Variety (March 1916)

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MOVING PICTURES 23 PICTURE INDUSTRY NOW AWAITS THE SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST Business Grew Too Fast. Supply Greater Than Demand. Younger Set in Film World Are Passing Old Timers. Out-of-Town Exhibitors Are Pooling Inter- ests With Other Amusements. A showman was discussing "the business" this week. He aired his views on all branches of theatre amusements, dwelling extensively on pictures. He said: "The trouble with the picture business is that it grew too rapidly. As a con- sequence the supply is now greater than the demand, with the inevitable result—the survival of the fittest. The same thing occurred in the legitimate and vaudeville branches and in fact it merely repeats the history of all in- dustries at their inception. "You will note that the original co- terie of film manufacturers are now be- ing passed by the younger set Trae, the old-timers made a lot of money in a very few years, but then they had no Competition, no high-salaried actors or directors and kindred expenses that now makes it an almost prohibitive undertaking. You mark my word, the day of the fancy-priced stars and di- rectors is over, or soon will be. Then the manufacturers will bend their ener- gies toward securing a proper federal censorship enactment that will elimi- nate a considerable amount of graft. By that time the small fry manufac- turer will have been driven to the wall, and then look for a huge amalgama- tion in the film industry." Gus Hill, another showman who has dabbled in pictures, returned to New York a few days ago, after a tour 01 the middle west and New England, in the interests of the new International Circuit, which is perfecting its chain of popular priced theatres. "I find/' he said, "all the amusement caterers out of town are complaining of decreasing receipts. This is espe- cially true of the picture houses, which are suffering from too much opposi- tion. The time is ripe for a pooling of the bigger picture houses in each town, with the local combination and vaudeville interests, and in many in- stances this has already occurred. Let me illustrate. In one good-sized town the managers got together and put all their houses into a pool. There were four theatres. One is now given a high-priced policy for the bigger traveling legitimate and musical comedy attractions, another is given over to vaudeville, the third to pic- tures and the fourth is now dark and its rent paid to keep it so. I came along and proposed it be reopened as a link to our popular-priced circuit, as it would not conflict with the other three, and the proposition was accepted with alacrity. A similar, or equally mutual, working arrangement must be inau- gurated in every town or else the local theatre proprietors will continue to eat each other up." \ EXHIBITORS AT ALBANY. A large delegation of picture ex- hibitors journeyed to Albany last week to protest against the proposed legisla- tion to make more drastic the state law regarding the admission of minors un- accompanied by guardians. Every ex- hibitor from New York City was given $10 by the New York City local of the M. P. E. L. for expenses and the ex- hibitors delegated by the Cinema Club were allowed $15. On the return trip some 30 of the exhibitors got into a discussion on the disadvantages of tying up for specific programs and the exactions of distri- butors in demanding deposits. Before the train arrived at Grand Central de- pot it was informally agreed to wage a sort of guerilla warfare on the pres- ent system, concentrating the fire on one distributor at a time. SHORTENED BY ADDITION. The screen profession is discussing with interest the feat accomplished with "The Unwritten Law/' which the California Co. has "shortened by the addition of two reels." "The Unwritten Law" features Bea- triz Michelena. When the producing company took the first scene they had in mind the turning out of the best product that they know how to make. The story they taught, had been com- pletely told when five reels had been completed. The feature, however, suggested to General Manager Alexander E. Bey- fuss that splendid opportunities had been overlooked in the direction. A revision was decided upon and today the same story is told in seven* reels in such a manner that the time required for its telling actually seems shorter than did the time required for the projection of the original five reels. CHEAPER TO KEEP CLOSED. The poor down-trodden exhibitor, who is being constantly mulcted by the manufacturer and distributor, put one over Monday, in and around the metro- politan district. When the storm manifested huge proportions at noon, a number of the smaller exhibitors knew that business would be bad and neglected to call at the various exchanges and take out their pictures for the day, electing to keep their houses" closed. MABEL NORMAND QUITS. Mabel Normand is reported to have quit the Keystone employ last Saturday. This in spite of an announcement from the Triangle offices that she had signed a new contract with the Keystone com- pany. Miss Normand has confided to some of her friends that she will "never again" appear with the Keystone folks. At the Triangle offices a Variety rep- resentative was referred to the New York Motion Picture Co., but nobody there could give any information on the sub- ject. A phone call to Miss Normand's hotel failed to reach her. Max Hart has had some negotiations with the screen star for her appearance in vaudeville and, though non-committal, said he felt reasonably certain he would be able to reach a definite agreement with her for vaudeville. BRITAIN NEEDS FOREIGN FILM. A meeting of the members of the British film industry which was called in London recently to discuss the re- port that the government contemplated the importation of foreign films. During the discussion it became manifest that such a decision would result in closing down all the picture houses in Great Britain, for the rea- son that England has not the means of manufacturing the raw stock. There are but four firms in the world who, manufacture celluloid base, none oi them located in England. L0CKW00D WITH METRO. Harold Lockwood claims his contract with the American (Mutual) company has been broken, and has signed with the Quality (Metro) Picture Corporation. There may be some litigation over the defection. BEN BLAIR CANNED. On Wednesday the management of the Broadway theatre, New York, de- clined to accept for presentation at that house the Pallas Co. feature, "Ben Blair," scheduled for showing there next week. The reason given was that it wasn't up to the standard of Para- mount service hitherto maintained. Up to Wednesday evening it was not decided what feature would be substi- tuted, the choice being between a Mor- osco picture, "The Code of Marcia Gray" and a return booking of the Famous Players' (Mary Pickford) "Poor Little Peppina," shown there only a fortnight ago. DICK SCHAYER'S NEW JOB. E. Richard Schayer, late press agent for Henry B. Harris, Henry W. Savage, etc., and war correspondent, who has been acting as press agent for the Equitable, resigned this week to accept a similar post with the Clara Kimball Young Film Corp. Sunday Closing in Springfield. Springfield, 111., March 8. In retaliation becausj: they were forced to close their shops on last Sun- day, the butchers of this city caused warrants to be issued for all the mo- tion picture theatre managers on the grounds of a Sabbath violation. CHICAGO FILM NOTES. Chicago, March 8. Every exhibitor in the state of Illi- nois has been notified that the State Con- vention of the Motion Picture Exhib- itors' League of Illinois, Branch No. 2, will be held March 14 (Tuesday) in Room 210, Masonic Temple, at noon. Important matters relative to the Na- tional Convention, to be held in July, are to be discussed. The Oakland Square theatre (Oakland and Drexel boulevards), Chicago, seating 1,600, the newest Ascher house, was opened March 4, the first feature being the Triangle, "Hell's Hinges." The Crawford, Chicago, has been re- constructed and now has a seating capacity of 1,400. It's in the Garfield Park section. The Studebaker, management of Jones- Linick-Schaefer, is back in Chicago's film list, opening March 4 with Para- mount pictures. Since the house was closed, its stage has been rebuilt and a number of changes made around the place. Watterson Rothacker's Industrial Mov- ing Picture Co., Chicago, has started a series of lectures wherein the employes will be benefited. E. H. Spears (chief of the research laboratory) spoke to the camera men Monday. "The Adventures of Kathlyn" (the Se- lig series, rolled into one version) closed its exhibition at the Fine Arts, Chicago, Saturday night, and Manager Frank Cruickshank is now showing war pic- tures, "At the Front With the Germans and Austrians." NEW FILM CO. Wilkes Barre, March a The United States Motion Picture Corporation backed by local capital with James O. Walsh at president and Dan Hart, a former city treasurer of Wilkes Barre, as vice-president, have started work in a newly erected studio here and are making a series of one reel comedies with a company includ- ing Joseph Richmond as director, Yale Boss, William Fables, James Harris, Ruth Elder and Camille Duryea. The company is to make a feature picture with a historic theme with the com- pletion of the present comedy series. KALISKI GOES TO NEW YORK. Springfield, Mass., March $. Joe Kaliski, for the past two years manager of the local Fox house, has been shifted to the New York head- quarters, where he will be connected with the executive staff of the Fox Film Corporation. He is succeeded here by Harry McDonald, for the last two years manager of the Broadway. BROKE ALL RECORDS. Montreal, March 8. The new St. Denis theatre, under the management of H. W. Conover, broke all records when 23,000 people paid ad- missions on Saturday and Sunday, at prices from 10-25.