Variety (May 1939)

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VARIETY PICTURES Wednesday, Maj S, I939 DouUe Features Up Before DL Lawmakers; Other Show Biz Ms Chicago, SAay 2. Double features question, 'which has already been the subject of Intra- —Industry dickering, court action and exhibition squawks, has now found Its way into the Illinois legislature wh6re last week the judiciary com- mittee handed down a recommenda- tion, there ought to be a law against •em.' House of Representatives was ad- vised that double features are a menace to the health of adults as well as children, according to the . committee. Committee, which voted 11 to 4 for its anti-doubles recom- mendation, was headed by Edward Saltiel -of Chicago. Committee recommended that a law be enacted prohibiting the diowlng of double features In nUnols. Bill .was origi- nally introduced by two representa- tives from Chi, Arnold Lund and Elmer Schnackenberg. Bill now awaits general action by House, and then goes to the Senate. Battle Wise Seat Tas Madison, Wis., May 2. Labor, circuit and indie theatre representatives appeared before the senate committee on corporations and • taxation here Saturday (29) in op- ' position to the Connors bUl which would assess an occupational and seat tax on chain theatres. Oppo- nents of the bill'opposed it on the grounds that it would, if enacted. rC' duce the profits of exhibitors and lower the Income of theatre em' ' ployees. Sen. A. J. Connors, author of the bill and its only proponent at the hearing, descrilied it as a revenue measure and estimated that It would produce about $100,000 a year if en acted. Opponents countered that the measure would raise no more than $20,000 annually and In view of a provision appropriating $10,000 for Its administration, the state would realize only half that amount The bill provides for an occupa- tional tax ran^g from $5 on each theatre In a chain of two to five the- atres, $10 on each In a chain of from six to 10, and increasing to $100 on each house in a circuit of ° 800 or more. BLOW ME DOWN Iff a Sam Weod 'Wind' u Fleming Breeies Pie Hollywood, May 2. Victor Fleming retired, tempo- rarily at least, as director of David O. Selznlck's "Gone With the Wind.' Oflielal explanation is ill health, with an indication that Fleming may return to the picture. ' Sam Wood moved oyer from Metro to fill the vacancy. Wood Is the thlrf director to try his hand at "Gone.* George Cukor started It and retired in favor of Fleming. N. C.'a beonalstenoles Baleigh. N. C, May 2 Blue laws in this stiate indicate something, but what, not>ody seems to know. In Johnston Coun^ where there are eight theatres, the Sunday ban on motion pictures has been lifted. Zadkin County, on the' other hand, with one 487-seat theatre has just passed a bill prohibiting Sunday pictures. Antl-Softlwll Cunpalgn Lincoln. May t, Falling to get across, the anti-dual features ordinance with the city council here, after the city attorney . ruled the council had no legal grounds to interfere, showmen here are back- ing the petition going the rounds of the city against Softball lighting after 9 p.m. nightly in the paries in the summer. Showmen figure there's time to see a show after 9, and if BOfttwll is here to stay—and it seems to be—they'll sUll.get a cut at the neighbors' nickels. Tills petition was originally brought by property owners near the paries, who. claim the clamor of the ball' yards has been bothersome, going sometimes until nearly midnight BUDGETS UP mm AUTRrS REP. OATIRS Hollywood, May 2, Budgets on Gene Autiy westerns for the 1939-40 program at R^ublic are going up 33%, according to Her- bert J. Yates, chairman of the 1x>ard, here to discuss production with Moe Sieget Yates is accompanying Autry to Hngland this summer on a six-wedc personal appearance tour. Setting at rest rumors of impend' ing changes at the ^udlo, Yates de- clared himself satisfied with the pres- ent setup. Hep rolls The Road to El Dorado' tomorrow (Wed.) with Roy Rogers in the "tnging buckaroo role.' Blary Hart plays, the femme lead and George Hayes, heads the featured players. Par Renews Bmyon; Stifio Drops 6 Scribs Hollywood, Ifay 2, Paramotmt hoisted Its writer op- tion on Claude Biiqron for the third year of a five-year contract He has been with the studjo seven years. Currently Binyon Is on loan to Co- lumbia, working on the script of 'Arizona^ ' .with' director Wesley Ruggles. Six writers checked off the Para- mount lot after finishing their as- .signmenia.' Serlbs are Talbot Jen- nings, Sheridan' Glbney, Maxwell Shane, Julian Josephson, Nat Perrln and Melville Baker. COCALIS' WILL Owner of 38 Theatres Sets Vp CUfc- •r«t« Trost, Ete. Win of Soteros D. Cocalls, late head of the Cocalls Enterprises of N. Y, executed AprU 7, 1939, pro- vides a numlier of charitable be- quests and for continued expansion and operation of the 38 theatres owned or operated by the Cocalls in- terests. Including the strand. Royal and Gaiety in Elizabeth, N.-J. Air though the will was filed last week in the office of Surrogate Charles A. Otto. Jr., Elizabeth, N. J., no appU- cation for its probate was made until yesterday (Tues.). After specific cash bequests to relatives and members of his family the remainder goes into an elaborate- ly conceived trust from which the widow, Mrs. Chiysanthi Cocalls, is to 7eceiv<e $20 weekly and a home as well as support 'in such a manner as in imfettered opinion the trustees deem advisable.' If the Income from the trust exceeds $50,000 the excess is to be put aside until $100,000 fund is established to be used for estab- lisluneht of a hospital at Olenias; Greece. AU other incomes go to the sons, James, George and Alexander Co- calis, all minors. The will expressed hope that they will continue and enlarge the Cocalls theatrical enter- prises. The residuary estate eventually goes to the three sons. The trustees are Evangeios Hardaloupas, presi- dent of the Hellenic Bank & TrvA Co. of N. Y., William A. Scully, v.p. and general sales manager of Uni- versal Film Corp., and James J. Thompson, partner with Cocalls In Union County, N. J. Wikoz-Neagle Start On 'CaveU' for RKO Herbert Wilcox of Imperadio Pro- ductions and his star, Anna Neagle, are now on the Coast to launch 'Nurse Edith Cavell,' first relent for RKO. Casting of the picture will get under way with arrival of Wilcox at the studio, although Zasu Pitts has been selected for one role. Charles Leonard, formerly with United. Artists, has joined the RKO -studio and will act- as producer's home office representative for Wil- cox. ABNABELLA'S EKENCH FIUI Hollywood, May 2.. Annabella goes back to Friance this summer to make a high-budget picture for 20th-Fox. . Feature will be shot on the French Riviera, with Robert T. Kane pro- 'ducing. Mich/s Holiday of Prayer May Shutter Amils. Spots Detroit May 2. Detroit and Michigan amusement spots, along with all lines of biz, may be forced to shutter one day for a statewide holiday of prayer. Holi- day will be a weekday. Idea is in line with Gov. Dickinson's call lor statewide prayer last Sunday (30), asking for courage for Michigan leg- islators to trim stat^ deficit Re- sponse from churches on Sunday's appeali is imderstood to have prompted governor to consider th^ state holiday for prayer. Crov. Dickinson, 80, whO' succeeded to govemship chair In February on death of Grov. Frank Fitzgerald, is not only an ardent dry but likewise a strong church member and teaches his o\yh Sunday Sidiool claiss. He's launched rigid enforcement of state rum and anti-gambling laws, plus other reforms, and MIchiganders aren't skeptical any more over what he'll do next Deadwood' Revived Hollywood, May 2. 'Deadwood City,' dealing with the gold rush in the Black Hills, is slated as a Harry Sherman production for Paramount Picture, to be made on a big budget Include^' such characters as Buffalo Bill, Calamity Jane, WUd Bill Hickok and .Wyatt Earp. Lee Tracy's 'Spellbinder' Hollywood, May 2. "The Spellbinder' Is the first Lee Tracy starrer under his two-picture contract with J(K.O. Studio is studying pick the second'story.. Allied's Nat'l Conv. Wifl Be Attended By Distribntion B^es Leading distribution executives «t all major companies are expected to look in on this year's annual con- vention of Allied States Ass'n, sched- uled to be' held in Minneapolis June 12. Likelihood is that sales chief- tains and others interested in seU- regulation and the cementing Of friendlier relations with the Allied group will make every effort to check In at the conclave for the first time. Ordinarily they have not been disposed to attend. Out of presence at the Allied pow- wow of major biggies may come a better understanding of relations be- tween distributor and. exhibitor tlirough open discussion of the prob- lems affecting both. Because of the fact that Para- moimt's convention conflicted with the Allied conclave, this company was prevailed upon by Al Stefles^ Allied leader, to change its conven- tion' date so that some of its execu- tives could be In Minneapolis. Neil Agnew, Par s^Ies.head, changed the Par dates from June 12-14 to June 8-10, ea that he and other distribu- tion heads, probably including Charlie . Reagan. Joe Unger and Oscar Morgan, could attend the Al' lied meet ADAMS'SHUBERT MAY JOIN PAR NET K POOL The Shubert Newark, taken over by A. A. and P. Adams, may be thrown into the partnership which Adams Bros, has with Paramount This, together with policy for the newly-acquired theatre, is to be diS' cussed some time this week with home office Par executives. Prior to being taken by the Adamses, the Shubert was playing stage shows' against them but dropped them just before the end of Lent Par Aids the Cause Hollywood, May 2. Lee Ya-Chlng, Chinese avlatrix, signed for a featured role in 'DiS' puted Passage' at Paramount She is touring America to raise funds for reliet LIONEL ZEEHE'S AIIS Atlanta. May 2, Col. Lionel Keene, former South ern division .manager for Loew's, is staging talent quests in small Geor- gia towns. He ties up with theatres and gets luncheon clubs to sponsor performances. Jack Rand, local dancing teacher, is associated .with Keene. • Lefty Slakes Ae Tamales Out df His System; AD Set for N.Y. Fair By Joe Laurie, Jr. ADP!._RI(0 REOBG More Teehnleal- Mevcs—Three Ap- pUeatlenB DenlcS The Circuit Court «f Appeals In New York Monday (1) doiied three applications by H. C. Rlckaby of the AUas Co., regarding the three ap- peals from Judge William Bondy's order approving the plan of reor- ganization. Rlckaby sought the con- solidation of the appeals, whlcb are those of Ernest W. Stlm, stockholder; H. Cassel & Co., debenture holder, and the Oipia Realty and Fabian Operating Co., also the dismissals of the appeals of Stim and Copia. Stlrn was given imtll Hay 15, as was Copia Realty, to file. Cassel has ah%ady filed its record, and the ap- peal wIQ be heard Jtme 5. It is probable that the other appeals will also be heard in the same month. JEANETTE'S SOLO IF NEW M-G PACT OKAY Hollywood, May 2. Jeanette MacDohald's next Metro picture, if she signs a new contract will be a solo starrer. Studio is seeking clearance on rights to a story for her next start Singer is due back from her concert tour May 15 to talk over a -new pact Nelson Eddy is teamed with Bona Massey in 'Balalaika,' starting in two weeks, but will be reunited with Miss MacDonald for- her second pic- ture. Martina Expanding; 12di HoiBe, and Adding More Rochester, N. Y., May 2. New Family, 700-seater in Mt Morris, just built by Martina Circuit Dansville, opened last week. James Martina, president now heads 12 theatres and plans, to build three or four more In this area during the next year. Work has already been started on the Astor, Attica,' SOO-seater; opening set for Sept L This company operates'theatres in Dansville, Albion, Phelps, Naples, Clyde, Williamson, Cuba, Arcade, Mt Morris and Nimda. Members of board of. directors Include Charles Martina, Albion; A. F. Scura, James Tantiilo and Joseph Montesano, Mt Morris, and David Perrlello, Naples. No Jury Trial in $10,600 Suit Against Warners Sylvia Cowane has been denied a jury trial in her attempt to collect $10,600 on two checks Issued in 1923 to Kwality Pictures Inc., by Jack, Harry, Albert and (the late) Sam Warner. Federal Judge John Knox in N. Y. made no comment in denying the application but the Warner motion to deny declares that "The alleged cause of action occurred more than 16 years ago. This clearly shows the motive behind the plaintiff's desire for a jury trial. She would like to count on the sympathy of a jury;. The institution of the jury trial was never conceived for such purpose." Par's Parade of Power Hollywood, May 2. Paramount is putting on its own naval demonstration off San Miguel Island, with two ships and 150 sailors flhning 'Ruler of the Seas,' under command of Jim Havens. Meanwhile Prank Lloyd Is direct- ing the pifincipals in the studio. Cabanne's 'California' Hollywood, May 2. Christy Cabanne rolled 'In Old California,' first of a series of action pictures co-starring Richard Arlen and Andy Devlne. Constance Moore has the femme lead. 4- ' New York; April II, Dear 'Vic: Well, 08 bonnsy Kerr used to tty^ 'We finally arrived at our destitiii tlon.'the World's Fair. About which, more anon, as Qiey say In the dasslct. We finally got out at Mexico City b«> fore Aggie spent all our dough and we 4re glad to be bbck to terra Anna. We learned a lot traveling but didn't learn a thing about show business down In Mexico. We saw • shew billed as "Follies Berge' which tiitned Odt to be a tab in Spanish, and the comics there know the same bits «8 our comics do. Me and Aggia recognized them even If they did do 'em in Spanish. "Money bits' and Idssing bits' are the same the world over. Another night we went to ths Olympla, a first-ran picture houses it has "Passport Husband' and Tail> sphi.' They run the regular Amnl. can pictures but stick on Spanish words of what the people are saying, which at least takes your mind 'oft the pictures. The house Is a nk« looking place with plenty of leati that were empty. There's another thing the same all over th? world, an empty seat is an empty seat hi any language. Tlien we went to t regular Mexican place called tiit Regis, niey run - plenty of ihorti and a French picture with Spanish Uties. Well, the combhiaUon wu too much for me and Aggie; but It's a great idea. The Americans that come in blame it on the language,' the Mexicans blame it on the French, and the French aren't there to blanw it on anybody. But one thing I must tell yon, every theatre in the city has i strong smell of some kind of digln- fectant and boy it's plenty strong, I guess the Government makes 'em use it; mayf>e they do it instead of censorship. Remind me not to tdl you about the bullfight we law, Aggie and me didn't go for it at alL The buU stands sis much dianec is a C picture In Radio City. Anyway the people all over the world ire about the isame. When it's sill added up they are just like us, looking for a few dollars, a decent living and 1 lltUe fun. Only we Americans want double portions—Americans lint satisfied witii a malted milk,' tt'i gotta be a double malted, and w* don't want one feature, we muit have double features. A Real Hometown Mgr. We stopped off' at I^ler, Teiai; tor the night A swell town and, «t course, I dropped In to .s^ the man- ager of the Arcadia, a fioad Uttl* 'showman by the name of WUhnt Shields. He talked like a New YoA showman, but he never operated oxA- side of Tyler. He started, there 3S years ago with a hundred-seater— camp chairs In an outdoor place. Be stuck to the - town and the town stuck to him. These kind of man- agers know more about the real pic- ture business than the managed In the big cities,. They are closer to ths customers and know whet they want in the entertainment line. He plB7> up the picture itself in his ads in- stead of the stars, and when he tt** a chance to play up a hew actoir be does so. It makes the customers feel like they're discovering somebody, which' everybody likes to do. Our second night we stopped on at WhyteviUe, Va., a nice town fuU of tourist cabins and hotels. WeW a colored show bUled at the theatt* so" we laid o\u dou^ on the line ma went in. It was advertised as a Wj people show but aU we could count was 30, and It was a good thing'thW didn't have 60, because like Agl» says, 30 bad actors are bad enouffi. They had an 8-piece band with tli« outfit that played enough blue notes to make the miisic sound like one M these modem arrangements. It suw disappointed me because vsaaia even a bad colored show has plenw of pep and some talent but this one was" a •very tired looking troi^ It's bad enough to run bad plctj^. but when you run bad fiesh wm you are just egging on the Shenfl. Glad that you and Flo are holdjw your own but don't forget ^ 1*°"™ Uttie for me, too. Best regards fn"" us all to you-all, SEZ . Your boss,- P. S.—Bien Bernie says, "When to doubt—do as you please.'