Cleveland Film Club
Observes 40th Year
CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Cinema
Club, said to be the oldest women's club in
the country, organized in 1916 "to study the
art of the motion picture and its educational
and moral effect and to promote a better
understanding of its problems," celebrated
its 40th anniversary at a membership luncheon
recently in the Higbee Grill. Mrs.
Sally Swisher, president, welcomed the members
and presided at the meeting which followed
The two speakers represented the past and
present history of the motion picture industry.
Bertelle Lyttle, one of the club's founders,
looked back to the club's beginnings and gave
a list of its accomplishments. Victor Johnson,
projectionist at the Allen Theatre and husband
of one of the Cinema Club members,
explained Cinemascope 55.
"So far as I can learn from the records."
Miss Lyttle said. "We coined the now wellknown
phrase, 'better films." By 'better films'
we emphasized the support of worthwhile
films, using manners and morals as our yardstick.
We still maintain that standard of
selection; namely, objecting to pictures that
overemphasize bad manners and bad morals.
We never believed in precensorship. Rather
we believed in educating the public to make
better selections of film fare.
"Another one of our firsts was to recognize
motion pictures as a new American art. In
that we had excellent cooperation from the
Cleveland Art Museum, the Cleveland public
library and the club editors of the Plain
Dealer. In fact, through our persistent efforts
the Cleveland Art Museum became one
of the first such institutions to accept motion
pictures as art and to help in its development
by gallery displays and showing selected pictures
in its auditorium.
"Also we were among the first groups in
the country to campaign for an organized
film delivery service. We saw theatre managers
carrying cans of films from the exchanges
to the theatres and back again and
it was our feeling this was not the way to do
the job. Now film delivery service is standard
"We inaugurated the special, selected children's
programs and organized junior councils
in high schools to teach young people
appreciation of the many arts used in the
production of a motion picture. They learn
to listen to the music critically, to watch the
projection, to concentrate on the acting and
the direction. In other words, we aim to
better the taste of young folks so that the demand
for better pictures will grow.
"Today." Miss Lyttle continued, "We not
only follow the same principles but we also
maintain an evaluation service in the Cleveland
Public Library. All any parent has to
do to learn whether a particular picture is
suitable for children is to call the library.
Every film is classified as adult, family or
for children." This has been Miss Lyttle's
personal project the last several years.
Detroit Backroom Activity
To National Film Service
DETROIT — National Film Service has
taken over operation of inspection and other
backroom activity for Allied Film Exchange.
Manager Edward P. McCauley announced.
This eliminates the last independent backroom
operation in the Motor City, with all
being serviced by National. This firm employs
ten women and three men.
MGM Florida Assignment
Goes to Norm Levinson
NEW HAVEN—Norman Levinson. a New
Haven native who acquired his theatrical
training in this city, has been promoted to
MGM press representative for all of Florida
and part of Georgia. He had been serving
in a similar capacity in the Minneapolis-St.
Paul territory. Levinson will make his home
in Jacksonville. The promotion was announced
by Emery Austin. MGM director
The MGM press representative started his
show business career at Loew's Bijou Theatre,
now demolished, as an assistant to Manager
Sidney Kleper. He was lat«r student assistant
manager at Loew's Poll here and then rejoined
Kleper, now at Loew's College, as
assistant manager. Harry Shaw, division
manager for Loew's Poll, shifted Levinson to
the Poll at Hartford several years ago as
assistant manager. He was given the MGM
position in Minnesota early in 1955.
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Former Theatreman Dies
GLADEWATER. TEX.—Lester Bert Payne,
retired Gregg county businessman and onetime
owner of a Garland motion picture
house, died here recently. Payne operated
theatres in Garland and Glen Rose about
1919. After leaving Garland, he came to Gladewater
and opened this city's first theatre,
which was called Payne's Palace.