3 years ago


20th-Fox 'Birds Contest

20th-Fox 'Birds Contest Has Showmen Flying High Exhibitors who wish to enter the 20th Century-Fox exploitation contest on "Something for the Birds" have a few weeks in which to submit their campaign. An examination of campaign entries reveals that competition is already keen. Theatremen have submitted an abundance of evidence to support their rivalry for the prize. Jim Allard, manager of the Palace, Dallas, teamed up with his publicity man, Francis Barr, in exploiting the picture for its downtown run. The theatremen clicked with several good tieups that are sure to put them high in the running for contest honors. One of their special stunts was a screening for birds at the Dallas zoo. All the feathered inmates got was a peek at a film can which Allard took along. On the other hand, zoo officials permitted the enterprising showmen to display several 40x60s at the cages urging the public to observe "Something for the Birds" week by seeing the picture at the Palace. A friendly newspaper editor ran a picture of Allard discreetly showing a couple of vultures a few frames of the film. Barr covered the local pet shops by extending invitations to the canaries to see the zoo screening. Cooperative owners of the stores obligingly exhibited window signs in conjunction with the stunt. The shopkeepers also furnished a supply of bird seed for distribution in envelopes with theatre copy which were handed out by a boy in a costume that resembled an oversize chicken. Eleven 24-sheet stands and 50 three-sheet boards were posted with lithos upside down. The date snipe included the memo: "Our billposter was in a merry mood after seeing this picture, etc." 5,000 stickers with copy, "Celebrate (Cuckoo) Bird Week and go happily cukoo when you see, etc.," were plastered around to.wn a week prior to opening. As part of the weekly Saturday stage show. "Stars of Tomorrow," sponsored by Radio Station WWR, a bird-calling contest was staged a week before opening. A cash prize and theatre tickets attracted eight entrants to the Palace stage. Both the Dallas News and the Times Herald gave this stunt extra space in the news columns in advance and in announcing the winners. For current ballyhoo, a photographer street stunt used a play on the title with the catch line, "Watch the Birdie" to stimulate interest in the picture. A week before opening at all breaks, a mounted 24-sheet was lowered on the stage in full view of the audience. The theatremen went in for several zany lobby displays to draw attention to the comedy theme of the picture. A peekbox was one of these gimmicks, artfully catching the eye of the patron as he entered the lobby through the tag-line, "Take a Bird's Eye View, of "Something for the Birds," etc. Stuffed birds borrowed from a taxidermist were perched along the walls with signs, "I Below, leit to right, other phases ol Dallas campaign show bird call contest in progress on Palace stage; sidewalk ballyhoo and lobby peekbox. Screening at Dallas zoo and upside-downposting of 24-sheets contributed to general ballyhoo lor Palace Theatre. Died Laughing at, etc." PecuUar-looking cutout of birds, covered with cotton shavings, were placed in strategic spots where they provoked comments from patrons. Supporting the theatre's regular advertising facets of newspaper and radio promotion, gags were planted with local reviewers and columnists and free air time was promoted over KRLW-TV, KRLD and WRR. The highlight of the campaign used by Manager Dale Carlson at the Orpheum Theatre, Madison, Wis., was a jingle contest staged in cooperation with Radio Station WISC. All time promoted for this was gratis. Ushers and theatre employes wore fluorescent satin badges in advance of opening and a sandwich man carried a large birdcage on his back to ballyhoo the playdates. In Great Falls, Mont., J. O. Denman, manager of the Liberty Theatre, got two affiliated houses in town to display posters and stickers advertising his engagement. Special display pieces were made for the lobby which served double duty as part of an elaborate flash front during exhibition of the picture. Two thousand exchange heralds were imprinted and distributed as bag-stuffers by several large markets. The Birdland pet shop helped T. Murray Lynch, manager of the Paramount Theatre. Moncton, N. B. Bird seed, enclosed in imprinted envelopes, was distributed to pedestrians on the downtown streets by boys dressed in comic costumes. Lynch went in for plastic stick-ons, standees and window displays to exploit the picture. 1,000 color-post cards were mailed to business firms with a message that they urge employes to see the film. A rubber stamp was used to impress theatres copy on napkins at all downtown restaurants and soda fountains. 30 — 18 BOXOFnCE Showmandiser :: Jan. 24, 1953

Department Store Aid For 'Because of You' Includes Co-Op Ads A "Because of You" contest co-sponsored by Flah's department store produced an abundance of co-op ads and free publicity for the Paramount Theatre. Syracuse, N. Y. The tieup was made by Manager George Snyder, with the co-op ads breaking in both daily papers prior to opening. Contest winners appeared on station WSYR-TV and had an opportunity to be judged in the national contest sponsored by Universal. The Post-Standard published the rules of the contest and devoted several excellent stories to it. All publicity appeared in the news section rather than the amusement page. Snyder planted a free ad in the official fight program of a boxing bout staged at the War Memorial. This reached several thousand sports fans. A singing team featured at the Tic Toe club, popular dining and dancing establishment, sang the title song of the film as part of its routine during several performances and mentioned the picture playdates at the Paramount. Snyder had no difficulty getting disk jockeys on all local radio stations to feature the title song, with mention of the Paramount booking. Jewelry stores, department stores and drug stores retailing Ronson cigaret lighters accepted counter and window cards for display, with theatre credits prominently in evidence. The Jewish Chronicle and the Italian Gazette ran scene mats and stories in exchange for theatre passes. Christmas Show Draws Bill Burke, manager of the Capitol, Brantford, Ont., booked a special children's show a few days before Christmas and attracted more than 1,200 youngsters. The screen show consisted chiefly of cartoons and comedies. Burke arranged for a local Santa Claus to appear on stage with a tame live deer. The Santa act stopped the show cold. Well Brings Gusher Of Good Publicity Fred C. Heniser, manager for Mailer Bros. Theatres in Portland, Ind., got one of those coincidental breaks that makes for good showmanship providing the theatreman is alert. A week before "The Weil" was scheduled to open at the Sky-Vue Drive-In, Heniser spotted a huge portable derrick drilling for water behind the town's principal drug store. For two theatre passes, he obtained permission from the drill operator to post two enormous signs on both sides of the truck with copy, "Don't miss 'The Well' . . . Sky-Vue Drive-In Theatre, etc." The local newspaper ran a large twocolumn cut of the stunt, commenting on Heniser's enterprise, with the picture getting an excellent plug, gratis. SAVE EM UP The Showmandiser section in BOX.- OFFICE is dc-signed as a permanent reference manual of exploitation ideas. The pages are numbered consecutively through every issue beginning each year in January. An Index is published every three months which, with the Showmandiser sections, can be filed in a loose-leaf binder as a quick reference directory to any picture campaign or promotion idea. This exclusive sen'icc in BOXOFFICE provides the working manager with exploitation ideas adaptable in every conceivable type of situation on any picture, on many short subjects and for special occasions and holidays. School Co-Op Gains 'Stars' Publicity John Falco, district manager for Standard Theatres in Beloit, Wis., promoted a special tabloid supplement section which appeared in the Beloit Daily News on "Stars and Stripes Forever." Falco promoted copies of John Philip Sousa's biography. "Marching Along," and a number of record albums featuring selections from the motion picture. These were given to public and high .school libraries and the Beloit college library. As a result, the Beloit high school band gave a special radio broadcast saluting Sousa on Sunday before opening over WBEL-WGEZ. The four-page special section in the Daily News was devoted to photo layouts of the local bands which participated in the tieup. Relief Man Boosts 'Snows/ Bannered as Premiere Zavel Hubberman recently acted as relief manager at the Massena (N.Y.i Theatre and conducted a campaign for "The Snows of Kilimanjaro." Fifteen-foot banners placed under the marquee announced the picture engagement as the "north country premiere." Hubberman arranged a tieup with the Oldsmobile dealer whereby the agency bought tickets for all members of local high school football teams and the faculty and coach staff. Full-Page Co-Op Ad Hails Theatre Anniversary To mark the 21st anniversary of the Federal Theatre. Federalsbiu-g, Md., Manager Pearl Bryant promoted a full-page newspaper co-op ad sponsored by local merchants. Does It With Mirrors It is not always easy to find a new avenue of exploitation in a third run situation. However, T. S. Vitty. manager of the Shaftesbury Cinema in Leeds, England, accomplished this feat on "Angels One Five." Vitty arranged an interesting foyer contest. Sleeve markings of officers in the armed forces were painted on a large mirror, and passes were awarded to patrons who identified them. Novelty Throwaways Tickle Imagination For 'Lost in Alaska' To exploit "Lost in Alaska." S. V. Murdock. manager of the Corona Cinema in Liverpool, England, distributed 3,000 novelty throwaways. The cards were imprinted. "It will tickle you no end to see Abbott and Costello in, etc." In the center of each card a small feather was affixed. Theatre employes distributed the cards in the vicinity of large factories at the days' end. In the lobby, a small table was set up on which was displayed a large piece of coal painted gold. Flanking this were hfesize cutouts of the two stars and a sign worded, "This is one of the gold nuggets brought back by Abbott and Costello, etc." For a few passes, Murdock arranged to have a news vender at the Waterloo railway station display four placards reading, "Extra! Extra! 'Abbott and Costello Lost in Alaska.' For full details visit the Corona Theatre." Milwaukee Manager Plugs Parking Lot Promotion To draw attention to a free parking plan introduced at the Palace, Milwaukee, Manager Rudy Koutnik put a ballyhoo on the streets which created considerable word-ofmouth publicity. The ballyhoo consisted of a horse-drawn buggy of ancient vintage, in which rode two theatre usherettes dressed in old-fashioned costumes. The driver of the vehicle, sporting a moustache, wore cutaway coat and high hat. At heavily trafficked intersections, the girls distributed circulars explaining the parking setup. Police Athletic League Guests at Roxy in NY Dave Katz. managing director of the Roxy Theatre, New York, played host to 2,000 members of the Police Athletic league at a Christmas party on December 24. Clifton Webb, starred in the current screen offering, "Stars and Stripes Forever," acted as co-host with Katz, dLstributing gifts and candy to the guests. Following the party in the theatre rotunda, the PAL members saw the Roxy stage and screen show as guests of Katz. Window Displays Sell 'The Widow' in England G. W. Williams, manager of the Regent Cinema, Chatham, Kent, England, lined up eight window displays for "The Merry Widow." Mu=ic Stores, beauty parlors and florists cooperated by exhibiting posters, stills and signs lettered with the theatre playdates. Program vendors wore sashes lettered with fluorescent paint, visible in the dark. An amplifier was borrowed and u.sed to liven up the front with recordings from the picture played at peak hours. Buy DIT-MCO and You Buy the Best THERE ARE MORE DIT-MCO DIRECTIONAL LIGHTS IN USE THAN ALL OTHER MAKES COMBINED. DRIVE-IN THEATRE MFG. CO.'*K'«.i'c!.';.''Sr' BOXOFFICE Showmandiser Jan. 24, 1953 — 19 — 31