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Columbia Its Shorts

Columbia Its Shorts Projects Most Important Program A 'McBoing Boing' Sequel Among 118 Subjects Lined Up for 1952-53 Columbia is projecting the most ambitious short subjects program in its history —a total of 118 subjects for the 1952-53 season. The lineup includes a number of continued series, new and reissue comedies, and the cartoons in Technicolor, all of which add up to 27 two-reelers, 87 one-reelers including 27 cartoons, and four serials. Dozen Releases From PA At the top of the list go the dozen releases compounded on the drawing boards of United Productions of America, creator of "Gerald McBoing Boing." And on this year's expanded schedule there is another "hot" item, the second Gerald cartoon. "Gerald McBoing Boing's Symphony," the sequel, shows the little noise-making boy at work as the one man sound effects department of a radio station. By calling attention to its Academy Award winning predecessor, the new film, backed by the same sort of advertising, promotion and publicity campaign given the original, can make a similar or better record at the boxoffice. The newly published "Gerald McBoing Boing" comic book and the hard-cover volume of the same title are definite pre-selling aides. The continuing and growing success of UFA cartoons has created a steady 'rise in the number of releases. Of the 12 on the 1952-53 list, six star Mr. Magoo, who has cracked the top rank of cartoon characters. Five others join the new "Gerald" in the Jolly Frolics group. Among the latter is "Madeline," based on Ludwig Bemelmans' children's book classic. The book publishers, Simon & .Schulsler, and local book stores are alerted to cooperate with exhibitors in tie-in campaigns. Columbia has already held special screenings of this subject for educators and librarians, who have expressed hope that local theatres will advertise the showing to inform children and adults who have been told about the short. Three Stooges in Eight Films For laughs, the Three Stooges will be hack in eight two-reelers. Jules White, who produces the Stooge comedies, also will turn out six more two-reelers, under the All-Star banner, starring Andy (Hyde, Joe Besser, Wally Vernon and Fddie Quillan. Along with the old standbys, there is a new series in Columbia's (jiie-reel program. 'Animal Cavalcade," devoted to showing the training and performances of top animal acts, is narrated by radio-TV comedy It's the Follow Through That's Important in Selling Shorts by MAURICE GRAD Short Subjects Sales Manager, Columbia Pictures Corp. Today, more than ever before "Follow Through" in our industry', just as with the golfer who fervently hopes one day to turn in a score in the 70s, is absolutely essential in order to accomplish the desired result. He cannot, as the pro so correctly emphasizes, stop his concern with the ball at the moment of impact, but must see to it that the whole body continues in the same motion with which it began so that he can receive the full benefit of all his weight and all the strength at his command. This is just as true in business as it is in sport. But what about our own industry? Do we "follow through," or do we sometimes let our picture play without any help from a merchandising point of view? Too often the latter is what happens in the case of shorts and serials. And it is in this very field that the exhibitor should exert greater effort, for it is often through these films that a weak engagement can be built into a profitable one. 1 am reminded particularly of one exhibitor with whom I spoke on my recent trip around the country". He had booked our "Cavalcade of Broadway" reel featuring Johnnie Ray, which was produced just as that young singer hit the peak of his popularity. Not content to sit back satisfied with the usual "also selected short subjects" line, he star Morey Amsterdam. Maurice Grad included Johnnie Kay copy in his newspaper advertising and posted paper in his lobby well in advance of playdate. The result? He told me that although the feature picture was one on which he expected only moderate business, his gross for the engagement was well above the average for the liouse. An exceptional case? I think not. for this is the kind of merchandising so vitally needed to see us through a period of declining grosses. Naturally the job of merchandising isn't one to be carried by the exhibitor alone. Here at Columbia we have always held the position that selling film to the public requires the best efforts of both the distributor and of the exhibitor; and kve have always planned our releases and our campaigns with this thought in mind. We believe merchandising begins with the selection of the story material and the production of that story, not with the sale of a can of film. And we try our best to continue our share of the merchandising right through production and into release. The UPA cartoons are going to receive the same nationwide effort we have always There will be eight of the animal shorts on the first year's program. World of Sports, with out-front and behind-the-scenes action in all sports, will have 12 entries, with Bill Stern again handling the narration. There will be six of the Allan Fuiit Candid Microphone subjects and 12 of the hardy ])erennial, Ralph Staub's Screen Snapshots, now in its 32nd year and the oldest shorts series going. This year's schedule is headed by "Hollywood Fun Festival," starring Martin and Lewis. A number of past successes are being rereleased. There will be 12 two-reel comedies, evenly divided among the Assorted and Comedy Favorites series. These feature Hugh Herbert, Vera Vague, Buster Keaton, I.con Errol, Una Merkel. Billy Gilbert. Success of the cartoon rereleases. Color Favorites, has upped the number of subjects in Technicolor from 12 to 15. Featured in this series will be the "Fox and the given them in the past. Many of you saw the layout in Life on one of the UP.\ Jolly Frolics cartoons, "Rooty Toot Toot." This was a sample of the sort of publicity we are always seeking for our shorts —and the kind we hope to get for more of them. In particular, there are two reecnt UPA releases of which you will be hearing more in the coming weeks, "^^adeline" and "Gerald McBoing Boing's Symphony." "Madeline" went into national release Thanksgiving day, but before that we had arranged with the book publishers to alert all of their outlets to the release, paving the way for extensive book shop tieups for exhibitors; and screenings were held for educators and librarians across the country. The second Gerald is now in prerelease here in New York, and promotion and merchandising is well under way. Screenings are being held for every important magazine and newspaper, layouts are being worked out, and every effort is being extended to make this a worthy successor to the first Gerald. But that is only our part of the job. The most important part comes when the exhibitor books the subject and begins his own campaign. .\11 of the pressbooks, posters, mats, publicity in the world do no good if patrons don't know what the short is about and were it is plaving. A public-wise veteran of our industry once said, "Tell 'em and you can sell 'em." But you have to tell them first. That's what follow-through will do. Crow." There will be eight Thrills o;| Music rereleases, featuring popular bands men Jerry Wald, Ray McKinley and Raij Anthony. Retail record outlets and loca radio disk jockeys can be brought into pro motion campaigns for these one-reelers. Columbia also will make available eigU one-reel shorts of various classes in its neM Topnotcher series and is continuing availability of such 1951-.52 subjects a| the two-reeler in Technicolor, "A Day Witl the FBI" and the six classical Music t

's ; lolMmj I j • : December 1 kings ik Plsl. Booh Tu ! little Rascals' Series Still Going Strong. As Allied Artists Leader in Short Subjects WOODY WOODPECKER 'ff'nU. The Nation's Number One Laugh Bird Announces a new series mm IS of cartoons leie ii \i romolira 4i oullete anB ''- le ilioit is aid is Steve Broidy Farina, Dickie Moore, Jackie Cooper, now a stage and < V star, was ot this stage in his career when he appeared in the Our Gang comedies now being released as the Little Rascals With him is Forino, one of the most popular of the kid actors of that day. papn, laiEs M oH m As ihey have been doing since Steve Broidy. Allied Artists president, acquired the one- and two-reel Travel Shorts Again beiif esleils a »ottky