Variety (January 1914)

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VARIETY 13 GRAVE CRISIS IMPENDING IN K & E-BIO QRAPH DEAL Factions in Combination Expected to Lock Horns Over Control at Meeting Scheduled for This Week. Internal frictions among the several heads of the Klaw & Erlanger Bio- graph company had reached a pass Wednesday that presaged a disruption of the original combination before the week is out. This seems inevitable. J. J. Kennedy, of the parent organi- zation, and the K. & £. contingents are slated to hold a meeting during the week to decide once for all which side i.« boss of the combination. From the very outset of the coali- tion differences of judgment have caused small and large dissensions. The original combination felt that the new element they had let in wanted loo much head for beginners in a field that the original crowd still regards as a complex business. Numerous directors' meetings called lo conciliate and readjust growing and successive differences, but served to bank the fires without quenching them. The K. & £. faction, it was felt by the elder body, looked with a superior air upon the judgment of the original ele- ments. All during the selection of the big list of multiples made and stored by the combination, disagree'ments arose as to things to be done and where, when and how. The meeting listed for this week is designed to bring to the directors' table all the cards openly held and se- cretly hidden of both factions, and thereby to get a frank showdown for both sides and a straight even course for the coalition for the future. SAWYER'S PLANS. Arthur H. Sawyer, recently seceded from Kinemacolor, announces his di- rection of the Ranger Film Co., a com- bination shortly to offer in America a number of multiple hushranging Aus- tralian dramas. The details of three other companies, in which the former business manager of Kin has purchased interests, will be announced next week. O. P. TAKING IN FEATURES. The General Film Co. is looking for icature films in the open market and stands ready to look over anything that may be presented to it. If a picture meets with its approval it will go so far as to repay the owner the original production cost and give him 50 per cent, of the profits accru- ing from a general distribution of the 'eels. The G. F. has figures to show that by this arrangement the owner ol a good picture can realize more money than by wildcatting or selling Mate rights. SLAVER FILMS WANING. The big interest aroused in the red light films at the outset of their ap- pearance in several forms on P,road- way recently is fast abating. The at- tendance at Weber's, the Republic and the Bijou, where the patchouli and ki- mona screen plays are the lures for the morbid, has already fallen away markedly. Kinemacolor is a prospect at the Bijou, the present home of one of the haymarket films after this week. The Kin films, now at the Park are to remain there indefinitely, pending the Supreme Court decision as to the morals of "The Inside of the White Slave Traffic" pictures that abruptly closed that house to them. M. P. WAR CORRESPONDENTS. H. E. Aitken, President of the Mut- ual Film Corp'n put over a big beat on his syndicate contemporaries in signing up Gen. Pancho Villa of the Mexican insurgent forces for the rights to take movies at the front in all en- gagement of the army with the Feder- als, also all reconnoitering, forays, and other war tactics. CENSOR LAW'S FATE. Cincinnati, Jan. 7. The fate of the moving picture cen- sorship law will be decided at Cleve- land in a few days, according to Federal Judge John W. Warrington, of this city. U. S. Judge Warrington, and Judge Day, of Cleveland, and Judge Killits, of Toledo, recently heard argu- ments in the case. If the law is knocked out, the state will have to return $8,000 it has collected from film companies for censoring their stuff. Even the salaries of the censors may have to be refunded. VITAGRAPH MAKING READY. Despite any official announcement, the Vitagraph Co. is making ready to take over the Criterion theatre as a permanent home for the exhibition of its feature films—and the date set for its taking possession is not far off. It is understood the first feature has al- ready been decided upon, i. e., "Mr. Barnes of New York." If "Young Wisdom" holds up in its receipts at the time decided upon for turning the house over to the picture company, the attraction will be moved to another metropolitan playhouse. SCREEN CLUR DISCIPLINES. Maurice Costello and John Slevin were temporarily suspended from ac- tive membership in the Screen Club this week by the board of directors, who found them guilty of infraction of the club's rules for the maintenance of decorum. Several New York dailies carried stories during the week of split fac- tions of the fast growing Screen Club due to different opinions of the proper way to dance the tango. The squab- ble is to come up next week before a tcrpsichorean arbitration board headed by Arthur Leslie, who doesn't dance. If you don't advertlne In VARIETY, don't advertl** at all. SINGER TAKES FIRM GRASP. (Continued from page 3.) somehow or other no one excepting Mr. Singer seemed to possess either *the nerve or ability to apply it. The news of the Singer appointment was received by the small army of ten percenters with about as much enthusi- asm as one would hear a death sen- tence, since the opinion prevails Singer does not look favorably on the "open door" policy now in vogue. His initial move brought a carpenter to yank down the wire railing surrounding the artists' assembly room which suggests Singer prefers to do business with the artist direct whenever the opportunity offers itself. He next transformed Kerry Meagher's office into a ladies' re- ception room, moving the booking manager into one of the inner private offices. The loss of Coney Holmes, who goes to Philadelphia for the U. B. O., provided room for Harry Robinson on the 11th floor, while Jake Elias was sentenced to the floor below with a private office. Apparently approaching the situation with a pinch of wisdom, Dave Beehler (who generally has an ace in the hole while the 20th century is running) pull- ed out for New York Sunday, which fact strengthens the belief that the ten percenters do not feel any too secure. . Beehler's move was announced as a search for material, but the timely stage setting has a significance of its own. Those in the know foresee in the Singer appointment the eventual re- tirement of C. E. Kohl from active participation in the management of the routine work of the "Association" and it is thought that once Mr. Singer becomes familiar with his new work, Mr. Kohl will devote his time ex- clusively to matters that naturally re- quire his attention as managing di- rector. The year "13" will not be missed by the "Association," since it witnessed the inauguration of a brand new op- position in the J. L. & S. office, not to mention the nasty wallop delivered by the U. B. O., which, although affiliated and very friendly, doesn't lessen the strain on the "Association's" expense packet. By next season it looks as though Humphrey will be stronger in a booking way than the "Association" proper and one might come to the con- clusion that once the United has gob- bled up its share of the mid-west ter- ritory, the booking will be transferred to New York, although the present lineup can be more handily taken rare of from this end. The Keefe Agency. Sullivan-Consi- dine, Cox and the Pant ages office have rll prospered and the advances made by the J. T,. & S. outfit have been too r-ften proclaimed to repeat. The Williard announcement carries nothing surprising over the decision of Tones. T,inick 8t Schaeffer to substitute rirtures for vaudeville. The Williard Ml behind its previous vear's mark and the Wilson hasn't broken any records. It would not surprise the vaudeville populace to hear Aaron Jones had de- cided to give the north side populace pictures in place of vaudeville despite that the Wilson has a corner on the amusement field in its own particular section. Poor shows (and it is hard to have to admit this when one naturally favors opposition of any kind) brought about the death of the Williard as a variety theatre. The booking depart- ment of the Jones, Linick & Schaeffer tirm is so far behind the business de- partment it will never catch up. The outlying theatres have been sadly neg- lected, the shows at times resembling the work of an amateur. However, tht Arm's "loop" properties are turning over profits by the bucketful without helping the big time houses to any extent. One of the most important orders issued by the newly-arranged adminis- tration of the "Association" has direct effect upon several of the employees of the office. It is no one connected with the W. V. M. A. on a salary basis shall own any stock or interest in any vaudeville theatre in Chicago, This rule was issued by Chas. E. Kohl and Mort Singer to eliminate any pos^ sibility of an agent favoring his own interests in the way of booking, in preference to those of the outside clients of the office. Several of the book men have specu- lated in the small timers, and at the present time own stock in one or two local houses. This will have to be dis- posed of immediately, or the W. V. M. A. will lose the services of its pos- sessor, according to those who issued the order. The Kedzie, Lincoln and Bryn Mawr theatres are partly owned by "Association" employees, the two former playing vaudeville with the Bryn Mawr offering pictures. A trans- fer of the stock will probably be effected in order to comply with the new regulation. Mort Singer and Judge Trude re- turned to Chicago Tuesday morning, having spent but one day in the east, rt has been practically settled that the John Simons office will dissolve as soon as its pending business is settled. This move, actuated by the many man- agers booking in the office, has been looked forward to for some time. The Simons office has several hundred acts listed, and many complaints have been filed against it; but no definite action ever taken, although a few months ago Managing Director Kohl sent out a guarded announcement that Simons would suspend business. It is under- stood the move was made at the request of the directors and approved by Messrs. Kohl and Singer. A new department to handle feature films will also be added to the W. V. M. A. The "Association" is now hand- ling the output of the Universal, show- ing the Vernon Castle tango dance, and the success with this reel led Mr. Kohl to believe a film department would be a successful innovation. It has been settled that Kerry Mca- kher will be provided with an assistant to supervise the floor and employees, Meagher having entire charge of the booking department. At the same time, an assistant for Ethel Robinson, wh<> has charge of tin- fair department, will be selected, this being the time of year when fairs and parks come in foj their share of attention.