Boxoffice-May.12.156

boxofficepro

I Manos

KIDDY SHOWS THRIVE ON SURPRISES AND GOOD TIMES'

Program of Manos Theatres Fun Shows Loaded With Gifts and Stage Contests

Many children in four Pennsylvania

towns in the Pittsburgh area have become

year-around theatregoers once more, won

away from their TV cowboys at least once

a week by good times in which they may

take part at Monessen Amusement Co.

I

theatres. Known as Vacation Fun

shows, the children's matinees are held

each Wednesday morning during summer

vacation and on Saturday mornings during

the school term.

The F\in shows were started last summer

and have been continuous in Monessen

Amusement theatres in these four western

Pennsylvania towns: Elwood City, population,

12,945; Indiana, 11,743; Monessen,

17,896; Uniontown, 20,471.

A typical Vacation Fim show consists of.

a Film Library picture, such as a Lassie

film, three cartoons and a comedy, along

with two or more stage contests among

youngsters chosen from the audience,

winners receiving theatre passes and worthwhile

prizes promoted from town merchants.

A major prize, such as a bicycle,

Davy Crockett outfit, etc., is awarded

weekly. Over one period of seven weeks, for

instance, a Monessen theatre awarded a

bicycle each of the first six weeks and a

$300 power-driven Eshleman Sports Car for

children the seventh week.

"We believe the success of our Vacation

Fun shows is due to the fact that we have a

program loaded with surprises and varied

entertainment," said Joseph F. Bugala.

Monessen general manager. "The shows

have been very successful in our circuit

with regards to cultivating the theatre

habit among small fry."

On most of the Vacation Pun shows,

Monessen managers include contests with

prizes promoted from local merchants.

Manos Theatre Fun Club

1955 SEASON CARD

This is a reproduction of the Fun Club membership

cords. Printed on bristol, the over-oil

meosurement is 3?ix4'54 inches. Note the perforotion

which allows separation into two ports,

one for the young member and the other for

the theatre file.

Bud Fike of the Manos Theatre

Fun Club to children in the lobby.

Contestants are chosen from the audience

by numbers on ticket stubs, usually six to

ten children taking part in each contest

such as pie-eating races, baUoon-blowing,

cracker-eating, mixed-up crazy shoes,

watermelon eating and many others devised

by alert managers. Details of ten of these

contests appear on the opposite page.

"We always try to keep our shows interesting

with the elements of surprise

and variety," explains Bugala. "In July we

even had Santa Claus stroll down the aisle

without previous announcement." Santa

then went up on the stage and presided

over a surprise "Christmas in July" program

by giving away presents promoted

from a local toy shop. One theatre of the

circuit had sold its Christmas show by the

end of October.

More happy sui-prises among the youngsters

also are created by such a stunt as

taping passes under seats scattered

throughout the auditorium. The emcee

suddenly will call for a "seventh-inning

stretch" during the stage show, advising the

kids to look under the seats. Dropping

balloons bearing passes from the ceiling

another stunt that keeps the kids alert.

is

Ushers in one of the Monessen theatres

have added to the fun by wearing huge

papier-mache heads of Bugs Bunny, Tom

and Jerry and suitable costumes. The

heads are three feet high and sit on top

of the shoulders. The ushers have worked

out a dance routine wearing these costumes

which they perfoi-m on the stage during the

giveaway portion of the Fun show.

"We found pet giveaway shows to be

the most successful of all our programs,"

continued Bugala. "Although it is not

really a show, we found that the word

'show' added glamor to the program,

which tied in with a five and ten-cent

Is pictured handing memberships in the Vacation

store. A typical pet show Includes such

awards as 25 bowls of goldfish, pet tui'tles,

bunnies and three or four parakeets. The

kids are advised to buy their accessories

from the sponsoring merchants."

Other special shows popular with the

kids included a Lassie program, with a

collie pup promoted from a local pet shop

and given away as the top award, and kiddy

spook shows—The Three Stooges in

"Spooks," a Casper cartoon, and "The

Bowery Boys Meet the Monster," with a

local magician doing tricks on the stage as

an added treat.

Popular giveaways have included three

reconditioned TV sets promoted by one

Monessen manager from his local TV shop

Here is a sample of the letter mailed to Fun

Club members on their birthdays. A proper membership

file will enable the cashier to handle

this

chore.

— 126 — BOXOFFICE Showmandiser : : May

12, 1956

More magazines by this user