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Boxoffice-January.17.1953

includes STUDIO

includes STUDIO PERSONNELITIES Cleffers Columbia ROSS DIMAGGIO is conducting score for "The Lost Posse." Meggers the background Universal-International DOUGLAS SIRK will direct Producer Howard Christie's Technicolor action drama, "Back to God's Country." Options Columbia MARIE WINDSOR was signed to portray o musicol comedy prima donna in the Kothryn Grayson vehicle, "The Grace Moore Story." The Henry Blanke production has Gordon Douglas as the director. Inked for the male lead in "Operation 16-Z" was EDMOND O'BRIEN. The Anson Bond production, to roll next month, has o World War II background. Gene Autry's leading lody in "Saginaw Trail" will be CONNIE MARSHALL. With George Archainbaud megging, the galloper is being produced by Armond Schoefer for the Autry unit. Inked were EUGENE BORDEN and MYRON HEALEY. CECIL KELLAWAY and DOUGLAS FOWLEY were signed for roles in "Cruisin' Down the River," the Technicolor musicol which is being produced by Jonie Tops and megged by Richord Quine. JOHN HODIAK will star with John Derek in Producer Robert Cohn's "Mission Over Korea." The war film will be directed by Fred F. Seors. Lippert Productions Producers Matt Freed and Hugh Mackenzie of Matthugh Productions signed LEW AYRE5, MARJORIE STEELE and SONNY TUFTS for the leads in "No Escape," which rolls next week with Charles Bennett of the megaphone. Metro Title-roler in "The Aftoirs of Dobie Gillis" will be BOBBY VAN. The Arthur Loew jr. production will be megged by Don Weis. Inked to star with Esther Willioms and Tony Martin in "Easy to Love" was JOHN BROMFIELD. Producer Joe Pasternak's Technicolor musical will be megged by Charles Walters. Paramount British actor PETER FINCH will star with Vivien Leigh ond Dono Andrews in "Elephant Walk," Technicolor adventure drome which Producer Irving Asher will put before the cameras on location in Ceylon early next month. Williom Dieterle will direct. Inked for the Pine-Thomas production, "Songaree," was WILLARD PARKER. Toplining Fernando Lamas ond Arlene Dahl, the Technicolor film is being megged by Edward Ludwig. Cost were TOM DRAKE, CHARLES KORVIN and JOHN SUTTON. RKO Radio Howard Christie production, were ROCK HUDSON and BARBARA RUSH. JANE DARWELL joined the cost of "It Happens Every Thursday," the Anton Leader production starring Loretta Young and John Forsythe, which Joseph Pevney is directing. Booked for the romantic mole lead in "Abbott ond Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll ond Mr. Hyde" was CRAIG STEVENS. Charles Lament will direct for Producer Howard Christie. Joining the cost was HELEN WESTCOTT. Warners BURT LANCASTER and VIRGINIA MAYO were set to stor in Producer Somuel Bischoff's "Sulu Seo," which Arthur Lubin will direct. ALINE MAC MAHON will portroy Eddie Cantor's grandmother in "The Eddie Cantor Story." ARTHUR FRANZ and GERALD MOHR were cost in the Keefe Brosselle topliner. Alfred E. Green is megging for Producer Sidney Skolsky. Scripters Allied Artists Producer Ben Schwolb togged EDWARD BERNDS ond ELWOOD ULLMAN to colloborofe on "Loose in London," a new entry in the Bowery Boys series toplining Leo Gorcey ond Huntz Hall. FRANCIS SWANN is developing "Hojji Bobo" os a color entry for production by Walter Wonger. Columbia Inked to adopt "The Infinite Woman," from the novel by Edison Marshall, was ANATOLE DE GRUN- WALD. The costume drama will be produced by Robert Arthur. 20th Century-Fox LEONARD PRASKINS and BARNEY SLATER ore teamed on the screenplay of "Be Prepared," a comedy based on a book by R. E. Cochron, which Leonard Goldstein will produce. Warners WILLIAM ARCHIBALD, British playwright, wos inked by Producer-Director Alfred Hitchcock to work on "The Bramble Bush." Story Buys ARTHUR HUNNICUTT was set for one of the TeclllliCallV starring roles with Robert Ryan in Producer Edmund I Grainger's "Arizona Outpost." Universal-International Set for leods in "Bock to God's Country," upcoming Columbia "The Big Heat," o Soturdoy Evening Post serial by Williom P. McGivern, was purchased and assigned to Robert Arthur to produce. The yarn, dealing with graft and corruption in public office, will be scripted by Sydney Boehm. Independent Actor John Payne ocquired the Wode Miller novel, "A Time to Kill" and will produce it under his own corporate setup. Window Productions, with himself in the starring role. Phil Korlson will direct. The newly formed Abtcon Productions, of which Herman Cohen is president, purchosed "The Flaming Stallion," on action novel by Johnston McCulley. Columbia CHARLES LAWTON will photograph "Cruisin' Down the River." Metro DAVE FRIEDMAN will be the unit manager on "Interrupted Melody." "Eosy to Love" will be photographed by RAY JUNE. RKO Radio Art director on Producer Edmund Grainger's "Arizona Outpost" will be JACK OKEY. Republic Crew assembled for the serial, "Commando Cody, " Sky Marshal of the Universe, ART VITA- RELLI assistant director; ROY WADE, unit manager FRANK ARRIGO, art director; CLIFFORD BELL, film editor, and BUD THACKERY, comeromon. 20lh Century-Fox Cinemotogropher on "The Robe" will be LEON SHAMROY. Title Changes Columbia Posse to THE LAST POSSE Lippert Productions "Helltown" to NO ESCAPE. 20th Century-Fox "Cobm B-13" to DANGEROUS CROSSING. Talks on Drive-In Booth Strike Are Suspended LOS ANGELES^Meeting.s planned here to probe the strike called by projectionists Local 150 against the Pacific Drive-Ins chain and other ozone operators, were canceled when Richard Wal.sh. lATSE president, was forced to return to New York because of the death of Thomas J. Shea, the lA a.ssi.stant president. Shea died Tuesday (13) at the Will Rogers Memorial hospital at Saranac Lake. Accompanied by Roy M. Brewer. lATSE representative in Hollywood, Walsh planed east Wednesday (14). An investigation into the drive-in strike will be launched upon his return. The walkout, called Christmas eve, came and drive-in operators failed when Local 150 to come to an agreement on the projectionists' demand that two men be used in a booth when first run films are screened. Masquers Name Wyman As Trouper of the Year HOLLYWOOD—Marking the first time that a feminine entertainer has been so lauded, Jane Wyman has been named Trouper of the Year by the Masquers club and was guest of honor Thursday (15) at a formal dinner. The actress was selected for the tribute because of her participation In a Masquers' Revel which raised more than $30,000 last year for the Motion Picture Relief fund. Harry Joe Brown, Masquers president, hailed her c(X)peration as a "generous, unselfish gesture in the highest tradition of show business." PLANNING SESSION—Republic recently staged the first of four regional sales sessions and convening at the company's North Hollywood studio for the discussions were its western district representatives. Shown here with Piesident Herbert J. Yates (third from left) and James R. Grainger, vice-president in charge of sales and distribution (second from right): Branch manager Thomas McMahon, Salt Lake City; Gene Gerl»ase, Denver; Jack C. Partin. Portland; George Mitchell, San Francisco; Jack Dowd, Los Angeles; Francis A. Bateman, western district chief; and Paul McElhinney, Seattle branch manager. W. Hoch to Cinerama HOLLYWOOD—Cinerama Productions has inked Winston Hoch, veteran cinematographer, to a three-way term ticket as producer, director and cameraman. He will handle the photographic chores on a Cinerama feature, plans for the filming of which will be announced soon by Louis B. Mayer, board chairman, and Merian C. Cooper, vice-president in charge of production. Dimes and dollars will help many a victim of polio to recover normal health. Arrange for March of Dimes collections. 42 BOXOFFICE :: January 17, 1953

— Sol Lesser Launches 3-Dimension Concern HOLLYWOOD—Momentum behind threedimension gathered additional speed with the disclosure by Sol Lesser that he has formed a California corporation, Stereocinema, in association with Mike Rosenberg, president of Principal Theatres, and William Porman, who heads the Pacific Drive-Ins chain. The new company will produce and sponsor the production of 12 programs of three-dimension features and shorts annually, and will franchise approximately 600 theatres throughout the world to exhibit the films. Stereocinema will produce under a contract with the Stereo-Cine studios, using the Iatter"s three-dimension photographic equipment as developed by Raphael Wolff, Hollywood industrial and advertising-film executive. Lesser has a 50 per cent interest in this company. WSB Okays Retroactive Wage Boost for Extras HOLLYWOOD—New collective bargaining contracts between the Screen Extras and the Society of Independent Motion Picture Producers and the Independent Motion Picture Producers Ass'n, as well as unaffiliated picture-makers, have been okayed by the wage stabilization board in Washington. Wage increases provided for in the pacts will be paid retroactively to April 14. The WSB previously approved a similar contract between the SEG and the major producers under which the extras collected between $750,000 and $1,000,000 in retroactive pay. Under the pacts, the daily rate for extras is upped from $15.56 to $18.50. Engineers Meet Tuesday HOLLYWOOD—First 1953 meeting of the Pacific coast section of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers will be held Tuesday (20) at the Pilmcraft TV Theatre. To be discussed are Eidophor, 20th Century- Fox's color theatre TV system; a new spot brightness meter, and demonstration films in the new Eastman color process. Form Shamrock Company HOLLYWOOD—Shamrock Productions has been formed by Al Zimbalist and scenarist Maurice Geraghty. Headquartering at the Samuel Goldwyn studios, the new company plans a late-February start on its first film, "Miss Robin Hood," which Geraghty will script and direct. Awards Ceremony In Pantages Mar. 19 Hollywood—For the fourth consecutive year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' annual awards presentation will be made from the stage of the RKO Pantages Theatre here. The date, as disclosed by Charles Brackett, Academy president, will be March 19. A list of films eligible for Oscars and ballots for nominations will be mailed out Thursday (15). Nomination ballots must be returned by Saturday (24). and the nominees will be announced February 10. Final awards ballots will be mailed out February 24, with polls to close March 10. WITH a special house committee, headed by Congressman E. C. Gathings, and some state legislative organizations becoming considerably exercised over the constantly increasing dl.stribution and sale of pornographic and salacious literature, in maigazine and pocket-book form, thrown into sharp new focus is a statement issued at year's end by Y. Prank Freeman, chairman of the board of directors of the Ass'n of Motion Picture Producers. Freeman declared that association members are concerned over the appearance, in recent months, of photographs of film starlets in "salacious postures" and with "undue and indecent breast exposture," and said it was his organization's desire to "make known the fact that we have no control over such photo ads." They do not emanate, he emphasized, from major studios or responsible producers but were put out by "high-pressui'e personal publicity agents descending to the lowest levels of bad taste to attract attention and to exploit girls seeking motion picture careers." Making reference to the industry's system of self-regulation through its production and advertising codes, Freeman said the AMPP and its members "condemn" and "deplore" the advertisements as being harmful to the industry and a disservice to the individuals involved. Further, he blasted the "irresponsible publicity agents who induce the individuals to pay them for this sort of publicity." In view of past performances, and the wellestabli.shed propensity of lawTnakers toward using the motion picture industry as a whipping-boy, the film trade possibly may consider itself fortunate that the current manifestations of legislative wrath are aimed at publishers, rather than producers. But it seems a reasonably safe prediction that the cleanup lads will quickly get around to filmdom if it continues to be as vulnerable as the Pi-eeman manifesto holds. While Freeman's declaration bravely sounds a highly necessary warning bell, it is subject to argument on a few points, and is in many ways indicative of the view-with-alarmbut-do-nothing-about-it policy which has long been the weakness of the producers' organization and those lushly maintained sub groups whose ostensible functions are to safeguard and improve the over-all public relations of Cinemania. Obviously the association prexy could name no names. Nonetheless, Hollywood railbirds didn't have to work their crystal balls overtime to venture a guess that his reference to "high-pressure personal publicity agents" included one Russell Birdwell and the carnivalof-cleavage campaign which the erstwhile Behemoth of Blurb devoted to building the career of his newcomer client, Roberta Haynes. Roving Russell was rather roundly criticized for that one, and justified his daring methods with a bromidic explanation that "we are in show business, not running a mortuary." It is interesting to observe, significantly, that shortly thereafter Miss Haynes, up until then a virtual unknown, was signed to a term contract by Columbia and is now undergoing a grooming process. As to the Pi'eeman reference to "no control." That is patently fallacious. No one in the picture business is so naive as not to realize that if the producers really wanted to, they could easily—and without laying themselves open to restraint of trade charges —put an end to the activities and careers of "irresponsible publicity agents" and those whom they "induce ... to pay them for this sort of publicity." But, apparently, that is too direct and troublesome. It is much less strain merely to "condemn" and "deplore," and no concrete action can be expected until some legislative body again cracks the whip over Hollywood's lacerated back. To the accompaniment of exploding flashbulbs, Gus A. Metzger, partner of O. N. "Bill" Srere in the southland's Metzger-Srere circuit, was presented upon the occasion of his 75th birthday recently with a gold, diamondstudded lifetime pass to any and all National Theatres showcases throughout the U.S. The gift came from NT President Charles P. Skouras. Presumably Gus can now go to movies free when accompanied by his parents. To stimulate moviegoers' interest in his Bette Davis topliner, "The Star," produced for 20th Century-Fox release and current at the local Four Star Theatre, printed reports had it that Bert Friedlob earmarked $1,000 for a telephone ballyhoo campaign and hired seven gals to make 500 calls daily on residences in the greater Los Angeles area. A waste of money, we calls it. The same results could have been accomplished merely by opening the windows in the offices of Friedlob's press agents. Bill Blowitz and Mag- Maskell. gie he who does an impressive Waller Seltzer, job as space-snatcher-in-chief for Producer Hal Wallis, announced it was a press preview. But the screening of the Dean Martin-Jerry Lewis starrer, "The Stooge," at the Academy Awards Theatre proved to come closer to a poor man's premiere, what with a few tired klieg lights, a sprinkling of comparably fatigued dinner jackets, and a spate of glamor—likewise weary stars. One impressive touch to the clambake was the fact that virtually every man in Teet Carle's Paramount publicity department was on hand, gleamingly attired in faultless though rented—tails and top hats, which latter articles of finery carried bold labels, "The Stooge." Teet was not present. Perhaps he felt the headgear placard was too apropos. BOXOFFICE :: January 17, 1953 43