Showmen's Trade Review (Oct-Dec 1944)

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November 25, 1944 SHOWMEN'S TRADE REVIEW 7 'Prescription for Victory The big event of the week, this industry's "biggest production" for presentation by the showmen of theatres that dot the map of the U. S., got off to a grand start as members of the whole fraternity of motion pictures rose to the occasion of the 6th War Loan drive. There could be no more ringing declaration, we think, as to both the urgency and the nobility of the cause being served in this Bond campaign, than the statement of Gen. Eisenhower in Paris last Wednesday that in order to get a peace "we've got to fight like hell for it" and that unless those "at the front and those at home" keep on the job unceasingly, the day of victory will be postponed. Americans know that their men at the fighting fronts will keep at it unceasingly. What we at home must make sure is that we, each and every one, keep at it unceasingly. For the theatreman that means unceasing effort, unselfish sacrifice of time and energy in making his Bond selling job the showmanship ace of his life. Shining Symbol This is being said in advance of the great event that v/ill crown with fitting dignity and attention the many great efforts that have been made by the men who have loyally served as members of the Variety Clubs. How ^ ever, from an on-the-ground view of the final arrange p ments we are convinced that the presentation of the OtOppinQ v_yUt Humanitarian Award to Secretary Hull in Washington Friday night, November 24, will be an event in which this industry can take pride — because the film industry is a dominant factor (through the association of such large numbers of its members with the organization) in '^his great humanitarian fellowship whose good works in the cause of charities, the relief of human suffering and community welfare work is svmbolized in the Award 'hat will mark the highlight of this year's national meeting of the Variety Clubs of America. cern for producers and distributors in that more and more glamor is coming up to join the mounting piles of drama, comedy, spectacle and adventure captured on reels of celluloid. The huge backlog of completed product awaiting release is shown at a glance in our Film Buyer's Product Summary, in the product data section of this and every issue. This backlog is certain to grow as pictures now in production come to the finishing stage. And the production pace keeps on keeping on. (You get an idea of how picture-making is going ahead by comparing the "in work" column in the Summary with that for the same week last year. There are ten per cent more pictures before the cameras now than at the same period of 1943 — which was a very big year indeed for production.) The situation is becoming one that will soon call for heroic treatment by the distributors. For while theatres in many situations are desperately in need of more top grade product, this condition has reached the point where many producers and distributors can see a day-by-day rise in the investment tied up, the uncertainties created for production plans and policies and the difficulties of long-range market predictions they must make in order to adjust future action in connection with sales. If there is a solution to this problem, we have heard very little to indicate that anybody is on the right track (or any track for that matter) of approach to it. F rozen Gl amor The key-run problem is becoming more and more acute, and it appears that this is something that will get worse before it gets better, so to say. Never in the history of the business have the vaults been so crowded with big pictures than now lie idle as lengthening runs at the key-run theatres hold up a parade of glamor such as, in previous years, showmen and theatregoers would dream of. Frozen glamor it is — and a source of growing con The formal announcement this week that PRC has acquired eight exchanges for immediate operation; expects to operate all of its domestic outlets by May 1, 1945, and, further, that the company will seek theatre acquisitions in key territories, confirms what the trade has known for many days past. This official announcement by PRC's President Leon Fromkess, moreover, should not come as overwhelming surprise to readers of this page. For we have voiced, many times in the past, the observation that, even early in PRC's young career, it was apoarent that here was a company that had, at its top, a brand of management and leadership such as promised outstanding growth. Under the able management of its top man, PRC has weathered its share of storms. These are to be expected and, where the setup is sturdy, these should be courted, because it is upon the hard knocks that more eflScient and fundamentally sound policies are built. Leon Fromkess and his associates may well be proud of the progress made and the high promise that lies ahead for PRC. —"CHICK" LEWIS