Variety (Dec 1941)

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Wednestlay, t>eceniber 3, 1941 BETTER COORDINATION BETWEEN DATING PIX AND THEIR EXPLOITATION IS NEEDED Special Ballyhoo Depts. Find Sales Execs Anxious To Get New Film on the Market Regardless of Exploitation Campaigns Being Ready Entire structure ot "special picture exploitation departments will have to undergo searching re-examination, according to some top publicists, with two important problems re- portedly requiring prompt attention. First is matter of. closer coordina- tion of bookings with exploitation facilities, especially in case of big cpecials. Second is question of dc-. veloplng iand keeping manpower, in- Btead of haphazard hiring and firing or "field - men- at intervals seldom lasting more than several weeks. Distribution of product in many Tecent instances has not been timed io get full benefit of exploiution for which companies are shelling out un- usual coin these days, thus bringing Into question value of special ex- ploitation. In many key spots pic- tures have had no exploitation due to' premature booking. Dales Come First Sales heads say dates come first even if It means sacrifice of exploi- tation. Publicists admit that deals can't be turned down when pictures are hot and exhibs want to buy, but contend that some formula should be worked out ta give product benefit of exploitation which is being paid lor. Contention is that a picture needs at least one month advance exploitation preparation and that Held men individually require minimum of W days in advance in almost every situation to be effec- tive. If exploitation Is worth budgets being allotted lor field work, vari- ously estimated at from $20,000 to (30,000 per picture, claim is that re- leases and dates should be timed properly. TOLER TO KEEP 'CHAN' GOING AS AN M WURTZa DRAWS SIX MORE PIX AT 20TH Hollywood, Dec. 2. Six pictures added to Sol ' E. Wurtzel's production slate makes a total of 18 for his shooting season ot 1941-42. . Eighteenth is the Mil- ton Berle starrer, 'Whispering Ghosts.' With 10 features finished, Wurtzel has one in work, 'You Can't Always Tell.' Other seven, slated to roll after the first ot the year, are Hearses Don't Tell,' 'Jackpot,' 'The Imposter,' 'No Coffin for the Corpse,' Sundown Jim,' 'Pitfalls of the Big City' and the Berle entry. Probable t^tal for 20th-Fox will be S6, with 50 made in Hollywood and the rest in England. Hollywood, Dec: 2. "Charlie Chan' series, recently dropped from the 20th-Fox produc tion schedule, will continue with Sidney Toler starring and produt 5ng as an independent Toler, who fell heir to the role after the death of Warner Oland, has acquired ccreen rights to the character and Is said to have found an associate ■with coin to back the indie venture, 'Negotiations for release through tiirough 20th-Fox are understood to be nearlng completion. I Same Trie Will Preside Over Shorts Acad Awards Hollywood, Dec. 2. Voting for Oscar awards In the ■horts subject branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences wiU be supervised this year by the same executive committee functioned a year ago. Pete Smith chairman; Gordon Hollingshead and Jules White were re-elected by ac handle the ballot. Slight changes in the shorts ■wards voting rules were recom mended by the branch committee and submitted to the Academy gen eral committee for approval. Ed Graioger Joins Rep Instead of joining United Artists, with which he had been negotiating, Edmund Grainger has closed a pro ducer dieal with Republic. He was recently an associate producer on the Warner lot. Grainger's contract with Republic runs three years. His father is Jimmie Grainger, general sales manager of the com- pany. 9tli Stockholders Suit Post-Browne & Bioff Gertrude M. Pelham, holder of 100 shares of Warner Bros, common, filed suit Thursday (27) in-the N. Y. su- preme court against the company, its officers, directors, and also Wil- liam BiofT and George E. Browne, claiming that the monies- paid to BiofT and Browne by the film execu, tlves was 'unlawful and illegal.' An accounting and a return to the cor- poration of the monies is sought. This is the ninth stockholder suit to come out of the Bioff-Browne con- -viction -on charges of labor rack- eteering,, and the fourth to name them as defendants. A plea to ex- amine H. M. Warner, Waddill Catch- ings, Stanleigh P.' Friedman and Robert W. Perkins before trial Is also on file. Reward Hollywood, Dec. 2. RKO's new money - making picture, 'Suspicion,' was produced without a producer, according to the screen credits. Harry Eding- tori picked the story and worked out its ideas with Alfred Hitch- cod;, director, before' checking olT the lot Studio execs didn't like the picture until they dis- covered through grapevine, that it was solid. Whereupon they removed Ed- Ington's name. Tark Your Fish' In Theatres' Iceboxes, New Checkroom Idea Milwaukee, Dec. 2. Checkroom service is no novelty to theatre patrons, but an unique extension of this idea is being of- fered customers of the Warner. This house has installed refrigeration service, so that housewives who do their shopping early may park their fish, fowl, meats or other perishable foods without charge in the theatre cooling receptacle while they attend the show with no fear of their edibles spoiling in the meantime: Incidentally, the Warner in recent advertising takes a rap at the Fox downtown houses whose patrons have complained about the practice of having intermissions for the vend ing of soft drinks. ^ Say the Warner blurbs—'enjoy our entertainment— without interruptions.' - Autry's Epic of Okla. Hollywood, Dec. 2. Gene Autry is going historical in 'The Vanishing ■ Pioneers,'' picturing the progress ot Oklahoma from its 0I4 status as Indian Territory. Studio research workers have been sent^to Tulsa and Oklahoma City of compile the tempestuous events of the state's history. ^ KIDDDIO THE KUimO Hollywood, Dec. 1. 'Crime In Crayon,' a haywire mys- tery yarn, is the next Ralph Dietrich production at 20th-Fox, with. Eugene Forde slated as director. Marjorie Weaver is featured in the role ot a screwball femme detective. Mnrietta on Rampage Agam in Two Stodios Hollywood, Dec. Z. Joaquin Murictta, early California bandit, is being revived as a ro- mantic roughneck by two studios. Paramount and 20th-Fox. The old rogue becomes a hero in the person ,ot Leo Carrillo in a screenplay by Irvin S. Cobb tor Harry Sherman on - the Paramount range. Meanwhile Sam Hellman Is giving Joaquin a biographical ride on the Darryl Zanuck rancho. In Technicolor. Indie Joice Rate Clipped Hollywood, Dec. 3. Independent producers draw a re- duced rate for juica required on sound tracks, under a new agree- ment between Western Electric and Independent Motion Picture Pro- ducers Association. Cut in tees was announced by I. E. Chadwick, president of IMPPA, along with prospects ot helpful re- visions of Hays oRlce rates and frozen funds now held by the Brit- ish Government. Conrt Nixes Fox's Plea; Out on Bail an Philadelphia, Dec. 2. Federal Judge Guy K. Bard today (Tuesday) refused a plea to recon- sider sentence of year and a day and $3,000 fine imposed on William Fox. Court also turned' down a re- quest by Martin W. Littleton, Jr., former picture magnate's counsel, that Fox be allowed to change his plea of guilty to not guilty ot con- spiracy. He remains tree on $S0,000 bail pending an appeal. Littleton based his petition to the court on the grounds that there was an agreement between the Govern- ment and defense that the prosecu- tion would not oppose Fox's petition in the event that his co-defendants were not convicted. The co-defendants, U. S. Circuit Court Judge J. Warren Davis and Morgan S. Kaufman, - Scranton at- torney, went free after two trials ended'In hung juries. Last week Judge Bard nolle prossed the case Against both Davis and Kaufman. The Judge yesterday said he would not be bound by any agreements made by the opposing counsel. . Judge Davis, Fox and Kaufman were indicted on charges ot con spiracy to influence justice and de fraud the United States. Fox testified at both trials that he had loaned Davis $27,500 without security while his own bankruptcy cases were pend ing in Davis' court The judge, since retired from the appellate bench, and Kaufman, accused of being the go- between, denied Fox's allegations. Lantz Cartoon Scripters New story department for Walt Lantz cartoons has been set up at Universal with hiring ct Ben Hard- way, Charles Croiich and Ford Baines. Scripters were formerly at Walt Disney and Leon Schlesinger stu- dios. Distribs and Exhibs Rafiy to Chi For General Industry Unity Meet Putting On the Switch Hollywood, Dec. 2. V "Take 9 Letter, Darling,' a tale of a business woman and her male sec- retary, went into production at Par- amount with Rosalind Russell and Fred MacMurray, co-starring. Filn) is directed by Mitchell Leisen. In addition to exhibitor leaders from many parts ot the country, a large delegation ot ^^i-oducer-dis- tributor representatives is expected to attend the meeting tor industry unity to be held In Chicago starting Tuesday (9). Sales managers ot most co.mpanies or executives In dis- tribution occupying high posts un- der them will probably be on hand since much importance is attached to the sessions in view ot problems affecting pictures which call tor a united front now more than at any other time in industry history. Although they will be urged to attend, reported United Artists land 'dniversai have no present plans to participate. ./ Ed L. KuyKendall, president of the Motion Picture Theatre Owners ot America, is coming up from Okla- homa City, while other proni.inent exhibitor leaders will be Col. H. A. Cole, president ot Allied States Assn.; Abram F. Myers, general counsel ot Allied; Harry Brandt, president of the Independent Thea- tre Owners Assn., and Max A. Cohen, president ot Allied ot N. Y. In view ot the; fact it will be im- portant that no politics be played at the Chicago meeting, Jack Kirsch, president ot Allied of Illinois, has promised that Allied would not run thi meeting and that if politics were played the blame would be placed where it belonged. The stand of the ITOA Is; 'If we can organize to fight effect- ively those elements seeking to harass this great business by undue legislation, taxation, investigations and censorship, then we >vill have done ourselves a great service and a great Service to the nation as well For motion pictures can be great only so long as they are allowed to function freely.' While .the general sessions start Thursday (9), there will be a pre liminary meeting of the ITOA of N.l^, and the Pacific Coast Confer- ence ot Independent Theatre Own- ers, headed by Robert Poole on Mon day (6). Sonie of the groundwork tor. the sessions so far as these or- ganizations are concerned will prob- ably be laid at this gel-together. 'Constant Nyinph' for Boyer, Fontaine at WB Hollywood, Dec, 2. Warners signed Charles Boyer and Joan Fontaine to co-star in The Constant Nymph,' slated to start in January under direction ot Edmund Goulding. . Curi'ently the stars are working in separate pictures on the 20th-Fbx lot. HUNTER PERRY'S IDEA '1« Worst Plcinrea of the Tear'— OtherwiK Bis BIe U OK Hunter Perry, who thought ''Va- riety' might be different by picking the 10 worst pictures of the year in stead of the t>est (not for use in get- ting adjustments from the distribu- tors), states that business is on an even keel in -Virginia and especially good in Newport News, where de- fense is a b.o. hypo. _ Head ot the Dominion Theatres circuit in -Virginia, a partnership with Paramount, returned to Char- lottesville, 'Va., Thursday night (27) after conferences in New York. MH'S WOBBER MAY REMAIN EASTINDEF Herman Wobber plans to remain with 20th-Fox as distribution chief tor at least several months, and perhaps longer. Appointment ot Tom Connors as personal assistant to Sidney R. Kent, with distribution as well as other duties, had given rise to reports that Wobber would return to his San Francisco home grounds around Jan. 1 when Con- nors comes In. Question as to permanency of his stay In the east has been in question since he first' took the job about four years ago. Wobber still has his family on the Coast and is partial to working out of Frisco as well'as living there. Status of the Wobber family cor- poration, which the 20th exec and his brothers founded many years ago in San Francisco, may have some bearing on the - final decision. The Wobber corporation was formed many years ago by legal charter, from accounts, with each of the three brothers pooling all their earnings and drawing fixed salaries. Disnejr's Ad Lib Goodwill Travelogr to Be Released Hollywood, Dec. 2. Response has . been so great to the travelog footage Walt Disney made in South Am'erica recently for the Coordinator ot Inter-American Af- fairs (Rockefeller Committee) that RKO is said to be considering dis- tributing it commercially in the U. S. It was shot in 16 mm. Kodachrome, which will be printed in 3S mm. Technicolor it plans tor general re- lease go through. Disney made the trip through S. A. as a goodwill mission, but without the fanfare making it an 'ofTicial' Governmental gesture. It resulted in being an excellent cementer of relations between U. S. and the com- mon people ot Latin America de- vised si»ce the 'Good Neighbor Pol- icy' became ot prime Interest. Rockefeller group provided Disney with the 16 mm. raw stock and he and members ot his staff shot as they went. Footage is very much in- formal, the cartoonist and his aides appearing in quite a bit of it To that, Disney is now adding some cartoon sequences. When he's fin- ished editing and soundtracking, it is expected to run three or four reels. Original Intent was to distribute the 16 mm. product to schools, civic groups, etc., in the U. S. to better acquaint them with S. A., and also to send it to Latin America tor non- commercial distribution to show Disney in native settings. Take an Encore, Carmen Hollywood, Dec. 2. Carmen Miranda makes one more picture for 20th-Fox next summer as a result of an option lift by the Westwood studio. . . Currently the South American act- ress is in the Olsen-Johnson_ stage show, 'Sons-o' Fun,' which opened Monday night (1) on Broadway. Durbb Status Quo Deanna Durbin situation- at the Universal studios shows no signs of improvement, from accounts, with U execs apparently determined to put olF further approaches until the spring. Belief is held that Miss Durbin will likely prove more amepable as time passes and she becomes more anxious to resume activity. Nice Gays Are Cry Babies Hollywood, Dec. 2. Next starrer tor Ida Lupino at Warners will be The Darnhed Don't Cry,' based on a novel by Harry Hervey. Picture is slated for spring pro- duction, James Cain doing the screenplay. L. A. to N. Y. Barney Balaban. Helen Broderick. Bob (demons. Harry Engel. Stanton Griflls. Alfred Hitchcock. Austin Keough. Myrna Loy. Ruth Matteson. . Louella Parsons. Phil Reisman. W. F. Rodgers. George J. Schaefer. Nicholas M. Schenck. Arthur Solomon. Charles 'Vanda. Warren William. Sarri Wood. Robert Young. N. Y. to L. A. Frank Cocn. Nat JDeverich. Emily Holt Jack Lait, Jr. Arthur Lubin. Groucho Marx. Arthur Pryor, Jr. Albert Schafl.