Showmen's Trade Review (Jan-Mar 1945)

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22 SHOWMEN'S TRADE REVIEW February 17, 1945 Calendar Programs Increase/ Ben Dyer Opens Campaign To Combat Noise in Theatre This winter has been so unusual — just ask the weather man — that newspapers and radio commentators are outstripping our humble weeklyremarks here in discussing it. From all we can learn, it's colder in the East than it was last year, while the temperature seems to have gone up in the West. We do remember that the snow-on-the-ground days of last winter were few and far between. But this year — well, wc can hardly remember a day when there hasn't been snow on the ground. It just never gets a chance to melt. The unseasonable weather has contributed much to the fuel and food shortage in the Eastern states. We hope that it won't last too much longer. After all, this is February, then comes March, then April and — well, there surely should be a change by the time May rolls around. We are convinced, however, that the power of suggestion is a wonderful thing, particularly if you have a receptive subject. Standing on an elevated platform waiting for a train, our little woman shivered as the icy blasts whipped around her. It was more than we could bear to see her quivering, to hear her teeth chattering under the impact of the cold wind. What to do ? There was no nearby shelter, and besides, the train was just about due. We talked to her about the hot summer weather. We asked her to recall the almost-unbearable heat of the sun as its cruel, relentless -rays beat down upon her. We asked her to recall her determination to take a sunbath. We suggested she bear in mind how slowly the minutes went by as she lay there in the stifling heat, perspiration pouring from her body. Hardly had we begun to talk to her in this manner when the quivering stopped and the teeth no longer chattered. As the train pulled into the station, she started to doff her coat because she was too warm. That was too much for us. We stopped that line of conversation and whisked her aboard the train. If any of our readers ever suffer from the cold, or are confronted by someone else who can't bear it, we suggest that our think-of-the-hot-summertime talk be adapted to the occasion. Maybe we should prepare copies of the talk. We Welcome Elliott English Since our recent discussion of calendar programs, an increasing number of that type of selling accessory has been reaching our desk. One came to us from Elliott English, manager of the Strand Theatre, Clarksville, Ark. The type used by English is printed by a national program printing firm, we guess, because we receive the same style from other exhibitors from time to time. For example, Jim Owen uses that style, but unlike Engglish, who leaves the back blank, Owen publishes his comments about the month's attractions under the heading, "Jim Sez." It seems to us that English might find it beneficial to do the same thing. It adds that "personal" touch fEADING EAGLJ Four Japanese Cities Bombed By United States War Planes Darlan TaAresCityofC Control of All Frenc^JF orces Tokyo, Kobe, Nagoya And YokohamaHit Nippon Claims INine Allied Raiders Shot Down; Many Fires Reported Raging American Planes Raid Japs' Base at Rangoon TERRIFIC SHOWMANSHIP ON 'TOKYO' A sensational piece of showmanship that got plenty of attention and aroused strong interest in the showing of MGM's "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo" at Loew's Colonial Theatre, Reading, Pa., consisted of 3000 overprints of the original front page of the Reading Eagle announcing the first bombing of Tokyo in April, 1942, as reproduced here. The heralds were distributed in war plants and on street cars and busses. Responsible for the stunt was Manager Larry Levy, assisted by Martha Warner. Other showmen are duplicating the stunt. which is so well liked in a .small community. It brings the manager closer to his patrons. Just in case English hasn't been reading this department regularly, we'll quote a few of Jim's items to show what we mean : (>"Take my word for it and please don't let the title, 'The Merry Monohans,' keep you away from this clever comedy. It stars Donald O'Connor and Peggy Ryan and is a bang-up comedy. I still don't know how or why they pick such titles." ►"Kiddies, we are very anxious that you all receive a birthday card from the Owen Theatre. The card is not very pretty, but the main thing is that it is good for a pass to a show during the week of your birthday. If you are not now receiving one of these cards, please mail us your name, address, age and date of birth. Or the next time you come to the show, give this information to Imogene, the good-looking gal in the ticket office." ►"Would like to particularly call your attention to the program on Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 14-15. This is an entire color program. The feature and the shorts are in beautiful Technicolor. May even have the help all painted." ►"Every once in a while some of my 'no-account' fox hounds fail to come home. If they end up at your house, tie them up with a piece of barbed wire, and please call me at my expense and I will come after them. I have put this little piece of news last, but by golly, it's important." ►"The ability to start is worthless without the stability to finish, so I had better sign of? now. Hope I will be seeing you — and often." That will give English and other readers a pretty good idea of v^rhat we mean. Tom Edwards also writes swell copy for his calendar program for the Ozark Theatre at Eldon, Mo. Those fellows down in that neck of the woods seem to have the knack of expressing themselves on paper in a way that the folks understand. We received an interesting letter from Ben A. Dyer, manager of the Latimer Theatre, Wilburton, Okla. Ben, as most of our readers remember, formerly managed the Hoo Hoo Theatre in Gurdon, Ark. He was transferred to the Latimer, one of the houses in the K. Lee Williams circuit. He tells us that the 47S-seat Latimer is being completely reftiodeled inside and out, that the seating arrangement is being changed, that new equipment is being instalfed, and that when the job is completed the house will be one of the finest showplaces in the state. Mrs. Dyer will have charge of the concessions and will assist in the management. He wants their friends to write them in care of the Latimer, Wilburton, Okla. Along with his letter, Ben sends a couple of programs, one of them the calendar type, and a newspaper containing material on his campaign to maintain peace and quiet in the Latimer so that patrons can enjoy the show. Here is the copy used in his newspaper ad: "Ninety-eight per cent of our patrons come to the Latimer to enjoy the show and to enjoy much-needed 'relaxation in these war-troubled times. Two per cent apparently come to create a disturbance by acting boisterously, talking loudly, whistling and committing other acts of rowdyism. We earnestly solicit the aid of the 98 per cent in stopping the two percenters. If you are annoyed by unnecessary commotion of any kind, please step to the rear of the theatre and inform the usher, the doorman or the manager. Your help will be appreciated." Ben used the same type of appeal on his calendar program. He is also employing trailers and other types of advertising media in the campaign. "All little towns have lots of this worry," he writes, "and I think it can be stopped in a nice, mannerly way. We are going to give this plan a fair trial." Good luck, Ben, and let's hear about the results. That remark Jim made about never having the ability to start something unless one has the stability to finish, also applies to us, and our stability is wavering. So we'll conclude for this time. See you next week. \ Van JOHNSON* Robert WALKER Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo' SPENCER TRACY^5lieuiCol. James H.DooliHle If PHYLLIS THAXTER.1l STARTS W g\ TTI f AT ' ^ t TIM MUP.DOCK U SAT.DEC.30 IjUH* W ^