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Brief Review of 1952

Brief Review of 1952 Events in Texas Film Industry DALLAS—Nin'een hundred and fifty-two was a year of great effort and action "above and beyond the call of duty" in all phases of the motion picture industry in Texas. It is impossible to give an accurate appraisal of all that has happened in Texas within the limitations of the space available here, nor is i„ impossible to spotlight accurately the importance of the varied happenings and thei-e are some newsworthy events which may not have been recorded at all, due to the problems of communication and the great size of the state. We have not recorded countless meetings held by exhibitors with their congressmen and senators in behalf of the 20 per cent tax repeal campaign. More than 17.'5 speaking engagements were filled by the Texas COMPO before civic clubs throughout the state in behalf of the repeal campaign and industry goodwill. William McCraw, chairman of the speaker's bureau; Bill O'Donnell, Wallace Walthall, the late L. M. Rice, Duke Clark and many others have given generously of their time and talents in this great public relations effort. We mention only a few of the numerous theatre openings. Remodeling of theatres was undertaken by a host of exhibitors in their efforts to revitalize and keep up to date for the benefit of their patrons. Merchandising of pictures took thousands of man-hours on the part of the more than 1,800 theatres in the state, and there were many noteworthy results, but we mention only a few, principally star appearances. Texas COMPO efforts through bulletins, surveys, and in making public statements on important issues such as the TV 16mm suit, were notable in their results, but have not been recorded here. JANUARY Howard Bland, Rowley partner and exhibitor in Taylor, Texas died. The Dallas Variety Club held its inauguration of officers for 1952. C. A. Dolsen became the chief barker. Henry Sorenson opened the new building and offices of Modern Theatre Equipment Co. on Jackson street with a formal reception attended by many outstate equipment men and important exhibitor guests. Ezell & Associates held its fourth annual managers convention at Gaido's restaurant in Galveston. Dan Gould and Bobby Bixler staged a Hollywood-style premiere in Fort Worth of "My Favorite Spy" as the result of a prize winning letter from that city. Claude Ezell and other exhibitor leaders made plans to pinch-hit for Jack Houlihan, branch manager of Republic, in view of long hospitalization plaiLs deemed necessary for his recovery. Members of the Variety Club of Dallas Boys Ranch football team were presented sweaters and trophies at a dinner. Jack Ver.ser, Interstate city manager in Weslaco was named "Man of '51." Cecil B. DeMille visited friends in Dallas, and held press interviews in connection with "The Greatest Show on Earth". C. B. "Connie" Dreher, joined Capitol Pictures as manager. FEBRUARY In a unique speaking engagement for W. C. McGraw arranged in Corpus Christi, chicken-box luncheons were served to civic leaders as they entered the theatre and Mc- Karl Hoblitzelle, at left, exhibitor and philanthropist, received two citations during the year, one from the Conference of Christians and Jews Brotherhood movement and the other from the Sons of the American Revolution. R. I. Payne, right, of the large Theatre Enterprises circuit, was elected a director of the Gonzales Warm Springs Polio Foundation. Graw spoke from the stage. A screening followed. Variety Club of Houston held inauguration banquet honoring John Rowley for his great efforts the previous two years as chief barker. Harvey Hill and other labor officers for Local 249 at Dallas were installed. Jimmy Stewart arrived in Dallas with Bill Gerard of U-I publicizing "Bend of the River" and "The Greatest Show in Earth". Texas COMPO announced the first Texas COMPO conference would be held in Dallas Duke Clark, nationally known Dallas distribution executive, retired as division manager after many years with Paramount and immediately took on an industry goodwill task; namely, southwest representative for COMPO. June 9-11. A portrait of Ela Hockaday. founder of the Hockaday School for Girls was unveiled and dedicated in impressive ceremony at the Coronet Theatre. The Twin Ranch Drive-In, at Victoria, opened Robert J. O'Donnell was announced as the Exhibitor of the Year by Look magazine. MARCH Ed Laird returns to United Artists as manager. Texas premier for "Viva Zapata" held at the Palace Theatre in McAUen. Karl Hoblitzelle was presented International Brotherhood citation by Eric Johnston in banquet at the Barker hotel. Variety Club of Dallas holds farewell dinner honoring Duke Clark. Karl HobUtzelle hosts a luncheon as farewell to Duke Clark and welcome to Al Kane, retiring and newly appointed Paramount division manager. Chas. E. Darden & Co. celebrates 12th anniversary. Regional meeting of National Ass'n of Popcorn Mfgrs. was held in the Adolphus hotel presided over by Chas. E. Darden, Wallace Walthall returned from Shawnee where he appeared with "Birth of a Nation". Texas COMPO announced Top Manager of the Year Project. Sam Landrum, vice-president and general manager Jefferson Amusement Co., ran for mayor of University Park. "Skipper" Cherry headed Red drive on Filmrow. Duke Clark makes .several speaking engagements for Texa.s COMPO in New Mexico. Mrs. Poag, exhibitor in Del Rio literally brought the drive-in to the Country Club for a much talked of Texas COMPO speaking engagement made by L. M. Rice. APRIL Eight hundred—seat capitol, Palacious, desstroyed by fire. At well-attended Dallas Variety weekend golf toiu-nament, Bobby Bixler came off with first prize, and Louis Charninsky was awarded the R. J. O'Donnell plaque. Easter sunrise services were held in many 56 BOXOFFICE January 3, 1953

drive-in theatres throughout the state, notably the Jacksboro at Fort Worth. Gulf at Corpus Christi. Winkler, Irvington and Hempstead. Houston; Fi'edericksburg road, San Antonio: Surf. Port Arthur, and the Charro, Brownsville. Ronald V. Martin was elected president of the Texas Motor Express and Film Carriers Ass'n. The Majestic in Dallas celebrated its 31st anniversary with R. J. O'Donnell serving as emcee and featuring stars Rory Calhoun and Robert Mitchum. Karl Hoblitzelle addressed the full house. More than 25 members of Dallas Variety Club left the city to attend the International Variety convention in Las Vegas. Fire destroyed the 800-seat Arcadia in Ranger. The 900-car twin Palm Drive-In at Corpus Christi was opened. Humphrey Bogart with his newly won Oscar toured the state for "The African Queen." The performing elephant from the Gainesville community circus was on hand at the Melba Theatre for the opening of "The Greatest Show on Earth". Marc Wolf, International chief barker, stopped in Dallas on his way to Theatre Owners of Oklahoma and Variety Club inauguration. Twin Ranch Drive-In, Victoria, was opened. Harry McWilliams, Columbia exploiteer, came from New York to arrange appearances for Aldo Ray throughout the state in promotion of "The Marrying Kind". MAY "Mon" Kearley broke attendance records in public relations effort around second anniversary celebration of Canyon Drive-In at Snyder. Al Reynolds addressed the Aikansas TOA convention in Little Rock. The Variety Club of Houston officially opened its new Boys Club before an impressive array of film people and civic dignitaries. Karl Hoblitzelle was presented the Good Citizenship award of the Sons of the American Revolution at the annual convention in Houston. More than 50 secretaries and phone operators attended the first meeting of girls along Dallas row, meeting at Town and Country. W. C. McCraw was their guest speaker. Tal Richards, Wichita Falls exhibitor, died. B. R. McLendon, owner and operator of Tri-state Theatres, purchased radio station KLEE in Houston and changed the call letters to KLBS. Tower Pictures opened its 17th anniversary sales drive, honoring Harold Schwarz. Esther Williams toured Texas for "Skirts Ahoy!" JUNE Charles E. Darden & Co. and Associated Popcorn Distributors merged to form Associated Popcorn Distributors. Dallas Variety Club meeting lauds Texas COMPO conferenence and announces Cotton Bowl project July 4, 5. The Variety Club of Dallas revealed R. J. O'Donnell had turned over his profits and rights to "Tembo" to the Variety Foundation. "Tembo" was being released by RKO. Receiving nationwide interest and attention, executives from all over the country arrived to participate in the Texas COMPO conference. All circuits held their managers meetings on the 9th, along with Allied and TOA meetings. The first gathering toward the formation of Texas Drive-In Theatre Owners Association was held. On 11th, the gathering honored John Rosenfield jr. at the luncheon. The climax came with the testimonial ban- Charles E. Darden, left, who built up his Chas. E. Darden & C'o popcorn supply company into a leading position in its field, made a new step forward during 19.52, merging his firm with A.ssociated Popcorn Distributors. At right, Claude Ezell, leading drive-in circuit operator in Texas, helped organize the Drive-In Theatre Ass'n of Texas. quet honoring R. J. O'Donnell and Col. H. A. Cole for their efforts as co-chairman of Texas COMPO. More than 600 members and guests visited the Dallas Variety Boys Ranch at the annual barbecue. The King Center Twin Drive-In was opened in Houston. The composite mat idea originated by Don Douglas and Texas COMPO was put into use by MGM. JULY Harry Gould, manager of the Palace in Fort Worth, retires after nearly 50 years in show business. Texas COMPO organizes state efforts in COMPO tax fight. More than 50,000 see the Variety carnival in the Cotton Bowl. Betti Pearson made press and radio interviews throughout the state in behalf of Universal's "Has Anybody Seen My Gal". Texas COMPO celebrates first Anniversary. Texas Drive-In Theatre Owners Ass'n holds first formal meeting, electing Claude Ezell, president. L. M. Rice, film attorney and director of Variety, was killed in an automobile-train collision. R. J. O'Donnell and Col H. A. Cole, speaking for Texas COMPO, made quick denunciations of the government 16mm suit against distributors. Suzan Ball, Universal starlet, arrived for the showing of "Untamed Frontier." Claude E. Lindsey, booker at Warner Bros., died after a heart attack. Mike Todd and Joe Putaturo, Panama businessman, visited the Dallas area and Ezell & Associates made final preparations for the opening of a large drive-in, the first to be built in Central America. Kyle Rorex, executive director of Texas COMPO, appeared on TV with Jane Lynn, Adrain model and starlet in "Lovely to Look At." Herman Beiersdorf purchased the franchise for Texas from Lippert. AUGUST Horace Falls opened the Palls Theatre Booking Service. H. L. "Buck" Lewis was killed in an automobile accident near Brownsville. Harvey Hill and many other labor leaders from Dallas were in attendance at the interbiennial convention of lATSE in Minneapolis. Col. H. A. Cole had been invited to speak on the tax effort. George Murphy spoke to more than 3,500 Legionnaires at the 4th annual state convention of the American Legion in Dallas. Exhibitor leaders addressed film salesmen and supervisors at meeting in the Tower Theatre prior to canvassing the state for national and Texas COMPO. The Dallas Variety Club Turtle week carnival was celebrated with a big array of talent. H. K. Carrington, Nationwide Pictures, was in Waco laying plans for shooting a 12-minute film showing the history and contemporary attractions in that city. Lew Bray left Interstate to take over five houses in the Valley purchased from them. The Academy Theatre in Houston was opened to play Academy award films. Frank E. Stinespring, secretary-treasurer of Film Transfer Co., died after a heart attack. SEPTEMBER Exhibitors throughout the state ran the Joan Crawford trailer in an appeal on collection of funds for the Gonzales Warm Springs foundation. Harry Lawson, south Texas representative for Associated Popcorn Distributors, was killed in a head-on collision near Houston. R. J. O'Donnell addressed exhibitors and congressmen and senators of South Dakota at the Governors day banquet in Huron. Dallas Variety Club held its annual Boys Ranch Turtle derby. Delores Del Rio received the highest Neiman-Marcus Fashion award. Clifton E. Adair, founder and president of Liberty Film Lines, died in a McKinney hospital after a short illness. Jerry Wald arrived to arrange for the premiere of "The Lusty Men." The stars scheduled for the premiere were Robert Mitchum, Arthur Hunnicutt and Arthur Kennedy. Get Out the Vote campaign was initiated for the theatres of Texas by Texas COMPO. Big screen television was installed in the Metropolitan Theatre in Houston. Jack Underwood, Columbia manager, was notified that he was one of three winners in the "^ " " ' (Continued on next page) BOXOFFICE :: January 3, 1953 6&-A