Variety (March 1956)

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Vol. 202 No. 1 Published Weekly at 154 West 46th Street. New York 36, N. Y., by Variety, Inc. Annual subscription, $10. Single copies, 25 cents. Entered as second-class matter December 22, 1005, at the Post Office at New York, N. Y., under the act of March 3, 1879. COPYRIGHT, 1956. BY VARIETY, INC., ALL RIGHTS RESERVED NEW YORK, WEDNESDAY, MARCH 7, 1956 PRICE 25 CENTS DRIVE-INS REVIVE LIVE TALENT Norton Back on Sbubert Free List; CIRCUS, FOLKSY M-G Oldies ‘Evaluated’ at $110,000,000; Say Congress, State Probes Loom Boston, March 6. < Elliot Norton, Boston Post drama critic, has been restored to the press list for the local Shubert Theatres. The action was taken last week by J.J. Shubert, whose recent dropping of the reviewer kicked up a row, with repercus¬ sions in Congress and the Massa¬ chusetts legislature. The dropping of Norton and the cancelling of advertising by Shu¬ bert in the Post started the news¬ paper off on a crusade in which Shubert and the Herrick Ticket Agency were attacked, Congres¬ sional and State investigations into the Shubert enterprises were de¬ manded and new state laws to pro¬ hibit banning of. critics were pro¬ posed. Shubert revealed Norton's resto¬ ration to the press list in a wire to Mayor John B. Hynes of Boston. Norton was also informed by telephone from a Shubert rep. George Clarke, columnist of the Boston Record, is still off the list, however. Replying to» Hynes’ request that the blackball on Norton be lifted and calling the ban an attack on freedom of the press, Shubert's wire read in part, “The facts as related by the Post have been grossly distorted and the concha (Continued on page 63) Perfume, Bra Coin On NBC & ABC Coverage Of Grace-Prince Nuptials Bourjois will whiff Itself into the Grace Kelly - Prince Rainier III nuptials this spring by* planting its Evening in Paris products smack into the NBC Radio’s "Weekday” coverage of the Monaco “event of the year.” Aroma house has bought a heavy sked, via Lewis C. Gum- binner, calling for 25 one-min¬ ute spots adjacent to the web’s two-week coverage of the wed¬ ding hoopla centered on April 16 through 19. / S'"/ 1 O “Weekday” hAs blueprinted “Ro¬ mance of Monaco” for the Kelly- Rainier background report leading up to the elaborate splicing. En¬ tire civil ceremony will be aired 10-10:45 a.m. April 18, with the couple to be heard making their sacred vows during church service next day. Peter Pan Foundations, which makes among other things the Hid¬ den Treasure line of bras, will spon¬ sor the nuptials for three days over the ABC Radio-network, with a direct shortwave pickup from Monte Carlo. ' On April 17 there's a “preview” of the festivities; on April 18, the civil ceremonies tmd on the 19th the religious rites. Cobina Wright Sr. will do the commentary, with all three Pickups airing at 11-11:15 a.m. Deal was set via the Ren Rack-j helm agency. , 1 Prefers Lease-Type Deals for Video ‘Porgy k Bess' Pic Deal In Works; No Obstacles Louis. B. Mayer arfd longtime Metro director Clarence Brown are interested in filming “Porgy and Bess,” and somewhere in that deal also is indie film producer Stanley Meyer, son-in-law of Universal Pic¬ tures board chairman Nate J. Blum- berg. Meyer and Blevins Davis have been having exploratory talks. It' Is now certain that the Davis- Rohert Breen team, which has toured “Porgy” globally, will be in on the film version of the George & Ira Gershwin-DuBose and Dorothy Heywood folk opera. Meantime, attorney Leonard S. Saxe, representing Ira Gershwin and others, says there is no friction, among any of the estates and/or his client. TV ‘Dramatizes Every Cloud As Film Men Burn Exhibitors, who still aren’t short of gripes against television, now have a new beef—the tv weather forecasts. Seems that, seen through the theatremen’s prejudiced eyes, the tv prognostications put too much of an accent on rainclouds on the horizon. “Just let there be a clpud in the sky, and right away t&e tv boys warn people to be careful, not to drive, to stay home if possible,” noted an exhib. “You keep repeat¬ ing stuff like that, and it can be murder on the theatres and other businesses who depend on people leaving their homes.” ONLY 50% OF HWOOD FEATURES NOW IN TINT For the first time since color was first introduced in films, tinted features dropped in relation to the overall output last year. Breakdown by the Motion Pic¬ ture Assn, of America of films ap¬ proved in 1955 by the Production Code shows that there were 154 color features that year, or 50.5% of the total of 305 pictures that got a seal. In 1954, there were 176 color films (58.1%), representing an industry record. In all prior years since 1948, when color started to become a factor, the tint ratio has been up successively, from 16.8% in ’48 to 23.8% in 1951 to 42.7% In 1953. Swing away from color last year, which will carry into 1956 inas- j (Continued on page 53) 1 By HY HOLLINGER . America’s great postwar boom in automobile drive-in theatres, now numbering around 5,000, is not just a motion picture industry phenom¬ enon. These ozoners are increas¬ ingly combining feature films with live talent. Circus acts, particu¬ larly jugglers, acrobats, clowns and animal acts, if the dogs are not too small, have a special utility to fam- illy-type audiences. Two influences are at work: First, drive-in owners and oper¬ ators are frequently newcomers to showbiz without prejudice and will¬ ing to try any combination of coftie- ori elements; second, a new gener¬ ation of Americans has grown up without knowing vaude-film combo policy and respond to what is, for them, entertainment novelty. Drive-ins extensively use kiddie rides, fireworks, balloons, snow cones, hot dogs and other 'accou¬ trements of a carnival atmosphere. With a longer weather break, drive- ins in the south have had remark¬ able success with popular hillbilly singers. For example, the Moon-Glow Drive-In in Pulaski, Terin., has spe¬ cialized in booking hillbilly singers from WSM in Nashville. The “in person” attractions have included Hank Smith, Eddie Hill, the Duke of Paducah, and The Carter Fam¬ ily. These radio personalities help the drivejn trade by advertising their appearance at the ozooer on their radio shows. Furthermore, (Continued on page 18) Oif-B’way Using Ticket Brokers Off-Broadway is^ing big-time, with ticket distribution through a Broadway broker. Leblang’s, one of the top ticket agencies, is taking the lead in peddling the off-Broad- way ducats. Working jointly with the recent¬ ly formed Off-Broad way Assn., Le¬ blang’s is handling off-the-Stem ducats, at a fee of 50c per ticket (plu§ tax), half the rate for Broad¬ way shows. A plan is also being formulated for the agency to serve as a central off-Broadway clearing office for other brokerage outfits. . The idea is for each off-Broad¬ way production to allot about a dozen tickets to Leblang's to cover any brokerage call. In line with the off-the-Stem service, Leblang’s is devoting one of its office walls to a display on the productions being offered outside the Times Square area. Besides the brokerage angle, the off-Broadway Assn, is also, nego¬ tiating for a network tv show, to. comprise interviews and excerpts from off-the-Stem productiorts. An- (Continued on page 53) -+ Actively considering deals for n j , vi I Wit, the* sale or rental of its backlog toward to narrate WltH Of old films to television, Metro— !/■ _i ir A„_L „i r n - MA/n ’ n which feels it has the creatn of IiOSty UrCfl at tameijie tbe a u_ti m e gtfeat theatrical films Noel (toward will make his only —has placed an “evaluation” of live appearance in N. Y. this sea- $110)000f00 o on all its pre-1948 son at, of all Places, c *™ e f e pictures. This includes. 800 silent when he appearsasnarratorwith gj about 1000 sound features, the N. Y. Philharmonic under An- d approxi mately 1,100 sound dre Kostelanetz on April 7. Cow- " “i, in non onn will vAPit* cnmp cnpHal verses sh ° rtS ' The . $110,000,000 tag en- dre Kostelanetz on April 7. Cow- ^ ard will recite some special verses f 0 ^ sse T s h t he $ “offie rishts to which Ogden Nash wrote for. Saint-Saens’ “Carnival of the Ani- in. 2 r?2htf h thMl male ” The work was recorded bv *^ a *y rights, remake rights, thea- mais. ±ne wont was recoraea uy f , r :« hf - 5 ififn Hahis n VP , Kosty and Coward about five years ago, but this is their first live per¬ formance. Leonid Hambro and „ Jascha trical rights, 16hi rights, live tv rights, vidpix rights, and all for¬ eign rights. Metro is not in favor of an out-. Zayde will be the piano soloists In right sale arrangement but tends the Saint-Saens opus. to prefer a leasing agreement of -_three to six years, after which the rin II tv 1 negatives and rights will again be- 1 ( ilk Dgflk llj^ come the property of the film com- Television sale possibilities have p g ¥ ET If been discussed with Ely LandaUt Vf - lOVriDC ll Y prexy of National Telefilm Asso- Uls •llUHvOj 1 dates, definitely and, it’s believed . that PRJM Inc., the Delaware cor- ||T«|| 1\ . poratiori which recently acquired WllhllV* Knctnn ful1 rights to the -Warner Bros. TT1IUU1, ISUO1U11 pre-1948 backlog for $21,000,000, ' has shown an interest in the M-G Robert Griffith and Harold S. backlog. Prince, co-producers of “Pajama --- Game” and “Damn Yankees,” are Theatre 8 “ % 15 -sTt TV Law-Enforcers Sure ly playing, is owned by the Shu : Fracture Sacred Rights, house, where “Pajama” is current¬ ly playing, is owned by the Shu- berts, but is one of the New York T\ I . IT r lttp » properties they are required to sell liCCwFBS U. Of MllUlCSOtl under the terms of the consent de- Minneapolis March 6 eree ending the Government’s anti- „ Did you M ™ r Te anfone^apply No D U rnDo<?Ad terms are revealed for a search warrant on a television . niS rfnv program? In such police portrayals “ .S 0J ,h C »SEn 'awful safeguards are replaced by is it indicated how much the Shu bl . utal sad i sm . it' s much faster that The beating, the false Beyond confirming that he s work testimony, the tricked confession ing on such a dea , Griffith has standard fare even for the up- declmed to discuss it. Presumably standing i aw . en forcers who aw G ?® r S« Abtatt, who is associated h B t o children.- with -Griffith and* Prince (and Frederick Brisson) in “Pajama” Foregoing is a sample of the blast loosed on the U. of Minne- and “Yankees," would participate sota radio station Ku o M b phI1 in the setup, but thats not con- Gelb formerly of the faculty, who firmed either. Under the terms of the consent conducts a “Critic at Large” pro¬ gram. He contends video fiction decree, the Shuberts have two wr j ters i az n y intent upon dramatic years m which to sell the St. pay0 ^ s totally ignore civil liber- James, after which they would be required to lease either it or the j£ a cr i m i na i ever is allowed to Imperial, N. Y. .(They also have to have a i awyer to defend him, an dispose of the National and two i n } ieren t right in democracy, fic- (Continued on page 63) tionists are apt to picture the at- __^ torney as a shyster trying to get IRON CURTAIN DANCERS ^ REATW NITERV TURN Gelb did not confine his rap to ftMUI PIllMVI lUIVIl tv alone. Films, Mickey Spillane Nora Kovach & Istvan Rabovsky 'novels and other subconscious sab- are prepping an act, with an en- oteurs of precious private rights semble, aimed at niteries as well against torture confessions, self- as the concert circuit. Danny Dan- incriminations, wiretapping, illegal, iels is directing the turn. Dancers search and seizure were men- came into prominence as refugees tioned. “You wouldn t know it from the Iron Curtain, from the stuff the writers write Marcel Ventura will handle the more or less is Gelb s snapper, but act for niteries and theatre. SofeJ a major duty of the FBI is to pro- Hurok books the longhair end. ll tect civil liberties.