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SCREEN RADIO MUSIC STAGE Vol. 149 No. 4 NEW YORK, WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 6, 1943 244 PAGES 101PIX GR OSS I N MILUONS > -ff I H wood Favors Investing Over-Ceiling The Conmion Man'to Emerge as Hero Of an International Post-War Pic The film industry will come forth soon with its own conception of a post-war era film, In which the common man will emerge as the hero and benefactor in the current struggle against Fascism. Inspired by the recent short on 'common man" based on Vice President Henry Wallace's famous "people's war' talk, an ambitious film, to be called "The Common Man' is being formed as a package show by agent Charles K. Feldman, Latter, who has been on assign- ment in Washington with the War Production Board, will take a leave to make the picture on the Coast and will take along with him Stephen Laird, of Time mag, one of the most travelled of foreign correspondents, and Norman Corwin,, the radio writer-director. Ldtter two are handling the scripting. Filmed against a broad interna- tional canvas. The Common Man' will be patterned along the lines of 'Tales of Manhattan,' using an all- star cast representing various na- tions. As it lines up presently, Charles Boyer andCIaudette Colbert will appear in the French sequence; Marlene Dietrich in the Free Aus- trian sequence; Leslie Howard in the English, Ingrid Bergman in the Czech, etc. Russian and Chinese episodes will also be included. WHY DOES A FIREMAN NOW WEAR A RED FACE? • Firemen are proving an added source of entertainment for picture house and legit theatre audiences in Greater New York.- It's due to the stage fright ilis- played when they have to appear on stage to deliver Fire Commissioner Patrick Walsh's message on proper behaviour in case of fire. Fireman giving the message at the Flatbush theatre, Brooklyn, last week, turned redder than a three- alarm blaze While delivering his short spiel to the audience. Fire- man Raymond Dooley, at the Na- tional theatre, N. Y., frankly stated, 'I don't mind admitting I'm nervous.' In most houses managers or per- formers are delivering talks while fireman stands by. Musical Thantom' Hollywood, Jan. 3. Nelson Eddy has been signed by Universal for the new version of 'Phantom of the Opera.* Studio announcement that Eddy is to have the signing lead indicates that the remake will be musicalized. Showmanagement Review The plaque winners and anal- ysis of 'Variety's' lOth annual Showmanagement Survey is in- corporated in the radio section, page 101-107. The Survey's theme for 1942 was 'Showmanagement At War. Freeman Aides Wiman Charles J. Freeman, former RKO booking head and now with the Interstate Circuit in Texas, is go- ing over to London as assistant to Dwight Dere Wiman on the Red Cross entertainment setup for 12 clubhouses. This program is apart from the USO-Camp Shows. Freeman will continue on the In- terstate payroll, the Red Cross work being strictly voluntary. It's also a natural affinity, since Interstate- prexy Karl Hoblitzelle was head of the Red Cross entertainment pro- gram In World War I. BIGGEST BOOM By ARTHUR VNGAR Hollywood, Jan. 3. War conditions brought the big- gest boom to the picture theatre boxofTice in 1942, which will result in 101 pictures released during the calendar year grossing over $1,000,- 000 each, to a toUl of $182,500,000, that reaches the production organ- ization through their distributing outlets. These 101 pictures were put in (Continued on page 58) Coin in U. S. Bonds or to Aid Charities Prayers in Theatres Harrisburg, Pa., Jan. S. Having received many favorable comments on the "rhanksgiving prayers which city ministers said in their three downtown theatres, Wil- mer 8i Vincent, owners of the State, Colonial and Rio theatres, followed a similar custom on New Year's day. Prayers were said at afternoon and evening shows by ministers chosen by the city ministerial association. C. Floyd Hopkins, head of the local Wilmer & Vincent Interests, made the arrangements. SHOW BUSINESS AT WAR One year ago tlie task of rousing America to an all-out war effort had barely begun. Into the crucible of conflict there has since been whipped all the resources at the country's command. ♦ ♦ ♦ A year of achievement has thus already gone into the records. And as 'Variety's' 37th An- niversary Edition goes to press it proudly dedi- cates to Show Business some of that record's brightest pages. * H< 4> There can be no discounting the contribu- tions of any one industry in the war effort. Nor can the ovcr-all contribution of the enter- tainment world be over-emphasized. As a morale stimulant and as a propaganda medium, it well deserves the spotlight—and these pages can chronicle only a portion of the anuisemeiit industry's war work. ♦ * * This goes for the modest vaudeville hoofers as well as the highly publicized film stars; the unknown Hollywood and radio technicians as well as the well-knowns of the kilocycles; the opera notables and the legit greats; perform- ers, writers, directors and executives alike. All are playing their part, unselfishly, in the com- mon cause of final victory over bestial enemies. if * * Show Business has manifested a spirit of co- 0|)cration second to none. It has given freely of its time, its money, and its energy. But, even more important, it has given freely of its experience as an entertainer of the public. * ♦ * 'Morale* it is called, from the front line to the home front. Morale means entertainment; entertainment means making a heavy heart lighter—a strained day of work or warfare just a shade brighter. The man at the front is sus- tained by a son^g on his lips; the men and women on the home front, ceaselessly twisting bolts and riveting steel, are bolstered by a laugh. To dwell on 'morale' may be something akin to corning a cliche, but whatever its label, it's entertainment — and entertainment is Show Business. i4< « « The show world has stimulated the sale of billions in bonds, and will—and must—con- tinue so doing. It bolsters the boys uprooted from their civilian homes and pursuits and transplanted into training camps. It fortifies the men, women and children who are behind the man behind the gun in some steaming jungle or frigid terrain, on some desert em- placement, pitching destroyer or aerial foray. * * * In this 37th Anniversary ICdition of 'Variety,' from all civilian fronts and Allied outposts—meaning the Latin countries, Eng- land, Canada, Australia and South Africa—is reflected the war note in show business. Gov- ernmental aides in the fields of radio and cine- matic propaganda attest to the potent assist- ance by the industr}- in the war effort—morale, salvage, bond sales, conservation, know-your- eneni)', api)reciate-our-allies, etc. * * * Materially, Show Business knows but one .Alpha and Omega—the boxofl'ice. That the b.o. has been marked b)' signal economic suc- cess this past jear is only the 'key' to the 'morale' premise. Increased hunger for enter- tainment always parallels times of great stress. * * * While it's become axiomatic that 'you can 0|)cn a can of sardines nowadays, and there's a line waiting to get in,' it's all the more teethe credit of Show Business that quality not only kept apace, but even exceeded demands. This, too. is more notable in tlie light of the drain of so much entertainment industry brainpower into Governmental channels, so that hundreds of established stage, screen and radio artisans were absent from the performance credits of 1942. Thus, at the end of Chapter I in 'Show Busi- ness at War,' the industry can take the spot- light brilliantly and well, proudly and un- ashamed, for deeds well done. Washington, Jan. 3. Idea of turning film salaries above the $67,200 celling into War Bonds, to be -held to the credit of the sal- ary earners for the duration, has been broached in Washington, by Hollywood representatives and will be discussed further In the next few weeks. Bond purchase plan, even if permitted by the Government, will have to be approved by the Screen Actors' Guild and other talent groups representing the high salaried artists. Another suggestion is that all ex- cess salaries be turned over to char- ity. Kenneth Thomson, executive secretary of SAG, is now in Wash- ington huddling with treasury offi- cials on the bond and ch6rity propo- sitions and on other proposals deal- ing with film finances. One of these is the payment of salary «ptiona con- tracted prior to Oct. 3, 1942. Under- stood Washington officials are ready to agree to the option Increases, pro- vided they remain under the $67,200 ceiling. ROCKEFEIIERNITERY'S SENTIMENTAL FOLDO One of the largest crowds in the eight-year history of the two class niteries ato'p Rockefeller Center, turned out for the Niew Year's eve 'swan song' hoopla at the Rainbow Room and Rainbow Grill, Not only did the two rooms do capacity biz, but many others anxious to lend, their voices to a final 'Auld Lang Syne' at the swank spots, couldn't get near enough for a gander. Despite the gaiety v/lth which the new year was ushered- in, it was a '£ob-in-thc-throat' occasion for the last-flingers to whom the closing of the two rooms, at least for the dura- tion, was taken as a personal losj. According to Hugh W. S. Robertson, managing director, it was a senti- mental bow-out, with many deep expressions of regret over the de- cision to fold the Room and Grill as 'n.in essential to the war effort." Although the rooms will remain closed, permanently as supper spots, plans are under way, Robertson dis- closed, to resume in the near future the private Rockefeller Center luncheon club. The shuttering plan also includes a number of private dining rooms on the 64th floor, but these, too, may soon be reopened on a much more simple basis, with re- duced staff, etc. There are four such dining rooms, for use of execs of the Standard Oil Co. of N. J, American Cyanamid Corp., Shell Union Co., and Time magazine. Deadline Jan. 3 This edition of 'Variety' went to press Jan. 3. Early deadline, because of the mechanical problems and the size of this issue, makes it neces- sary to omit certain standard de- partments this week.