Variety (March 1953)

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Wed*** lay* Mireli 4» 19SS mcwmms At 80, Marking 50, Never ‘30’ Show biz tonight at the Waldorf-Astoria, New York, salutes Adolph Zukor, at 80, marking his 50th anniversary In the Indus- try. The traditional newspaperese ‘30/ the symbol for “end” (of story)» Instead, sees the dean of the industry putting a great “more to kum”—again in the newspaperman’^ argot—on the film industry's future. Zukor, the sparkplug of Paramount pep meetings in hisjatter- day aggrandizement as chairman of the board, today is also the sparkplug of that company’s new excitement about third-dimen- sion. In the best traditions of showmanship,* the founder of Paramount sees bigger and broader horizojns for the industry he helped cradle and the big business he helped make great. This week’s salute to Zukor is the accumulative result of an industry which will ever be indebted to him for his daring in its infancy, achievement in maturity, and imaginative vision ip. future horizons* Adolph Zukor is truly the grand old man of the picture business. Abel. 3-D Hoopla Help To All B.O., Says RKO’s Schwartz “It’s show biz tradition to find excuses for bad business but rare- ly have theatremen bothered to explain or rationalize good busi- ness,” says Sol A. Schwartz, prez of RKO Theatres and a veteran ob- server-of the eternal battle of the b.o. “But because business has suddenly become good, the big whodunit seems to be ‘how come?’, when it’s really obvious that, fun- damentally, good shows will al- ways command good business.” “True,” continues * Schwartz, “there have been frustrating and unexplainabl? interludes when nothing seemed to help. It non- plussed everybody when ap- parently good or offbeat films In the then-accepted standard shows didn't do business, on the one hattd, and in another cycle of events did get attention at the b.o. “So what is the answer to this sudden robustness at the cash tills —and robust it is, too! Not just Broadway—all over. When you get $45,000 with ‘Peter Pan' in Cleve- (Continued on page 16) NBC Asks Earlier Curtain On Broadway March 19 In Tieup With Oscar on TV In an effort to give the RCAr sponsored telecast of the Academy Awards the importance of a ma- jor national event, NBC, as one of its exploitation endeavors, has requested via the League of New York Theatres that all Broadway shows schedule an early curtain on “Oscar” night, March 19. Thus, it's figured, three major segments of the entertainment industry— legit, films and radio-tele—will join in pushing the “Os£ar” cere- monies. Belief is that an early curtain will give patrons a chance to get home in time to catch the 10:30 to midnight telecast. Another aspect of advancing the curtain lifting is that a pair of femme_ thesps * nominated for awards are currently appearing in Broadway legits. Shirley Booth, nominated for her .performance in “Come Back, Little Sheba” (Par), is starring in “Time of the Cuckoo,” and Bette Davis, named for “The Star” (20th), has the lead in “Two’s Company.” Julie Harris, cited for “Member of the Wedding” (Continued on page 20) Disney in New RKO Deal On ‘Sword’ and 2-ReeIer Walt Disney Productions has. en- tered a new distribution deal with RKO, it was disclosed in New York yesterday (Tues.). Pact covers re- lease of “The Sword and the Rose,” live actioner.lensed in Technicolor in England with Richard Todd and Clynis Johns in the leads. Feature is already completed. It Also part of the new deal is Prowlers of the Everglades,” next ln Disney’s True-Life Adventure scries of two-reelers. VETERAN’S OTHER Schenck’s Bowout at 20di Linked Fabian Bids for ‘Joey’ As 1st Legitheatre TV; Resolve Cost, Pay Scale Negotiations are currently under- way for a large-screen theatre TV presentation of the Broadway mu-! sical hit, “Pal Joey.” Most of the j details regarding costs and pay scales for the unions involved have been worked out, with only Actors Equity remaining to present to the sponsors the remuneration rate for the performers. Unlike previous theatre TV events, presented exclusively by [ Nate Halpern’s Theatre Network! PIX PREDICTIONS The next 50 years will be great, too, says Adolph Zukor, The Par board chairman, who’s being saluted with a Waldorf-Asto- ria get-together tonight (Wed.) on the occasion of his half-century mark in the filih industry, sees tele- vision, the film-makers and film ex- hibitors equally benefiting from the show biz of the future. “Major films will be made in Hollywood, as now,” predicts the pic pioneer, but with “the pictures being distributed to homes by way of television as well as to theatres in the regular way.” He emphasized this week: “The public will demand our films at home on television and will be willing to pay for them.” The large-screen will still draw patrons to the theatres, opines Zu- kor. And after this exhibition the pix will be televised to the homes, on some sort of subscription basis, for persons who can’t attend the theatre showings. Zukor is con- vinced that an arrangement will be worked out beneficially for exhibs, such as via a role for them in the telecasts of pix, in addition to operation of theift. theatres. As for the immediate future, Zu- kor is plenty high on 3-D, which he’bills as “a great.step forward.” To Reported Snarl at UA Circuit Grainger Defers N.Y. James R. Grainger, RKO’s new prez, has put off his return to New York and takeover of opera- tions at the homeoffice. ' Now on the Coast, Grainger had figured on returning to Gotham yesterday (Tues.), but he’s not due now until sometime next week. TV, Pix Boosting Each Other Seen There’li be a payoff for both television and film production via the American Broadcasting-Para- mount Theatres. setu,p, prexy Leon- ard Goldenson stated this. week. The TV operation will be alert to new talents which, in turn, can 4- Prompting Joseph M. Schqnck’s surprise bowout as exec produc- tion head of 20th-Fox was. dissen- sion at the policy-making level at United Artists Theatre Circuit, ex- tensive exhibition outfit of which Schenck is controlling stockholder, it’s reported by insiders. Schenck announced last Thursday (26) he’s ankling 20th immediately to give full attention to his theatre and other interests. Under an agreement with, the Dept, of Justice, Schenck has had his UATC stock trusteed as a con- dition to his occupying the 20th spot. Doubtless he’ll now exercise the stock’s voting privileges, that is, controlling voice in manage- ment, with his departure from the film company. UATC president George Skouras has been doing a burn over what he feels are injustices in film com- pany dealings with the exhib out- fit's outlets in New York. UATC owns 52% of Metropolitan Play- houses which, in turn, has a finan- (Continued on page 20) Television, the bidder for “Joey” is circuit chief S. H. (Si) Fabian. Leo Rosen, Fabian exec handling the outfit’s theatre TV activities, has held numerous confabs with Jule Styne, producer of “Joey,” and has received the green light to proceed with the plans. No date has been set for the presentation! Rosen conferred Friday (27) with Equity prez Ralph Bellamy, who is bullish on the idea. Question, in- cluding the scale for actors, was (Continued on page 20) FABIAN PREDICTS ’53 PIX B.O. WILL BEAT '52 Films’ b.o. for the entire cur- rent year will be ahead of 1952 on the national average, S. H. (Si) Fa- bian stated in New York yesterday (Tues.). He said he based this on “the excitement over 3-D and the ! fine pictures coming up.” Circuit op, who has taken over control of Stanley Warner Corp., reiterated his “great confidence” in tlie fu- ture. In a unique situation, Fabian re- vealed that the Warner chain has booked the Warner 3-D-er, “The House of Wax,” In 75 situations (Continued on page 20) Disagreeing with many other in- dustry leaders, he feels that the public will not consider the use of viewing glasses as an intolerable inconvenience, instead will wear them to enjoy the maximum enter- tainment benefits of the new opti- cal effects in pix. But in line with this, he’s also convinced that a way will be per- fected for the dual-Tens projection of 3-D which will not require specs. Zukor, incidentally, has a pair of Polaroid goggles which are worn as conveniently as sun glasses. Still Goes—the Show’s the Thing Outside of the new- approaches— 3-D, TV, etc.—Zukor still clings to his oft-expressed observation: “The motion picture is like any other product. If it’s good, the public ac- cepts it, if it’s inferior it will be (Continued on page 56) segue into filmaking, he ob- serves. Goldenson advocates TV ap- pearances for pic players, and vice versa, each medium complement- ing the other. His views are con- sistent with the slow but percepti- ble trend among major film out- fits on permitting their contract players to appear on TV. “Same applied to radio before,” comments Goldenson. He adds: “Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, two of films' biggest boxoffice personalities, came up through radio. And tele- vision certainly hasn’t hurt Martin and Lewis.” Only reservation Goldenson has concerns frequency of pic per- formers’ jobs on TV, his feeling being that they can overplay that medium to the extent of wearing out their effectiveness in pix. 4 British Exhibs Suffer From Worst Slump in Postwar Era; Biz Off 20% Taradise’ Cost 515G, Ballyhoo Set at 500G United Artists execs and indie producer Theron Warth, at a meeting in New York Monday (2), decided on an ad campaign budget for Warth’s “Return to Paradise” which almost equals the cost of the negative. Film, lensed in Samoa with Gary Cooper in the lead, was brought in at $515,000. Promotion is set at $500,000. This is no precedent, though. Stanley Kramer’s “Home of the Brave,” made at a cost of $318,000, had an ad budget of $420,000. Warth spent six months in the * Samoan Islands for preparation and production of the Technicolor pic. He leaves N. Y. Friday (6) for London with a work permit for processing by British Techni* London, Feb. 24. British exhibitors are experienc- ing their worst season in the post- war era. Throughout the country, grosses are on the decline but the dip appears to be more marked in London than elsewhere. As one theatre operator said last week, the summer average *has extended throughout the winter period, and the normal pre-Christmas slump is taking on the appearance of be- ing permanent. The decline in grosi' receipts has been consistent with*.few ex- ceptions. There have been the un- usual pix that have succeeded in boosting the boxoffice, but normal- ly exhibs now say they are running 15%—20% below average. As TV extends its grip over the country, theatre owners fear that the decline may become more crit- ical, and, if sponsored television comes a reality, the added com- petition will make conditions even more acute. Their main hope rests in their current campaign for al- leviation of admission tax. The basis of their case sent to the Treasury is indicative of the cur- rent serious situation. When the last tax changes were introduced in 1951, the Chancellor of the Exchequer estimated future revenue on the continued high level of receipts. But actually these have not been realized and the Cinematograph Exhibitors Assn, is now asking the Chancellor to adjust the taxation from his original estimate to the actual box- office yield. If the government agrees, exhibitors will benefit to the tune of more than $10,000,000. Most circuits are now readying their annual reports. Almost with- | out exception, these are expected to reflect the big slump. The posi- tion of the exhibitors is spotlighted by the current stock exchange quo- tations of major companies. Odeon shares in 1947 were quoted at $7 but now rate at $1.50. Gaumont British stock,-which was valued at $4, is now quoted at 75c while As- sociated British Picture shares are down from $5 to $1.30. Roz’s B’way Boffo Cues RKO Extended - Plans for Her ‘Wac’ Socko click of Rosalind Russell in the new Broadway legit musical hit, “Wonderful Town,” has caused RKO to reappraise the b.o. value of “Never Wave at a WAC,” ac- tress’ latest pic, which the fiimery is releasing. Produced by Inde- pendent Artists, firm headed by Frederick Brisson, the star's hus- band, “WAC” has played a number of engagements but hasn’t been booked into New York yet. Prior to Miss Russell’s opening on Broadway, RKO had sought a N. Y. house for “WAC,” but couldn’t reach a satisfactory agree- ment on terms. As a re*sult of the raves received by the star for her “Town” performance, RKO re- ceived a number of bids from Broadway ops. A deal reportedly has been set with the Criterion, (Continued on page 57) Trade Mark Registered FOUNDED BY SIME SILVERMAN Published Weekly by VARIETY, INC Harold Erichs, President 154 West 46th St. New York 36. N. Y Hollywood 21 6311 Yucca Street Washington 4 1292 National Press Building Chicago 11 612 No. Michigan Ave. London WC2 8 St, Martin's PI., Trafalgar Sq. SUBSCRIPTION Annual $10 'Foreign $11 Single Copies 25 Cents ABEL GREEN* Editor ’ ; Vol. 189 ^j3gS&° No. 13 INDEX Bills 56 Chatter 62 Film Reviews' 6 House Reviews 57 Inside Legit 58 Inside Radio 36 Inside Television 38 International 13 Legitimate 58 Literati 22 Music 42 New Acts 57 Night Club Reviews 50 Obituaries 63 Pictures 3 Radio-Television 27 Radio Reviews 34 Record Reviews 42 Frank Scully 22 Television Reviews ...... 30 TV-Films 40 Unit Reviews 57 Vaudeville . T 5fr DAILY VARIETY (Published in Hollywood by Daily Variety, Ltd.) $15 a Year. $20 Foreign