Variety (May 1939)

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R AD IO SCREEN STAGE PRICE 25^ PubllBhad WaskiT at 1S4 Wait 46th Btraat, Naw Tork, N. T., by Varlaty, Inc. Annual aubicrlptlon. 110. Bloela eoplaa. 2t eanta. Eatarad aj Mcond-daaa mattar Deeanibar 22, 1905, at tha Post Oflica at Nrn York. N. T., undar tha act of Harob (. IBTt. COPTKIGHT, 1S39, BT VABIETX. INC. ALL BIGHTS BESERVGI). Vol. 134 No. 8 NEW YORK, WEDNESDAY, MAY 3, 1939 66 PAGES VS. Ifhalen s Whale of a Show m Need Of More 6reak-h; N. Y. Expo Incomplete .The New York World's Fair took ofMts wraps Sunday (30) before the largest premiere crowd In exposition history, some 600,000 In admis- sions, but did not exactly dis- play a complete World of Tomorrow, Faulty operation and misunderstand- ing In many departments of the Fair management were quickly, evident In teveral portions of the 1,216 acres of Flushing meadowland, particularly the Amusement Zone. Second day's tdmlssions were 103,000. That the New York expo wlU eventually emerge as the world's jgreatest show Is a certainty, despite tile countless mistakes made In the past few months. But on opening day there was little doubt among the participating showmen, and those present as spectators, that the debut CQuld well have been postponed a month. It won't be before June 1 that the Fair will be operating 100%. .While the exhibit area is far more advanced than the amusement zone, this also is In a state of Incomplete- ness, particularly the foreign section. And the midway is still a shambles of unpaved roads' and unfinished buildings. Only about 10% of the midway was in complete operation opening day, with those concessions in par- tial operation raising the estimate to 30%. The rest of the buildings and rides were totally unready, present- ing bleak fronts to the huge initial Influx into the area. "The Fair's front office management quickly seized upon alibis to explain away the midway's condition. Labor ttfok the severest rap; secondly the penurious status of many of the con- cessionaires. The fact that the Fair, until a couple of months ago, was woefully lacking In manpower un- , dirstanding the outdoor show busi- ness was not mentioned at all. Karly In March, GrOver Whalen, the Fair Corp, prexy, finally took cognizance of the midway's pre- carious status and brought in Jay Downer, Paul Massman and Frank (Doc) Shean as an advisory com- mittee for the amusement zone, with Downer as the chalrmani All three were connected with the Chicago World's Fair, with Massman taking a leave of absence from NBC to par- ticipate in the N. Y. expo. Their (Continued on page 55) TOO REALISTIC Badlo Serial Broadcast From Apt Scares Nelebbors • Blood 'n' thunder stuff on the 'Smllin' Jack' juve program over Mutual drew ^ sq.uad- of gendarmes last week when the broadcast - was shifted to the Beaux Arts apart- ments, N. Y. Cops were responding tO'a call-from neighbors who were frightened by the gunshots fired on the stanza. ' ' Reason for shifting the broadcast from the studio to the apartments was that Frank Readick, lead on the show, had the flu and the mike was brought to his bedside. Series Is sponsored by Tootsle Rolls. REFUGEE REVUE APPEARS SET FOR BlAY U.'s Preparedness Curbs Theatre Bldg. * London, May 2. ■Keynoting a trend ad'>pted just Pwor to the World War, when sup- plies of remote need were first ordered curUiled, the newly ap- pointed minister of supply is holding 1* reconstruction and building of new cinemas due to the demand of 'h» War Department for steel and other building supplies. This is In line wit' the recently declared preparedness budget adopt- by the Kingdom, Refugee Artists Group, with a Viennese revue similar to 'Chauve- Souris,* is attracting the attention of Broadway showmen, several having been mentioned as consid- ering financing the show. At pri- vate showings, wllnout settings or costumes, the visitors aroused en- thusiasm among those asked to at- tend. Venture was yesterday (Tues- day) okayed by Equity. Plans have not been definitely de- cided upon, present idea being to present the group as a non-profit show. Refugees are to get modest salaries and the proceeds will go to aid other refugees. Stated that while few know English, their dic- tion is clear and there is little of the dialect during performances. Group is made up of actors, play- wrights and scenic artists, there being 16 performers. They formed in 1932 and became known as 'Klein Kunst Buhne,' being forced to. appear in Viehna basement halls on account of censorship, which was even then rather strict. Refugees in ones and twos arrived in New York and for several months have been making preparations to appear publicly. They have been financially aided by Mrs. George S. (Beatrice) Kauf- man, Mrs. William S. Paley,- Robert E, Sherwood, Eddie Cantor, Irving Berlin and others. Showmen who are considering backing the group are said to be Sam H. Harris, Mar- tin Beck and the Theatre Guild. SEfS BENEFIJS Urges That Industry Secure - Channels Earmarked for - Theatre Use Only, sis Dis* tinct iProm Home Trans- - missiims OTHER ANGLES Television soon will be a pressing problem before the exhibition (The- atre) division of the film Industry in the opinion of Courtland Smith, who has recently completed an ex- haustive report on visio. Copies of Smith's findings are in the hands of leading film executives for whom the survey was made, under the auspices of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America, Inc. (Hays office). Coincidental with the opening of the New York World's Fair and the successful telecasting within the metropolitan area of the inaugural ceremonies, including the opening address by President Roosevelt and scenes of pageantry, the relationships of films, radio and television are be- ing studied in a new light. Although technically still in the experimental phase, and so regarded by the Fed- (Contlnued on page 30) CanH TeD a Yokel From a Nadve; BVay Should Lure Visitors BLINI) SISH THBOWEB Detroit, May 2, Harold Kean, blind warbler at WJR here, is being sued for divorce. Among charges listed by his wife is that he threw dishes at her. Papers didn't indicate If his aim was good. By BABNET OI >FIELD (Variety Correspondent /rom Lincoln, Neb.) Mass migration from the outland hamlets, villages, farms, and cities to the Whalenterprises in Flushing will make 1939 Broad'vay's banner yokel year. Broadway Is due for one surprise —the yokels won't be easily told from the regulars, except that they may look up at the taU ones, walk with the green light and stop for the red, drive the wrong way on the one-way streets, and many of the femmes be blonde au natureL The yokel will be less surprised, because he knows about what Times Square looks like, thanks to Holly- wood and Technicolor. He will ex- pect to see burlesque joints and de luxe houses employing carnival bf'kers to whom nobody pays the slightest attention. Likewise he'll be disappointed if he doesn't see a few pitchmen, some of the more spec- tacular panhandlers, a few pickets who can't talk English lockstepplng' and chanthig jeers for the guy who has been hiring them at better money than they could get where (Continued on page 47) Sun Plays Hide and Seek But RCA Televiz^s Fair s Opening Successfully STILL IN CHARACTER Cops Tor Bay Mayer Throngb Film Ciaoester Portrayals St Louis, May 2. Ray Mayer, -who, with his wife, Edith Evans, have resumed their vaudeville act after .'ve years in Hollywood, Is encountering some amusing 'complications due to the fact that he played so many gangster bits In films. In a couple of railroad depots police detectives . who soot all In- coming trains have tailed him. His face Is familiar and they associate It with crime. REPORTERS AS UCENSEDRADIO OPERATORS Salt Lake City, May 2. Nearly 30 Salt Lake Tribune (a, m.) end Salt Lake Telegram (p. m.) editorial staflmen took ex- aminations Friday (28) for FCC radio-telephone operators licenses, third-class, which will permit them to handle short-wave radio equipment in news gathering. The two local papers recently became the first in the United States to be granted a license by FCC for ultra short-wave relay press radio etherizing. Edwin S. Heiser, Denver inspector for FCC gave exams. ■ Newspapers* two portable-mobile units may be carried on the baclcs of reporters. They will operate on 30,860 kilocycles. One will operate with 40 watts; the other 15 watts. By BOB LANOBY . ' Miles ahead of the old nickelodeon fiickers, harbinger of the 'cinema, and substantially better on All counts than crystal-set radio, the RCA-NBC television broadcast Sunday (30) ot the ceremonies opening the New York World's Fair was an Impres- sive demonstration of advances mads in the last year or two. During • three-and-a-half hour plege from 12 noon to 3:30 p.m., there were only three or four momentary 'rainstorms^ in the light-picture. Viewed on a Dumont receiver on the penthouse of a Madison avenua building, the television program was relayed from the Fair grounds to tha RCA-NBC transmitting station atop the Empire State Bldg. and thencs out on the air. In proving the ad- vances made b} the RCA senders^ the event also established Dumont as one of the aggressive conteiiders for leadership In the new industry. The Dumont set Is a direct-view 'screen,' unlike the RCA sets, which use a mirrored panel at an angle above the set An Image 14 inches square In black and white tint is controlled by a series of knobs. (To aid the tuning of television sets a drawn pattern is sent through the air. In relation to the circles (Conthiued on page 31) Posthumous Play By Sarah Bernhardt Found Paris, May 2. Marlon Dlx, former Hollywood scenarist has acquired the film rights to a heretofore undiscovered four-act play, 'La Chemln de la Jalousie' ("The Way of Jealousy'), written by Sarah Bernhardt several years before her death. Lysianne Bernhardt, kin to Miss Bernhardt discovered the manu- script which is in the actress' hand- writing, in a discarded trunk. GIRLS andONEMAN Phil Spitalny And His All Girl Orchestra concluding the third year oS broadcasting fior General Electric