Variety (September 1957)

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Wednesday, September 4, 1957 Cable Theatre’s Q's and A’s Bartlesville, Okla.; Sept. 3. A lot of questions are being asked about the new cable theatre, _ Closed-circuit type of operation which started ‘rolling here ‘this .~ afternoon (Tues.). Following are some of the answers as supplied by the executives of Video Independent Theatres, which owns and operates the system: Q—How many usbscribers does it take to break even? A-—Between 1,500 and 2,000 in this situation. We don’t expect to see.a penny before the first year of operations, in fact, we'll lose $50,000 the first year. Q—What’s the top potential in the number of subscribers? . A—There are 8,000 homes, 90% of which have ty.. We think. we can get about 3,500 subscribers eventually. (The run started with around Q—How does the American Telephone Co. ‘enter into. all this? A—We contracted: with them to build the system. They then leased it back. to us at a fee of so much per mile for five channels. AT&T maintains the lines up. to the outlet. We service, the ‘customer and © the projection booth. However, there are other ways of doing it, such as. obtaining the right from the phone company ‘to string wires on its poles. We do-not absolutely need the telephone company, but their coopeyation makes it easier. « Q—Can you: show, CineniaScope pictutes? : -A-—-Our projection system automatically and electronically unsqueezes the CinemaScope film. The ‘system was developed by General Precision. — Q—Do you allow organizations, fire-houses, ‘etc. to subscribe? A—Definifely not. We restrict the service to homes, apartments and hotels. Q—Can several exhibitors join in the cable-theatre? ‘A—Yes. Our idea, applying it to Oklahoma City, is to have theatres become partners in a special corporation in the ratio in which their business runs compared to the town’s entire b,o, In Bartlesville, we happen to own all the theatres, which is why the town was ‘picked. Q—Will the cable theatre hurt the regular houses? A—Probably, but not as much as some think. In. any case, the drive-ins also hurt the regular houses. Exhibitors should get into this thing before outsiders get into it. Many. marginal houses are doomed ‘anyway. @—-What’s the rental formula on pictures currently shown. at Bartlesville? A—It remains fo be worked out. We don’t start charging until Oct. 1. The companies are going along with us on an experimental. basis. We will eventually pay for the films we are now showing. Q—is the Telemovie idea feasible on a regional basis? A—That seems a long way off, but it is possible. ~ none Telemovies go on day-and-date with the product in the eatres A—We'll vary that. Some will, while others will go into the , homes before or after the downtown run. Q—Can theatres and Telemovies function side by side? ~wi—We fully expect so. It’s part of our expectation for much . larger distribution revenues, with both media contributing. Young people will continue to go-and outstanding pix will still draw. Perhaps the theatre total will shrink some, r Chayefsky's ‘Bad Pix, Bad Sell . Writer Raps Outdated Selling 1 Selling Methods, Calls For Updated Machinery, FILMGOING' 6 [Aug’s Ist 4 Near $4,000,000 as ‘BV HOME COMFORT Retains Top Nat'l Slot; ‘Pride,’ ‘Silk, ‘Affair, ‘Wonders,’ Eagels’ in Big 6 Bartlesville, Sept. 3. Let there be no ‘doubt about it, | this neat little northeast Oklahoma tewn population 28,006, average annual income $8,000, headquarters of Phillips Petroleum and Cities Service and recipient of three main network channels from Tulsa, likes motion pictures. There jis only one thing people here seem |. to like even more, and that’s home : comfort. : Unfortunately, the two don't ‘go ‘together and that is why Bartles-yille citizens in fair numbers are ‘dropping their drawling western |* nonchalance to cautiously endorse the TeleMovie (TM) cable theatre system whieh. Was launched here today (Tues.) with Warner Bros,’. “Pajama Game” as the first attrac 4 tion, going into the living rooms. The closed. circuit setyp, designed and partly manufactured by Jerrold Electronics, pioneer in this field, <isowned and qperated by pers in town—the Osage and Erroll —fand two drive-ins (the Hilltop and Belle Mead), They are man-|{ Jjaged by Phil Hayes who now has taken charge also of the utlramod em, smartiy designed -Felemovies ‘| studio “theatre” whith is housed {Continued on ontinued on page 1 18) VIT Envisio ’ A Meter Sytem For Sets, Habits ‘ Bartlesville, Okla., Seot. 3. Video Independent cable theatre project here, its subscribers. While this is somewhat out-of step with the original concept, Video prexy Henry. J. Griffing acknowledged that it will be neces Theatres, *|which today (Tues.) launched ie as the conclusion that it must] find a system that ‘will meter both the set use and viewing habits of Aug. Golden Dozen “Around World” (UA). “Pride, Passion” (UA). “Silk Stockings” (M-G). “Affair Remember” (20th) "? Wonders” (Cinerama), “Jeanne Eagels’ (Col). . “Band of Angels” (WB). . “Commandments” (Par) . “Bambi” (BV) (resissue). ‘Hatful of Rain” (20th). 11, “Frankenstein” (WB). . “Loving You” (Par). PRA ME ENE Par’ $ Stymie On Video Independent Theatres Inc., | | which also operates two hardtop|. Bartlesville Deal Paramount refused to make its product available to the Bartlesvillé home toll television runs because the “right” kind of terms couldn’t be reached, according to Paul Raibourn, Par v.p. in charge of ty activities and economic planning.’ He: explained that. the film ‘company handles the product of independent producers and “we are under a sort of trusteeship” to get the maximum terms. Par president Barney Balaban | made it further clear that revenye, and not.the principle, was the motivating factor. He said flatly that Par would sell its pictures to home toll ahead ‘of first-fun theatres if it would be profitable to do so. “T ‘take $30,006 from one rather than Bartlesville demonstrations are being held by Henry S. Griffing, head of Video Independent Theatres. Raibourn said Par Pictures would have Been licensed to this outfit if Griffing had met the ‘‘conditions.” He did not. It. didn’t matter, elther, that Par has 90% ‘control of its own pay-as-you-see would be derelict if I were not to. $20,000. from the other,” he stated. | ’ By DAVE KAUFMAN Hollywood, Sept. 3. Paddy Chayefsky, whose indie ‘company, Carnegie. Productions, is currently: filming . “The . Goddess”, ‘for Columbia, feels that while the film biz creators haye kept up with. the times, the same can’t be said of those who sell fhe product. The writer, here from N, Y. with the “Goddess” unit, believes the. pic biz must streamline and update its selling machinery. “You can’t sell movies liké you used to, You can’t advertise a Pic| ture as ‘for perverts only" and sell ‘the public. You can’t take a picture with one sexy scene and advertise it as a sex picture,” dess.” “Business in. the industry is off said the writ-| er, who screenplayed “The God Houston: Film Unit . To Make Tele Prods ” Hoyston, Sept.. 3. . ‘Formation of Jim Ross Film Productions Inc,, was announced here Lopéz by Jim Ross and George Poftillo, producer of more than 200 films . in ’ Mexico. New company, according to Ross, will produce full length films for television as well as’ industrial, documentary, ‘religious and commercial pix. ‘Ross, prez of the company, is host of “The Late Show” seen here on KGUL-TV, Galveston. LopezPortillo is veepee. in charge of pro-|{/ duction: Name Novins Prez | { as to «arrive at an equitjable formula for paying off the | exact record. of just what films our sary to record individual viewer| tv system, ‘International Telemeter. 20th’s °58 Release Sked; distributors, “We can set up.a metering device| in our booth that will give us an Its production program moving | into gear, 20th-Fox has set 37 films for.its 1958 release sked. Of these, a total of 24 will emanate from the studio itself. The remaining 13 will: come from indie producers. subscribers are looking at,” ‘Griffing said. “We expect to have it installed in a short time. Jerrold Electronics Corp. has done a lot of research on the subject.” Bartlesyille subscribers pay by the month and on a flat-fee basis. (Continued on page 18) ‘Bally-at Bartlesville Thorough selling job is being done here by Video Independent Theatres to enlist subscribers for} 25 low-budgeters from the Regal Films stable. This will give the distributor in excess of 60 releases, ne of the highest such totals in tue company’s history. . the studio will be based on books or stage plays. In: addition to the (24 from 20th itself,. to be made un 24 Self-Made, 13 Indies . In addition, 20th will have some Most of the 37 films coming from | der the supervision of exec pro-. -because of bad pictures.and bad selling methods. Nobody knows. how to selt these days—the exhibi| -tors, the studios don’t know what they're dealing with. They sell pic‘tures like they did years ago, and that doesn’t work today: They should bring in some young: fellows to sell today’s audiences. “The Goddess’ will be a, great Of Intl Telemeter manager of International Telemeter since 1955, has’ béen elected president of the ‘Paramount hometoll .subsidiary. Novins and v.p. ‘Louis A. Novins, y.p, and general. its Telemovie cable theatre. Local paper has been carrying fullpage ried spots extolling the new service. Outfit, .¢ even distributing a special comic book to dramatize. the virtues of the livingroom theatre. town, in the rain. They get stuck ads and the radio-station has car It tells of a family going down-: ducer Buddy Adler, the program ‘includes three from Darryl F. Zanuck, four from Jerry Wald, two. from David O. Selznick and four | from Samuel G. Engel. Of the 37 pix skedded, 35 will be in CinemaScope, one in Cinema —in Todd “AO. Scope 55 and one—‘South. Pacific” ; picture—a classic. . But there ix no ~ assurance it will make money. It ‘should,and I think it will, but I ‘know léss‘about it than the fellows Paul MacNamara returned: to their Coast headquarters over the past weekend after conducting a series. ofdemodstrations: of the pay-as in traffic, can’t find a parking space a and then are told: there’s a halfhour wait to get to.see the film. That makes up dad's mind and he Kath. Fenton-Dormer in distribution. Somebody .has already told me you can’t sell a pic-. ture with a fufieral. scene, but what ‘about the funeral scene if: ‘The Bad. and the Beautiful,’ a wonderful. picture? Nobody knows what. the ‘Market really is any more, and somebody should organize the situation so that they will know, “his is not.a new. thought, but » the glamour is-missing ‘these days. ‘Prideand the Passion’ brings back the old days; Mike Todd’s ‘Around (Continued on. page 28) you-see tv system in New York. Novins, a former Asst. Attorney General ‘of. Massachusetts, joined Par in 1946 as exec assistant: to president Barney Balaban. Since thenhe had served as ‘an officer and director of various ~-Pat subsidiaries. and two years 2g0 was named secretary of the parént corporation. trustee of the American Heritage Foundation and was one of the Freedom Train tour. He’s an exec y-p. and |. originators and organizers of. the | ‘continue fe come, ‘| subscribes to Telemovies. All ads and literature stress that | ‘the cable theatre requires no con tract to sign, no installation charge to Bay ’and ‘no gadgets’ to buy. Accent, too, is on the eomfy dressing af home vs. the need to dress up to go out, and the lack of interrupting commercials. “Despite this campaign, Video: insists that its two regular Bartle | ville houses won’t suffer appreci ably because the young people will ‘To Bally UA O’se Kathleen Fenton-Dormer ‘has been named acting supervisor of United Artists’ ad-pub department ‘for Continental Europe and the Middle East, headquartering in Paris. Mrs. Fenton-Dormer had been exec. secretary to Francis Winikus, Paris-based exec assistant to. UA v.p: Max E. Youngstein. She replaces Ben Halpern, who’s returning. to a new post in the homeoffice ' publicity department. (Varrety’s survey of how principal product fared at the boxoffice the previous month ts not fully national but is based on reports of correspondents in 24 representative key cities over the U.S, and Canada. As such, it usually reflects the strength. boxofficewise of key product but does not pretend either to be an index of total gross or total earnings of any current picture.) ‘eee National boxoffice sweepstakes {in August reflected strong product and much cooler weather for a considerable portion of the month. Some idea of the strength of the {films out in release in shown by the fact that the four strongest pix at the wickets alone grossed nearly $4,000,000 despite the fact that only four weeks of totals are included and that the cinemas in August had no boost from any holidays. a “Around World in 80 Days” (UA), as in July, walked off with top boxoffice honors. It makes three different months that the Mike Todd opus has been champ nationally, according to reports from ‘Varrery correspondents in some 24 key cities. Pic came close to $1,500,000 in the four August weeks. “Pride and Passion,” another United Artists release, copped second place, with ease, It, too, topped the. $1,000,000 mark last month “Silk Stockings” (M-G) finished third, being consistently high in all four weeks. “Affair to Remember” (20th), which started out by placing third one week, failed to hold up as (Continued ‘on ontinued on pase 2 22) No Nixing xing by Studi Studios Of ‘Bartel Run, Sez VIT Prez Griffing Bartlesville, Okla., Sept. 3. None: of the film companies has actually turned down a bid to supply pictures for the Telemovie run ; here, “According to execs of the Video Independent Theatres, which backs the project, only Metro and 20thFox so far have mot agreed to supply product. “With the excep‘tion of these two, we thought we had everyone’e assurance,” said Henry J. Griffing, circuit prexy. Griffing expressed surprise over reports that Paramount wasn’t willing to .allocate films for Bartlesville. “I spoke to Barney Balaban, and he sounded most encouraging,” Griffing noted. As reported in Variety lIast week, Alex Harrison, 20th general sales manager, has decided against making any’ of 20th’s Cinemascope product available to Video. “We'll stick with the theatres,” he said. As currently set up, the cable theatre here requires 26 films per to transmit pix. only. Eventually, other events may be added. CORMAN’S HIGH SCI-FI Claim Recovery of Negative Costs In 12-Week Playoff Hollywood, Sept. 3. Record recoupment of negative costs is claimed for producer Roger Corman’s sci-fi package, “Not of ag | this Earth” and “Attack of the Crab &S | Monsters.” Films, which cost approximately $200,000. to make, were off the nut at the end of 12 weeks of playing time. Combo reportedly is the highest grossing package which Allied Artists has released this year. _ Pix were the 18th and 19th of the 21 Corman has made in the last four years, each of them showing . He's currently working on his 23d, “Viking Women,’ which American-International will releass. —s month, or 312 films a year. Plan is”