know from our own annual survey that more independents are against the bill than for it, but no one had seen fit to contact them personally and get their support. Not being heard from individually must have left the very definite impression on many of the lawmakers that most exhibitors were for it. We hope that the campaign from now on will be handled as it should have been from the start; through an expression direct from exhibitors. Organi2,ation or group expressions will hardly carry weight at this stage of the battle. AAA Observations Encouraged by the volume and consistency of stronger box office product, exhibitors are looking ahead to brisk business for the balance of the current season and until the warmer weather starts slowing up business. Even more encouraging is the apparent revival of show manship through the medium of stronger show-selling activity by theatremen all over the country. For years this form of activity has been so indifferent as to actually hurt receipts. And for some strange reason most of the theatremen seemed inclined to let things coast along as they were, hopeful that the upswing would come about by itself. They are finally coming to the realization that good product plus good show-selling go hand-in-hand. The results at the box offices are speaking eloquently. ASCAP won a victory in Nebraska but it should not shut its eyes to the fact that resentment against it is increasing by leaps and bounds. Even if the state of Nebraska loses again in its appeal to the high court, the fact remains that the pendulum is swinging in opposition to this form of tribute. After all, so far as theatres are concerned, the Society, in our opinion, has no right to charge the theatres a seat tax for playing copyrighted music over which they have no control whatsoever. The studios pay ASCAP in the first place and that should be enough. It smells too much like a form of racket the country has been purging itself of recently. State legislatures are beginning to convene in many states. Exhibitor watchfulness should also awaken at the same time and a close and careful watch established to make certain that no surprise legislation is enacted that can prove expensive or detrimental to the theatres. The lawmakers are ever on the lookout for more taxes and revenue and theatres have always been a vulnerable spot for them to tackle. Be careful, not sorry. A A A An Accessory Exchange There is much merit to the currently announced plan to establish a central office in each exchange center where exhibitors can obtain all of their accessories from posters and displays to trailers. If the plan works out as expected it will not only prove a blessing to the exhibitor in time-saving but possibly also in annual costs for these essentials to operation. We hope, both for the sake of the plan as well as for the exhibitor, that all the companies will participate so that it will have a fair trial to prove the effectiveness of the idea as we see it at this writing. A A A The Annual Report The second section of next week's issue of STR will be our annual, ''Leaders of the Motion Picture Industry." We can say without fear of contradiction that this particular annual is not only original but unique in many respects and covers territory and material not found in any other annual. Through your copy of the Leaders you will see at a glance many pertinent facts and figures, all painstakingly prepared and presented for illuminating and quick reference. The pictures that registered profitably at the box office, the producers, directors and stars who were involved in their production, in fact, every detail pointing to an accurate and authentic listing of all the leaders in the various phases of your product will be found faithfully catalogued as your source of information about each company's product. We respectfully invite your careful inspection of next week's issue. — 'CmCK'^ LEWIS