Showmen's Trade Review (Oct-Dec 1939)

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October 7, 19S9 S H O W M EN'S T R A U li R E V I W Page 3 Nothing to Brag About The studio workers' union will find little cause for rejoicing over the ten per cent wage increase won last week under threat of a general strike. If ever there was a time when the lA could set itself and its entire mem' bership on a high pedestal, that was it. But instead, and in the face of current conditions con- fronting the industry at the very time when strict econ' omies are vitally necessary, it gave the studio heads an ultimatum and the net result to the union members is a victory begrudged because it was entirely unwarranted and unjustified at this time. On the other hand, the lA could have taken advantage of current conditions and cheerfully agreed to an extension of existing wage scales along with a fan-fare of trumpets and a great hurrah for the loyalty of the unions in times of stress. Not only would this have won acclaim from the whole industry but it would have made it possible to win an increase at some future time when industry conditions are a lot more cheerful than they are right now. Coming from a group which was already getting darned good wages and working conditions makes it sound all the more like a hold'up. Perhaps, as a result of the union's hollow victory, the studio heads will reali2,e what a waste of time it is to play ball with groups who don't even know the meaning of the expression themselves. A A A Premature Hysteria Came the war and with it a dark outlook on the foreign market situation. And before you could say boo several executives instigated stringent economy measures and cuts. In less time than it takes to tell a feeling of unrest and insecurity prevailed in all the studios and home offices. It now begins to look as though the loss of foreign revenue will dwindle to figures far, far below the original haywire estimates. Theatres are rapidly reopening in England and packing patrons to the doors. Reports from other foreign countries show every indication of increas' ing their use of American-made product. And unless something new develops in the world situation it may be quite possible that the industry will not fare so badly in the long run. All of this points to the fact that the premature hysteria was uncalled for and could have been held in abeyance pending a more clarified picture of just what the results of the war abroad would mean to the industry here. But war or no war, production costs were overdue for pruning and in that one branch determined efforts should be made to eliminate waste and expenditures en- tirely inconsistent with good business administration in picture making. Some home offices are still mulling over other, so-called, money saving ideas. We urge their sober reconsideration of such moves until facts clearly indicate that they are necessary. Such moves not only will retard the progress of some of the companies but may nullify everything previously done to advance their own welfare and in- vestments. A A A nternal Dissension It is regrettable that the New York Allied group should be split so wide open at a time when unity is vitally im- portant to exhibitors in their own organi2,ations. The ultimate outcome of such a split is the br.paking up of the organization with much doubt as to the effective- ness of whatever group succeeds it. This is brought about because the original split leaves a lot of hard feelings and a definite inclination to form cliques. However, the New York group would have been better off functioning without benefit of national affiliation until such time as it was unified and strong enough to make the move best suited to its opinions of the two national organi2,ations. Internal discord with its resultant hurhng of charges, counter-charges and mud, will do nothing towards ad- vancing the cause of the theatremen. On the contrary, it is the perfect formula for wasted effort and expense out of which no good can come to anybody. And that "anybody" means the original group of National Allied who seem to be behind the whole mess. A A A The Solid Front As a direct contrast to the situation discussed above you might take the Michigan Allied organi2,ation. Here you find a really united front and a group whose entire efforts are being directed for the good of the membership and with a minimum of friction if any at all. We are inclined to believe that credit for this fine set-up should go to Ray Branch, president of the organiza- tion and from our own knowledge, one ol the few whose activities are honestly constructive. We may not always agree with Ray but we have never doubted his sincerity or determination to do the best he can for his group. The many constructive issues presented to the con- vention in Kalamazoo speaks volumes for the work being done by Michigan Allied. Some of the other AUied units might try following in its footsteps. — 'CHICK'' LEWIS