Variety (Dec 1941)

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Wednesday, December 8, 1941 MISCELLAMT S U. S. War Dept s Special Praise For H wood Co-op on Training Films War Department Issued a special nlessage of praise last week for the cooperation Hollywood has given It in the making of tralnlilg films for the Army. In no Industry with which the Signal Corps (In charge of train- ing film production) has dealings has there been shown a more willing spirit or a more definitely demon- sixated desire to be of help than has been evidenced by Hollywood, War Department stated. The Association of Motion Picture Producers, Inc., designated the Re- search Council of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to act for them to assist the War De- partment in any way possible In the production ot training films on a non- profit basis. The wholehearted efforts of this group to be of assistance is one of the bright spots ot the past year,* Army officially declared. 'Not only has Hollywood expressed • helpful attitude,' statement con- tinued, 'but they have demonstrated their real desire to be of help by pro- ducing a largo number ot training films tor the Army on a non-profit basis and in the way which the War Department wanted them produced. "The Signal Corps Is charged with training film production for the War Department and through the facili- ties ot the motion picture Industry they have increased the output of training films tar beyond what would have b£en otherwise possible. In every case, training films so produced have been made exactly in accord- ance with the desires of the War De- partment and where, upon review, minor changes have been necessary, they have beeii quickly and ade- quately made to meet the exact needs of the War Department, which Is completely satisfied with the present arrangement.' QUENTIN REYNOLDS HAS $20,000 LECTURE DATES MCA Artists, via Mark Hanna, personal rep for Quentin Reynolds, has some $20,000 in lecture bookings lined up tor the Collier's war cor- respondent. He's now in Cairo, cov- ering the Egyptain campaign, and, •part from sending back gag cables to his Manhattan cronies, it's uncer- tain whether Reynolds will be home for Xmas, as was planned. He went* to Cairo from Moscow with W. AverlU Harrlman and Mol- otov, - but decided to remain and cover the war from the Sahara view- point. Guild Sponsors Writing Contests in Army Camps Hollywood, Dec. 2. Screen Writers Guild is offering an Incentive to service men in the Army camps with literary leanings. Idea Is to hook up with national magazines with total prizes ot $5,000 to be distributed In awards ranging from $50 up to $2,500, divided among writers of the IS best short stories and the 15 best theatrical sketches. Contest will be open to any soldier or sailor, cegaidless of his previous standing as a writer, ama- teur or pro. Guild reports a fa- vorable response from all the mags contacted. Keep 'Em Happy, Girls Hollywood, Dec. 2. Femme group filed articles ot in- corporation tor 'Parties Unlimited,' a non-profit company to cooperate with the United Service Organiza- tion in the entertainment of soldiers and sailors. • On the board of .directors are CUlre Trevor, Phyllis Brooks, Mar- tha Mature, Mary Brooks, Priscilla StUlman, Marjorie HaU. Edith Wll- kerson and. Daisy Seller, . ^, Fishell's .741 Dick Fishell toted those grid- Iron prognostications for 'Va- riety' for a nifty composite per- centage of .741, calling 215 right against • 76 wrong. Last. year Fishell's final showing was .725. Figures Include both college and games in the National Pro League. The WHN newscaster's fifth annual pigskin seance would have been even more of a howling success If it wasn't tor dat ol' debbll Upset. But the ex-Syracuse U. gridder's crystal ball notwithstanding, those per- ennial doormats db come up off the turf occasionally and swing haymakers, as the season which officially ended last Saturday (20) frequently proved. Bob Bnms BaB(s At Hillbilly Role, Gets Sued By Par for $32,378 Los Angeles, Dec. 2. Damage suit for $32,378 against Bob Burns was filed in Federal court by Paramount, . charging^ the actor with refusal to carry out his con- tract to appear in 'Joan of Arkansas.' Burns claims the picture ridicules the people ot his native hills and that his own role is a caricature. Stvidio claims the screenplay was written specifically for Burns and is in no way'derogatory to citizens of Arkansas. Complaint declares the studio spent $13,273 for screen writers, $6,831 tor director's holding time, $8,600 for producer supervision, $3,000 as a guarantee to Barbara Jo Allen and sundry other expenses. Plaintiff further states that Burns had no story approval clause in his contract. HITCHCOCK MAY JOIN UAASPR0D.-DIRECT0R Alfred Hitchcock niay become a producer-director for United Artists Productions, new UA film-making unit, it is understood. Deal Is being talked, it is said, between Hitchcock, UA-owner David O. Selznick, to whom the director Is under personal contract, and UA execs. Hitchcock and Selznick are lioth In New York. Hitchcock has been loaned to Universal tor a one-picture deal. He'll make "The Saboteur,' to go before the cameras in about three weeks. Lawyer-Filmer Becomes Actor-Producer in 'Eden' Minneapolis, Dec. 2, Robert MacDonald, who forsook the law here to become a Hollywood producer in association with W. R. Frank, local independent circuit owner, and William Dieterle ('All That Money Can Buy* was their first), is going to be an actor-pro- ducer. He'll play the role of a judge in his own forthcoming film, 'Martin Eden.' Joe Cook Resting Joe Cook, who returned to N. Y. after a second motor trip. Is con- sidering several offers, but does not plan to accept any engagements tor two months. He has been advised to take it easy tor that period. Re- port that he was ill in a hospital out of town Is not true. One proposal which the comedian Is considering is to be featured with the Ringling, Barnum & Bailey Cir- cus. Offer came from John R(ngr ling North, managing director ot the big top. • •■ ' BIZ PERKS UP WIITH niBLiciiy Wher* the Blast Ha» Been Strongly Played Up It'« .Helped the Boxoffice— Otherwise Norma 1— Church and Local Official Squawks OTHERS BRUSH IT OFF Rising tide of national church opinion against so-called objection- able motion pictures is proving a boxotflce stimulus to Two-Faced Woman,' Metro's new Garbo starrer, which is on. the receiving end ot present attacks. Resume of reports from 'Variety' correspondents in key spots proves that the film's general biz is as hotcha as the churchmen charge the picture to be in story content ' Archbishop Francis J. Spellman's blast and subsequent publicity is pushing the feature to the top pic- ture gross in Philadelphia, where an elegant $21,000 at the Boyd Is rated the best this theatre has done in months. In contrast, Louisville re- ports tar from sensational business on the Garbo film, with no mention of church attaclcs. Same theatre is doing about half ^ as much as on 'Shadow of the Thin Man,' preceding week. JBaltimore, where the picture took a lacing from the Catholic Review, it was hitting a better than average clip with only a couple of other films ahead ot it in town. 'Two-Faced Woman' grossed $16,000 or better in Cleveland, nearly as big as previous (Thanksgiving week) on talk that Catholic Diocese is seeking possible banning of film. Brought in quietly to Chicago, the film is doing'slightly above house average at.$18,(A)0. In San Francisco, it is around $19,000, but below "Thin Man.' Indianapolis reported busings fine but not the best attraction there. No mention of church attack here or Frisco. Complaints about the moral tone ot screen productions boiled over last week after Archbishop Spell- man's carefully worded attack on the picture, rejection ot the film by Providence censors as well as other cities after the Legion ot Decency had placed it on the 'objectionable' list, ^nd a hint that the Legion'might again crack down in the future it the moral tone of pictures does not im- prove. Despl:e the official announcement, it is understood that Metro is asking the Legion for a breakdown ot objec- tionable scenes, speech, etc.. In 'Woman' so that the company can tell whether cuts and revisions are pos- sible so as to secure better rating. Metro is not certain such revisions are possible, but it's reported every effort to revamp the Garbo picture wiir be made. Then the film would be re-submitted as was done with 'Strange Cargo,' with the hope of getting the subject in an approved classification. Spellman's pastoral, read at all masses in the Archdiocese of New York, Sunday (31), warned faithful Catholics that the film is 'a danger to public morality' and that wit- nessing it may be 'an occasion of sin.' As far as could be learned this is the first time an archbishop of New York has singled out a specific picture and company tor condemna- (Continued on page 20) Drama Instruction a la Jessel Peps Up Ryskind s Seminar on Show Biz Echo in D.C. Washington, Dec. 2. House ot Representatives was used Monday (1) as sounding board for Catholic squawks about Garbo-Metro's 'Two Faced Women.' Picking up and throw- ing back the promises and pro- testations ot major producer spokesmen. Representative Mar- tin J. Kennedy, ot New York, insisted in letter to Will Hays that the Metro filcker should be suppressed because it is 'an affront to the Congress ot the United States.' New York Democrat echoed the yelp of Archbishop Francis J. Spellman, of New York, and chided Hays that the majors during hearings on block-book- ing bills have pledged not to produce anything 'offensive to good taste and decency.' Legit Producer Warns His N.Y. Castomers Tbe Show Ain't Dirty I Luther Greene, who produced 'Walk Into My Parlor' at the Forrest, N. Y., has been making speeches to the audience before the. start of each performance. He tells the customers that if they came with the expects tion of seeing a dirty show they should go to the boxoffice and get their money back. Manager was inspired to exhort the audiences by the nature of the reviews, explaining that from the notices, the average person would figure 'Walk* to be smutty and bawdy. Greene regards it to be 'an honest play,' one true to life. Last summer, when it tried out in Long Island, there were complaint^ about the vulgarities In the dialog. Under- stood tiiat during rehearsals prior to the premiere - the phrases were considerably toned down. Following the adverse press, busi- ness for "Walk' was low. Greene has distributed big bundles of t^o- for-ones in the hope ot bolstering the boxoffice. "Brooklyn, U.S.A.' is men- tioned for the Forrest diristnias week. Selznick Kudpsed New York Mirror's annual award to the outstanding producer of the year was given David O. Selznick yesterday (Tuesday). Presentatioji was made by Kenneth McCalfb, editor of the Sunday Mirror, on Kate Smith's noonday program, heard on 98 CBS stations. . Hefty plug for films in general was handed out by Miss Smith in Introing •MoCaleb.- - > . ■ •' UUREL, HARDY SEALED FOR 10 PK AT 20TH Hollywood, Dec. 2. 20th.-Fox optioned Stan Ijaurel and Oliver Hardy for 10 pictures in the next five years, as part ot their con- tract to appear in 'Pitfalls of a Big City,' which rolls about March 15. Comics are tied up meanwhile to an eight-week stage tour, opening Dec. 31 in Fort Wayne, Ind. CIO Raises Funds To Entertain U.S. Soldiers Hartford, Dec. 2. Louis Prima and Bunny Berrlgan bands are booked for dance which Hartford,. Conn., CIO 'Council, is staging at local State Armory Dec. 13. Funds will be used to entertain soldiers returning home tor Christ- mas holidays. Massey In Solid at WB Hollywood, Dec. 2. Warners signed Raymond Masjsey to play in three pictures a year, with annual options. Currently he is working In 'Ar- senic and Old Lace.' Jack Warner West Jack Warner headed back to the Coast yesterday (Tuesday) after several weeks in New York. 'lAocempanled-by. Mrs; Warner. By BOBE MOBBISON George Jessel, who had only six months' schooling himself, lectured last Friday morning (28) at Colum- bia University. He spoke at one of a series ot seminars on theatre and films, being conducted by Morris Ryskind at the school ot journalism. And as playwright Russel Crouse, who was present, remarked, he of- fered the graduate studes 'a liberal education.' As so often happens when people ot the theatre lecture at Columbia, the New York drama critics were there too, more or less in effigy, at least. But while Jessel, unlike some ot his predecessors, didn't offer sar- castic quotes that 'ipight boomerang to his future embarrassment, he did reveal at least one tact that should cause a few crimson ears among the members of the Drama Critics' Cir- cle. He also made ^ known several . bits ot news about his future plans. Above all, he provided a thoroughly entertaining and lUumlnating*' dis- cussion period tor the journalism hopefuls.. Despite ah apparent nervousness as he mounted the low platform and seated himself in. the single large armchair before the microphone, fac- ing the semi-circular rows . of students, Jessel quickly' utilized his toastmaster experience to warm up the. audience with several laugh& Although he was palpably, in earnest throughout his talk ^d the subse- quent qu^on-and-answer interlude; he salted his observations with fre- quent dry sallies, all delivered with his unerring sense of emphasis and timing. Anil while he was asked a few ticklish questions, of the sort that might have put him on a spot, he invariably was ready with a nim- ble answer. Freedom From Censorship - In the first portion of the session, in which the' comedian spoke in- formally from a few sketchy notes, he remarked that for a writer the theatre is preferable to radio because it is freer from censorship and con- trol. In radio, he" explained, the author is always working for a client^ (Continued on page BO) Trmd« -Htrk Ra*Uter«d FOUNDKD BT BIMB BILVSRHAN PabUibad' WMklf br TAmteTT, Sid Silverman, Protldent lit W«it 4etb BtrMt, Naw York, N. T. SOBSCRIPTION Annual lit FortltB Ill Slnil* Copin 21 C«nla Vol. 14* .IN No. 13 INDEX \ Advance Production Chart.. 18 Bills 67 Chatter 61 Concert-Opera 40 Exploitation 14 Film Revievys 8 House Reviews 24 Inside—Legit 58 Inside—Music 92 Inside—Pictures 29 Inside—Radio 41 International '. 15 Literati 63 Legitimate 58 Music 61 New Acts 27 Night (tlub Reviews 54 Obituary 62 Orchestras 47 Orchestras—Music 48 Pictures 4 Radio 30 Radio Reviews '43 Unit Reviews 27 Vaudeville 53 RAIliT VABIETS (Pobllihed |n Hollywood bj Pallr Variety; Ltd.) 110 a rear—111 toralsa