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April 1, 1944
SHOWMEN'S TRADE REVIEW
Red Cross Drive
The extension of the theatre collection period in the current Red Cross Drive is something every theatreman should be happy about since it affords the grand opportunity of doubling or trebling collections.
We did not have to ask what prompted this extension because we witnessed collections in several local theatres and the enthusiasm of the audience was such as to encourage an extension to increase the sum total.
Any branch of the industry that fails to give, willingly, cheerfully and liberally, would disgrace the entire industry, especially so when the theatre division is doing so magnificent a job.
It is our opinion that the results of this Red Cross Drive will never be forgotten by either the Red Cross or the nation as a whole. That's how good it ought to be.
Congratulations to all of you theatremen, your industry is proud of you.
A A ' A.
The Wrong Way?
The local exhibitor organization has started some new agitation and grief for the industry by preparing to sponsor trade regulation by the New York State Business Law through the creation of a Motion Picture Practices Board which would, in substance, set up bureaucratic control of the industry in New York State.
Needless to say, similar moves probably will be made in other states, since that is the way such things generally work. And the net result, as we view it, will be a lot of undesirable national publicity no matter what the outcome of the recommendation in any one state.
For years there has been continuous debate as to which is the best way of solving the controversial trade practices of our industry. Some have contended that the most logical and sensible method is through the industry itself. Others have consistently maintained that it has to be done through legislation and the courts.
Naturally, the former would be the best for all concerned but, to judge from the way things are being run, we cannot see how it will ever come about. Nevertheless, we can see nothing but trouble for the industry from the moment regulation comes from outside the industry.
On several occasions this page has sounded a warning that if you think conditions are bad or tough now, just wait until the sticky fingers of politicians start meddling with this business and you'll soon find out how much worse it can be.
Despite the slow progress — lack of progress, if you prefer — by the various factions within the industry to
satisfy or pacify the exhibition branch through elimination of practices that contribute to the dissatisfaction in buying, selling and playing of product, it is a fact that a relatively small number of key men could start the ball rolling in the right direction.
But we look with askance at any move leading to state or federal regulation, simply because that course is fraught with danger and in the final analysis may, like the consent decree, makes things lot worse.
Don't let any optimist tell you that such regulation is going to be the cure-all, as they tried to tell you during the Neeley Bill agitation or prior to the consent decree. There is just as much, maybe more, danger in outside regulation than anything already prevalent in the business.
It is amazing, but true, that some eight or nine important executives can sit down and, if they so desire, settle ninety per cent of those controversial trade practices with little if any sacrifice of their companies' interests.
In conversation the majority of them actually agree but in practice none of them seems anxious to make the first move.
Just A Babe In Arms
The expression about the motion picture industry still being in its infancy has been going on so long that it is hard to realize that it is well on to fifty years of age, and that's kind of old to still be called an infant.
However, who are we to disagree with those who claim that movies are fifty years old? From our own observations and research we'd say it was still under forty and that adds up to being practically youngish on our calendar.
Seriously, anything that will direct favorable attention to the industry is more than okay with us. And if the industry as a whole intends to make this a celebration by letting Mr. & Mrs. Movie-goer and family have a peek at what went on during the past fifty years, that's a swell idea and we are all for it.
Whether this can effectively be done remains to be seen through the plans and activities of the industry's committee for this great event.
Smart theatremen will greatly appreciate any opportunity offered for them to participate through local celebrations in their own theatres and through their local newspapers.
Many happy returns, baby, on your fiftieth birthday! May the next fifty be equally as terrific in progress, growth and achievement!