Variety (Nov 1938)

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Wednesday, November 2, 1938 PICTURES VARIETY AGENTS Agents' Stance Although the Artists Managers Guild appears to have agreed to licensing and supervision by the Screen Actors Guild, spolcesmen for some of the largest New York and Hollywood agents indicate they have no intention of knuckling under demands that will make it impossible to continue to operate profitably. To begin with, the actors want to restrict agents' representation contracts to no more than" one year, with renewal options. To this demand, the agents will counter witj^ a proposal to abandon the cus- tomary 7-year pacts with clients, to a minimum limit of foiir years. Few of the most successful and active agents will agree or care to handle clients on a one-year basis. They argue that it takes at least two years' time to build up an Artist to the point where his agent can demand a substantial salary and a term contract, and that under such a contract compensation is usually at a minimum the first year with provisions for boosts in subsequent life of the contract. On the matter of reduction of commissions to be paid, thie actors are insisting on a maximum of 5% instead of 10%. If they 'are forced to agree to' this point, agents will insist that the provisions of standard contracts with artists be modified. They will propose a division in the services which agents will render a. client , and will demand that the 5% commission cover only the obtaining of actiial employment. They' will demand that a further charge of 5% commission will be asked for business management of client's affairs. Such matters as adjustment of contracts, income tax preparations and negotiations with the Government over disputed returns,, and other extra managerial problems take up at least one-third of all the time agents novy generally devote to clients, and for this there must be adequate return or agents will be forced out of business. Catholic Youth Org. In Albany-Troy To Picket Russe Pix Albany, N. Y., Nov. 1. Picketing the theatres which show pictures portraying 'a friendly at- titude to the Russian type of govern- ^lent' or containing suggestive scenes, is one of the activities to be aggres- sively pursued this year by the Catholic Youth Organization of the Albany Area. Delegates of high school units, at a bi-monthly meet- ing in the College of St. Rose, dis- cussed this as part of a twofold pro- gram. The first is to fight Commun- ism: the second is to 'clean up' films and combat suggestive articles in newspapers and magazines. Films falling within either of the categories mentioned above will be placed on the 'forbidden list*. Houses showing these will be picketed. The CYO unit of Catholic Central High School, Troy, one of the strpng- . est in the country, did picket Proc- tor's, that city, on 'Blockade' (UA) last spring. However, the film was screened for only .three days and was out before some other Catholic organizations in Troy could mobilize protesting sentiment. Letters. were written to the theatre management and to area newspapers. Some ap- pearing in the latter after the show- ing of 'Blockade' had closed. CYO delegation's are visiting local dailies' for talks with editors in an effort to keep out suggestive pictures and stories. Letters will be sent to magazines of national circulation asking a halt in the. reproduction of such photos, etc. GB ENJOINS FRENCH VERSION OF IR. HOBO' Gaumont-British stopped the Bel- mont, New York, from exhibiting the French production, 'Rothschild,' last week on the ground that GB Owns all the rights, to material which it bought when it produced 'Mr. Hobo' v/ith George Arliss. Includod in the deal, claims Gau- niont, is an agreement with the au- thor that the French version of 'Rothschild' would not be distributed in the U. S. IICREE TO ICCtPT Strength in Pathe, Columbia Stocks Feature Market; Divorcement Talks Opposed to Many of 19 Points and Suggest Own Changes — Demand for Better Protection Voiced by Actors — Drawing Up Code of Ethics OTHER LABOR TRENDS Russ Birdwell Quitting S-t; Own Publicity Setup Hollywood, Nov. 1. Russell Birdwell is leaving Selz- nick-International to fdrm World Publicity Corp., and likely handle Salznick along with other accounts. John Leroy Johnson stays on with the' Wanger unit. Birdwell will hand in his resig- nation to Selznick on latter's return if rom • Bermuda. $200,000 Lawsuit Against RKO White Plains House The White Plains-Hamilton Corp., operators • of the RKO-White Plains theatre. White Plains, N. Y.; RKO Film Booking Corp. arid, the RKO Service Corp. were named defendr ants yesterday (Tuesday)'in a suit filed in N. Y. supreme court by the H. & S.. Sonn, Inc.j owners of the theatre property, to recover $200,000 which it is claimed the defendants owe under a long-term contract on the property. Under the agreement entered into in 1925, according to the plaintifF, the defendants agreed to pay $40,000 yearly rental besides turning over 50% of the net profits, It is contended that the defendants have refused to permit the plaintiff to audit the books of the White Plains-Hamilton Corp., to determine the exact amount of profits earned by the theatre. It is also charged that in order to lower the book value of the profits, the RKO subsids conspired with the theatre operating outfit to increase the theatre's expenses by over- charging on pictures supplied by RKO. 'Sweet Adeline- Suit At Warner Bros, request. Supreme Court Justice Phillip J. McCook Monday (31) directed the appoint- ment of a commission to take de- positions at Los Angeles of I. E. Chadwick, president of the Chad- wick Pictures, and Jerome Storm, director, in connection with the $250,000 plagiarism suit brought against WB by Harry Armstrong and Richard H. Gerard, composers of 'Sweet Adeline.'. Plaintiffs charge Warners infringed on their song in the making of the picture of the same name. Warners contend the Chadwick outfit had used the title for a pic- ture prior to its production but no suit l-6sulted. Grainger's Rep Drive A fall sales drive dedicated to James R. Grainger, v.p. and general sales mgr.. starts for Republic next Monday (7) and continues for seven weeks to Dec. 17. Details on the push AVere set Monday (31) in New York at a meeting attended by all of ^ Rep's five district managers as well as Grainger, Herbert J. Yates, Morris Goodman, Claire Hilgers and others. Under the new contracts which Rep franchise-holders now have with Rep. bonuses are provided for best results shown and these will apply .during the sales drive. Brown Quits Cinecolor Hollywood, Nov. 1. Howard C. Brown, one of the founders of Cinecolor, resigned as v.p. and director. For the past twu years he' has been head of the ,sal6s force. ' . .' After a six-week vacation, Brown will announce • new •lliilation. . Hollywood, Nov. 1. Motion picture agents have sur- rendered to the actors. The Artists Managers Guild, after taking over the independent agents and threaten- ing a fight to retain autonomy, sudr denly tossed in the towel and agreed to accept licensing plan of the Screen Actors Guild. Comniittees repre- senting two groups are now working but a code of ethics undei?. which the agents will operate. Simultaneous with a mass meeting of actors at which it was suggested the original 19-point franchise pro- gram.' be tightened, M. C. Levee, prexy of the AMG, dispatched a letter of acceptance to Kenneth Thomson, executive secretary of th6 SAG. 'The letter follows: "We are in receipt of your favor of Oct. 24, 1938. 'The Artists Managers Guild has objected to the principle of licensing for reasons which are as vitally. im- portant to actors as to agents. We still adhere to.our objections, but if the Screen Actors Guild i$ com- mitted to the principle of licensing we are willing to accept that prin- ciple iipon the following conditions: 'One: that licenses shall be initially issued to all' agents now engaged in the motion picture agency business in this, .community. 'Two: that we shall mutually agree upon a code of ethics controlling the conduct of agents and spedifying definitely the particular- acts or omissions for which, a license could be revoked,' and maximum penalties for other violations of the code of ethics of lesser importance. 'Three: that before a license may be revoked, an .agent shall have an, opportunity, to be fairly heard before an impartial tribvmal or board of arbitration! ' ' ' 'You have heretofore submitted 19 points as a basis of discussion for the purpose of establishing jules regu- lating the relations between actors and agents. We are. opposed to sev- eral of the 19 points' but will, be pleased to proceed. with discussions with your committee regarding same. Make Plea for Security 'You will appreciate the fact, of course, that an. agent's business is an asset of great importance to him per- sonally • and frequently of great value. It is a means by which he earns a livelihood and also, in many cases, "a means of providing employ- ment for. others. 'The revocation of the license of an agent under such circiimstances would be a very dras- tic penalty. Manifestly there would be no security for an agent, his-busi- ness, or the employment of his em- ployees, unless the procedure by which a license might be revoked would provide for a final determina- tion before an impartial tribunal. 'We think it is equally obvious that the particular offenses for which a license might be revoked should be definitely specified so that the agent may know whether any pro- posed course of conduct would violate such provisions. ■ 'We offer, merely as a suggestion for your consideration the following as- a means of simplifying thi mechanics of. operation: 'The Screen Actors Guild shall em- ploy an investigator to be approved by the Artists Managers Guild. Such investigator' shall be paid a salary by the Artists Managers Guild in such amount as may be' mutually agreed upon by bptli gu'ldr and shall devote his entire time and attention tq investigating • disputes between members of two guilds or any com- ' (C6ntinucd oh page 23) By MIKE WEAR Higher prices generally prevailed in yesterday (Tuesday's) stock mar- ket session as trading in amusement shares last week saw many issues marking time after recent spirited advance. Columbia Pictures again was strong making a new high at 187/8. Strength displayed by Pathe Films and Columbia Pictures in last three sessions! of market, v^ith series of new highs made by both, formed most discussion on the picture group yesterday.' Move in Pathe, which secures bulk of revenue from labo- ratory work and interest in DuPont Film, was attributed to better de- veloping business in 16-millimeter and standard film field plus greater earnings by DuPont. Company does not act on dividends until late this) month. Columbia adyance was based on outlook of heavy returns from 'You Can't Take It With' You,' and gen- erally improved earnings. ' While a majority of film and radio issues failed to extend, their recent gain's, bonds again boomed forward to new highs; Losses in stocks were not'alarming," majority holding Close to' recently established peaks. Para- mount old 6% bonds hit the century mark while new 3'/^% lietis made a new high at 87V^. -Warner Bros, ob- ligations climbed to 91, with certifi- cates for the new 0%' bonds going to 90,- both new pealrs. RKO 6s re- mained close to the new high level of 81. Loew's liens were near 102%, top mark for the year. Interest was ai'*oused last week in Wall Street over what will happen' to stocks of film companies should they split their theatres from the parent picture corporation. Opinion SAG MAKES IT HOT FOR METRO'S ICERS Hollywood, Nov. 1. . National Ice Amuse. Co. was brought to ta§k by the Screen Ac- tors Guild for ducking straight- time pay, pay scale for 50 in the troupe now. making Ice Follies at Metr". Skaters are contracted at $50 weekly for exhibitions and' on the basis of $75 weekly for film work, only for the actual time be- fore cameras. Guild crackdown guarantees them a straight $75 per week. Metro is paying National Ice $^0,400 weekly. SHIRIET'S MA nn)ISFOSED Hollywood, Nov. 1. . Work on 'Little Princess' at 20th- Fox is held up awhile imtil Shirley Temple's mother recovers from a throat ailment. Moppet doesn't work unless her mother is on the set with her. is that two new stocks would be is- sued^ basically on a 50-50 split al- though dependent, of course, on in- ventory made of theatr-e holdings and of production-distribution prop- erties. Thus, if the value of theatre prop- erties and earning probabilities were judged to oe 20% greater than that in the film company itself, the split might conceivably be 60 shares of theatre circuit stock and 40 shares of film company stock for every 100 shares held. That is a likely distri- bution in such,, case, with preferred issues ' and any bonds outstanding worked out along the same lines. Probably no attempt will be.made to divide up RKO shares in any such manner until the comoany. emerges from 77b. But once that is settled and new stock distributed ac(>ordlng to the plan, there is likely to be an- other split of shares when the film company is separated from RKO theatres; Present- urge of those in command is to work out some such solit so that the theatres will be divorced from the producing-distri- butinT company. In, the instance of this company, or any other • picture company de- ciding to cut loose its theatre setup, the usual procedure on any stock plan (that- of shareholders beings ftsked to pass on the plan) would followed with representative ipajor- ity vote prevailing. 20th-F»x PazzlAd Some, Bu^ Thpuph some traders escptessed disappointment because 2dtii-Fox conimon did not rise abruptly, in thp recent advance, its strength In the face of surrounding weakness ap- pears to be the answer to -what sone described as backwardness. 20th- Fox shares had been showing steady gains over a period of weeks while other issues were not doing so well. Hence, it hardly.was an unfavorable sign when this stock nlerely contin- ued showing steady fractional gains wbi?<» others were- sotirting. Madison Square Garden declared 25c cash divvy last week, brifigihg total for year to $1.65. Company paid 20c in AUTUst. Those in the street familiar with the dividend h's- tory of the corporation over the last four years were a.t?rceably surprised by the substantial distributions al- ready made to date this year. Stock Recently made a new high at -0%. American Serting reported profit of $142,660 for-the nine months end- ing Sept. 30 as against $510,004 for comparable period last year. Crosley Radio reported a loss of $43,484. for nine months ending. Sept. 30 against profit of $103,581 in com- parable period last year. Company reduced its losses by nearly $74,000 in the third quarter. Three-month report of General Theatres for period endin** Sent. 30 showed a net profit of $218,524 as compared with $257,805 In same pe- riod last year.