Variety (May 1939)

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VARIETY PICTURES Wednesday, May S, 1939 Ist N. Y. Fair Weekend Dents B'way; Pic, Legit, Nitery &osses Ail Down Closely paralleling the Chicago- Exposition which opened exactly six years ago, the New York World's Fair (1) isn't ready, and (2) Isn't helping the amusement buslh)^. On the contrary, it's hurting. An early survey of theatre grosses indicate that the Influx of tourists wasn't appreciable, enough to boom things, and the natives seemingly were saving up their nickels and dimes to take the family to the Fair from. Sunday (30), opening day, on. Broadway picture business took a marked drop from Thursday night Tlie weekend grosses were bad, notably on Sunday, indicating that among the .600,000-odd customers at the premiere were many locaK The second day (Monday) clocked a little over 100,000 admissions at 75c each. (The Fair Corp. hopes for a 300,000 average daily turnover once the show gets rolling.) Hie niteries, likewise, dipped sharply. This is deemed the biggest ■urprlse, since the bars, eateries and cafes were figured for surefire biz regardless. Fair Tires Tp Ont The answer to this is- that after glomming the Fair they're too. tired and call it a nl^t That 1,216-acre playground at flushing Meadows is tough on the Ground-Grippers,- and all return from the Fairgrounds with that Ured feeling. As for the eating department, the squiawks are plenty about the high tariffs at all the Fair bars and restaurants. ' Which, of course, doesn't help the general spending .average.. Showmen see the Fair crowds as ■ boon and a boom from Jime 15 on, when vacation holidays start The eame held true In Chicago, where, for the first couple of months, tour- ism was comparatively negligible with - resultant b.o. benefit nil. (Other N. Y. Fair coverage on pages 1-54-55) Joe Brandt's Boy, Jerry, with Derr In hdie Pirod. Via Mono ' Contracts for a second series of eight action pictures, between Mono- gram Pictures and a new producing combination of E. B. Derr and Jerry Brandt son of the late Joe Brandt will be signed today (Wed.). Name of the new Brandt-Derr combo, financed on a 50-50 basis, will proba- bly be Equity Pictures Corp. Derr has completed the seventh in Us current series of eight pictures for Mono and starts on the final one in June. The new series will be for the '39-40 season. Ponnner Dne Over Erich Pommer Is sailing for the U. S. on May 10 to'confer with Budd Rogers, American general manager of Mayflower Prods., and Neil F. Agnew. Pommer and Rogers will both attend Paramount sales conv^- tion in Los Angeles, June 8.' Latest completed Mayflower pic- ture, 'Jamaica Inn,' will be trade- shown in London May 9 and pre- mieres at the Marble Arch, May 12. New Bmnswkk ITs Dr. of Laws Degree For Lonis B. Mayer What is believed to be the first case of a college awarding an hon- orary degree of 'Doctor of Laws, for 'achievements in combining visual education and uplift with pictorial entertainment and stabilizing a new element in the routine life of the world which threatened at One time to become imnily,' la scheduled for May 18, at Fredericton, N. B. Then, the University of New Brunswick will bestow a doctorate on- Louis B. Mayer, production head of Metro- Goldwyn-Mayer. This will be one of the two honorary degrees to be awarded at an elaborate ceremony, incidental with the dosing exercises of the province sponsored college. Mayer will arrive in St John on May 16, Accompanied by Howard StrickUng, studk> press head, and, possibly, several others affiliated with the film Industry. He wUl be a special guest at the students' recep- tion and alumni dinner at Frederic- ton on May 17. In 1938, Mayer, fpllowlng a tour of the marilime provinces, arranged for a travelog on New Brunswick, by the James A. Flt^atrlck staff, re- leased via M-G. Born In Russia, Mayer settled In St John,' as a boy, -with his parents. His father started collecting junk In a small way, and Louis B. assisted the paternal -Mayer, broadening out into buying wrecked steamers, and thence into film exhibiting. WB's Earlier Redemption Means a $60,000 Saving Warner Bros, has called for re- demption on June 29 its optional 6% convertible debentures, due Sept 1 next Directors have granted the right to holders of these debentures to exchange their bonds on or before Jane 28 next for an equal principal amount of new 6% debentures diie in 1948. Since the outstanding bonds In this issue are- due next September, and because few can be counted on to exchange for the new bonds after June 20, Warner Bros, management is actually saving approximately $60,000 by redeeming the bonds in cash before July 1. In other words, the bonds are redeemable plus In- terest on Sept 1, and by redeeming June 20, the company saves 1% or $60,000 in interest charges. Financial houses figure this on the basis that about $19.40O,0OQ worth of the bonds have been deposited for exchange or actually exchanged for the new bond issue, leaving ap- proximately $6,000,000 worth yet in public hands and still to be re- deemed. Of course, any amount of the de- bentures due next September that are exchanged for the new bonds, or any picked up by the management in the open market would cer- tainly trim down this total GOLDWYirSNEW UA COMPLAINT WAR SCARE CHASES A. J. BAIABAN BACK J. J. Maloney's Degree Pittsburgh, May 2. John J.' Maloney, district sales manager for Metro who headquar- ters here, will receive the honorary degree of Bachelor of Laws, from St Vincent' College, Latrobe, Psl, at annual commencement exercises in June. -Maloney, -an alumnus of St Vincent's, starred on the baseball team more than a quarter of a cen- tury ago. Maloney was upped to a district berth about a year ago. The European war scare chased A. X Balaban -and his family back to the U. S. from England, where he was about to put his children into school when the new crisis prompted the retired showman to come back home. Balaban Is remaining east a couple of weeks. He got In over the week- end and will huddle with his brother, Barney, the latter having come on from Coast tu<:i powwows on Monday (1). .. Okay Conior Payoff ° Los Angeles, May 2. Flan to liquidate assets of bankrupt Condor Pictures was approved by Federal Judge George Cosgrove. Next step is the formation of a liquidating corporation to pay off obligations. Management of new. corporation will be in the hands of a board of directors composed of four repre- sentatives of the unsecured creditors and one for .the stockholder-claim ants. scmEsmoEB's iono bttn Hollywood, May 2. Leon Scbleslnger signed his ninth successive one-year contract to pro- duce cartoons for Warners. Producer has finished the current season's schedule and started work on bit slate of 42 cartoons for 1939^. SAILINGS June 6 (New York to London), Maurice and Cordoba (lie de France), May 15 (New York to Rio de Janeiro), Sidney R. Kent (BrazU). May 10 (London to New York), Erich Pommer (Normandie). May 10 (New York to London), Sam Engel (Queen Mary). May 4 (London to New York), T. Hayes Hunter (Wasblnigton). May 4 (New York to London), Robert Derler, Ben Blumenthal (lie de France). Mays (London to New York), Mr. and Mrs. Charles Tucker (Queen Mary). May 3 (New York to Paris), Julius Steger, Philip Barry, (Alette D'ArviUe, Gregory Platlgorsky, Jar- mila Novotna (Normandie). AprU 20 (New York to Rome), Mrs. Helen Brown (Conte dl Sa- voia). April 29 (New York to London), Don Hartman, Samuel Ornitz, CoL Robert Gerard, Marcel Wallenstein (Champlain). AprU 29 (New York to London), Armand Denis, lieiU Roosevelt Le- roy G. Phelps,- Mr. and Mrs. Paul Lukas (Aquitania). April 29 (Los Angeles to Hono lulu), Edward Small (Lurline). ARRIVALS (At the Port of New York) William Bombeck, Stone and Lee, Jules Romains, C. BrancusI, Mrs. M. Komer, Clifford C. Fischer, I. C Javal, Anna Neagle, Herbert Wilcox, A. J. Balaban, Phil Relamaa Wilmington, DeL, May. 2. Close on the heels of motion for dismissal of Samuel (3oldwyn's suit in U. S. District Court here, by United Artists Corp., a new amended complaint was filed by liSax D. Steuer and Ward & Gay, local at- torneys. This amended complaint by Goldwyn serves to nullify UA's mo- tion to dismiss. Procedure calls for latter to file an answer to the new amended complaint or serve new notice of dismissal, stating grounds. According to plaintiffs the amend- ed suit answers objections to the suit raised In UA notice of dismissal, viz, that (joldwyn originally sought to have courts decide what his contrac- tual rights were but that in the event a declaratory ' judgment was entered'in his favor there was no indication whether Goldwyn would act on it or not Goldwyn therefore now asks in his amended complaint that should the courts find that Gold v/yn's contract had been breached by UA, the court should immedi- ately terminate his contract and de- clare it null and void. As to UA defense that Goldwyn's suit teiled to join all the parties In his complaint that Is to make Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., and Alexan- der Korda joint ddEendants with UA, (joldwyn .counsel contends that this Is not necessary because Goldwyn bad no complaint against them. In the main what Goldwiyn has now done was to adopt UA's tech- nical points of defense, via (Soldwyn omissions, and incorporate them In the new complaint Other News of Interest to Films Parade of Aussie flhn execs to U.S. Page 15 Paul Muni on radio .- Page 24 Badio reviews: Kate Smljth, Jimmy Fldler, Burns and Allen. .Page 26 Ton* eliminates himself; .......w......Page 27 Films keeping close tabs on telecasts... Page SO Television news .-...P. 30-31- New British budget bits U. S. films Page 39 Television music rights.i ..Page 39 New acts: EIe«nor Powell... ............Page 45 Tbomton Wllder-Jed Harris jam on 'Otir Town' film dicker.. .Page 40 World's Fair highlights. • .Page 55 OAs 32 for 19M to Come from 11 Producers; Carr s Status Unset UA Convention Halts U.S. Atty.'s Examination Seymour Kreiger, special U.S. as- sistant attorney general, wound up this month's testimony on the part of United Artists officials on Wednesday (26) in the federal court in N. Y, Hearings were left open, but due to the UA convention on the Coast they most likely will not be resumed for a month. Harry Gold and Edward MuUln were the last witi .'sses. As has always happened heretc.''ore, Edward C. Raftery, UA counsel. Interposed objections to anything -but known facts on the part of the defendants. The Government sought to elicit opinions, for example, as to whether or not clearance L<- OK as it now stands. This, question was not al- lowed to be answered. It was disclosed that the lowest rental UA had ever taken for a film was $10. Discussions were held on when and why UA will pay the costs of advertising; what constitutes roadshow; how admission prices are arrived at; ahd discussions on the Loew and RKO houses In N. Y. Not allowed by Raftery mere ques- Uons dealing with what factors go into giving exhibitors first runs, sec- ond runs, etc,, and whether UA could make any money it It sold films any other way. W6 Talldng to Legit Mgrs. in Advance Of Wharton-Wilk Plan's OK No final decision regarding the so- called Wharton-Wllk plan has yet been reached by the Dramatists Guild council. Matter was consid- ered further at the group's meeting Monday (1), but- no conclusion was reached and it was put over for fur- ther study at another meeting next Monday (0). Acceptance of the plan, which would set the price of the screen rights to legit plays on a percent- age of the Broadway' and road grosses, would probably bring about a return of Hollywooc'. coin to legit production. Waimer Bros., which has been ac- tive in drawing up the plan, is un- derstood to have held preliminary discussions with several Broadway producers regarding financing pro- viding an agreement Is reached. Besides expressbig ai Interest In backing George Abbott productions, the studio has also made tentative overtures to Brock Pemberton. Tbe company' financed both producers before aU the studios withdrew In protest against the new minimum basic agreement L. A, to N. Y. Grade Allen. - (instance Bennett Ray Bolger. June Brewster. Bill Brooks. Matt Brooks. George Burns. Willie Bums. Eddie Davis. Paul Douglas. Sam Engel. Henry Fonda. Charles Gleck. Harry M. Goetz. Max Gordon. Sheila Graham. Jane HalL Jascha Heifetz. Harvey Helm. Sidney Howard. Louis Kaye. Eddie LeBaron. Don Langan. S. Barret McCormick. ,John P. Medbury, Ray Noble. Frank Parker. Bo C. Roos. Jerry Sackhelm. George Schneider. Carl I. Sponable. Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Stebblns. Lawrence Tibbett Johnny Weissmuller. N. Y. to L. A. J.. Edward Bromberg. Harry D. Buckley. Lowell C^alvert Edward T. C^rr. Samuel Cohen. Emil Coleman. Lynn Farnol. Clifford C. Fischer. Hairy Gold. William Horobeek. Morris Helprin. Jerry Horwin. Arthur W. Kelly. Paul Lazarus. James A. Mulvey. Anna Neagle. Jack Schlalfer. Emanuel Silverstone. Murray Silverstone. Charles Schwartz. Herbert Wilcox. Lou Wolfson. United Artists will, announce a minimum of 32 pictures to be pro- duced by 11 of its producers for the '39-40 season, at the May 8 conven- tion in Los Angeles. A number of other pictures made by outside pro- ducers will also be released, one of which is the Armand Denls-Ijeila Roosevelt adventure. feature to' be produced In the Far East Heglra of UA execs to the Coast for the convention was preceded by Monroe Greenthal and AI Margolies; handling the advance details, and Samuel Ck>hen, foreign publicity; Arthur W. Kelly and Harry D. Buck- ley got off on Monday (1); Teddy Carr and William Hornbeck on Tues- day ^yesterday); Murray Silverstone, Emanuel Silverstone, Harry Gold, - Paul Lazarus, Jack Schlalfer, Charles Schwartz and Tom Walker leave to- morrow (lliurs.). Edward T. (Teddy) Carr's status as joint managing director of United Artists Corp. In England will be Ironed out at the Coast convention. On arrival from Europe Monday (1) Carr refused to amplify, reports he would leave the company and stated Us contract still had several months - to go. (Commenting on the film business'' In England, Carr said outside of war preparations, which have unsettled conditions somewhat business is stlQ good. The Quota Law on the whole' Is satisfactory despite the fact that It hasn't worked out very well for any- body's particular benefit One defi- nite thing it has. accomplished has been to encourage producers to make a better grade of picture in or- der to compete with the world mar- ket Carr announced that UA would distribute an independent (Aldrich' Films) production, 'An Englishman's Home,' throughout the world with exception of America. Television in Englaod Television is giving the. film In- dustry In England a lot of concern and threatens to sweep the country. The only way to deal with it is lor the picture factors to work out ways . and means of combining the two in- dustries. Only in this way can tele- vision competition In theatres and homes be combated, according to Carr. British film leaders are watch- ing the situation and will not allow it to get out of hand if they can. help it As to the. new emergency war tax on films Of Ic per foot Carr did not. -believe .it would cause American producers and distributors much worry, as it would only give the Government in England an extra $1,000,600 a year. WUUam Hornbeck, Korda Produc- tions cutter, who arrived with Ciarr, Is leaving Saturday for the UA Coast convention and will return to Eng- land the middle of May for Korda's Thief of Bagdad,' which goes into work May 15. 2 WB REMAKES Helllnger an 98833*6'—Garfield's 'Oatward Bonnd' Hollywood, May 2. Warners has assigned Mark Hel- linger as associate |>roducer on a . remake of 'One Way Passage,' orig- inally played by Kay Francis and William PoweU. Studio is figuring on Bette Davis and George Brent for the new version. John Garfield, already lined up for four pictures, gets the top role in the remake of 'Outward Bound' at War- ners. Currently working in 'Dust Be My Destiny,' Garfield is slated for 'Invisible Stripes,' 'Four Wives and '20,000 Years in Sing Sing.'