Variety (Apr 1942)

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Vcdne8d*y, April 29, 1^42 OPA's Show Biz Exemptions Washington, April 28. Nearly everything bought by film producers, exhibitors and broad- casters Is placed under price control, but regulations Issued today by Price Administrator Leon Henderson, In conformity .with the statute, specifically, ezeinpt theatre admissions and Vmm sale* from Federal freezing, along with "aewspapers and magazines^ Sweeping order uriii -protect bioadcaster* vid all nibtlon, picture \mlts from rising costs, since ceilings on thousands of prices hiclude Items used In both industries and sarlces rendered in connection with sales of com- modities. Explanatory OPA-statement emphasized film rentals, theatre tickets and radio time aitd not'touched; because Congress iiAduded these businesses along, wlfli the press, in restricting Henderson's 'au&ority. Advertising servfaes and news services also are unaSected. Rent ceiIiog>fi^'BOt simtly to industrial establishments, only Indi- viduals and xtsidei^eeB, Rites charged by garages, laundries. Clean- ers; radio-ie|^'' iteps, and similar outfits, are controlled, but-not fees for pureip pcrsoittl services (such as doctors, lawyers, barbers). Freezing Applies ta-wholesalers and manufacturers May 11; to r«- Uilers May IBv and to services July 1. , 8S Ceilii^ tH( III Hollywood -Confibined from page 1; Initial poU of the Coast ttppers^finds wholehearted Bupport af any war- time tax measures the President may consider necessary. From Sam Gold- yiyn to Jack Benny, the early round- li'^'Indicates an aU-ont with F.DJl. And thus, although .the payoff henceforth may be mostly in patriot- ic instead of big cash -takings, in- dications are that the film stars and Hollywood studios wiH likely con- tinue to tuid out high-budget prod- uct In order to maintalh. high morale under wartime conditionB. Entire structure of film production becomes largely dependent, how- ever, upon', the good -will and cooper- ation,-rather than the earning power, of picture stars; ^ Hr eclotat writers and producers by. virtue of Presi- dent Boosevelfs pn^iosal on 'Mo.n- day (27). *. The first reaction In industry cir- cles following the President's an- nouncement was question whether stars like Gable, (>0£by> Bette Davis, Taylor, Power, Cgpper, Grant, Hope, Abbott' 4c Costello, Deanna Durbin, et'.'al.'"'would continue to make the ^same -number of pictures annually foUowlng wlndup of cur- rent contracts. Askti how he thought the Presi- dential decree 'would allect Holly- wood. Barney Balaban, Paramount presy, stated, 'I think' that should come from the. stars;' He added that the newest tax problem, as it would affect producGon,. was a matter for serious consideration. (The Holly- wood reaction is detailed below!.- HUs Haliywao4 The Presideni's proposed tax measure strikes more heavHy at the studios, due to their high-priced tal- ent'rosters, than any other Industry. Even if the measure should be even- tually 'modified, allowing for maxi- mum Income of |50,(K)0 annually, with liberal allowances fbr main- taining the glamor illiislon of pic- ture celebs, the Industry is faced with a staggering problem In pre- vailing upon high-salaried stars, par- ticularly those not under long term contract, to continue making the same, number of pictures as hereto- fore. Distribution department heads, in the two years Immediately preced- ing America's entry Into the war, even prior to the President's new- est tax plan had been faced with the problem of overcoming the reluc- tance of big name players to appear Ih the same number of pictures as prior ;to'the upped surtaxes. Field forces have-for some time been bear- ing the brunt of exhibitor demands tbt niore marquee strength in pro- ductions while, at the same time, an increasing number of top ranking players cut their output from four to three or even two pictures a year. Since the war, studio heads have been stiessing the point that stars should continue making pictures re- gardless of taxation hi order to do their bit In malhtainhig public morale. Another argument advanced was that prolonged absence from the screen would make even the best known players forgotten stars.' Morale Concensus of ophUon is that the picture stars can now be best ap- proached from the standpoint of theh- value in maintalnhig national morale. But a considerable reduc- tion In starrhig productions Is an- ticipated regardless, and the prob- lem of handling some of the tem- peramental top names, when earn- mg power no longer figures promi- nently, wiU call for new highs in studio diplomacy. The talent problem now looming lor producers is common to the ex- mbiUon branch of the business, jneatre operators as well as pro- oucer-distributors wiU depend 50,000 Such Incomes Unfavorable editorial and Congressional Criticism of the proposed $25,000 income veiling was widespread, foUbwing-^the announcement of the proposal, though Treasury Department figures showed only about 50,000 persons in the' V. S. likely to be affected. Whether the figure suggested or other forms of super-taxes •will eventually be adopted, how- ever, does not appear likely to affect the issue since the Ad- ministration seems to be aiming at a greater equalization of liv- - Ing standards for the duration. . largely on the reaction of the stars in Hollywood.' Paradoxically the agent, that fac- tor in show business generally re- garded as responsible for creating the high priced market for .aiais through competitive bidding and eX' perk evaluatio^i of boxofiSce -values, stands to suffer as severely as any other element. Gross volume of talent agencies, - some with place- ments reaching close to $15,000,000 a year, will be among the first to be affected. Though producer-distributors and circuit operators would also come under the general $25,000 income celling, the impression prevails tiiat the most obvious problem will be In retaining the cooperation of talent This Is predicated on the theory-that industry heads have a permanent stake in ' show business either through stock holdings or via long term contracts while telent la on a relatively short term basis with no seciurity to look- forward to after the war is over. Necessity of maintain' ing public morale is counted Upon to alleviate this situation. President Boosevelfs message to Congress definitely not construed as extending price ceilings to film rentals or theatre admissions. The exemption of pictures from the price control act was established through amendments sponsored by Senator Downey of California when the bUl was being debated in the Senate. Newspapers and radio stations are also exempt under this act But while the president's message does not specify any price restrictions on picture, radio or publishing business the over-all implication of his pro posal is that prices remain at cur- rent levels. Exempt Distribs-Exhibs Specifically Under EPC Distribution^ and exhibition branches of the film industry were specifically exempted by an amend- ment to the EmergencyJPrlce Con- trol Act of 1942, and are not likely to be affected by the President's'pro posal. President Roosevelt Monday, stated that he was satisfied with the present law (EPC Act), further indi- cating that there would be no price ceilings on rentals or theatre ad- missions. Motion pictures sold for export are also exempt -from the provisions of orders issued Monday by the Office of Price Administration. Theatre equipment and' supplies, however, come under the price fix- ing order. Indicative of the tremendous re- duction. In .arnings for Industry execs, if a $25,000 or $50,000 earnings limit goes into effect, is the state- ment of Loew-Metro on executive earnings made pubUc about two months ago. Total salaries and per- centage participation of 12 top Loew-Metro executives totaled $3,- 400,000 for 1941. The lowest indi- vidual income in this group was $145,000 for Harry Rapf and the highest- was Louis B. Mayer' $704,425. While not as high in most of the other companies, the upper income groups in 20th-Fox, Paramount and Warners have earnings on a com- parable basis. In the matter of co.^or te taxation there appears to be some belief that all Industries will have another hear- ing t>efore proposed excess profits taxes of from 75 to 90% are imposed. It is reported that J. Cheever Cow- din, chairman of- the board of Uni- versal, is to make one or more ap- pearances' before ' the Wdys and Means Committee, ^owdin recently presented a tax plan in Washington on behalf of the National Association of Manufacturers. Coast Resorts' Dark Days sContlnu'ejl tioni page 1; 'Shock But No Surprise'; H^miod Ail-Out for FDR ■ Hollywood, April 28. President Rbo^velt's proposal for a-$i2S,OQ0 ceiling-on-annual earnings, after taxes, came as a shock to Hol- lywood, but not as a surprise. It has been bruited about among in- •dustry. biggies, but no one thought .it wias so-close at hand. Natu^y. it -win upset the life and habits, of many high wage- earners, but not so severely as might first seem. This state's in- come tax is much more lenient than In other states,, and family heads will benefit in ttiat respect. Canvass of studios would Indicate not more .than 200^ persons are affected by the freeze in upper brackets which F.D.R. Is putting up to Congress for vote. Figured that only those earn- - ing around $75,000 annually will -be hit by the anti-inflatiODary measure. Qmsidered Ukely many stars will slow up and, instead of crowding as many pictures as physically pos- sible into a year's time,, they will devote more time to war work. . Retrenchment talk has. been in the air for some, time, so actual cut- ting down won't be so sudden ..or disrupting.. While some studios maintained a no comment policy, several top fig- ures gave expressions of-their agree- ment with . the Roosevelt proposal. Samuel (joldwyn said, 'I agree with the President the Incomes should be limited for the duration. 'While boys in the front lines are sacrificing their lives, the. least. we can do is limit our income.' Nate Blumberg, Universal prez, said, "We will certainly Join any decision by the president. Congress and tiie people of this nation wltlch pertains to our war effort We are interested in. only one thing—win- ning the war.' Herbert Yates, Republic's headr man, said, "This Is the time to follaw tiiat often-used but rarely applied- phrase, 'Now is the time for all good men to come to aid their country.' Republic and its i>ersonnel is ready and willing to meet the president's request and ready and willing io abide by any future requests or de- mands the President may make for the good of our .country.' Jack Benny, one of the highest paid actors In show biz, 'anything that's right with the President is. right with me. It's a privilege to give.' Sentiment around studios seems to be that while F.D.R.'s proposal is not law yet they will go all the way with the Administration's war effort if it is enacted.' Not Coontlng Costs Henry Ginsberg, Paramount gen- eral manager, said, 'I am In favor of whatever program the President and Congress deem necessary toward winning this war and helping, our country. Right now. nothing else matters, nothing else counts.' Y. Frank Freeman, prez of the Producers Association, said, "We are in this war to win and whatever sacrifices may be necessary to ac- complish this. I am sure will be gladly met We are soldiers in the civilian army and will carry our re- sponsibility with a smile.' Harry Cohn, prez Columbia, said, 'It is a patriotic privilege and duty of all of us to support the Presi- dent and Congress in any measure deemed vital to the national war ef- fort' Toscanini ^f^sContlnued from page i^^s as conductor of the first fortnight of the season. Toscanini will be fol- lowed by Bruno' Walter, Artur Rod- zinskl, Dimitri Mitropoulos, Fritz Reiner and John Barbirolli as con- ductors in that order. Toscanini con- sented to. open season to help ;he ticket sale of Philharmonic. The Philharmonic season will he the customary 28 weeks in length and an American Festival will be given in the latter half of the .season. stem sermons by top police officials, park department experts in charge of boardwalk and Edison iUiunination. enghieers. Latter outfit Is now en-, gaged In extensive, epcperimentation on boardwalk to li.sure type of black- out that will get nod from Army quarters. LIcbte Out Present.situation calls for all high staiidatd lights on. nort^ siije of boardwalk to be out for duration, and on:south.sIde. each high standard light has been painted out <m sea- ward side. Surf avenue. Mermaid avenue and several other mialn arteries have undergone extensive decreases,in illumination. Instead of using 340'watts in boardwalk bulbs, one now finds US-watt bulbs. Eighty- five precent reduction in light inten- sity is figured when_summer season rolls around officially."SU highlights- at LUn'a and Steeplechase parks are out This also applies to roller coast- ers, ' wonder wheel -and other high structures. Marquees on Coney's ma- jor film houses—RK'O Tilyou and Loew's Coney Island"—are not illuini- nated, H?lf Moon hotel. Coney's principal hostelry, putting black- out curtains on all windows. Steeple- chase's Indoor ' pavilion wlU have lights hooded and intensity reduced, but until further notice from Gov- ernment aeronautical officials^ red' light, on former World's Fair Para- chute Jump, jiow on boardwalk side of park, wHl conthiue to bum., £dict Is due from Board of Transpo'rtatlon isoon regarding li^ts on elevated lines running hito the Island. Sug> gestion has-also been made that high canvas or fence be built along outer edge of boardwalk to cover illumina- tion from Coney's low lights. .'Waleh lor Sabotenra Police realizing Coney's crowd problem during hot speUs have brought In a greater number of uni- formed and plainclothes men. More than twice-the nimiber of last year's patrolmen will be present, and ile- tectives have been more than dou- bled in order to keep sharper, eyes on satmteura and Ifght-fingered gen- try. . Several thousand local air raid wardens are cooperating with police In educating Aowmen what they must not do. Handling of crowds this season,' more than ever before^ will be ticklish. Many will be Jit- tery, accordtog, to- local- observers, and they might .panic.-at presence Of overhead afiplfln'e or - backfire of 'speedboat motor. Campaign -wBl stut soon to educate them not to stampede on baadifront. No new.major attra'ctlona are be- ing planned lor this season because of dlfli^^ in lecuring steel and other essentials for games and rides. Two outdoor showmen actually planned bringing In new attraction rated as successful biz producer, but failed'to obtain necessary, priority- ratings. . National AssoclaUon of Amusement Parks, official group, is having, tou^ time getting permis- sion for members to buy limited amount of steel for replacements on old rides—but is confident that Gov- ernment finally will approve on ground that masses need recreation to keep up morale. TUUng ' Shoothig gallery ops at Coney are to tilt prices and cut down number of rifle shots because of ammunition scarcity. They're only gettfng 75% of former quota, and some are al- ready reducing length of magazines holding cartridges from 15 to 12 shots. Merry-go-rounds, for years getting -two bits for six rides, finally upped prices for adults, who now pay 10c (kids still grab rings for. nickel). Several fiat and gravity rides on island are also upj|)Ing prices figuring that the folks wlU have more coin this summer. Number of- Coney's familiar fig- ures are moving to Atlantic City, notably' Dr. Martin Couney, baby in- cubator man, who thinks Jersey re- sort has greater possibUItles this year, and Maurice Piesen, game and ride Tuan, .who wiU operate conces- sion at Hamld's Pier. Sam Gum- .pertz, former Coney leader, contin- ues at Hamld's Pier. Daozlgers Back The Daiizigers will again operate Luna Park, starting May 29, with free-gate policy. Manhattan and Oriental Bleaches have been token over by the Coast Guard as train- ing station, causing ritzy bathers no end of confusion. Joseph P. Day, previous owner of Manhattan and Oriental, says he's planning to Jazz up things at strip of beach he still owns at Brighton, and there's pos- sibility of profitable Manhattan Beach Day Camp moving Into Luna Park. It may be dim nt Cinoy In '42 b'lt it Is well worth it, concessionaires swear by all that Is holyr—but if only Schlckelgtuber is made to take a beautiful prattfall. AtUntle CHty Effect Atlantic City, AprU 28. . Although this resort has ' been dimmed out as much as was thought possible. Mayor Tom Taggart re- celved a .telegram Saturday (25) from. Thomas S. .Dignan, chief of staff; New Jersey Defense Council, informing him -that it is not 'satis* factory.' Dignan Informed the mayor that the Navy report stated 'light glow could be seen 20 mUes at sea and sllhouets vesseb.' Message also car- ried'warning that 'overall glow must be cut down or drastic action will be taken.* 'Drastic' action can mean only one thing — 'complete blackout That would be dis^trous to the resort's summer business. Thus all ' hotels, niterles, restourants, and theatre* have dimmed. Coming on to^ of gas- oline rationing edict this is secofid blow for resort in few days, , , SeaUle Lights tp Again Seattle, April 28. Seattle still is preparec' for any eventuality. But. the town U lighting up nights. Thus the partial blackout Is out. Uev city ordinance, permits mar- quees and theatre sjgns, along with other commercial lighting,' to light up, if the theatres .obtain- a permit for the-jnodest &e of 60c, and show they have attendant or watchman to turn the glimmers out In minute or less. DIM-OUT WILL Army orders for. dimming the At- lantic ooaslUne to » depth of U mllea inland, with all U^ts on akyscrapert above the 15th<«tor:y ielther iextln- gulshed at si At or' thoroughly .shaded, may work havoc with the swank Ifew York Cl^ hotel root niterles and the Itelnbim-Room, atop Radio City. Nitery Itortlons of th» hotels, however, won^t .be the oiOy. Buiierersj the hostddes expeMlng demands from patrons- to .he housed strictly below the lOtb fioors, or elsii on courts, thus making hfgh-story rentals dlfflcuH. Impact of the stringent dim-out regulations effective "last night (Tuesday) was immediately recog- nized by the managements of every tell building ln,N.Y. .The execs of the Rockefeller C^tef Radio City de- velopment immediately'went Into a huddle to map a. thorough follow- through Of: the order Issued by Major Gen. Irving J. FhUUpson, command- ing general ot the Second Corps Area. Similar meetings were in order elsewhere, in hotels, office / buildings and tall apartment, houses. The Rainbow Room, which was-a strong attraction tor the -fine view it afforded of the clfy., as well a* its class as an entertainment and dining spot may take a b.o. wallop due ta the fact that the dim-out of N.Y. means the end of that be-mozdaed vlsto. V - . . ■ General PhlUlpson's regulations right now insist oh only external blackouts, which means the hotel roof lilterles and Balnbow Room can operate, providing- they blackout their lights from outside view. Vene-- tion blinds- and blackout curtalni will take-care of thtd, and already twiie-a-weefe rehearsals have mat- ters fully under control.' Should tills--^rpe of dlm-b^ prove ineffective, however,'6ehecta Phllllp- spn says he will call toi a complete blackout of all buildiogs above -the 15th story. That may spell ibe finale (for the duration) of all upper- story nocturnal amusements, it be- ing feared that be-cuctained Interiors would make fbr a morbid effect. First Llent. MeCnrdy Now Portland, Ore., April 28. William L, McCurdy, son of Park- er .Theatres' Manager 'Bill' McCurdy has been promoted from Second to First Lieutenant' in the Army Air Corps. Young McCurdy Is at pres- ent attending. a special gunnery