Variety (September 05, 1951)

Record Details:

Something wrong or inaccurate about this page? Let us Know!

Thanks for helping us continually improve the quality of the Lantern search engine for all of our users! We have millions of scanned pages, so user reports are incredibly helpful for us to identify places where we can improve and update the metadata.

Please describe the issue below, and click "Submit" to send your comments to our team! If you'd prefer, you can also send us an email to with your comments.

We use Optical Character Recognition (OCR) during our scanning and processing workflow to make the content of each page searchable. You can view the automatically generated text below as well as copy and paste individual pieces of text to quote in your own work.

Text recognition is never 100% accurate. Many parts of the scanned page may not be reflected in the OCR text output, including: images, page layout, certain fonts or handwriting.

Wfdnctdaf, September 5, 1951 Miio-numiM 53 AGENTS. PACKAGERS CRY Linger A-Wile ^, S Six weeks ago. while on the Coast, Fred Wile, NBC-TV exec, heard of the plans being formulated for the Japanese Treaty Con- ference. which got under *>• last night «Tu • in San Francisco, and set in motion the machinery which eventually crystallized in utilizing the occasion for inaugurating the cdast-to-coast micro- cable service. Oddly enough, it was the selfsame Wile who, back in 1035 while forking out of the news department at CBS under Paul White, initiated another long-distance communications "preem" and was responsible for delaying the signing of the Philippine Independence so that it wouldn't interfere with a CBS commercial. As his special events scoop for Columbia, Wile had negotiated the broadcast of the Philippine ceremonies, marking the first direct pickup from the Pacific island. The ceremony was set for 10 p.m. (New York time*. However, it wasn't until he reported back to CBS that Wile was notified that, whether or not the Philippines got their independence, 10 o’clock was Coast repeat time for the “Myrt ’n* Marge" sponsored show, and CBS had no intention of losing out on the coin. Wile arranged with Manuel Quezon, the then chief executive of the Philippines, to stall the signaturing to 10.30. He agreed. ‘Where’s Radio?’ Sait Lake City Asks in Combatting Hoodhimism By NAT BERLIN Salt Lake City, Sept. 4. Marked rise in hoodlumism and Juvenile delinquency has set this town on its ear. with everyone howling for action, but to dale radio has done very little to carry Its share of this public service bur- den. Problem was spotlighted a few weeks ago with a Federal Bureau of Investigation report on national conditions, that showed Salt Lake City over the national average in several categories. Mormon Church* owned paper. Desert News, inline* diately started slugging, and has been running a campaign for pub- lic assistance through "vigilantes." Hadio stations have dipped into the situation, but so far no one has come up with any sustained ef- fort of programming. KSL and KALL have shown more signs of reacting than the others. KALL has hit the situation a half a dozen times during the past month on its daily editorial program, aired morning, afternoon and night. In addition. Paul Sullivan, newscaster, has interviewed Keith Ashton, staff announcer who hit the news by being chased at 100 miles an hour by hoodlums trying to run him off the road. But there are no plans for a sustained series of programs to try to find the answer to the problem. KSL had Mayor Earl J. Glade on its "Newsman's Review," local version of "Meet the Press," last Friday (31). Their U. of Utah program, aired two weeks ago, took up juvenile delinquency in a half* hour round table discussion. But again, nothing much is stirring on a longtime basis. To a certain extent, new KSL child psychology program. "Human •tContinued on page 48) Mellon Vidshow Being Pruned? The Ford Motor-sponsored James Melton TV show on NBC. one of the more costly hour-long musical extravaganzas in video, with a weekly talent-production nut in excess of $40,000. is undergoing some drastic revamping, with the auto company planning to shave it to a half-hour stanza. Move follows in the wake of Ford’s 40% auto production curtailment, with the subsequent decision to pare the advertising allocation by a like amount. it’s reported. Huddles have been going on for the past couple of weeks at J. Wal- ter Thompson, agency on the ac- count. in an effort to resolve the status of the Thursday slight 9 to 10 show. Slicing of the pro- gram to 30 minutes would open up a cream half-hour time segment, partially alleviating the web’s SRO situation. Oddly enough. JWT execs re- port dealers like the show' and point to higher ratings. Program may shift to the Coast in the spring in a general refurbishing plan. The Lighter Note Last week, during the meet- ing of NBC execs, with key affiliate members comprising the Economic Study Group trying to evolve a pattern to c 'sc the network-affiliate ten- sion over rate slashing. NBC prexy Joseph H. McConnell played host to the station op- erators at a dinner at the Westchester Country Club, Rye. N. Y. From all accounts, it was one of the few "hail- fellow-well-met" occasions in an otherwise serious week of discussion between the war- ring factions. The following day McCon- nell kept to his bed, reporting hv phone to his secretary that he was suffering from stomach distress. Ensuing gag around the network was that the af- filiate boys tried to poison him. Hartford Indie’s Rebuttal to Web ‘Tandems’ Eyed Hartford. Sept. 4. Seeking what he calls a "right- ful share of the national spot busi- ness." Paul Martin, station mana- ger of WCCC here, has evolved a merchandising plan to magnet the lucre of that field. For every $1,000 spot business placed with the station, Martin is alloting the product five days promotion work bv a special station merchandising man. Move is Martin’s rebuttal to the pyramid and tandem plans of the networks. These have, he said, raised havoc with the smaller in- dies. Plan of Martin is to beam his stunt at those companies who have limited or no salesmen or promotion men in the area of the spot promotion and who wish to crack, the particular market. Pres- ently he’s dickering with one of the nation s large drug manufac- turers to carry out this type of program. WCCC Is a 500 watt daytimer. According to Martin this is the first time a small Indie has done any type of merchandising. The larger indie powerhouses do have merchandising and marketing de- partments. Work of the station merchandis- ing man will be of a type desig- nated by a spot sponsor or the station. If the product so prefers, the merchandise man will make goodwill trips Into the field, pro- mote retailer co-operation or con- sumer sales, consumer research, house to house canvass, in fact anything the product desires. He 1 will affidavit his merchandising I tContinued on page 48) WEBS’ SRO CUES B*°w Sets Daytime TV Formula To Combat High Production Costs By JOE COHEN Talent agencies and tele pack- agers face one of the most drastic revamping* in personnel and modus operand! In several years as a result of virtual sellouts of major network video time. Per- centeries and packagers are in the position of having a surplus ot manpower that cannot pay off at this time. They’re also carrying a lot of Orient on the books that can- not be sold except for guest shots, and many offices are dropping op- tions because the market has-dried up. Talent agencies, particularly, are in a peculiar position. When video promised to become probably the most important field in show biz. the offices lined up practically everyone available to W'ork in the new medium. Writers, publicity men, vaudf and cafe agents, thea- tre producers and managers were brought in at sizable salaries to probe, the potentialities of tele- vision. Office toppers, then felt, and correctly, that if they came in swinging it would pay off. This has been particularly true in the case of the William Morris Agency and Music Corp. of America which have corraled more shows than all other agencies combined. However, these commission houses found that despite the fact that they w f ere getting a lot of revenue out of video, the depart- ment wasn’t paying off in propor- tion to the earnings of other de- partments because of the huge amount of manpower needed for servicing and because of the sales force needed to create ideas and market them. Lot of C hanges on Tap Now* that possi bill ties of ex- pansion are nil. the talent toppers feel that changes are necessary in order to consolidate their position by making present time Commit- ments pay off. Some changes arc seen in the number of agents in each office. It’s presently planped in some agencies to convert sales staffs to creation of new ideal. Latter is necessary because of the prevalent belief that not all shows inhabiting the networks will be re- newed after the first 13-week pe- riod is over. They must get to- gether some powerhouse programs with top talent, if they’re to buck the competition of other agencies as well as network-owned shows. At MCA, for example, four agents have been dropped from the rolls. Whether more will go isn’t known as yet. It’s r<»ported at that of- fice that MCA prexy Lew Wasser- man is due from the Coast shortly to study the situation and change over the workings of the video sector. Reports indicate that there will be further cuts. At the same time, one MCA exec stated that if a man looks like material to make good at that office, he’ll go on the payroll. . The sellout of network t*me is a blow’ to the percenteries from another direction. They have been (Continued on page 44» Bill Paley, Announcer Minneapolis. Sept. 4. If CBS topper Bill Paley ever needs a job he could qualify as a radio announcer. At least, that’s the conclUf sion reached in local radio cir- cles following Paley’s appear- ance on the Cedric Adams’ WCCO newscast here. Stopping here eA route back east after a Wyoming vacation, Paley decided he wanted to go to the State Fair and catch Adams newscast. When Adams saw Paley, he called the latter to the mike and asked him to read a coir.mertlal. Paley com- plied and. in the opinion of the radio people who heard him, did a hangup job on the com- mercial. Sponsor, too, ex- pressed himself as mightily pleased. It’s believed to be the first time that any network board chairman did the commercial end of a show on one of his company’s stations. Free Sustaining Ride Set For Trail’ an ABC Web ABC web is giving "Mark Trail” a free sustaining ride, starting to- day <Wed>, for a month, to get the program rolling for its commercial start for Kellogg’s on Oct. 1. Web is giving the 5.30 p. m. kid strip some heavy ballyhoo and the sustaining run because Kellogg’s other Juve show, "Clyde Beatty," in the same time slot on Mutual, kicked off Monday (3>. There’s a strong "battle of the flakes" rivalry between MBS, and ABC jjnd Ken- yon St Eckhardt <"Trail"> and Leo Burnett i’’Beatty">, on which of the two entries makes the better rating showing. During the sustaining period "Trail" will have the full half hour. When sponsorship starts Oct. 1, "Trail" will be cut to 25 minutes, and Kellogg’s Victor Borge capsule i w ill go into the 5:55 p. m. segment, i Shifts;‘Romance’ ■ Out,‘Storm’In % Philip Morris is bringing back "Against Jhe Storm." onetime Pea- body Award winner which it hacked two years ago on Mutual, fo insert in the 3:45 p.m. strip the ciggie has bought on ABC. PM is also dropping "Modem Ro- mances." which started as a half- hour show and then was shifted to a 15-minute serial, and is replac- ing it with "Romance of Evelyn Winters.” "Storm" is a John Gibbs pack- age scripted by Sandra Michaels (Mrs. Gibbsi. "Winters" is an Air Features entry, currently aired on the w’eb, written by Frank and Anne Hummert. Leonard Reeg, ABC program veepee. is planning to originate some of the soapers going into the chains; upcoming 3:30-4:30 p.m, serial block from Chicago. He feels that moving one or two pro- grams to Chi, whence the wash- board weeper first developed in the ’30’s, may give them a fresher slant and stronger audience ap- peal. due to the fact that some of the soaper pioneers are still in the Windy City. At the same time, move will take the load off the web’s Gotham production facilities. Reeg’s concept is using estab- lished rather than new properties. Among those being considered are: "Woman in White.” a General Mills show; "Joyce Jordan." a Hi Brown property; "The Open Door." John Gibbs’ package; and Eiaine Carrington’s "Marriage for Two." In addition to "Modern Ro- mances,” web will drop "David Amity." Walter Kiernan’s "Fam- ily Circle," will probably he moved up to an early afternoon slot, but the .remainder of the chain’s after- noon sked is likely to be dumped Shrioer TV Show Set Herb Shrlner deal has been set for his own show on ABC-TV, starting Oct. 11, in the 9 p.m. Thursday spot. It will be backed by Cluett-Peabody on a w'eekly basis. C-P has been backing "Don American Musical Playhouse" in that period on an alternate-week basis with Packard. However, j Packard switched agencies from 1 Young St Rubicam to Maxon and is dropping Ameche. C-P agency Is Y&R. i Fullscale counter - offensive against television's sky-high pro- duction costs was launched by the Blow agency this week with the preem of the agency's first day- time TV soap opera—"Search for Tomorrow,” which preemed Mon- day (3> on CBS-TV under Procter & Gamble sponsorship. Agency is bringing the flve-times-a-week. 15- niinute serial in at a gross talent and production budget of $8,500, which is almost the cost of a once- weekly 15-minute dramatic show in Class A time. Blow plans to spend no more than that $8,500 on "Love of Life." its second soaper, which preenis Sept. 24 for Ameri- can Home Products on CBS-TV. Basis of the rock-bottom budget is the almost complete elimina- tion of expensive sets, according to Roy Winsor. who’s supervising production of the two shows for Blow. Long associated with day- time radio serials. Winsor declared the’success of any soaper depends on "a strong story with interest- ing characters who have problems." As a result, he said, the scripts will emphasize those factors and not set decorations Winsor plans to play the shows against a cycloramic backdrop-with only a few prop* as scenery, for the most part. He said tlie cameras will concentrate on closcups. something akin to the technique developed by NBC pro- ducer Albert McCleery for his "Cameo Theatre" series, but the camera work will not be so extreme since viewers will want some relief on a flue-times weekly show'. Winsor decried the realistic scenery used on most current video shows as being not only unneces- sary and. consequently, wasteful but also as "playing down" to the audience. "TV is so intimate," he said, "that it doesn’t require the realistic scenery. Use of Just a few props will give viewers more of a chance to exert their imagina- tions. something like the 'mental images' they visualize when listen- ing to a radio show. As a result, they’ll participate more directly in the action." While Biow Is naturally interested in keeping costs as low as possible, he added, the agency also considers this the most efficient way to produce the soapers. Winsor also will attempt to con- fine his cast to no more thun 25 each week, using an average of five per day. Because the actors may have trouble memorizing their lines for a 15-minute strip, the scripters will put the burden of dialog on a different character each day. Thus, it the male lead has the most lines ont day. he’ll be able to loaf through the action the following day while another mem- ber of the cast assumes the major dialog. Winsor pointed out. more- over. that elimination of expensive sets will give the writers more freedom, since they won’t be re- stricted to scripting their action around a set, the cost of which must be amortized over a certain period of time. Post-Midnight TV On NBC’s Agenda Although conceding that 11 to midnight on TV is "blue chips" time for local sponsorship, and abandoning hopes of "networking" the late night period. NBC’s video chief have no intention of calling it quits after the 10:59 signoff. Plans are now- being formulated for a post-midnight network show', possibly running to 1 a. m., which the web will pitch up for sponsor- ship and affiliate station accept- ance. Network wants to hit on an Informal "Broadway Open House" type of program format, convinced that there’s a large early morning TV’ audience if the right show comes .along.