Variety (March 1956)

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MISCEIXA.W PfaMETY Wexln^sdgy, March 7, 1956 Paris Nightclubs, Nudes Ready For Annual Trek of Coin-Laden Yanks By GENE MOSKOWITZ Baris, March 6. Though freezing temperatures still abound here, and the shut¬ tered Bal Tabarin nitery may be turned into a temporary, hostel for cold derelicts, night club entre¬ preneurs are beginning to get ready for that yearly gold rush—which means the tourists. In spite of be¬ low zero weather, the nudes are getting under and goosepimples arc being fought off as the lines get ready to pop the orbs of a new wave of U. S. oglers, expected by the Bureau Du Tourism to be the biggest since the war. Actually it is the big plush nit- teries which get the brunt of the visitors, who do not have too much time while the smaller and offbeat spots get those insistent on local color. Hence, they too are prepar¬ ing shows to entice the free-spend¬ ing Yank. The fact that highpriced Paris has been getting the tourists for shorter stays, as they move to countries costing less, forces the niteries here to offer something that will get the shorttermers at least once, there will be plenty of nightlife, as usual, and there will be something for every taste as the City of Light gets ready to put the bite on the folding .green reserved for night. The Bal Tabarin, despite previ¬ ous announcements by the Lido Syndicate, financed by the Clerico Bros, and Jean Bauchet (run by Pierre-Louis Guerin and Rene Fra- day), is not set to reopen at this moment. The bfi? of the Lido and Moulin Rouge, plus its Cinerama operation at the Empire Theatre, has this group loathe to open an¬ other big nitery which may com¬ pete with its other operations. Move Toward Bigscale Niteries The Lido Syndicate is sharing the move towards bigscale niteries with Nahcat Martini, owner of three fleshpots in Pigalle, opening the Robinson Moulin Rouge as a big revue house right next door to the original Moulin Rouge. Rene Bardy, owner of the Pigalle nudie spot, Eve, now is reopening his lush La Nouvelle Eve after 15 months of shuttering. Relights in March with a $345,000 floor show called “Les Amours D’Eve.” Al¬ though prices will be stiff, it may rival the Lido In opulence and mounting. Bardy has collected a chorus line from all over the world, headed by U. S. terper-looker Mar¬ got Myers. Eve, smaller than the Lido, will still have Its stiff $3 •cover plus $6 minimum over the Lido $6 minimum only. Nitery prices will be steep but clippo practices can be guarded against by tourist watchfulness. That second bottle of grape does not have to be taken even if it is (Continued on page 61) Can You Top This? Milano, March 6. Magnesia San Pelligrinp has hit a new high for advertising bad taste with magazine ads widely published in Italy. Copy pictures^,Jehovah, the ancient .figure for God, urging 1 , the reader to “purge yourseif” (with the laxative) and'hdding: “Thus, if you obey my com¬ mandments, spiritual and physical, you will have both health of soul and body.” Miami Cops Check Lavender Clubs Miami, March 6. Spurred on by an expose series in the Miami Daily News, law en¬ forcement agencies in this city are again applying harassing tactics to clubs which cater to the “guys- who’d-be-dolls” set flourishing in height-of-season numbers at their favorite rendezvous. ^Spotlighted are spots which were r^id^d during a cleanup campaign on the lavender lads in 1954. Of the group, chief targets are Club Benni, Circus Bar and Club,Echo on the Beach and several small downtown Miami bar-lounges. The first three feature .entertainment stressing the offbeat,^pseudo chi¬ chi lyric chanters and femme im¬ personators. Initial polices, round¬ up of 15 men found four being fined a total of $900. All were picked up hanging around public parks and terminals. The clubs, however, are being visited regularly by police to keep operators toeing, ordinances forbid¬ ding femme-impersonators from performing. To get around the law, the deviates garb themselves in male clothing but wear hairdos and makeup to look like femmes. To date, there have been no arrests of any performers working the cafes listed. All have trimmed their acts to conform with regu¬ lations, carefully avoiding the ob¬ vious approach. ' Red Buttons Booked For N. Y. Copa Date in A^ril Red Buttons will make his first N Y. nitery stand in some years, opening at the Copacabana April 5. His last local turn was at the de¬ funct Riviera, Ft: Lee. N.J. Comic played the Beachcomber, Miami Beach, earlier this season. Tony Bennett, Larry Storch and the Four Coins open the Copa next Thursday (15). Skouras Wants to Visit Russia; Applied For Visa After Geneva Sp.vros P. Skouras, 20th-Fox president, filed a request for a visa to visit Russia last summer, following the Geneva conference, it’s learned. If it hasn’t come through so far it’s either because, with the clouding up of the international* political atmosphere, Skouras until recently didn’t press for it, or because the Soviets sim¬ ply are taking plenty of time. Skouras, an indefatigable trav¬ eler, wants to visit the Soviet Union and may do so in the late summer or early Fall. One of the slated reasons is that he wants to act as a CinemaScope salesman in the as yet untapped Soviet mar¬ ket. Inevitably, too, there is specu¬ lation that the 20th topper may huddle with Soviet officials on the possible sale of Hollywood pix to Russia. On the first point, it’s recalled that the Russians apparently have come up with their own squeeze- lens system and have made several shorts with it. They are now work 1 mg' on the first feature pix. Ac¬ cording to Nicola Napoli, Artkino prexy, following his return from (Continued on page 62) [‘WE’RE NOT PEASANTS, MY DEAR!’] Palm Beach, March 6, • Currently in its fifth winter season,,the plush, smallseat Play¬ house here remains a unique stock operation. It’s a dual showcase for established hits and the latest, fashions. The management takes care of the former and the audience supplies the latter. Every performance looks like an opening night on Broadway. The ticket-holders arc well-heeled and show it. The standard garb is black ties for the men, while the women sport Dior gowns, Tif¬ fany jewels and Maximilian furs. It’s a situation where all that glitters is gold. . Run by Paul Crabtree, who doubles as producer-director and sometimes performs himself, the Playhouse operates on a star basis. According to Crabtree, the spot is topping past seasons. It’s been in the black since its third year and now has a seasonal subscription sale that covers more than 50%. of the house. The star roster at the location has been quite impressive this season, with the lineup including Helen Hayes (“Glass Menagerie” and “The Circle”), Eva LeGalliene (“Corn Is Green”), Tallulah Bankhead (“Streetcar Named Desire”), Janet Blair and Lee Bow¬ man (“Bell, Book and Candle”) and Gypsy Rose Lee (“Twentieth Century”). Beatrice Lillie and Fred Keating are at the Playhouse currently • In a new edition of “An Evening with Beatrice Lillie,” while up¬ coming are Billie Burke in “Solid Gold Cadillac” and Judith Anderson in “Black Chiffon.” Another two shows are still to be announced and it’s probable that the usual 10-week season will be stretched an additional stanza. OUR FAVORITE WAR U Reissuing 1948 ‘Tap Roots’ In Backwash of ’61-’65 CELEBRITY SISTERS The Celebrity Club, Philadelphia, will get a couple of sisters ii/ as many weeks. Gypsy Rose Lee has been signed for that spot for a week ending April 7„ and June Havoc follows in April 13. London Doctors Double As West End Producers, But Under Pseudonyms 'London, March 6. Two London doctors who are going into West End legit man¬ agement are unable to reveal their identity because of the rules of the British Medical Assn.- Violation might cause withdrawal of their right to practice medicine, since the medical group forbids its mem¬ bers to publicize themselves. The two physicians use the firm name of K. G. G, Productions. They are operl<ing under the individual (Continued on page 62) PfiiilfrY i Subscription Order Form Enclosed find check for $ ™ i TT A r One Year Please send VARIETY for ij> wo y ears To (Please Print Name) Street City. . Zone.... State. Regular Subscription Rates One Year—$10.00 Two Years—$18.00 Canada and Foreign—$-1 Additional Per Year PTatmfr inc. 154 West 45th Street New York 34, N. Y. Renewed interest in all aspects of the ’Civil War period as evi¬ denced by the publication of nov¬ els, biographies and histories of the period “as well as plans to con¬ vert some of the properties to films —notably “Andersonville” — has prompted Universal to reissue “Tap Roots,” a Civil War drama originally released by the com¬ pany in 1948. The film stars Su¬ san Hayward and Van Heflin. The picture, in Technicolor, Is scheduled for reissuance in May. It will be preceded, however, by a pre-release saturation booking in the Atlanta territory. According to present plans, Universal will give the picture a new film treatment in relation to the publicity and ex¬ ploitation effort. A new press book and advertising campaign is being prepared. For double feature territories, “Tap Rodts” will be teamed with “Kansas Raiders,” originally re¬ leased in 1950. Latter was selected because of the present popularity of Audie Murphy and Tony Curtis, both, of whom % have roles in’ “Raiders.” Murphy emerged into prominence again recently as a re¬ sult of the click of his film auto? biography, “To Hell and Back,” In which he‘ starred. Newsreels Yen Color & Widescreen But Deadline Plus Cost Chill Use Saturday’s New Kid* Des Moines, March 6. A century-old custom ended' last weekend when the 49 re¬ tail stores in the East Des Moines business district dis¬ continued Saturday night open¬ ings, in favor of Friday night openings. Action followed a poll of more than 4,000 shop¬ pers. Conclusion, Saturday night shopping had been outmoded by reason (I) big television programs and '(2) long week- • ends made possible by the five- day work week. - ^ The Eyes Have It Inger Stevens, femme lead in the recent Broadway flop, “Debut,” Is in line for top honors as the actress with the most fascinating eyes. That at¬ tribute was reflected In four of the New York daily news¬ paper reviews on the play. She was labeled “a golden blonde with black eyes” by Brooks At¬ kinson, Times; “a luscious girl with piercing blue eyes” by Walter F. Kerr, Herald Trib¬ une; "a bright-eyed and pretty young newcomer” by Richard Watts Jr., Post, and a “dark¬ eyed, dimpled blonde” by Wil¬ liam Hawkins, World-Tele¬ gram. The actress herself says_ her eyes are blue. Ed!) Of her acting, Atkinson stated, “if Miss Stevens seri¬ ously wants to become a stage actress, it is possible that she will have to forget her beauty, unlearn her mannerisms and start at the beginning again” but Watts, a bachelor, wrote that the actress “went on to achieve a *pers6nal success of gratifying proportions^. Burlesk Films In Short Supply Too As in more orthodox theatres, there’s a product shortage on the burlesque feature film circuit. Sam Cummins of Jewel Produc¬ tions', who distributes such prod¬ uct and exhibits them, too, at his Pix Theatre in Washington, says the customer^ (“We have a nice, steady clientele”) are beginning to complain about the many repeat showings. There aren’t many burlesque houses operating in the country, but even for those that still are, the y product supply is thinning out. One of the problems of these situ¬ ations is th^it the newspapers re¬ fuse to take ads proclaiming the greatness of any particular bur¬ lesque show. Cummins said he had imported a “clean” burlesque film- from France and also intended to shoot several bump-an^-grinders in the east. The French burlesque reelers are in color, and they have the advantage of “name!’ performers, such as Lili St. Cyr. “There’s no stripping in the pictures we bring in,” said Cummins, “but they go for the names anyway.” The American newsreels, strug¬ gling hard to keep their heads above water, are straight jacketed into their present format ■ by in¬ dustry economics. Newsreel editors agree that the reels would get a big shot in the arm if they could switch to color and CinemaScOpe. Both appear to be impossible for a long time to come. Tinting the newsreels is out for two good reasons—one is cost, the other is a time factor. With reels being sold below cost, no company is going to Switch to color. “Even if we do, the^^xhibitors probably wouldn’t pay aN^ent more for them,” was one comment. Even if it paid, however, it’d still be tough for the reels to provide color prints in time for normal release. Labs could be speeded up to han¬ dle certain issues, but that involves . an added cost factor and certainly isn’t something that could be done all the time. Why not CinemaScope in black- and-white then? One. of the editors explained it: One third of the ma¬ terial fed to the reels come from outside,' non-staff sources. Film may ^come in from the Abyssinian Government or a freelancer in the Philippines. To. get C’Scope foot¬ age would mean ‘ equipping all these sources with the proper lenses. In some instances it would mean doubling the coverage. “We have only one choice, and that is to equip our staff with Cin¬ emaScope lenses, and to rely ex¬ clusively on these cameramen,” ob¬ served the reel exec. “It wbuld give us extremely limited cover¬ age.” One way out, of course, is formation of a reel pool, with staff¬ ers contributing from all „over. Competitive element stands in the way. Reprise Silvers, Kitt Pix, Originally Given Go-By Minneapolis, March 6. • Phil Silvers’ television click is causing a number of local neigh¬ borhood houses to book the reis¬ sued “Top Banana” which they passed up originally when It was first around a couple years ago. Picture at that time fared poorly during its loop first-run and bag¬ ged few subsequent-run bookings, although the stage show had played a local two-week engagement Jp fairly good business. In the same connections Eartha Kitt’s rise a's a personality has old “New Faces,” originally shunned by the neighborhood houses after a loop first-run .flop, also picking up bookings in the subsepiients on reissue. PURE HASTY PUDDING Harvard’s Annual Undergrad Mu¬ sical Retains All-Male Tradition Cambridge, Mass., March 6. “Love Rides the Rails,” Hasty Pudding Theatrical’s 108th produc¬ tion at Harvard, will open March 14 in Cambridge. It’s described as a musical Interpretation of far¬ cical melodrama^ Victor Ziskin and Varrick Bacon wrote the music. Lyrics are by Jay Cavior and Clark Tyler. Leads are played by Timothy Gates, Paul Haskell, Jonathan Keyes, Charlie MacVeagh, Henry Holmes, John Britton, John Tehan, Bradford Swett, Peter Gaynor, Robert Bick¬ ford and Preston Brown. In keeping with tradition, there are no femmes in the cast. Last fall, plans were underway to upset the 108-year-old tradition by bring¬ ing in girls to take the distaff parts, but after considerable furor, the plan died.