3 years ago



BOXOFFICE BAROMETER This chart records the performance of current attractions in the opening week of their first runs in the 20 key cities checked. Pictures with fewer than five engagements ore not listed. As new runs ore reported, ratings ore added and overages revised. Computation is in terms of percentage in relation to normal grosses as determined by the theatre managers. With 100 per cent as "normal," the figures show the gross rating above or below that mark. < >

CHESTER FRIEDMAN EDITOR OXOfFIG HUGH E. FRAZE Associate Editor SECTION PRACTICAL IDEAS FOR SELLI NG SEATS BY PRACTICAL SHOWMEN Theatre Staff Exploits Films To Build December Business Howard Young, manager of the Rialto in Peoria, III., used a variation of the staff-week idea by enliiting the services of the theatre employes in group action to exploit coming attractions. With the slogan, "Get into the act," Young divided the employes into three teams of cashiers, ushers and candy girls, and offered a prize to winners of the most outstanding Howard Young group. As an added incentive the entire staff was invited to a party at the conclusion of the "drive." The cashiers selected the first week during December for their pitch. To promote "The Turning Point." they had the art classes in the local high school make bumper signs and then got permission to place them on police patroled cars. Another stunt they used was to carry chalk with them wherever they went, writing the theatre message on sidewallcs and crosswalks. In promoting "Encore," they built a dummy figure of a diving girl and set it up on a diving board perched atop the upright theatre sign. Suspended vertically from the board was a rope sign spelling out the title of the picture. Pennants were strung from the roof to the marquee and spotlights were trained on the display after dusk. To cash in on the arty nature of the film, the girls made up posters and had them displayed at Bradley university. They enlisted the help of the theatre stagehand for this deal, and except for $5 to pay for painting and materials, promoted everything else at no cost as their part of the "act." The ushers drew the second week and dressed themselves as pirates to ballyhoo "Yankee Buccaneer." Thus attu-ed, they circulated in the downtown shopping district, displaying signs they had made up themselves. The theatre budget was not affected by this promotion since the boys suppUed the materials and did all the work themselves. For the third week, the candy girls took their turn with "Bloodhounds of Broadway." Unable to locate any real bloodhounds in town, they got five mongrels and led them through the streets, displaying a sign, "Just a bunch of hound dawgs on our way to see 'Bloodhounds of Broadway' at the Rialto." The enterprising young ladies crashed the Santa Claus parade with the barking dogs, getting the theatre message before 40.000 spectators. According to Young, this stunt brought in top business, far beyond his expectations. The cii-cuit ad director, asked to select the winning team, decided on a tie between the cashiers and the candy girls and awarded equal prizes to both teams. Young reports that having members of the staff take an active part in promoting the theatre attractions has done loads to stimulate interest in their work and has created a better relationship between employer and employe. Promotion Potpourri By Tony Masella Is Feast Tor Birds' Take a bunch of small ideas, mix them together and combine them, and you get a sizable campaign for selling "Something for the Birds." That system worked out well for Tony Masella, manager of the Palace, Meriden, Conn., and it could work in scores of other situations. Masella put out window and counter cards in about 100 locations. Theatre employes placed stick-ons in car windows and on entrance doors to shops along the main stem. Trucks covering a wide area around Meriden displayed eight-foot banners advertising the theatre dales and newsboys wore aprons lettered with picture and theatre copy. During their lunch hours, ushers rubberstamped grocery bags in leading markets. Doilies imprinted with an ad cut and theatre signature were supplied to better restaurants: streamers announcing a concoction designated as "something for the birds" were placed in soda fountains, and special exchange heralds with a co-op ad on the back were distributed house to house. Masella got permission from the pohce department to post placards at downtown intersections with copy, "Drive Carefully So You May Live to See, etc., etc." Lucky numbered cards were handed out to pedestrians with a theatre message and a lucky number gimmick, gaining free tickets for about 50 people. Bumper strips, newspaper co-op ads, window displays, a Santa Claus street ballyhoo and a newspaper contest got extra publicity as did a tieup with the Red blood bank. Shaded of Ljedteruear With Christmas and New Year's day falling on Thursday, office business in tlie big city tooli a four-day holiday. leaving most of the building in Rockefeller Center deserted except for those few with work to attend. Down below in the streets, thousands of city folk and visitors from the hinterlands are impatiently strung along the street in lines waiting to enter the Music Hall, the Paramount, Roxy, Capitol and the other Broadway houses to see the holiday attractions. It is a reminder of the days when we shared the excitement of early morning openings during the holiday school recess and joined the throngs of kids who stormed the neighborhood theatres. As chairman of the AMPA Christmas party last week, we had the pleasure of introducing, among the personalities on the dais, Boris Karloff. While introducing the popular star and recounting A^=x?S::H:::S^i^?S\ his achievements in the entertainment world, we suddenly were reminded that our destinies had been for a moment linked together. This fledgling manager was trying to establish himself as an exploitation man at the Regent Theatre in Harlem during the holiday season of 1931. Our show consisted of a film titled "Frankenstein," with a cast of virtually unknowns. Every available space of the lobby was covered with display pieces as gruesome as we could make them. Blinking eyes protruded from the horrible masklike head of the "monster" created by the mythical Dr. Frankenstein. For two weeks we hopefully advertised that the doors would open for this attraction at 9:30 a. m. By the time we arrived at the theatre that fateful morning of January 2, a good hour early, a couple of thousand eager customers were lined up around the corner. Hundreds more were arriving in a steady stream. It had snowed during the night and the snow suddenly changed to a cold driving rain. With one thought in mind—to escape the weather—the whole crowd surged under the marquee. (Continued on next page) =5? BOXOFFICE Showmandiser : : January 3, 1953 — 1 — 25