Boxoffice-October.04.1952

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Colorado Drive-In Circuit

Sues Wolfbergs and UA

DP:NVER— Kar-Vue Theatres. Inc.,

headed

by Lem Lee. operatliiK four drlve-lns In

Colorado, filed .suit In U.S. district court Ihl.s

week a-skhiK for $100,000 damage.s under the

antltru.st act. to be tripled If won. against

United Arti.st.s and theatre companies headed

by Harris and John WolfberR. father and .son.

The WolfberR.s operate .six theatres In Denver.

Including the Parumoinit and Broadway, both

first runs, and four drive-Ins.

Lee claims he has been unable to buy a

proper run of United Artists films for tht

Monaco Drive-In here. Lee .says United

Artists refuses to sell them second run. which

means first run as far as drive-ins is concerned,

and Is selling this run to the Wolfberg

drivc-ins and he Is unable to get the films

until a week later.

The Wolfbergs were awarded $300,000

damages from RKO. Loew's and 20th Century-

Fox recently, and have on file another suit

asking over a million dollars in damages

against the same companies.

Motion Picture Academy

Adds 18 New Members

HOLLYWOOD—By vote of the board of

governors. 18 new members have been added

to the roster of the Academy of Motion

Picture Arts and Sciences. They include:

Actors—Philip Sudano. Directors—Henry

Levin. Executives—Evelyn Lane. Producers

—Hall Bartlett. Members-at-large—James

Paris. Arthur Gardner. Yale Gracey. Jules

V. Levy. William C. Park. Associates—Sidney

Barton. George Carillon. Herman Citron. Tony

Duquette. Samuel Gray. Frances Inglis. Ralph

Nelson. John J. Parker. Paul Small.

Additionally. Mervin Houser and Martin

Lewis were reinstated as members of the

public relations branch, and Harry Keller was

shifted from the film editors to the directors

classification.

First Commercial Use

Of Vistascope Device

HOLLYWOOD—The first commercial use

of the Vistascope device, owned jointly by

Sol Lesser and Paramount, was made in connection

with the lensing of several scenes in

Revue Productions' TV subject "Mona Lisa."

The gadget permits the u.se. with live action.

of photographs for motion picture foreground

settings.

• * •

All officers of the Alliance of Television

Film Producers, against which the Screen

Writers Guild launched a strike some weeks

ago. have been reelected. Remaining in office

are Maurice Unger, president; William F.

Broidy. vice-president; Basil Grille, treasurer,

and Richard Morley, secretary.

New Mexico Chain Signs

NEW YORK—Albuquerque Exhibitors has

contracted with the RCA Service Co. for

scheduled and emergeiicy calls and sound

parts replacement plan covering its ten New

Mexico theatres, Francis A. Pelosa, general

manager of the chain, signed the contract.

The theatres covered are the State. Sunshine,

Kimo. Yucca. Lobo. Highland. Chief. Rio,

Cactus Drive-In and 66 Drive-In.

iNDOUBTEDLY the most exciting and

Ill

lil significant news to confront Hollywood

—and probably the rest of the motion

picture Industry— in many months was the

intelligence that Howard Hughes had disposed

of his controlling interest In RKO

Radio to a syndicate headed by Ralph Stolkln,

Chicago Industrialist.

While Stolkin is entirely a newcomer to

the business of making and distributing

films, his phenomenally successful activities

in other fields of endeavor appears Irrefutable

indication that he can and will

be comparably impressive In the motion picture

trade.

As concerns the company itself, no one

will gainsay that there is vast oppportunity

for improvement of its of>erations, most

especially those that pertain to the studio.

From almost any viewpoint the Gower street

film plant has been in a state of confusion

and uncertainty ever since the day Hughes

assumed control, and which had attained a

crescendo during recent months. Such circumstances

are no reflection upon either

the productional savvy or the business acumen

of headman Hughes. The impressive

records established by some of the pictures

he independently made before his purchase

of RKO are inescapable testimony to the

former, while his wide and varied industrial

empire establishes the latter beyond possibility

of argument.

The studio's troubles— and they were manifold—undoubtedly

stemmed from the fact

that Hughes had so many other interests

that he found it physically impossible to

devote the necessary time to operating the

celluloid factory, and that he apparently was

unwilling to delegate complete authority to

anyone else.

Resultantly. production activity had slowed

down to the pace of a paralytic snail.

Further, the morale and the public relations

of the organization—or those of the

entire industry, for that matter—certainly

did not benefit from the parade of luridly

publicized litigation in which the studio was

constantly involved during the Hughes tenure.

Witness; The action lodged against

scenarist Paul Jarrico. and the writer's suit

against Hughes and RKO Radio, after his

name had been removed from the credits on

"Macao" because Jarrico had been subpoenaed

as a so-called "unfriendly" witness in the

house un-American Activities Committee's

probe of asserted Communist infiltration of

the film industry, and the more recent lawsuit,

decided in her favor, wherein actress

Jean Simmons sought a ruling that she was

not bound by an alleged oral agreement

calling for her services on a multiple picture

contract.

As is always the case under such circumstances,

the transfer of ownership started

Cinemania's rumor mill working on a threeshift,

around-the-clock basis. The railbirds

have conjecturally projected virtually every

possible top-bra.ss name as being in line to

head RKO's future filmmaking program,

among them Darryl F. Zanuck. Louis B.

Mayer, David O. Selznick, Henry Ginsberg,

etc. At this writing, however, none of the

guc.s.ses .seem.s to have transcended the tealeaf

status, and the new ownership haa remained

significantly and discreetly silent on

this Important detail.

It would be neither surprising nor Illogical

If the studio chieftain turns out to b« someone

already on the lot: to wit, Jerry Wald.

He, with his then-partner, Norman Kra.sna,

affiliated them.selves with the Hughes team

In August 1930. At that time Wald and

Kra.sna were loudly and widely heralded as

the knights In shining armor who would

rescue already floundering RKO from the

morass of too-Uttle and too-weak product In

which the studio even then was sinking. It

was announced ambitiously they would devote

their proven filmmaking talents to the rtianufacture

of 12 high-budget pictures annually,

for a period of five years, on an over-all

budget of $60,000,000. But. hamstrung by the

studio's over-all tempo and because they

obviously didn't see eye-to-eye with Hughes,

the duo. over a period of slightly more than

two years, turned out only four features.

Last May. Wald and Krasna .severed their

partnership, and Krasna checked out to de-

Vote full time to the writing of a play which

is scheduled to be produced on Broadway

next year. Wald stayed on at RKO to complete

pictures already in the works, while so

engaged, news of his possible continued

association with Hughes was very much of

an on-again-off-again nature. Most recent,

and undoubtedly authentic, report, wa.< that

he was to ankle the organization as of the

end of this month.

Stolkin could do worse than to give .serious

consideration to keeping Wald on the job.

Despite its generally moribund atmosphere,

there ore other spots in RKO's skeletonized

organization that remained basically sound

and effective. One such is the publicity

department, headed by Perry Lieber. Considering

what they had to work with, praise

pundit Perry and his deleted staff have

done an outstanding and praiseworthy job in

garnering for RKO. its pictures and its people

more than their just share of press and

public attention.

So. Stolkin has taken upon himself a

studio and an organization which has plenty

of latent power. The apphcation thereto of

some of the same solid, sensible business

principles and modus operandi that Stolkin

has manifested in his various other ventures

can and undoubtedly will rewin for RKO its

esteemed place in the community of major

motion picture producers.

THAT'S TOO BAD DEPARTMENT

(George Lait Division)

To hand from Columbia, a release informing

that Designer Jean Louis, delving into

Egyptian history to find what Cleopatra wore

when she first met Julius Caesar, discovered

she was "attired in a diaphanous skirt and

was bare from the midriff up."

However, the Laitian communique continues,

"Rhonda Fleming's costume for her

initial scene in 'Serpent of the Nile' will be

completely

different."

BOXOFFICE October 4. 1952 51

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