Variety (January 1959)

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MISCELLANEOUS Fifty-third Anniversary January 7, 1959 Vet Show Biz Atty.s Savvy Closeup On Showmen Without Showmanship By LOUIS NIZER Since so many showmen express Tl il " * 1 vigorous opinions about legal sub I JflKlllV I IIP AY jects, I venture forth less timidly * ill* 1 1 Ulv to express some opinions about ■ 3Sbb Out of the Tax By LOUIS NIZER Since so many showmen express vigorous opinions about legal sub¬ jects, I venture forth less timidly to express some opinions about showmen. Showman¬ ship is the art of illusion. So it follows, I think, that dis¬ illusionment is anti show¬ manship. And this is my theme. Why are you show¬ men engaged lmIs Nizer in * careful program to disillusion the customer? I begin with an illustration from politics, in which the art of show¬ manship called “public relations” is so vital. We used to believe that the President when he made a speech, 'spoke his otan words. It did not matter that the knowledge¬ able insider knew who his writers were. Their anonymity was guard¬ ed out of respect "for the Presi¬ dent’s integrity. He must not be made out to be a dummy merely issuing words which others, have conceived. The phrase "ghost writer” was significant in itself. It meant that the writer had no indentity. He was a disembodied spirit, unseen and unknown. Sure¬ ly 175,000,000 Americans .who looked up to their President wanted to hear his thoughts, his words, and not those of someone who h^d, never been on the ballot. So eveii when the President adopt(Continued on page 62) Getting to LA. In the Old Days Via Air-Rail Way By MILTON M. RAISON Hollywood. There was a time when Nunnally Johnson and I were men of. whim, ! as well as whimsy; when we were robust, stalwart, daring and usu¬ ally wrong about everything — that is, everything important. Now, when I look at a motion picture and see that Johnson Is not only the producer and the writer — and he achieved that al¬ most immediately — but the direc¬ tor as well, I am reminded of his first visit to Hollywood and the Machiavellian contortions at this fling at filmic fame. -I must take you back to the (Continued on page 60) ffikmrr Trade Mark Registered : FOUNDED 1995 by SIME SILVERMAN ' Published Weekly by VARIETY, INC. i Syd Silverman, President \ 154 W. 46th St. New York 36, N. Y. J JUdson 2-2700 ; Hollywood 28 6404 Sunset Boulevard Hollywood 9-1141 j Washington 4 | 1202 National Press Building I STerling 3-5445 j Chicago 11 612 No. Michigan Ave. DElaware 7-4934 London WC2 8 St. Martin’s PL, Trafalgar Sq. COVenf Garden 0135 , SUBSCRIPTION Annual $15 Foreign $16 Single Copies _ 35 Cents ABEL GREEN, Editor Vnl TVTrt it By J. S. SEIDMAN, C.P.A. The going in show business is plenty tough these days, and Uncle Sam’s income' taxes aren’t helping to make It easier. On the contrary, [ the income tax setup is such as a rule people in show business have to shell out more tax on their earn¬ ings than people in the audience making the same amout of money. This comes about because income taxes are figured on a year-to-year basis and are determined by mountearner comes out swell under this arrangements because he is in about the same bracket each year. However, in show business the earnings can be., fa* in one year j and lean in others. The tax brack¬ ets run Tip in fhe fat year without any relief of recognition that there were lean years. A bit of arithmetic will illustrate the point. Suppose a producer (un¬ married) has struggled for six years trying fo get a hit show with no luck. He does , not make a dol¬ lar in aU this period. Finally, in ; thi seventh year a show clicks. He; earns in that year $210,000. Of this I he has to pay $165,000 in income taxes, leaving him with $45,000 for the seven-year hitch. • y Now, let’s take the case of John Q. Executive who has made 'the same $210,000 in the same sevenyear period, but who has made it by a salary of $30,000 a year. His tax is $13,200 a year, or $9.2,000 for the seven years. That leaves him with $118,000 for the seven years, whereas our producer friend was left whith only $45,000. In other Words, the producer by ven¬ turing and risking has come off $73,000 behind the eight-hall com¬ pared with the executive who has played it safe and relied on a steady income from year to year. What is true of the producer is (Continued on page 60) Film Trade in Greece: Local Leasing at Peak But Problems Continue By IRENE VEUSSARIOU Athens. • Greece’s unique scenery and bright atmosphere is ideal for good lensing. Another asset is the cheap local labor which cuts down pro¬ duction costs a lot. There is no lack of a good studio or laboratory any more with the Alpha Studios now in operation. Its hall for sound re¬ cording is one of the biggest in the world. Carl Foreman will shoot in this country next Spring some outdoors 1 scenes of his forthcoming producl tion “The Guns of Navarone” for Columbia release. Raoul Levy production bas^d on an Italian bestseller, which was' supposed to be lensed in Greece, will probably he shot . elsewhere for fear it would wound Greek pride and create troubles with local authorities. Story has Greek girls in friendly relations with Italian soldiers during the occupation. Greek-Soviet negotiations are progressing for a cd-production of Homer’s classic "Iliad.” Greek pro¬ ducer-director Georges. ZerVos has visited Moscow anew.' Serenity Productions, headed by Greek-American executives, just completed its first film, “Serenity” based on a novel by Elia Venezis and directed by Georges Macropoulos. Cast includes Norma Valdi, V. Virilli, Athena .* Michaelidou and many other local actors. . | - Local Production | Local production is at its peak reaching the 60 mark of features, produced or in the planning. Tight¬ nessof cash , and lack of good equipment by most producers and especially lack of well trained tech¬ nical staff and talent are the main handicaps to. quality production. Local producers" continually com¬ plain of lack of government sup¬ port and high taxes. A lot of fuss was created on this matter in the Greek Parliament, the opposition arguing that imports should fee cut down (especially Yank pix) to sup¬ port Greek production. There are signs that Greek producers -will be granted some benefits. More than 506 pictures have been, imported this season. Yank releases continue to leqd» the pack with a (Continued on page 60) TO MORE THINGS CHANGE....’ The late Sir Charles B. Cochran, in a memorable excerpt culled from his memoirs, borrowed from the French for his auto¬ biographical title, “Plus ca change, plus la meme chose” It’s as true in this jet age of show business, as it was more than a decade ago when the great London showman detailed how and why “the more it changes, the more it remains the same.” The increasingly fast movement of communications has influ¬ enced show business in like manner. In actuality, Show Biz, with characterise enterprise and tradition, anticipates things perhaps faster than any other mass medium. Post-midcentury global entertainment values are so highly attuned to jet age communication that it would seem as if the • International Geophysical Year was geared to the electronic era of Show Biz. Almost with the same rapidity of interconti¬ nental ballistic missies and earth satellites so fast has the American brand of entertainment traveled that no part of the world today is without its American show business influences. Show Biz has traveled far beyond the export market for Hollywood film .entertainment. Television, vidpix, in-person bookings on British and other overseas networks of Yank com¬ modities are standard. Music, which traditionally knows no boundaries, has long seen the evolution of mass-production, home-entertainment appliances that have traveled from 78 to 45 to 33 rpm, and now into stereo and ultimately tape. Bob Hope makes a telemission to Moscow and with the same facility Ed Sullivan does a one-nighter on the Caribou Circuit in Alaska. Video stars, gravitate between the British and U. S. airwaves with almost the speed of the latest Atlas launching from Cape Canaveral. As the American population and global audiences Increase, the whole world is truly an electronic stage for Show Biz, and appar¬ ently the American brand continues dominant. If feature films on home telescreens usurp the impact of the former American family habit of “going to -the movies,” there are still sufficiently rich rewards for cinematic entertainment tl) with the block¬ busters and (2) the continuing $2,000,000,000 global boxoffice. At an average , rental of 25% that’s Still a gigantic $500,000,000 yield for .Hollywood from the overseas markets. The astounding impact that the American brand of video entertainment has made in Great Britain, and elsewhere, in the past two years is a concrete sample of what sponsored homo entertainment can achieve for Yank showmen and show busi¬ ness. De-colonization has eclipsed the once proud observation about the sun never setting on the British Empire but global syndication, in combination with electronic forms of transmis¬ sion, only makes it truer that the sun never sets on the American brand of entertainment. Show business is show business whether under a crude tent, off the back of a medicine showman’s wagon, on a makeshift podium, or in its plusher environs. Only today there is more of it. It may depress one aspect but it has boomed In other direc¬ tions. The more it changes the more It remains the same. Only bigger, and better, and to broader audiences. The Bard’s nifty of more than 350 years ago was never truer than today— all the world’s a stage, and the American techniques are supreme. The By -Liners In This Issue (Regular Staffers and Correspondents Omitted) Lord Archibald ........ 7 Ned Armstrong . . : . 262 Sir Michael Balcon . . 178 Robert Baral. . 263 Bill Barker . 38 Ralph Bellamy Burton Benjamin Harald A Bowden Kay Campbell . Eddie Cantor . . Les Carpenter . Liz Carpenter . Carroll Carroll Louis G. Cowan Matthew J, Culligan Bill Davidson _ Howard Dietz .... Sam Cook Digges Vernon Duke .... Nid Ember . . INDEX Foreign . 175 Legit . 258 Music . . . 210 Obits . 290 Pictures . . ' 5 Radio . ’. . . 87 ' Television . . . 87 Vaude . . . 241 DAILY VARIETY (Published in Hollywood by Daily Variety, Ltd.> $15 a Year $20 Foreign Morris L. Ernst N. V. Eswar Don Frifield Rube Goldberg Herb Golden . . . Erick Gorrick .. Lester Gottlieb . George Gould . . 92 Peter Gradenwltt 259 Gerald Pratley . . 43 213 Mitchell * Grayson . 98 Theodore Pratt _ :. . . 34 97 Nate Gross . . 38 Roger Price . 99 Hazel Guild . 176 Henry* Rahmel . . . . . 89 . .46 Nathan L. Halpern 95 Milton M. Raison . 4 7 Oscar Hammerstein 2d . . 211 Robert Reinhart . 266 262 Henry Hart . 15 Earl Rettig . 90 178 Arthur Hull Hayes . 93 ’ Dick Richards . . 177 263 Robert F. Hawkins ...... 3 Hubbell Robinson Jr. . . . 90 Burnet Hershey . 212 John Roeburt . . . 26 38 Harry Hershfield . 7 W. C. (Dub) Rogers _ 96 215 David M. Jampel . 175 Harry Ruby . 17 176 George Jessel . . 13 Norman B. Bydge . 177 98 Eric Johnston . ; . . . . 5 William Saroyan . 5 26 Milt Josefsberg . 7 Robert Savdek . 91 258 Irving B. Kahn . 97 Dore Schary . . . 262 18 Hal Kanter . . 16 Dave Schoenbrun . 91 95 Jake Keever . 102 Stuart Schulberg . 11 208 Walter Kingsley . 103 A1 Schwartz . . . 10 94 Arthur Kober . 12 Sherwood Schwartz . . . . . 99 17 Bennet H. Korn . 102 Frank Scully . 46 5 Sam Kurtzman . . . 6 J. S. Seidman . . 4 3 Lawrence Langner . 3 Maxwell Shane . 24 261 Louis Lasco . . . 43 Henry Sherek . 176 88 Jerome Lawrence . 33 Michael Sillerman . .96 12 Bob Leder . 96 John L. Sinn . 99 50 Robert E. Lee . 33 H, Allen Smith . . .”. . 28 11 Irving R. Levine . 34 Harry Sdsnik . . 97 215 Robert F. Lewine . 93 Sam Stark . . 42 243 Goddard Lieberson ...... 211 Caskie Stinnett . . . 6 94* Emil Maass . . . 177 Sam’l Steinman . 214 101 Ted Mack . . 101 Al Stillman . til 261 Horace S. Manges . 42 Hannen Swaffer . 262 102 Edward Mangum . . 259 Maxwell Sweeney 43 25 ^Vlannie Manheim . . 89 Samuel W. Tannenbaum . . 14 S6 George R. Marek . 210 Fred Thrower Jr . 96 28 George Marton _ _ _ _ _ _ 13 . Dimitri Tiomkin ... _ 212 178 Arthur L. Mayer . . . 10 Oliver Treyz . 90 • 18 Benny Meroff . . . 245 Ernest Turnbull . 177 12 George Mezoefi . . 9 Leon Uris .: . 17 Elick Moll . . . 14 Gerard Willem van Loon . 39 15 Thomas W.. Moore . . 99 Irene Velissariou . . . . 4 94 A1 Morgan . 26 Jerry Wald . 42 178 Gene Moskowitz ....... 177 Stanley Walker . 24 87 Dudley Nichols _ _ _ • . 8 Glenn Wallichs . ; . 213 38 Louis Nizer . 4 . Herman G. Weinberg ... 11 241 Elliott Nugent . . . 259 Robert M. Weitman 89 10 Robert J. O’Donnell . . . 16 Philip Wittenberg . . 25 Ido ‘ George S. Oppenheimer. 87 /Randy Wood . . . f 2i3 9 Wilfrid Pelletier . 175 C Lawrence L. Wynn ..... 91 88 Lily Polls . . 176 ■ Maurice 2olotow . :& 93 Jim Powers ... _ .... 3 JeSse £orusmer . ^ . . 92 Customer Antics The Real "Show’ In Rome Nitelife Rome. The Rome nitery belt has this past year come5 in for its share on notoriety, mainly via a series of incidents which have thrown the international spotlight on the noc¬ turnal doings in the Eternal City. Most notorious of these is per¬ haps the unexpected striptease performed at a private party in a Rome boite by a Turkish dancer, but other after-dark activity in the form of ‘fancy fights between w.k, customers, or between them and newsmen and/or photographers, as well as a drug scandal or two, have helped complete thelocal picture. Some of these happenings have resulted in the closing of the clubs iqvolved and the public or police censuring of the persons concerned. Rarely if ever has a nitery act, as such, provoked a shuttering Or similar incident. The real “show” — the true “draw’ of many Roman boites — are the customers. One of the “Rome By Nights” tour$, for example, minces no words in sell¬ ing one of the night clubs to be visited on the strength of its being “frequented by the offsprings of the Roman patricians as well as by the international celebrities and movie stars.” Show-wise, .Roman night clubs are limited by stringent regula¬ tions and proximity to the Vati¬ can and with few exceptions, such as some orchestras and singers, they do not draw customers on the strength of the presentation. The Italian seeks his spicy5 shows else¬ where, as in Paris, Hamburg, and so on, hence the double-shock im¬ pact of the above-mentioned, semi( Continued on page 58)