Variety (Oct 1948)

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WetlnccMlay, October 6, 1948 PICTIJI|ES>>TV Browne-Bioff Review Pix Shakedown "^ti?"'!'', In Tax Case vs. Late Racketeer Chicago, Oct. 5. Willie Biofl and George Browne, ex-convicts and former officials of the lATSE, brought from hideouts by the Federal government to tes- tify in the tax case against the Frank Nitti estate, told of how the Capone mob almost took over the entire motion picture industry from 1933 to 1940. Pair detailed flic $1,800,000 shakedown that the industry experienced in order to maintain "low wage scales" and "poor union conditions." Bioif, ex-panderer, first took the stand to describe the shakedown of the Balaban & Katz chain here, to prevent wage raises, and then how Nitti, as representative of the Gapone syndicate,, moved in next year (1933) with a 50-50 percentage arrangement, which later rose to two-thirds for "the boys." In re- turn, the mob elected Browne lATSE prexy at the conven- tion in Louisville in' 1934, while the gangsters spread fear through tlie delegates. Attorneys traced payments of $52,000, which were' handled by Paul Ricca and Louis Campagna, now awaiting hearings on charges of parole violations after serving one-third of a ID-year sentence i on the same extortion charges; On the yearly shakedown list were Para- mount. Metro, Warner Bros; and 20th - Fox, plus several. : smaller ..companies which gave the rack^ . .eteers a $150,000 takfe. : Browne told of suppressing, on payment of $150,000 from RKO and Metro, a strike by Local 306, New York, for higher wages. Then Her- 'man Gelber, now 306 prexy, took the stand and revealed that the companies had turned over $150,- 000 to tlie union after being sued. Other circuits here contributed tliousands of dollars to prevent two-man operation of projection booths. Describing inroads made by the mob, Browne recalled that he man- aged to secure the withdrawal of the vaudeville actors from Actors' Equity, and the group's introduc- tion into the lATSE. However, the plot was nixed by other gangsters. This was the first move in the act- ing field which was to have been . followed by the taking-over of the^ screen players and other produc- tion units until the entire motion picture industry would be ruled by the Capone outfit. Under direct questioning Federal lawyers as to why hu Chi's Garrick Theatre For Large Screen Video Chicago, Oct; 5. Garrick theatre, weak sister of Balaban & Katz Loop houses, will he used for large screen video here, showing Paramount film transcriptions. Among WBKB shows set for transcribing are "The Dexters" and "Tele-Charades." Although the Balaban & Katz station WBKB has exclusives on Notre Dame grid games, none will be shown at the Garrick. Contract with Notre Dame bans shoeing of games, at public places where :ad- mission is charged. Tacoma, Oct. 5. I Bing Crosby has applied to the I FCC for a license to build a tete vision station here, according to his brother, Everett. Latter also said that Bing planned eventually to put. in tele* vision stations in Spokane and Yakima for possible chain opera- tion of three stations, Crosby was i born in Tacoma and later lived in i Spokane for some time. Pix Companies Want to Protect Film B.O., Other Frisco TV Bidders Charge Pix Lead Sports in Chi Program Choice Survey; TV Commercials Count Chicago, Oct. 5. Survey of a panel of 450 home tele set owners in the Chicago area,: conducted by Jay and Gra- ham Research, discloses that mo- tion pictures of recent vintage ai-e first as program choices. Break- down; of video fare preferences has 27% favoring late films, 24% sports, 15% half-hour live plays and 12% amateur hours. Remain- ing 22% was divided among, shows preferred by less than 2% of the panel. ■ Also» 88% reported they remem- bered tele commercials longer than radio commercials by identical sponsors. Average length of set ownership by. panel members was 6.4 months. 'HAMLET' SRO HYPOING OLIVIER'S 'HENRY' ALSO The S.R.O. being chalked up the first week of Sir Laurence OIivier's "Hamlet" at the ■ Park Avenitti,. N.Y., is. having a definite effect on: Olivier's "Henry Y," now. in .its third week, at the neighboring Little Carnegie, N. Y. "Henry" is expected to gross a good $:().00Q during the current session ending Saturday (9), which marks a gain of $500 over'each of the first two weeks.- .■■ ■ Heavy biz may be attributed to the general upbeat on Broadway I this .week but it's believed much of by j it is due also to the overflow from TOA's Sullivan Warns Exiiibs Of Tele Threat St. Louis, Oct. 5. A crisis .for the film industry from,; television competition and the production of 6,000,000 tele sets within the next five years waS the warning sounded last week by Gael Sullivan, exec director of the Theatre Owners of America, at a | meeting of members of the oi'gan- ization in eastern Missouri and | Southern Illinois. Sullivan as- serted that the pic industry will be defeated "unless they ' roll up I their sleeves and really go to- work: i and find a way to wed some of ' their relations to television." One of the ways to combat the tele competish, Sullivan said, was for the production of better films, better public relations and more civic responsibility on the part of exhibitflfrs' to meet the challenge. He also stated that "If you can't lick 'em; then join "em."' ■ Sullivan said that pix has suc- cessfully met the threat of radio and should be able to withstand that of television. To emphasize that point he said 60,000,000 ra- dio sets didn't close the pic thea- tres, and he doesn't believe 39,- 000,000 tele sets will do so. Talk Tele Deal For Four Biblical Shorts Hollywood, Oct. 5. Rev. Paul Kiehl, Lutheran min- ister, will make four more Biblical shorts at the Hal Roach Studios next spring. Films are aimed pri- marily at' exhibition in churches and Sunday schools but negotia- tions for a television deal are also in progress'. Recently the pastor >■ producer completed four shorts, ''Abraham's Faith," "The Raising of Lazarus," "Daniel in the Lions' Den" and "And Forbid Them Not," all di- rected by Howard Bretherton.. I the Park Avenue. Latter house film companies would permit such j lias been playing on a reserved seat levies, Browne replied, "So we | policy and evening ■ performances .would letwage scales and union 1 for the first lour weeks have been conditions remain as they were.":[ sold out. "Henry" is playing on tHeaiungs were resumed yesterday .(5), atthougli Bioff and: Browne may not be recalled to testify, un- less defense counsel might wish to cross-examine. Col Sales Plans to Push Liquidation of Top Pix a regular grind: policy. at pop prices. Current run at the Little Cai> negie, incidentally, marks the sec- ond time "Henry" has played there during the last three months. Eilm^ released by United Artists, has been showing continually in at least one New York house since it opened as a roadshow attraction two yeare ago at the N,Y. City Center. Three-day sales meeting of :Co- lumbia Pictures' district sales man- j —^ agers opened today (Wed.) at the ; tt^l i i r „_„™,>o 9ftr Hotel Warwick, N. Y., with liquida-1 Upnold l^awyei S ^UU tion plans tor Col's top pix head-1 Jax Park Case ing the agenda. Detailed .sales , r>i ■ <t r-i t r campaigns tor "The Loves of Car-1 ^ , . ^-'"cago. uci. o. men" and "Walk a Crooked Mile," ' •'^"^ge Michael Igoe in Chi fed- bolh currently in pre-release book-: eral district court last week ings. Will be outlined by A. Mon- awarded lorn McConnell. attorney tague, general sales manager. ; foi' „t^<-., -^f. , ^'^«^»V. ^ Attending the conclave are Nat $20,000 in lee. arising from the Cohen. N. Y. district manager; contempt action filed by the JP Jerome Safron, western d m ; S A. . '"wyer this spring agains the Galanty, mid-eastern d.m.i Carl majors Balaban & Katz, Warne Shalit, central dm.; I. H. Rogovin, and RKO theatres for violation ol Odium, RathYon Mull Financing of Vallee Video Hollywood. Oct. 5. Rudy Vallee is negotiating with ■ Floyd Odium and N. Peter Rathvon i for the^ financing of Vallee Video j product. According to Rathvon, no j deal bas bSen set, though he ad- I mitted that he and Odium are ' "looking into it." Rathvon also said he will be. checking out of RKO next week after he winds up various aifairs hanging over from ' the old regime. :, , ■. | • Vallee related- plans to erect ' three sound stages for video pro-i duction in Glendale. Odium told 1 him to gc( an estimate .on what' construction would cost and talk it i over with Rathvon; he said. Val- j lee .has a date with Odium this i week, when he'll screen some of: his firm's sample tele pix, incUid-i ing comedy shorts with Buddy Les- ( ter,, Cyril Smith and Don Zelaya; i a. quarter-hour "Life' in These ; United States" subject; some song ] films, and "It Pays to Exercise," a 25-minute short with narration written by Ed Wynn, 'Town Meeting of Air' To Debate Tele Inroads Vs. Pix; Top Execs in Nix Television's possible effects on the film industry are: scheduled for a public debate next Tuesday (12) night through, a simultaneous Vadiortelevision pickup of "Amer- ica's Town Meeting of the Air" on the ABC network. Representing TV wiU be Mark Woods, ABC prez, and : Philco exec veepee James H. Carmine. On the film industry side are Para- mount tele veepee Paul Raibourn; legit and screen director Rouben Mamoulian, and actor Walter Abel, chairman of the Screen Actors" Guild: tele committee; Producers of the show had attempted to line up such top film execs as Dore Schary, Frank Capra, Ned E. De- pinet, Walter Wanger, Howard Diet'/ and Melvyn Douglas,. but none accepted. Last-minute success in getting Raiboum for the show means it will feature tele's effects on the film; business and boxoffice, as well as a discussion of the effects on film production and actor employ- ment. ECLIPSE WINDS FIRST 'FIRESIDE' DISK VIDFILM Hollywood, Oct. "6. . Michael Colinfs-• Eclipse .Produc tions has made the first in a pro- posed series of telepix for $7,000. Film; "The Fireside Dectective." runs 18-minutes and was shot in two and one half days. Pic was made on 16m with the use of 35tn sound equipment. "Detective" was produced by Co- lin and directed^by Leslie Urbaeh with Floyd Crosby handling the camera and Lee Loeb the script. Telepic features .Kay Christopher^ and Keitii Iletherington. Extend Rosrers Drive Philadelphia, Oct. 3. The Will Rogers Memorial Fund drive, scheduled to wind up the end of last month, has been ex-, tended to Nov. 22: ; Conimidee has set a goal of $50,- 000, and has: already raised $30,000 with theatres all over this area cooperating. New England d.m.; B. C. Marcus .. midwestern d.m:; J.: B. Underwoodv southwestern d,m,; and Harvey Harnick, representing the Canadian corporation. KrasnaDueEaclLatWB the:. iTackson Park decree. There was no monetary damage-awarded in the contempt ruling except for the awarding ot lawyer's fees. . McConnell had submitted his bill earlier this summer, but de- fendants' complained that it . was excessive. Norman Krasna, who sailed for J * lurn Europe last week, returns to War-1 Kruse Vaults UWr ners about the first ot the year.' William F. Kruse. veepee and Scribe is en route to France on the ' director of United World Films, , Queen Mary, where he'll huddle ■ I6m subsid of Universal, has re- ' AYith -Rene^CJair. in a. four-week signed to set up his own public ■stay. j relations outfit in Chicago. Kruse, Krasna brushed off the closing, of who was on a three-year contract. "Time for Elizabeth," the comedy handled advertising and publicity on which Jie collabed with Groucho : for IfWF, Marx, wliieh folded after eight per- I He came to the company when ; formances at the Fulton, N. Y.. the UWF acquired the Bell & Howell same day as its co-author left town, ; film library. Under an extended He states there's a deal in work ' contract Kruse will be available to for the film rights. . UWF in a.iConsnKative eapaciti'.- I Higher Mathematics I.. Direct income to ma,ior dis- , tribs under the competitive bidding system is about the I same as under the, straight sale: I method—-but indirectly is a lot j higher, according to distrihu- I tion toppers. Indirect profits come in two ways. First is the fact that an exhib who bids- for a film always seems—to- work a little 'harder selling it, apparently to justify his bid. ' Result is that the grosses be- come a bit better and the dis- ■ trib's share is increased. Second profitable aspect of i the bidding system is said to be ' that it has warded off many ; potential anti-trust suits. These I cost a great deal to defend, even if they're won— and a high percentage of them have been lost*T-so what is saved on this score can "be toted up on the profit side. — • ■' British Pix, Tele Execs In New Theatre-TV Huddle London, Sept. 8. Negotiations between the motion picture; industry and the Govern- ment Television Advisory Commit- tee are to be carried a stage fur- ther when both sides meet Oct. 14. Industry will be represented by officials of the three main associa- tions, W, R. Fuller, general secre- tary of the Cinematograph Exhibi- tors Assn.; Frank Hill, secretary of the Kinematograph Renters So- ciety,: and Sir Henry Ij. French, director-general of the British Film Producers A-ssn. Meeting is to discuss points arising from the .trade's request made some months back for gov- ernment okay on telecasting direct to cinema screens, with an offer of the u.se of films on the BBC's television programs. < TV Film Council Elects j Melvin L. Gold, National Screen , Service ad-publicity-chief, was ] elected prexy of the National Tele- I vision Film Council Thursday (30) •night at the organization's first an- nual election in N.Y, Other officers ; include Burt: Balaban, Paramount ;tole film director, veepee; Robert IM. Wormhoudt, Telecast ^ Films Jexec veepee, secretary, and Robert IW. Paskow, film director of WATV ■ (Newark)I treasurer. ■ Edward Carroll, manager of Du- i Mont's tele-transcription depart- I ment, outlined his: firm's views on the value of transcribed film to ; video in the guest speaker Slot:'' ♦ Washington, Oct. 5. I Motion picture companies apply- ing for commercial video stations' in cities where they own theatres are accused of seeking. protection : for the box office rather than sin^: cere interest in television, accord- ing to petitions which contesting license seekers £01* Sari Francisco Channels filed with the FCC last:, week. However, 20th-Fox and Para- mount, the two pjicture applicants • I for Frisco tele stations, emphati- . Ically deny any conflict between I video station and .picture theatre ownership. A brief filed by 20th points to testimony taken at Wash-. ington and Frisco hearings last May that the two compatiles cdn- ceive television as "a further ex-; tension of the visual medium in which they have excelled in the past." Petitions were filed by all five I competitive applicants for two unr ' assigned video channels in the 1 FriscorOakland. Bay Area in anticl- j pation of an early decision by- the iFCC on the successful bidders, ; However, in view of the Commis- i sion's action Thursday (30) freez- |ing all pending applica]:ions, Issu- ,ance of permits will be deli^yeti 'dt least six months. Drag in) Anti-Trust Suits Vigorous : attacks on . film com- pany plans to enter television are : made in briefs filed by KROW, Jnc;, Oakland AM station, and Television California (92% owned by Edwin W. Pauley). KROW pe- tition, filed by John P. Hearne, Frisco counsel, slaps both 20thr Fox and Paramount for involve- ments in anti-trust suits and ques- tions their sense of responsibility , as tele station owners in the public:;, interest. KROW brief further opposes film companies on grounds they . own-most of the outstanding -film theatres in the Frisco-Oakland area. Tliey f20th and Par) request television grants, brief claims, which :"necessarily would be in di- rect :confliet with their movie box offices." Pointing to surveys show- ; ing that tele set owners attend pix less often after purchase of TV re-: ceivers, brief argues. "If the movie applicants in this ; case are permitted to obtain tele- . vision broadcast facilities, their programming tendencies would be to preserve their much greater the- atre investments and restrict the ■development of television program- ming in any manner : that would compete with the box office." Petition of Television California also.alleges "conflicts inherent" in joint ownership of tele stations and movies. Brief, filed by Haley,. McKenna and Wilkinson, 'Washing- ■ ton counsel, cites testimony of, Charles Skouras that "having built up that chain of (600) theatres," he ."would not do anything: that would hurt them." 20th-Fox. in brief submitted by Welch, Molt and Morgan, Washing- : ton counsel, contradicts these elaims."It cannot seriously be contended," petition states, "that, in an area where at least four of six television.-channels will be in the hands of licensees having no connection with motion: pictures, a grant oU a. channel to an applicant having such a connection would re- sult in an inipairment or resti-ic- tion of the television service be- cause of .protection afforded the , motion picture inv^ment. , .''indeed, the record : reveals a unanimity:'of: opinion that tele- vision is a boon rather, than a. threat to the motion picture buSi-. ness. In the case of Twentieth; Century, it is significant that one of its 50% stockholders, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation, is extensively engaged in producing' films designed to meet the require-" ments of television, which will be made available to_the entire indus- try." Paramount's petition, filed by Hogan and: Hartson, Washington counsel, points to the operations of its commercial television stations in Chicago (WBKB) and Los An- geles (KTLA) in support of its bid for. a Frisco permit. As to the is- sue of : the applicant's interest in DuMont, the brief declares that; Paramount is presently consldeiring disposal of the interest, the princi- pal handicap being the question of , the current market value of the stock.