Showmen's Trade Review (Oct-Dec 1939)

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November 4, 1939 SHOWMEN'S TR/^DE REVIEW Page 15 Jeepers Creepers (Continued from patji' IS) Loretta Weaver, John Arthur. Original screenplay b}- Dorrell and Stuart McGowan. Directed by' Frank McDonald. Associate Producer, Armand Schaefer. Plot: When coal is discovered on the property owned by the Weaver Brothers & Elviry, Thurston, rich industrialist and owner of coal mines nearby, secretly pays the back taxes on the land and gains title to it. His own coal mines have been closed because of a strike. Not until a forest fire almost destroys all the land, and he has been saved from a death trap does Thurston relent and return the land to its rightful owners. Comment: For the great masses of American theatregoers, "Jeepers Creepers" should prove thoroughly enjoyable enter- tainment. It's loaded with hokum, and some of the situations may be far-fetched, making the film as a whole anything but a critic's delight; but as far as the average family is concerned, it's solid homespun comedy-drama right down their alley. Roy Rogers doffs his spurs to become a hill- billy sheriff and carries on a romance with lovely Maris Wrixon which permits him to kiss the heroine often enough to make up for all those times in his westerns when all he could do was smile at her from the other side of a horse. Miss Wrixon is easy on the eyes, and has talent; with proper roles, she is destined to a secure spot in the film firmament. It's the Weaver Brothers & Elviry, however, who carry the picture with their comical as well as musical capers. Decorate your theatre front in rus- tic style. Members of the house staff should be attired as hillbillies. For a street stunt, dress two men in hillbilly outfits and have them carry shotguns. Banners on their back's read to the effect that "we're takin' time out from feudin' to see, etc." (FAMILY) Catchline: "Fierce feuds and friendly frolics, set to the moanin' rhythm of moun- tain music." AUDIENCE SLANT: THE WHOLE FAMILY WILL FIND IT VERY PLEASING ENTERTAINMENT. BOX OFFICE SLANT: ROY ROGERS POPULAR- ITY SHOULD HELP SWELL YOUR ATTENDANCE, BUT THE FILM NEEDS AND DESERVES A CORK- ING GAG CAMPAIGN TO PUT IT OVER. Warner-Westmore Tieup Made On "Private Lives of Elizabeth & Essex" Thousands of counter cards from coast-to- coast plugging "The Private Lives of Eliza- beth and Essex," have been prepared for distribution by the House of Westmore in a national tieup with Warner Bros. The cards will be on display in thousands of chain and drug stores which carry House of Westmore cosmetics. The cards carry photographs of Bette Davis being made up by Perc Westmore, W'arner makeup chief, and carry a prominent display of picture copy. Col. Keene's Show on Map "What To Do—What To See In and Near Jacksonville, Florida" was cleverly shown on a map put out recently by the Morocco Temple. From the location of the Temple on the map a red arrow points to a box advertising Col. Keene's Juvenile Jamboree, the "quest for talent" show that has proved such a success all through the South. The show was sponsored by the Temple for the benefit of the Shriners' hos- pitals for crippled children. Lampe Ties In With Childs On "Fifth Avenue Girl" Menu Gag A Child's Restaurant-Keith Theatre tie- up by Manager Gus Lampe at Syracuse netted space on all menus for "Fifth Ave- nue Girl" during its run at RKO Keith's, throughout the engagement. Each patron at Child's was given a slip bearing a number, along with his food check. Twenty-five lucky numbers were posted in the lobby each day and persons who held food-check numbers that matched were given free tickets of admission. Hamilton's High School Night To celebrate the opening of the football season. Manager Albert Hamilton of the Empress Theatre, Norwalk, Conn., staged a Norwalk High -School Night on the stage, with the new 1939 N.H.S. football team, the catch, cheer leaders and others aiding in the festivities. Several hundred handbills, printed in green on white paper, were distributed to students and football fans in advance of the celebration. The attractions for the eve- ning were "$1,000 A Touchdown" and "Her- itage of the Desert." Two Attention-Compelling Displays Utilizing timely catchlines and capitalizing on the sensational headlines anent the current Euro- pean uar, George Sutermaster, manager of the Majestic Theatre, Springfield, Ohio, devised two attention-compelling sidewalk boards to boost his shouting of UniversaVs reissue of "All Quiet on the Western Front." Editor, Showmen's Trade Review : As a subscriber and reader of STR, I feel that some reply should be made concerning your sour grapes editorial of October 7, entitled "Nothing To Brag About." I have been in organized labor over twenty years, most of that time as an offi- cial. A wealth of experience furnishes these observations. In the first paragraph you point out the "opportunity for the LA. to set itself on a pedestal." May I call your attention to the fact that a pedestal is one of the easiest places to be knocked off of? You close your second paragraph, "vic- tory begrudged because it was entirely un- warranted and unjustified at this time." I have seen hundreds of projectionists take wage cuts and give up working conditions which had taken almost a lifetime to gain, under the threat "We'll close the theatre." In far too many of these cases, the box of- fice was only slightly affected by the depres- sion and this especially in many small and medium sized towns where private industry managed to hold on. In many cases chain theatre executives compelled wage cuts in order to bolster up other and weaker units within their organizations, which might by leaning backward be justified, but there can be no justification for the hundreds of wage cuts which were enforced long after the theatre business started on the up-grade, simply to satisfy the ego of managers and personnel directors who wanted to demon- strate to the industry at large their ability to "handle their employees" and the unions with which they were affiliated. These tac- tics were not outstanding in the larger cities, but were very much the rule every- where else. Truly a "victory begrudged" et cetera. In conclusion, you mention the idea of "playing ball." The very psychology of many of the so-called personnel directors, labor representatives, etc. in the movie in- dustry today is such that they cannot under- stand the idea behind playing ball. Never having tried it, they assume that a friendly greeting, an outstretched hand, or a gener- ous gesture is a cover-up for a weakened condition or a lack of power and immediately the battle is on. I am not familiar with the conditions be- hind the present Hollywood set-up but if my experience in the exhibition field is a safe guide, it is very probable that George Brown of the LA. gained the ten per cent raise in order to avoid taking a twenty-five per cent cut. Lest you feel that I am unnecessarily bit- ter, may I recite one single case for an example? At least two years before the depression was really felt in this city, the general manager of an independent chain wrote out short pay checks to his projection staff. Their wage scale was the lowest of any organized skilled craft in this city and was only three cents an hour more than the janitor's pay. When the short checks were not accepted, and his staff worked under protest, he requested permission to attend a union meeting in order to present his side of the case. In a thirty-minute oration during which tears streamed down his cheeks, he enumerated his losses in business, in which he had invested everything. His theatrical ability gained for him a substan- tial wage cut. And less than one hour later this man called at a local garage and picked up a five thousand dollar custom-built car which he ingenuously explained to his busi- ness associates, he could now afford, since the directors of his company had voted him a substantial salary increase, due to his masterful handling of the labor situation. It is through lessons such as this that we learn and only the fact that the average labor leader is human first and a leader next permits conditions such as the afore-men- tioned to exist. If there is any criticism whatever con- cerning the Hollywood increase, my per- sonal opinion is that those who made it possible, namely, the thousands of projec- tionists all over the United States, will gain very slightly, if at all. But, being gentle- men, they will not object to the good for- tune of others. May I call your attention to the fact that Lincoln said that the man who refused to look at both sides of a question was dis- honest? You have stated one side and I have stated the other; between the two of us, how about being honest and admitting that perhaps the other side has something in its favor? I will. With best wishes, I am, Yours very truly, (Signed) Thco. P. Hover, Lima. Ohio