Showmen's Trade Review (Oct-Dec 1944)

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8 SHOWMEN'S TRADE REVIEW November 25. 191 r PRC Buys Branches; Plans Theatre Buys PRC has launched on a program of expansion that will make the company a national distributor, owning and operating exchanges in all territories, it was officially announced this week by Leon Fromkess, president, with the statement issued in New York that the company has acquired for immediate operation the exchanges in Dallas, Los Angeles, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Omaha and Des Moines, and also that PRC intends to purchase theatres in key cities. The Fromkess announcement stated that the company expects to acquire and operate by May L 1945 a major portion of outlets for PRC's distribution in the domestic market It was further announced that the Board of Directors had approved proposals by two producing units now distributing through major companies to release their pictures through PRC. Negotiations covering these deals have been going on for some time and will be concluded upon Fromkess' return to Hollywood next week. Since its affiliation with Pathe Industries, Inc., PRC has followed a plan of steady expansion. This was first reflected in a policy of producing higher budgeted pictures at its own studio — now one of the best equipped in Hollywood. Further increases for production have been approved by the Board of Directors, it was announced. Realignment of the PRC distribution organization will be made by Leo J. McCarthy, general sales manager, within the near future. Such realignment will call for the addition of new personnel to include sales executives to fill the posts of three additional sales divisions. Leo Fromkess Appli lies to Dominion for Expanding Music Fees Public users of music in the Dominion of Canada have received notification that the American Performing Rights Society has applied to the Government for the expansion of license fee schedules for 1945 to include concert halls, fairs, hotels and orchestras. This is in addition to theatres and broadcasting stations. The Canadian Society also places a music tax in varying amounts on all other users of its repertoire, including film exchanges distributing 16mm. film and theatres. The latter are being charged up to 15 cents per seat for a capacity of 1,600 or over. The musical protective Society of Canada, has announced its intention of opposing any increases before the Copyright Appeal Board which meets in December to pass on 1945 schedules. Capt. Matty Fox Promoted to Major Capt. Matty Fox has been promoted by the United States Army to the rank of Major. INDEX TO DEPARTMENTS Advance Dope 31 Box-Office Slants 15 Current Product Summary 36 Feature Booking Guide 32 Feature Guide Title Index 35 Hollywood 30 Newsreel Synopses 28 Program Exchange 18 Regional Newsreel 23 Sell'ng the Picture 16 Shorts Booking Guide 37 Have Served 408 Years Will am F. Rodgers, introducing 17 home office and field executives assembled on the da!s at the lunchecn in Cincinnati Monday at which MGM acted as host to a gathering of exhibitors, said that the average service with the company of each of the men was 24 years and that their total years number 408. The 17 men introduced by Rodgers were: E. M. Saunders, Robert Lynch, John E. Flynn, E. W. Aaron, George A. Hickey, Sam Shirley, Jack J. Bowen, Charles E. Kessnich, E. K. O'Shea, William R. Ferguson, John J. Maloney, Maurice N. Wolf, Rudolph Berger, Alan F. Cummings, John P. Byrne, Burtus Bishop, Jr., and himself, William F. Rodgers. Urges Exhibitors to Stick to 'Quality' That pictures must return to the distributor and producer a just share of their earnings at theatres if the quality of motion picture entertainment is to be maintained, and that there can be no "going back to antiquated methods," were points stressed by William F. Rodgers, vicepresident and general sales manager of MGM. in an address Monday (20th) to a gathering of theatre owners in Cincinnati. In developing this theme, Rodgers pointed out that MGM discarded the time-worn custom of "placing either a minimum or a maximum number of pictures in a given bracket." He implied that there can be no set rule as to the proportion or number of pictures in each group that come within any given bracket. The higher cost of production of higher quality product, Rodgers said, makes it imperative to the theatre owner as well as the producer and distributor to have returns on production investment commensurate with results at the boxoffices. "I do not believe," Rodgers said, "that any thinking members of your theatre fraternity want any curtailment in quality product. The security of your investment depends on good pictures — the security of our investment depends on your support of good pictures," he said. Short Promoted to Rank Of Lieutenant Commander Paul Short, nationally known in the industry and who left an executive post with National Screen Service to enter the Navy, has been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander, it was announced at the U. S. Naval Air Station, New Orleans, recently. Short has served as a lieutenant at the Naval Air Station. In announcing the promotion, Commander Frederick M. Reeder, USN, revealed that Commander Short has been transferred to Naval aviation "because of his excellent work in the flight training program." Captain Paul E. Gillespie, ex-skipper of the station that houses the Navy's great school for flight instructors and now commanding an advanced air base in the Pacific, said that "His (Commander Short's) services were invaluable in the phenomenal development and operation of the special program for training flight instructors." During his long and prominent association with the motion picture business. Commander Short has been a leader of the Variety Club in his home town, Dallas. He had operated theatres for interstate Circuit and had risen to an executive position with that organization before joining National Screen Service. Lt. Com. Shcrt MPTOA Urges Unity In Exhibitors Ranks Advocation of unity in exhibitors ranks so they may obtain better conditions from the industry was emphasized this week by Ed Kuykendall, president of the Motion Picture Theatre Owners of America, through a national bulletin. Stressing the need for a permanent, post-war all-exhibitor national organization through the, expansion of the national MPTOA league of representative regional and state associations, the bulletin declares that the association has always supported unity movements among exhibitors. "Until all exhibitors, big and little, circuits and individual, first-run and subsequent, affiliated, partly affiliated and independent, can get some unity into their own trade association," the bulletin asks, "What chance is there to get it throughout t'ne industry." Declaring that unity with the producers and distributors did not seem to work out very well, Kuykendall attributed the reasons to "too much conflict of interests, too much self interest in Hollywood and New York, too much wrangling and fighting over film prices and terms." These are the principle obstacles which makes unity too much to hope for is the belief of Kuykendall. However, he asserted that "unity among exhibitors may be quite possible to achieve and would be essential to any industry unity." Elaborating the idea of unity further, the bulletin asserts that the foundation for unity among exhibitors, inclusive of any national exhibitor organization, is bound to be the local trade association of theatre owners. In that respect, it is the contention that the "only practical and workable organization plan ever devised for unity among exhibitor." throughout the country is the MPTOA new organization structure adopted in 1932. Post-war problems will require the attention of a unified exhibitor organization, the bulletin indicates. Warner Film Net To Fund Is $7,000,000 With an accompanying report, giving details of production of the picture and declaring that "this sum could not have been raised without the magnificent cooperation of motion picture theatre owners," Harry M. Warner, president of Warner Bros., called at the War Department on Wednesday and presented to General George C. Marshall, Chief of StafT of the U. S. Army, the seven-millionth dollar of the fund raised for the Army Emergency Relief Fund by the picture, "This Is the Army." The total realized for the Fund through showings of the picture may pass the $7,500,000 mark before the completion of the run of "This Is the Army," Mr. Warner's report pointed out. "Ordinarily I would be reluctant to make a report of this character," the report stated. "In time of war," it continued, "when so many are called upon to give so much, anything that we at home may do is negligible compared to the sacrifices of the men and women on the battlefronts. I feel, however, that we owe an accounting to the officers and men who carry on the great work of Army Emergency Relief, to the thousands of theatre owners who gave part of their receipts to the Army Emergency Relief Fund, and to the millions of theatre-goers who paid admission to see the picture." Calling attention to an agreement on Oct. 14, 1942 which Warner Bros, agreed to produce and distribute the screen version of Irving Berlin's Army musical show, Warner's statement explains that while the original understanding called for 50 per cent of the profits to go to Army Emergency Relief, the company felt that the Fund should receive the full benefit of whatever profit "we" might make on the picture. "Subsequently submitting to the (Warner) board of directors a proposal tliat 100 per cent of the profits be turned over to Army Emergency Relief, this proposal received enthusiastic approval and the War Department was notified," the report states. "On Nov. 1, 1944, the picture had brought into the treasury of Army Emergency Relief a total of $7,000,000," Warner's statement goes on to say, "and I am happy to hand you at this time the seventh-millionth dollar to be turned over to the fund."