Play My Pictures or I Will Build a Theatre!

IN CONNECTION WITH the much-discussed attitude of certain distributing organizations that maintain a divine right to show their pictures anywhere and everywhere, there is one thought that has had less consideration than it deserves.

The responsibility for this whole theatre grabbing business rests chiefly on block booking. Nowhere else.

The theatre which buys one or two large blocks of product, definitely shutting out all other pictures, is literally inviting the distributors of that shut-out product to take heroic measures.

It is perfectly natural for the man who is distributing pictures—good pictures, perhaps—to feel that he is entitled to some sort of outlet for what he is making.

Wherever he can get an outlet for some part of his product, at a reasonable price, he is in no position to kick up much of a fuss. But any time he can show that he is being shut out completely, there is something to be said on his side of the argument.

It is true, of course, that no distributor of pictures has any actual right to expect or demand that his pictures shall be played in any particularly independently owned house. Such rights do not exist in connection with any business that is supposed to be even moderately competitive.

But, on the other hand, we can all sympathize with the fellow who is having the door slammed in his face. It is an experience we don’t any of us like. It arouses resentment and urges us to take retaliatory measures, regardless of the fact that the fellow who is slamming the door may have an absolute right to slam it as hard as he pleases.

So, from the standpoint of practical theatre-operating policy, it is reasonably good business —in most cases—to diversify the bookings to a reasonable extent, allowing the door to remain at least part way open to as many distributors as possible. Such a policy, in addition to supplying varied entertainment that is apt to help business and can hardly ever hurt it, will arouse fewer antagonisms, will cause more distributors to regard the theatre with that affection which is lavished on customers but that never is extended to door-slammers, and will tend to deprive certain distributors of one of their pet excuses for acquiring theatres.

It must be admitted, of course, that the exhibitor who undertakes to carry out such a policy quickly finds himself in hot water with the concerns that insist on selling him large blocks of pictures or none. But it is a matter of record, with many exhibitors who have tried it out, that any selling policy in this field breaks down under sufficient buying resistance. Exhibitors who refuse to buy thirty or forty or fifty pictures in a block are finding it readily possible to buy what they want, whether it is five or fifteen. There is a lot of shouting and roaring about what can’t be done, but wherever the big block can’t be sold a little block can be had.

The funny side of this situation is to be found in this: That the fellows who are the loudest complainers about being shut out in some spots are apt to be the most insistent in their efforts to sell big blocks of pictures and shut out their competitors in other spots. But that is merely human nature as it works out in competitive dealing. As long as there is a score to even up, most of us are disposed to hit our competitors as often as they hit us.

The independent exhibitor, particularly the smaller exhibitor who is operating on a basis that is apt to arouse the cupidity of some distributor-theatre combine, who permits himself to be used as a tool in this sort of scrap is courting trouble. He may think he is playing the role of innocent bystander, but the chances are fair that he will end up where the innocent bystander generally does, with a sore head.

Diversification of product, without question, is the best single item of protection in sight for the independent theatre owner. When he is playing pictures from ten or a dozen sources, none of the distributors is able to identify the house with some nationally advertised brand and thereby to bring it under control. Nor can any of them claim that a “shut-out” justifies the establishing of a competitive house.

Diversification, also, means a broadened appeal to the public, with the possibility of serving a larger patronage.

The objection will be raised, of course, that in most communities, with competitive lines definitely established, it is not possible to seek such diversity. To which there can be no answer, if it is actually not possible. But it may be well to add that many exhibitors who are finding it impossible to do things which they ought to do for their own protection are actually held back, not by any insuperable barrier, competitive or otherwise, but by lack of the nerve necessary to undertake and win a fight.

— Willard C. Howe

Bomb Discovered

Minneapolis, Oct. 13.

A bomb plot to blow up the Wonderland, picture house, was uncovered when five sticks of dynamite were found in the box office.

The bomb plot, laid at the door of radicals, was discovered by Edward Oliver, manager.

Five years ago the theatre was a storm center in the labor dispute which sent four officials of the Trades and Labor Assembly to jail and resulted in a court order restraining picketing of the show house for running on a non-union basis.

The Wonderland had closed for the night and it was an accident the bomb was found by Oliver. It had been pushed through a small opening in the box-office window.


THE PROCESS of combining and consolidating the producing and distributing departments of this business goes steadily ahead. Motivated not so much by the “greed” of a few men who are constant targets of the radical element in the business as by the insistent demand of capital for more business-like administration.

Anyone who undertakes the financing of a heavy producing program, or of a national distributing enterprise, is bound to find, very quickly, that there are relatively few sources from which the money can be obtained on a reasonable basis. And that the majority of those sources are more or less interwoven.

Take, for instance, the establishing of a national distributing system: Assuming that the necessary organization can be formed, with satisfactory personnel throughout, such an enterprise can hardly get a fair start on a million dollars, exclusive of advances to producers, which are generally necessary to secure salable product. Where is it possible to go for a million or two, with assurance that the people who provide the money will have no connections with people who are now financing other film enterprises?

It isn’t necessaiy to dig very deep to see that when most of the money tied up in this business is coming from so few financial sources, there is bound to be a pronounced similarity of opinions and policies wherever they are controlled or shaped by financial interests.

It is most natural that bankers shall favor anything that may seem to take the gambling factor out of a business in which they are hazarding their money. It is not surprising, either, that they believe the speculative element can largely be eliminated from this business. Perhaps it can. What has been done in many other fields may be possible here. But, considering the peculiar nature of film production, considering the fact that picture values are determined by the public rather than by the manufacturers, it may not be so easy as it looks to the uninitiated.

From the standpoint of the independent theatre owner, however, the motives that are leading to consolidations are of little consequence. The thing that counts is this: The number of sources of supply of film is steadily shrinking. Every time two distributing organizations, such, for example, as Metro and United Artists, consolidate their selling organizations, the situation becomes less competitive and vastly more difficult for every independent exhibitor. Even though it be admitted, for the sake of discussion, that such consolidation may reduce costs of selling and distribution and make it possible to deliver film at lower prices, the actual result will be higher prices, and, in many cases no pictures at all for the exhibitor who is in line for a squeeze.

Individually, any exhibitor large or small, is helpless in the face of this trend. There can be no successful measures to combat centralized control except through exhibitor organization. And there can be no successful organization effort until we get away from petty politics and level the efforts of the national and state organizations directly at the one thing which menaces the theatre business.

Fortunately, however, the national organization seems to be headed in the right direction. It is taking shape as a business institution, becoming less of a motion picture Tammany Hall. If this policy is wisely and generously supported by the majority of the independent exhibitors who will profit by it, there is still hope that they will be able to continue in this business. If, on the other hand, they fail to take a united and decisive stand, they can hope to remain in the field only so long as the powers of distribution choose to tolerate them.

— Willard C. Howe

Stage Employees and Moving Picture Machine Operators of the United States and Canada, International Alliance of Theatrical

Affiliated to the American Federation of Labor.

Organized July 17, 1893. The first organization among stage employees began in New York City in the early seventies, with the formation of fraternal and relief societies. Later, with the rise of the Knights of Labor, the stage hands in several of the large cities became identified with that movement.

The locals of stage hands, however, followed the swing of the craft unionists from the Knights of Labor to the American Federation of Labor, and affiliated with the latter organization as local trade-unions.

In 1893 the 11 local unions then existing met in conference in New York City and formed the National Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. Five years later, with the chartering of a local in Montreal, Canada, the alliance became International In character and changed Its name to International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.

Changes In the theatrical business have determined the changes In scope of the organization. The alliance was founded at a time when the field was largely limited to legitimate dramatic productions in the very large cities. Stock-company production in smaller centers followed, then vaudeville and road shows. Still later, with the extension of jurisdiction to motion-picture-machine operators, the field became practically universal.

Jurisdiction over the motion-picture-machine operators was claimed by both the stage employees and the electrical workers, and both these organizations took projectionists Into membership. The theatrical stage employees’ organization was the more active and more successful In the new field, but for years the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers contested their right to the motion-picture men. A decision of the 1914 convention of the American Federation of Labor granted the jurisdiction unequivocally to the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.

Following this decision the title of the alliance was expanded to International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and Moving Picture Machine Operators of the United States and Canada. The new title is not, however, used by the American Federation of Labor, in which organization it is still chartered as the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees of America.

Objects. — “To improve our condition, to insure the maintenance of a fair rate of wages for services competently rendered, to assure the employment of our members in these Industries and that equity may be maintained.”

Territorial jurisdiction. — United States and Canada.

Trade jurisdiction. — The mechanical department of the theatrical stage (covering stage carpenters, property men, stage electricians, and all other stage employees) and the projection of moving pictures.

Government. — 1. General executive board, composed of president, seven vice presidents (one of whom shall be a resident and citizen of Canada), and general secretary-treasurer, “shall have entire supervision and authority over the alliance except during such time as the alliance is in convention assembled.”

2. Local unions : ” Home rule is granted to all affiliated locals of this alliance, and this shall be construed as authority conferred upon each local to exercise full control over its own affairs : Provided, hoicevcr, That in the conduct of such business no action shall be taken that will conflict with any portion of the constitution and by-laws of the alliance.”

3. Convention : Held biennially ; enacts legislation and elects general officers. Constitutional amendments by convention only. No referendum except as to calling special or district conventions.

Qualifications for membership. — Six months’ residence in the jurisdiction, passing a satisfactory examination ; application must be passed upon by general secretary-treasurer. An applicant for membership “must have been a member in good standing of the union of whatever other craft he has followed previous to the date of his application, provided there has been a local of his craft In his city.”

Apprenticeship. — None.

Agreements. — “All affiliated locals shall enter into written contracts with local managers and other employers covering conditions of employment of their members.” (Constitutional mandate.)

Agreements are negotiated by local unions, generally with individual theaters. Terms vary widely with varying conditions in different localities.

Traveling members have individual contracts which are uniform throughout the membership.

Benefits. — Strike; and prosecution of claims against employers for members by claim department of the alliance.

Official organ.— General Bulletin (not a journal).

Headquarters.— World Tower Building, 110 West Fortieth Street, New York City.

Organization.— District divisions.

No. 1. Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia.
No. 2. California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado.
No. 3. Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut

No. 4. New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and District of Columbia.

No. 5. Wyoming, South Dakota, and Nebraska.

No. 6. Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Kansas, and Louisiana west of the Mississippi.

No. 7. Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia. Florida, North and South Carolina, Mississippi, and Louisiana east of the Mississippi.
No. 8. Michigan, Indiana. Ohio, and Kentucky.
No. 9. Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri.
No. 10. Minnesota and North Dakota.

No. 11. Ontario, Quebec, Prince Edward’s Island, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick.

No. 12. Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta.

Local unions of stage hands and moving-picture-machine operators organized into separate locals except in small towns: United States — Alabama, 10; Arizona, 4; Arkansas, 4; California, 35; Colorado, 8; Connecticut, 16; Delaware, 2; District of Columbia, 2; Florida. 10; Georgia, 6; Idaho, 4; Illinois, 30; Indiana, 25 ; Iowa, 20 ; Kansas, 14 ; Kentucky, 4 ; Louisiana, 7 ; Maine, 4 ; Maryland, 5; Massachusetts, 32; Michigan, 17; Minnesota, 10; Mississippi, 5; Missouri, 14; Montana, 7: Nebraska. 3; Nevada, 1; New Hampshire, 1; New Jersey, 21; New Mexico, 1; New York, 48; North Carolina, 7; North Dakota, 2; Ohio, 45; Oklahoma, 14; Oregon, 4; Pennsylvania, 49; Rhode Island, 4 ; South Carolina, 4 ; South Dakota, 4 ; Tennessee, 9 ; Texas, 31 ; Utah, 3; Virginia, 10; Washington, 15; West Virginia, 8; Wisconsin, 18; Wyoming, 1. Canada — Alberta, 4; British Columbia, 3; Manitoba, 2; New Brunswick, 1; Ontario, 18; Quebec, 4; Saskatchewan, 4. Total, 634.

Membership.— 22,000.

Acts Draw Suburban Fans to Cities

Elaborate presentations which supplement feature pictures at large cinemas in the cities are cutting deeper inroads into the noticeably decreasing patronage at small town houses, according to J. F. Cubberley, general manager of theatres of the Northwest chain (Finkelstein & Ruben) outside the Twin Cities.

The attraction value of the palatial theatres of the larger towns coupled with improved transportation facilities afforded by good roads and the widespread ownership of automobiles initiated the swing away from the home-town picture show to the bigger houses in the nearby city, and an even greater impetus has developed for this movement as a result of the vaudeville acts and presentations with which the big town houses surround their screen offerings, Cubberley declares.

According to this observer—and as contact executive of one of the largest circuits Cubberley is in intimate touch with the theatre situation in both small towns and cities of the Northwest—the automobile and the good roads are, to a certain extent, responsible for the growing habit of “going to the city” for picture entertainment, but to an even greater degree is the movement traceable to the “added attracts offered by the big houses.

The addition of stage features—a new development, comparatively, which has spread with amazing rapidity during the year or so—he regards as a progressive idea in picture theatre management, but a warning against an over-emphasis on this phase of the entertainment at cinemas is sounded by Mr. Cubberley in the statement he recently issued on the subject of presentations. Extensive experimentation with presentations which employ vocalists, instrumentalists, dancers, and other specialty performers in prologues or tabloid revues and vaudeville acts, has proved the soundness of this policy in the larger houses in the Northwest chain.

However, according to Mr. Cubberley “there are limitations.” A theatre he may profitably build up its patronage to a certain point by means of stage presentations, but the mounting costs of increasingly large attractions of this sort will show a loss to the exhibitor who attempts to develop his business beyond the natural limitations of his location.

The Northwest chain has a large circuit over which acts are routed. The company maintains a booking office in Minneapolis, which books acts for houses in Wisconsin, North and South Dakota. In addition to booking vaudeville acts of wide reputation, a production department is conducted by the company and several presentations of the revue and prologue type are staged for production at the key house of the circuit, the State Theatre in Minneapolis, and then are routed to other theatres of the chain.

The centralization movement which Mr. Cubberley reports, is showing a steady growth in the Northwest, as it is in practically all sections of the country, sails attention again to the back-swing of the pendulum. With the growth, many years ago, of the cinema, the motion picture entertaimnents in theatres “close to home” brought about a situation in which the city houses were left high and dry, so far as suburban patronage was concerned. Starting with the era of palatial theatres of large seating capacity, and luxurious appointments and decorations which made the structures attractions in themselves, the big towns turned the tide back in their favor. Improved roads, the development of automobiles to suit almost every pocketbook, and now the elaborate programs—the latter in a measure resulting from the necessity of sealing up the shows to the attraction level of the gorgeous temples erected to house them—now add their might to the lure of the big house in the nearby big town and leave the community theatres to struggle mightily in the effort to stem the tide of patronage which, in a steadily increasing stream, is flowing back again to the entertainment halls of the city.

Publix May Build 2,400 Seat Theatre in Minneapolis; Competition Foreseen

RUMOR which spread quickly through Minneapolis film circles last week has it that Publix is planning to construct a big theatre in that city. Northwest Theatres, Inc. (Finkelstein & Ruben), which now controls the first-run exhibition field in the Twin Cities, will be given its first real competition if this rumor proves true.

According to the report which is circulating in Minneapolis, Publix has obtained an option on a site at La Salle Avenue and Ninth Street, a very desirable down town location, and is planning to build an elaborate structure having a seating capacity of 2,400, exceeding that of the State, Minneapolis’ largest picture theatre at present, by nearly 400.

If competition develops in Minneapolis, there is every likelihood that it would extend to other cities in the northwest, where Northwest Theatres, Inc., controls about 122 houses. F. & R. now controls the five first-run theatres in Minneapolis, the State, Garrick, Lyric, Strand and Astor.

The site upon which Publix is said to have an option is located within two blocks of Minneapolis’ two largest theatres, the State and the Hennepin-Orpheum.

View of the auditorium of the Suburban World Theater, Minneapolis

View of the auditorium of the Suburban World Theater, Minneapolis, Minnesota, taken from above. This theater was also known as the Granada Theater. Liebenberg and Kaplan, Architects (1919-1969), were noted for designing more than 200 motion picture theatres in the Upper Midwest, many of the early ones featuring an art deco style.

Northwest M.P.T.O. Meet

APPROXIMATELY five hundred exhibitors of Minnesota and the Dakotas attended the Motion Picture Owners of the Northwest convention this week which was held in the St. Paul Hotel, St. Paul, Minnesota. Al Steffes, of Minneapolis, was re-elected president of the organization which, owing to a merger of the Northwest M. P. T. O. with the Twin City Theatre Managers’ Association, had its name changed to Theatre Owners of the Northwest, Inc.

Some of the highlights of the convention were the decision of the body to take steps to head off a proposed ten per cent gross receipts tax which is scheduled to be considered at an extra session of the South Dakota legislature; also it was announced that plans have been perfected whereby the theatre owners’ association would cooperate with the Dunwoody Industrial Institute of Minneapolis in the creation of a school of projection which any operator or person interested may attend to study the latest development in projection and lighting.

The convention was opened by Mayor Hodgson, of St. Paul, and addresses were made by civic and business executives of the city and M. L. Finkelstein and Theodore Hays of the Finkelstein and Ruben circuit.

The delegates attended a ball and cabaret entertainment in the Palm Room of the St. Paul hotel on Wednesday night, with entertainment provided by performers at the various Twin City theatres.

The convention closed with a banquet given to the delegates by the Universal Film exchange in behalf of Carl Laemmle, president of the Universal Pictures Corporation, who had planned to be present at the convention, but who was unable to attend.

N.W. Unit Merging

Minneapolis — Merger of the Northwest exhibitor unit with Twin City Theater Managers Ass’n., has been completed, adding materially to the strength of the organization headed by W. A. Steffes. Name of the organization is to be changed and the by-laws revised.

The move brings into the association the Metropolitan, Pantages, Orpheum Seventh St. Shubert, Gayety and Palace here and the Metropolitan, Palace-Orpheum, Casey stock and McCall-Bridge companies, St. Paul.

No’west T. O. to Present Requests to Labor

AT a meeting held last week by the entire personnel of the Minneapolis Theatre Owners of the Northwest, Inc., it was unanimously decided after lengthy discussion to ask the musicians, stage hands, and operators of the various Twin-City theatres for a reduction in the wage scales. The wage scale committee was asked to meet with the unions and present the request with an explanation that the prevailing poor business conditions made the move necessary to the welfare of the theatre owners.

A meeting has already been held by the committee with the musicians’ union and it is thought that the musicians will agree to revert as requested to their 1925 scale, which is approximately 5 per cent less than that in effect at present. The stage hands will be asked for a similar reduction and the operations for a 10 per cent reduction. The committee will also request the crafts to substitute a nine months’ contract for the present one- and two-years’ agreements and also to agree to a two weeks’ notice from either side before men shall be discharged or pulled off a job in case of dispute.

Movie Producers Defer Wage Cut

HOLLYWOOD, Cal., June 30 (AP). —The working people of the films today won the first bis skirmish with the industry’s chiefs in the wage war. The order for a general 10 per cent. slice in salaries will be deferred until Aug. 1, pending a test of the workers’ plans to reduce production costs in other ways than by cutting salaries.

[full article is viewable on the New York Times site.]

Movie Producers Defer Wage Slash

HOLLYWOOD, Cal., July 1 (AP). — The formation of an “emergency cabinet” at the Paramount-Famous Players-Lasky Studios to study problems growing out the present movie wage dispute was announced today by Jesse L. Lasky, First Vice President of the film concern.

[full article is viewable on the New York Times site.]

12 Producers Agree to Hold Salary Cuts Until August 1

Hollywood — Twelve producers have accepted offer of the Academy of M. P. Arts and Science to act as mediator in the dispute over salary reductions, which have proved the most sensational development ever experienced at the studios.

Highlight of the offer is the academy’s recommendation that producers defer action on the salary slashing until Aug. 1. This, it is pointed out, would give the various branches engaged in production opportunity to discuss thoroughly plan to reduce negative costs. It is proposed that this reduction be effected through co-operation of all factors, thus avoiding a general decrease in salaries.

Acceptance of the academy’s offer was contained in a communication signed jointly by representatives of Joseph M. Schenck, Cecil B. De Mille, Fox, Christie, M-G-M, Mack Sennett, Samuel Goldwyn, Jack White, F. B. O., Universal, First National and Warners.

Paramount did not sign the letter, but is understood to be replying to the academy suggestion in separate communications. This is being done, it is said, because Paramount acted alone in announcing the reduction, with the other companies following suit in the economy program. Meetings have been held by the actors and directors branch of the academy, the technicians branch and the writers branch. Each outlined plans for aiding in the economy program in manner which would make salary reductions unnecessary, pledging their co-operation to reduce negative costs.

Hopes to Avoid Wage Cut Rise at Studios

Hollywood — Hopes for successful launching of producers’ economy program without recourse to general slashing of salaries, are stronger to- day as the result of Paramount’s action in establishing an emergency cabinet to study the situation.

This action follows agreement of 12 other producers to defer salary cuts until Aug. 1 to give various branches of the industry opportunity to present their views which will make possible the effecting of economy without a general reduction in salaries. In making this agreement, the producers were acting upon a request from the Academy of M. P. Arts and Sciences, which also asked that no reductions be made without individual investigation of each case Paramount acted individually in granting the request.

Paramount’s council, composed of heads of the various studio departments was formed after a meeting of a committee of 30 representing players, directors, technicians and writers.

Names of the cabinet members were not disclosed but all have pledged themselves to institute policies and methods which will eliminate excessive costs, and probably make possible abandonment of the proposed wage reductions of from ten to 25 per cent.

Missapprehension Held Causing ‘Holdouts’

Minneapolis — Steps should immediately be taken by producers and distributors to relieve the misapprehension declared to exist between buyer and seller in the picture industry, declares “Greater Amusements” appealing for “removal of the barriers,” which are causing exhibitors to “hold off” in buying films.

“The selling season is on in full swing, in a sense, and it is very apparent that it is, in reality, a hectic, selling season, at best,” the publication declares. “With exhibitor organizations and trade papers warning theater owners not to buy in block, not to buy blindly and to be careful lest they get ‘hooked’ on ‘sappy’ contracts, the result is that the producer, distributor and exhibitor each find himself virtually up against a stone wall in proceeding with the year’s business schedule.

“Theater owners must know a reasonable time in advance what product they will have for their theaters. They must do their buying with the same intelligence that is required in other lines, giving thought primarily to the public’s wants, with both eyes focused on the box office. Distributors need the signed contracts of the independent theater owners to secure a circulation estimate of product upon which to base the limit of expenditures and the possibilities of revenue before they can (or at least before they will) definitely make up their production cost appropriations.

“Reports indicate that exhibitors are not making any mad rush to buy the new seasons offerings and the various companies’ sales representatives are in a quandary, wondering what it’s all about. Producers and
distributors, in the majority of cases, have not been very explicit in their announcements of the season’s line up, except as to the actual number of pictures to be delivered. Distributors are treading on dangerous ground by the insertion of too many clauses in the contract—clauses which make these contracts anything but uniform and equitable.

“The tendency of exhibitors to hold off the signing of contracts for new product increases the selling cost many fold, delays production and creates a generally unhealthy condition which ultimately effects all branches of the industry.

“Exhibitors should view and review each contract and product offered them. When a salesman presents his proposition he is entitled to and should receive serious consideration. For the prospective purchaser to tell the sales representative he is not interested is not only unfair but does not serve its purpose. If something is wrong, in the exhibitor’s opinion, with the contract or product offered, the salesman should be made acquainted with it so he would have some thing concrete to report to his home office. In that way only can the exhibitor hope to effectively rectify any wrongs or abuses in the contracts or release schedules.

“We believe the solution rests with the producers and distributors. Because of their formidable position and their ability to cope with intricate situations, through their organization, a speedy adjustment of a dangerous barrier is very possible.”

Orchestras Go Out of F. & R. Theatres

Minneapolis, July 5.

Taking their cue from the producers who are talking about slashing overheads, Finkelstein & Ruben, exhibitors, have started paring expenses wherever they feel that the knife can be applied.

As the first step, they have eliminated orchestras during week days in the four Twin City houses which boast this feature. In the case of the local State theatre, their ace house, having an 18-piece orchestra, the saving amounts to over $100 a day and $500 on the week. A similar saving is effected at the Capitol, St. Paul. The orchestras are on the job Saturday and Sunday afternoons the same as at night.

The present plan is to continue the non-orchestra week-day matinees only during the summer month, but if patrons are as satisfied in the weeks to come as they have been during the past fortnight, and if satisfactory arrangements can be made with the musicians’ union, it is believed in local theatrical circles that the proposition will be made permanent.

Admission at the State and Capital is 60 cents at nights, 50 cents at Saturday and Sunday matinees and 35 cents at week-day afternoons. Both houses have Vitaphone installastions, the finest of organs and splendid organists. On the whole, week-day matinee business in this city is very slim. At the State during the past two weeks, however, due to exceptional box office attractions (kiddies’ revue and the Minneapolis movie) the afternoon trade has been heavy, running close to capacity for the most part. Patrons at these matinees apparently have not missed the orchestra and there have been no complaints. The organ and the Vitaphone appear to be supplying all the music desired. An electric piano attachment to the organ varies the music.

As far as the State, at least, is concerned, there has been no necessity for retrenchment. During the past season this house has done the biggest business in its history and has made a mint of money for Finkelstein & Ruben. The summer has not brought any let-down. If anything, grosses are running higher than ever.

The house has a splendid cooling plant and even last week, when temperatures went as high as 36, trade was brisk both matinees and nights—this without the orchestra at the matinees.

Early Rumblings in Annual Labor Row

Early rumblings of impending differences between theater owners and musicians, operators and stage hands are beginning to be heard in various sections of the nation. In some centers it is expected that these will develop into a roar before Sept. 1 rolls around when in many sections working agreements between these crafts and theater owners are to expire.

Washington, faced last year with a fight with operators, sees looming impending difficulties with musicians, who are seeking an increase of approximately 27 per cent in the scale. Their demands seek to raise the ante from $67 to $85 weekly. Theater managers met recently and now are preparing to resist the demands, termed out of all proportion to theater owners’ ability to pay.

Kansas City managers, hit by diminishing box office receipts, face a series of conferences on demands of musicians for increases. Their is a range of increases sought in the various houses, with a cutting down of playing time asked.

In Minneapolis and St. Paul, managers are seeking relief from what they say are the high wages being paid the various crafts. They are asking the employes to bear a share of the decreased grosses at the various houses. Committee meetings now are being held and theater owners are stressing that it is imperative that the musicians revert to the 1925 scale, a reduction of about five per cent. A similar reduction is asked of stage hands, while operators are asked to take a ten per cent and all crafts requested to make a nine-month contract instead of the one and two-year agreements heretofore demanded.

Little difficulty is anticipated among the crafts at Cincinnati, where operators last year lost their strike. They returned to work at the old scale after their walkout.

Chicago, Omaha, San Francisco, Detroit and Dallas are among other cities where difficulties with the unions were experienced last year. There v/ere walkouts at Chicago, Omaha and Dallas, while last minute compromises averted strikes in the other cities.

New York theater owners meet July 14 to discuss ways and means to offset “alarming overhead.” Salaries paid the various crafts will be up for discussion, it is understood.

180 Houses in F. & R.-Saxe Pool Reported Completed

Milwaukee—Pooling of interests of Saxe Amusement Enterprises and Northwest Theaters (Finkelstein & Ruben) has been consummated, despite repeated denials that the deal has not passed beyond the preliminary stage. It is expected, however, that formal announcement that the merging of the Milwaukee firm with the Minneapolis circuit will be forthcoming at the annual convention to be held July 12, 13 and 14 at Minneapolis. A number of Saxe executives are slated to attend the three day convention.

Around 180 theaters are represented in the pool, now reported closed. Saxe has around 45 theaters operating or under construction throughout Wisconsin, while F. & R. has about 135 in Minnesota, North and South Dakota and western Wisconsin. Edmund Ruben, son of I. H. Ruben, who with M. L. Finkelstein founded the Minneapolis circuit, is to be in charge of all buying and virtual head of the alliance of the two circuits, it is declared here.

Pooling of F. & R. and Saxe has been under discussion for several years, The firms for years are understood to have been operating under a gentlemen’s agreement, which prevented either from entering the territory of the other. The Saxes started in Minneapolis, but switched activities to Wisconsin under the re ported agreement. Each is First National franchise holder in its respective territory.

While Edmund Ruben asserted recently that the proposed Saxe deal was no nearer consummation than two years ago, a number of meetings on the merger have been held.

Salary Cut in Doubt as Opposition Grows

The recently announced salary cut throughout the entire production personnel of the industry of from 10 to 25 per cent has resulted in a complicated situation. Some stars and directors have agreed to accept the reduction, a number have flatly refused, and still others are “on the fence,” awaiting the verdict of the majority.

At a mass meeting before the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences on Wednesday night in Hollywood, the favored proposal was that the action be deferred until August 1, to permit of consideration of individual cases, rather than a sweeping reduction taking in all persons, regardless of their value in relation to their salary.

The reduction is generally construed as a move to make possible needed production financing by impressing the banks with the industry’s intentions to place pictures on a sounder economic basis. A leading financial ticker service this week said:

“Cut of 10 per cent in salaries by Paramount Famous–Lasky Corporation, followed by other companies, has called the attention of Wall Street to a problem that the film industry has been contending with for some time—the unduly high cost of film production and overhead. The present action can be compared with the action taken three years ago in 1924 in shutting down the Hollywood studios for a short time in order to bring home to stars and directors the need for economy. . . . After having carefully built up its cash and working capital to a strong position, Paramount during its period of expansion has again allowed indebtedness to the banks to accumulate. With its summer production season, which requires the heaviest drain on funds at its height, this position is not a favorable one. Considerable money will also be required to meet demands of various construction enterprises under way.”

Bubble-bursting in the Movies

Cutting movie salaries, perhaps 25 per cent., creates a universal sensation, because through the films everybody seems to be personally acquainted with movie stars. Similar cuts in salaries of the officers of producing companies, say down to $150,000 a year for presidents, attract somewhat less attention, altho that is part of the policy of retrenchment announced by the Paramount-Famous Players-Lasky and fifteen other leading companies. Is such cutting down a good sign of the times? Yes, indeed, in substance answer most of our daily papers, both as an indication of a degree of financial sanity coming into a frenzied business and as a check on ultra-dazzling screen stars. Others, less optimistic, suggest that there is more of making a virtue out of necessity in this gesture of economy than there is promise of benefit to the picture-seeing multitudes. Allowing for “wee bits of exaggeration” regarding salaries actually paid in the fabulous movie world, still, as the Pittsburgh Gazette Times points out, “the warning given of the state of the industry, coupled with the demand for reduced expenditures, indicates that the business is passing from the bubble period and is settling down on a basis akin to that which governs other industries, one in which there must be care that the outgo shall not exceed the income.” But more than mere business considerations are involved, in the opinion of The Ohio State Journal (Columbus), which says,

“There has been no real economic justification for millionaire Incomes in the movies save the keen competition among the producers themselves. The lure of apparently easy money has drawn thousands of men and girls, especially the latter, to the movie centers, has made them discontented when they did not succeed, and spoiled them for what might have been more productive lives. There is evidence at last that the industry itself sees the handwriting on the wall. But the sad part is that it is economic pressure rather than a realization of the essential un- soundness of its position that has forced the issue.”

Hollywood sends out news that the cut will amount possibly to $10,000,000 a year, hitting salaries of an estimated army of 300,000 people, including executives, department heads, producers, stars, directors, actors, writers, and other artists. High salaried “big chiefs” voluntarily accept the maximum cut of 25 per cent, as a starter; stars under contract are to be asked to accept like reductions; other cuts range down to 10 per cent.; $50-a-week employees are exempt. Since recent huge mergers of theater chains have put the movie industry in control of approximately three-fourths of the whole country’s film outlets, these theaters are expected to be subject to the economy rule as well as the scattered executive and distribution offices. Hollywood also reports mass meetings of resentful actors, hints of compromise if a crisis “really exists,” and hoped-for help from the Actors’ Equity Association in a “film wage war.” Officials of the Actors’ Equity in New York point out that Los Angeles “is the greatest non-union town in the country,” and Hollywood stars have heretofore preferred to “go along with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, a company union nicely drest up by the big producers.” Jesse Lasky sent up the first danger rocket, saying:

“A serious situation has arisen in the motion-picture industry, and we might as well face the facts. These are that the net in- come from pictures is not sufficient, because costs have mounted too high. The industry as a whole has been spending too much for what it has been getting, and as far as Paramount is concerned we can go on this way no longer.”

Agreement by the sixteen major companies soon followed, and news-diggers unearthed statements like the following:

Altho the moving-picture business has risen to be fourth in size among American industries, capitalized at $1,500,000,000, the average earning is not over 4 per cent., and thus below standard. The industry took notice when it went to Wall Street to borrow money for some of its big projects, and struck higher interest rates or was unable to obtain loans. Gross earnings have reached their maximum, since there are now enough theater chairs available for the country’s amusement needs, and increase of percentage of profits can not come from increased distribution. Not falling off of receipts, but investment bankers’ insistence upon economy, accounts for the policy of cutting salaries which are said to constitute some 60 per cent. of producing expense. Recent big mergers, with the sale of many millions of dollars’ worth of securities, “have harnessed the play-boy of industries to the chariot of business,” according to L. F. Parton, of the Consolidated Press Association, and a New York Herald Tribune’s pointed news-story head-line reads: “Move for Retrenchment to Stabilize Industry as Picture Stocks Decline.”

“Think of Gloria Swanson, Doug Fairbanks, Harold Lloyd, Tom Mix, and Norma Talmadge pecking away in penury!” exclaims the Washington Post, after the fashion of General Lord’s “Woodpeckers’ Club” of government employees, who for the budget’s sake promise to peck away unceasingly at waste. But the New York Morning Telegraph, a leading amusement paper, can not imagine that “the big movie stars are the least whit worried,” because “most of them are independently rich”:

“Lon Chaney earns $3,500 a week, say the well-informed along Hollywood Boulevard; Wallace Beery, $2,500; Adolph Menjou, $3,000; Gloria Swanson, before leaving Paramount, $7,500; Pola Negri, $5,000, and Laura La Plante, $1,700. Most of these stars have made careful investments, and many have business of their own, including among them a factory which makes silk hosiery, an iron foundry, and a barber-shop.”

One point of view variously exprest by many papers is seen in the following comment by the Indianapolis News:

“If the business is reorganized on better and more economical administrative lines, it is not at all probable that it will do the pictures themselves any harm, and it is quite possible that it will be of no little benefit to those who are excessively prominent on the silver screen. Some of them have, on more than one occasion, given evidence that they were in possession of larger incomes than were good for them or for the public interest.”

More picturesquely the Raleigh Times sees “a real ray of hope for the fattest of parvenu industries,” since “the movie managers show signs of returning mentality after a great drunk.”

F. & R.-Saxe Deal Announcement Seen

Minneapolis — Formal announcement of closing of the deal pooling Northwest Theaters (Finkelstein & Ruben) and Saxe Enterprises, is expected to be made at the F. & R. convention which gets under way here today.

While there have been denials made that the deal, which would bring under one banner around 180 Middle West Theaters, several Saxe officials are slated to attend the three-day convention here, and their presence is taken to indicate the deal will be announced.

F. & R.–Saxe Confab

Pooling of Northwest Theaters (Finkelstein & Reuben), Minneapolis, and Saxe Enterprises, Milwaukee, now understood to be virtually completed will be done through flotation of a bond or stock issue, it is understood. Executives of both firms are in New York and scheduled to attend a meeting today with Hayden & Stone, banking firm. Merging of the holdings will give the combined circuit about 180 houses in Minnesota, North and South Dakota and Wisconsin.

F.&R.–Saxe Conferences Postponed by Non-Arrival

Failure of officials of Northwest Theaters (Finkelstein & Ruben) Minneapolis, and Saxe Enterprises, Milwaukee, to arrive in New York, led to postponement of conferences with Hayden & Stone in connection with reported plans to pool their circuits. The Middle West Theater operators are expected to arrive today or tomorrow.

Last-Minute Hitches Block Pooling of F. & R. and Saxe

Minneapolis — Last minute hitches have caused postponement and possibly abandonment of proposed pooling of the Northwest Theaters (Finkelstein & Ruben) Minneapolis, and Saxe Enterprises, Milwaukee, circuits. Now other large circuits again are said to be angling for the F. & R. chain of around theaters in Minnesota, North and South Dakota and Wisconsin. There are approximately 45 houses in the Saxe chain, which is confined to Wisconsin.

John Saxe is declared to have balked at several angles of the proposed pool, which would have given F. & R. at least operating control of the combined firm, in what was declared to be the forerunner of a move to bring both circuits into the West Coast chain.

Publix and Universal, which are declared to have made overtures in the past, are said to be again active in seeking a deal with F. & R.

While those “in the know” declared that all negotiations were off, it was, nevertheless, significant that John Saxe was in Minneapolis several days the past week and although he stated that his visit here was in the interest of other business, he was said to have been in several lengthy conferences with officials of the F. & R. circuits. “Greater Amusements” says in commenting on the situation.

“Publix would, of course, welcome some kind of working arrangement with F. & R. to offset any loss that may be sustained by the Paramount distributing organization in the Northwest due to the erection of the new Publix house in Minneapolis, which will eventually cause a break between the Minneapolis firm and Paramount in the booking of the latter’s product in other F. & R. strongholds throughout the Northwest,” the publication states. “It is said that Paramount has already felt the sting of F. & R.’s resentment throughout the territory in retaliation for the invasion of Minneapolis, by Publix.

“Universal would naturally hold out the olive branch of both F. & R. and Saxe as a tie-in would materially strengthen that company’s theater position in the Middle West territory. In Wisconsin, Universal is operating in direct opposition to the Saxe circuit in nearly every spot in which it has a theater. An arrangement in the F. & R. field would also assure Universal more product than it now enjoys.

“It is possible that the real reason for the calling of? of the meeting said to have been scheduled for New York City last Monday was caused by the decision of the Federal Trade Commission, which would naturally cause a slowing up of any proposed theater pools. While the decision was rendered in the case against Paramount, it consequently affects all companies in a similar manner.”

Independent Threat Halted Wage Slash?

Willingness of bankers to finance independent units of stars and directors which might have been formed had the proposed salary reduction been put into effect, caused producers to abandon plans for general salary slashing, Allan Dwan yesterday told members of the A. M. P. A.

“The only employes hit by the retrenchment were stenographers and others who are not highly paid,” said Dwan.

Dwan expressed his regret at the passing of Eastern production, but asserted it is likely that a year hence will find the producers returning to New York studios.

George O’Brien and Captain Felix Reisenberg, author of “East Side, West Side” were introduced by Vivian Moses. Madeline Hurlock Mack Sennett star, was among the speakers. Walter F. Eberhardt, presided.

A silent prayer was offered to the memory of June Mathis.

Labor Cuts Demanded

Wage reductions and wage increases for musicians, operators and stage hands are bringing about the usual controversies in different parts of the country, with the situation acute in some quarters. St. Louis and Denver exhibitors are pleading for lower salaries that they may continue to exist. At Memphis an amicable settlement has been reached and a threatened walkout averted.

Musicless movies loom as an almost certainty for the patrons of the neighborhood and outlying theatres of St. Louis and its suburbs unless the powers that be in the Musicians’ Union come to the assistance of the theatre owners by granting some concessions in the way of either reduced wages or fewer members for orchestras.

The present wage contract with the Musicians ‘ Union expires in August and recently in preliminary negotiations the representatives of the smaller theatres of St. Louis requested that they be permitted to drop one man from their orcliestras as a means of holding down the overhead. This suggestion was promptly rejected by the union officials, it is said.

The situation is so acute the theatre owners have practically decided that it is a question of either one man or the entire orchestra going. That is, unless the musicians are willing to reduce their wage scale so that the total reduction for an orchestra will equal the present wage of a musician. The latter course seems very improbable.

Whether the big down-town and Grand Boulevard first-run houses will assist their smaller brethren in their arguments with the musicians is not yet apparent.

The controversy between the Motion Picture Machine Operators and Loew’s theatres in Memphis reached an amicable settlement Monday.

A new two-year contract was signed by Loew representatives and officers of the union under the provisions of which two projectionists will be retained at Loew’s Palace at a salary of $53.50 a week, each, to September 1st, 1927; then, $55.00 for the next two years. The third operator, retained under the Publix policy for the Publix stage presentations which were discontinued June 18, will be dispensed with.

The men had asked for two men at a weekly salary of $75.00, or three men at $65,000; and at the outset they demanded, also, the retention of the third operator. Loew, on the other hand, offered two men $60.00 a week.

The Denver Theatre Managers Association is seeking a 25 per cent reduction of salaries of musicians and has notified the state industrial commission of its intention to make such salary reductions. The Denver Musical Protective Association has also been given the same notice. The managers declare they are ready to open negotiations on a new contract. No change in working conditions is asked. No mention has been made of any intended reduction for other theatre employees.

Film Economy As Press Sees It

Newspapers throughout the country continue to comment on the recent announcement in Hollywood of a ten per cent slash in salaries. These comments vary, some being’ directed at the effect on quality in pictures, while othei’s declare that the stars have been receiving entirely too much money and the economical move is justifiable. The comments are highly significant, however, and should be read by the entire industry, as they are a reflection from the people themselves.

Following are the latest comments:

Wilmington Every Evening.—If the portrayer of ‘Don Q’ ever leads the embattled forces of moviedom against the managerial ramparts he ought to arrange in advance to bave the scene filmed.

Nashville Banner.—Does this declaration of a slash in the pay of the movie stars mean that the era of almost hysterical enthusiasm over individuals is about ready to pass? Has the motion picture public been somehow or other educated up to the place where it is ready for something more worthwhile than has been afforded by the ruthless insistence of some star to be the whole show whether or not? Such questions are suggested at least.

Tulsa World.—One stern necessity is that the patronizing public be given more for its money than it has hithei-to been given. A scandal of the age is the profligacy of the moving picture industry.

See Hand of Bankers

St. Paul Dispatch.—The producers, it appears, have been put wise to themselves by bankers with whom they have had dealings in a nimiber of recent motion picture mergers. It wall be tragic, indeed, if instead of being able to sport half a dozen luxurious motor cars they must worry along with only three or four each.

Clarksburgh (W. Va.) Telegram.—Even allowing for the exuberance of publicity, many of the leading motion picture stars have been drawing salaries beyond reason, and doubtless much beyond their real worth.

Sioux City Journal.—The average star, man or woman, has grown accustomed to the pampering much money has made possible and has no desire to accept anything that will mean lessened opportunity for the ease and comfort and luxury that go with opulence.

Ironwood (Mich.) Globe.—Less money would make for better moral conditions among the inhabitants. Motion picture stars of long standing are reported fabulously wealthy.

Kansas City Times.—The movie producers who now announce that pictures are costing too much heretofore have boasted of their cost; the salaries they now say are ruining them were pushed up by themselves for the purpose of impressing the public with the inunense artistic abilities of the stars who received them.

Manchester (N. H.) Union.—The high price of Hollywood is something the general public is likely enough to admit without much question. The antics of that capital of filmdom have been of a sort to persuade most people that the piper out there miakes sure of being pretty well paid by those who dance so queerly to his tunes.

Publicity Is Blamed

Poughkeepsie Eagle and News.—The news will be something of a surprise to a public whcih always has put the industry in the bonanza class, and has assumed that the producers made so much money that salaries didn’t make much difference, an assumption for which the producers themselves have been chiefly to blame by the publicity which they have given to reputedly tremendous amounts paid to the stars of screendom.

Utiea Observer Dispatch.—Great extravagance has been used in making films. Millions of dollars have been wasted to meet the whim of some actor, producer, camera man, film editor or anybody else. Cases are said to be almost without number where thousands have been expended upon pictur- ing some episode, only to be thrown away the next day.

Asheville (N. C.) Citizen.—Outsiders per- cieve how tragic this thing is when they realize that, as a result of it, Adolphe Men- jou will lose $400 of his ,$4,000 a week, Pola Negri $500 of her $5,000, Colleen Moore $850 of her $8,500 and Jack Barrymore $1,000 of his $10,000 a week.

Wilmington (N. C.) News-Dispatch.—Fabulous salaries, either real or paper fig- ures, for a time proved good publicity stunts but they have not always resulted in producing good pictures.

Cincinnati Times-Star.—The reduction of salaries and expense of scenic effects that has been inaugurated in the moving picture industry was bound to come with greater organization. Many of the absurd salaries paid mediocre actors were entirely due to wild competition for the services of per- formers who had built up what May be called “trade names.”

Nashville Tennessean.—The public has been a party to the very greatly magnified idea of the worth of the individual star. They have placed a good deal more emphasis on the actors than they have on the production … . fabulous and unearned salaries have been largely responsible for the scandals that have involved and besmirched the private lives of so many of the favorites of the screen.

Dallas Times Herald.—This salary reduction may indicate that the day of the star is over. The movie audiences are becoming more sophisticated. They are demanding pictures with an appeal that transcends the work of any particular star.

Saxe Reported in New Dickers for Hook-Up

Washington—With the proposed deal with Northwest Theaters (Finkelstein & Ruben) off, for the time being at least. Saxe Enterprises are reported flirting with other circuits in a move to sell or affiliate the chain.

Prominently mentioned in connection with these deliberations is Universal, and the recent visit of- Dan Michalove to the Middle West is declared to have been prompted by reported hitch in closing the F. & R.-Saxe deal, which became public after it had been generally believed the deal was practically set, lends strength to the report of a possible Saxe and Universal hook-up.

Saxe and Universal are waging a lively acquisition campaign throughout this territory. A proposed tie-up would eliminate this situation, which is emphasized here in Milwaukee where the circuits are at trips in both downtown and suburban fields.

Saxe occupies a strong position in the first run field, with Universal practically the only opposition. With its one downtown house, the Alhambra, Universal is making a bid for first honors downtown against the larger and newer Wisconsin, ace house of the several in the loop operated by Saxe. In the outskirts. Universal has more houses. The suburbs, in fact, are proving stiff comi)etition for the downtown district, through strong programs. Universal is building at Racine, Kenosha and Sheboygan, and is understood to be planning other houses most of which will be in direct opposition to Saxe.

Saxe some time ago was dickering with Publix, which had practically closed for a 25 per cent interest in the chain. Under the deal, Publix was to step in and operate the Milwaukee negotiations between the two firms. Michalove’s visit and the Milwaukee houses, while Saxe would retain control out-of-town. This deal, however, also developed a last minute hitch and deliberations since have been dropped.

Third factor in the situation throughout the state is Fischer’s Paramount Theaters, which has announced a building program for principal cities of the slate, a majority of which would line up against Saxe. The two firms have waged a spirited opposition in overseated Fond du Lac. Saxe is building against Fischer at Madison, while Fischer is entering Oshkosh.

F. &. R. Move Against Invasion

Minneapolis — With a permit for an 800-seat theater at 3020 Hennepin Ave., granted to William Berg, Northwest Theaters (Finkelstein & Ruben) plans to reconvert the Calhoun Terrace, nearby ballroom, into a theater, seating 1,300. The move may forestall erection of the house by Berg, who would be “sandwiched” between the Calhoun Terrace and Lagoon.

Embattled Hollywood

LOS ANGELES, July 23. — Studio contract reforms — tighter shooting schedules — more adequate preparation of scenarios — more co-operation among all film-making forces — better pictures.

These are the items around which Hollywood’s battle against charges of extravagance centers. One can undoubtedly look for some radical improvements along these lines in picture production. In any event, the mental attitude with which the colony is facing its future is sounder.

At the series of conferences sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, there has undoubtedly been plenty of talk that wandered off into the air, but then those present had the chance to get something off their chests that has been irking them for a long time.

It is hard to understand all this unless one understands Hollywood. The recent articles by William A. Johnston in Motion Picture News have been sufficiently sound and explanatory on this point, and I am going on the premise that they have been thoroughly read by all Motion Picture News readers.

Working in Hollywood has come to be such an effort for some people that they simply cannot get down to solid ground any more. Everything that they do looks like such a huge job that they are almost afraid to tackle it. They stall for days before getting at it, or else ask for advice on every tiny point, neglecting altogether to trust their own intuition and talent. If they had to make pictures or starve, sink or swim, most of these people would turn out something in a jiffy.

Rupert Hughes flashed another and different view on this situation during the Academy meetings:

“Millions on millions of dollars would be saved annually if the authorities would wake up to one bit of common sense,” he said. “First impressions should be final and a thing once liked should be nailed down and let alone.

Instead, there have been innumerable conferences, wrangles, debates and expensive time of important people is hideously wasted on tearing to pieces and compromising. Compromise is good in business but death in art and story-telling.”

The Conference Obsession

Hughes takes perhaps an extreme view of the situation from a commercial angle, but there is a more than a modicum of truth in what he says, that would bear the attention of everybody in the industry. The conference idea has become such a habit in certain Hollywood circles, and also the producing executives province of supervision such an obsession, that almost nothing can be settled without consideration of both.

Many onlookers are of the opinion that much could be gained by following the methods employed at some of the smaller studios. Columbia and others are pointed to as having done splendid things with very little excess of personnel and expense. It happens that Columbia’s picture, “The Blood Ship,” came out at this particular juncture, and attracted a great deal of attention, in part because of the economic situation.

Mayer on Class Pictures

Louis B. Mayer answers the contention of those who believe that the bigger companies could do the same thing very vigorously:

“I have no criticism to make of the accomplishment of any particular company in producing a picture that happens to attract wide public attention, and which does this cheaply and economically, but I do say that the same standards do npt prevail for an organization like ours that do for the smaller companies.

“We are in the position of having to put out a class product on all occasions to meet the approval of a class audience. We cannot step down. Some of our pictures are made very economically, and are very successful—tremendously successful in proportion to their cost.

“In the expense sheets on others we are sometimes less fortunate, but we cannot lessen our endeavor towards making a quality product because of this. It is better for us to spend more money on a picture and maintain the standards of production that we have established, even though the theme or the story of our picture, or something else about it, should not please the public in the long run, than to fall below the general demands of the trade to which we cater. I can draw a comparison in the world of style and fashion. A Beau Brummel has to have everything right on every occasion in the matter of dress, or the public will notice the deficiency; a person who is not a style-setter can afford to take more chances.”

In any proposed move toward economy, it is thoroughly agreed that there must be no lessening of expense that will disturb the quality of pictures. “We are going to maintain the quality of pictures in any case,” Mr. Goldwyn told me in speaking of the academy. “That is an established part of the policy of this organization.”

Attempts to Impress Wall St.

This attitude differs from three or four years ago when the studios were shut down, and the industry seemed to have reached the decision after a period of extravagance that it was better to go back to cheap pictures. Present theatre requirements have naturally made this impossible, and it is doubtful whether, all things considered, the situation justifies any resort to methods that went out of date half a dozen years ago.

Many believe that there should be some cutting down of personnel, and there undoubtedly will be. One can anticipate a reduction in the present size of stock companies of actors, directors, etc. There appears a definite indication that many players of doubtful box office value will be eliminated. Normal weeding out processes! Younger players will be treated in a more conservative way financially. This will extend to directors and other talent. It will be well, though, if the eliminating practices are carried on with penetration and not haphazardly.

No salary is too high, it is conceded by all, for any player who is a great public attraction. Whether this attitude is absolutely correct might be called into question, but it is characteristic of Hollywood’s impetuosity.

Economy gestures don’t pay unless they are based on real principles of economy. Nothing can be gained by a theatrical attempt to impress Wall Street. The proposal of a salary cut had something of that aspect, and it has gone by the board.

There is hardly a producer who is not innately cognizant of the faults which exist in the studios generally. A director who attended the meetings of the academy dwelt on this fact, when he was talking to me:

“We, in the directorial and acting end, are not telling them anything that they do not already know, and they are very courteous to listen to it all under the circumstances. It is the industry’s mistakes that stand out most glaringly. It is the case where a company throws away $500,000 on a picture, and then has not a foot of film that it can use, and then has to go on shooting, throwing more money away trying to redeem the error, and all the while charging up the overhead, that causes the major trouble. We simply can’t take a licking and forget about it. We have to go back and fight some more. Consider “Ben Hur” as an example; consider “Old Ironsides” and various other pictures that have recquired many months in the making; consider any number of films on which production has been stopped and stalled, and which have run into bad weather, both real and metaphorical, and you will have the major cause of our troubles. Big pictures all, but were they worth the money that went into them? Maybe they were. Only the future can tell that definitely.

“The best we can hope for is to use our past experience to guide us in the future in dealing with the obstacles we encounter. We are getting down to cases in dealing with wilful extravagance, but we can only hope to do our best in combating that which is unforeseen and accidental. That is, after all, the show business.”

Inflation of various kinds is perhaps the worst thing from which the film colony has suffered — that this a share of provincialism which inhabits any locale dedicated to a certain line of progress. This same provincialism is typical of the stage in New York; it probably is also typical of the automobile industry in Detroit, and of the packing industry in Chicago. The rest of the world simply doesn’t exist as far as the manufacture of stage shows goes in Manhattan, of automobiles in Detroit, and the distribution of livestock products from the Windy city. Hollywood is the center of motion picture production, and is primarily conscious only of those things that pertain to production, and not so keenly conscious of distributicm and exhibition, except in so far as these have a local effect. At the same time, the spirit just now is (even as it can be) much more broad-minded.

The Academy cannot be a cure-all because as at present conceived its activities center in the field of production. It is an organization designed primarily — one might say solely to help along that line. But the bigger minds in the academy know distribution and exhibition, and later on its destiny will unquestionably go farther.

Movie Operators Strike

Special to the New York Times. 

CHICAGO, August 23.—Moving picture operators called a strike at the Belmont Theatre today, and by night it had spread to other theatres of the Orpheum Circuit. The walk-out of the operators did not affect the other theatre employes and the vaudeville performances proceeded as usual.

The operators said the Belmont Theatre had sought to dispense with the services of two of its four operators, claiming that, because of the five acts of vaudeville, there was no need of two operators on each of two shifts. The unionists then walked out and within a short time a sympathetic strike was in progress.

Labor Troubles Threaten

WITH present contracts expiring August 31st, labor troubles again loom as a great menace to exhibitors in many parts of the United States. It is feared in some quarters that there is such a variance between amounts asked by union workers and those set by the exhibitors that there are bound to be a number of walkouts.

Conditions have changed during the past year, according to many of the exhibitors and if the unions insist upon increases a large number of houses will be either forced to close or do without ‘musicians or union labor help. In some places exhibitors are oven demanding that the union men accept a reduction in wages.

In the Twin Cities the unions are declared to be on the defensive with the theatres insisting upon a reduction in wages because of poor business caused by a general slump. The exhibitor unit is conferring with musicians, operators and stage hands in an effort to induce them that a cut is imperative if theatres are to continue to operate with union labor.

The agreement in Seattle between musicians, stage hands and operators and the exhibitors expires September 1st. Wage increases are demanded from all quarters and a lively fight is anticipated. Another demand is for the retention of the present existing minimum labor rule, where the number of employees is determined by seating capacity.

In Washington, D. C, the demand of the musicians is for a 20 per cent increase, bringing the scale from $67 to $85 a week. A series of meetings have been held between the theatre owners and musicians and the owners have declared emphatically they will not meet the new demands. Every effort is being made, however, to defer a strike.

The threatened silence of the thirty-five neighborhood motion picture theatres controlled by members of the St. Louis Motion Picture Exhibitors League has been averted through an agreement reached by the theatre owners with officials of the Musicians’ Union for a reduction in the orchestral personnel of the theatre. The arrangement finally reached is a compromise of the original demand of the theatre owners, who asked for lower wages, a reduction in orchestras and an extension of the Summer season for two weeks, or until September 1.

Under the new plan the orchestras of all the theatres having 850 seats or less will be reduced one man each. Theatres in the 850-seat class will have orchestras of three pieces instead of four, and those with 500 seats or less can be operated with a pianist instead of two pieces of music.

The Summer season is also extended for the two weeks closing on September 1 instead of August 15 as fonnerly. Houses that rate more than 850 seats are not atfected by the new agreement with the Musicians Union.

Chicago Exhibitors Close 350 Movie Theatres: Fight With Union Hits 400,000 Patrons

Special to the New York Times.

CHICAGO, Aug. 29. — Every motion picture and vaudeville theatre in the Chicago district belonging to the Chicago Exhibitors’ Association was ordered closed at 6 P.M. today in what both sides declare will be a war to the finish between the association and the Chicago Motion Picture Operators’ Union.

[full article is viewable on the New York Times site.]

Movie Operators Demand Pay Rise

Unless motion picture machine operators and theater owners of Minneapolis negotiate a new wage scale by Wednesday night, the city will be without motion pictures Thursday, spokemen for the operators’ union said today.

The present wage agreement between the Motion Picture Machine Operators Union and the Motion Picture Theater Owners Association will expire at midnight, August 31, and the operators have served notice that unless they are granted increases in pay, they will strike September 1.

No question caused by the strike of motion picture machine operators in Chicago is involved in the dispute here, Joseph Elwood, business represetnative of the union in Minneapolis, said today.

“No action on the Chicago strike situation will be taken here unless the owners there should decide to try to break the strike by employment of nonunion men,” Mr. Elwood said. “If that situation should arise, we probably would be instructed by the international office to take some sympathetic action.”

Negotiations between the theater owners and the operators have been under way for 30 days with no agreement reached or any arrangements make [sic] for a meeting to iron out differences, according to Mr. Elwood.

There are about 70 operators in Minneapolis who are members of the union. They are employed by 58 motion picture houses. Only one theater in the city employs a non-union operator.

The present wage scale ranges from one dollar to one dollar and forty cents an hour, depending on the class of theater in which the worker is employed. Average number of hours worked is six and a half a day.

It is expected that a meeting the men and the theater owners will be called today or Wednesday in an effort to conclude a new agreement. The agreement now effective was made two years ago.

Theater Strike as in Chicago Feared Here

The possiblity of a theater strike in the Twin Cities and the Northwest, similar to that in Chicago which has left that city without amusements for two days, was feared today as local and national officials of the Musicans, Stagehands and Motion Picture Operators unions prepared to meet this afternoon with officers of the Northwest Theater Owners and Managers association in Minneapolis.

May Involve Others.

Recent announcement that a certain St. Paul theater was to be operated without an orchestra after September 1, resulted in conferences extending over several days. The protest of the Musicians’ union, it is learned, may involve the stagehands and film operators.

National offices of the three unions have been in the Twin Cities for the past week, it is said, and the meeting this afternoon at the Nicollet hotel will determine whether the musicians will walk out. Such a walkout, it is believe in union circles, would cause a sympathetic movement on the part of the stagehands and film operators.

Demand Orchestra Be Kept.

The musicians, it is understood are not asking for any increase in pay. They are demanding only that the orchestra be retained in the St. Paul theater.

Officials of all three unions appeared optimistic concerning the outcome of the meeting today.

Roy W. Moore, business representative of the moving picture machine operators of St. Paul, state today that so far as the operators in this city are concerned, satisfactory wage contracts have been completed with the theater owners.

Theatre Musicians Win Pay Increases

Musicians playing in city theatres have won increases in pay ranging from $8 to $15 in a new three-year wage agreement, effective Labor Day. In the legitimate houses negotiations between Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians and the International Theatrical Association have been completed, and ratified contracts were exchanged for signing yesterday.

Chicago Movie Men See a Wider Tie-Up

Special to the New York Times.

CHICAGO, Aug. 30. — Chicago’s movie and vaudeville theatre tie-up today promised to grow even more widespread than it was last night, when about 90 per cent. of the theatres of the metropolitan area affected had closed their doors because of a dispute between film exhibitors and operators.

Movie Machine Operators Do Not Foresee Trouble

Announcement that contract negotiations between motion picture operators and owners of St. Paul theaters ahve been adjusted satisfactorily and that no participation in trouble growing out of strained relations between the theater owners and musicians is anticipated by the operators, was made Wednesday night by Ray W. Moor, business representative of the St. Paul Machine Operators local No. 356.

“Negotiations for new contracts have been in progress for some time and new contracts between the St. Paul Moving Picture operators and the motion picture theater owners of St. Paul were settled some time ago in a manner satisfactory to both parties concerned,” Mr. Moor said.

Doesn’t Anticipate Trouble.

“I therefore wish to inform the public that I do not anticipate any trouble at this time as far as the operators of St. Paul are concerned.”

Musicians and theater owners of the Twin Cities are attempting to reach an agreement over ill feeling aroused by announcement by the owners that one St. Paul theater would operator without an orchestra after September 1. The musicians’ union is protesting the discharge of members of this orchestra.

Chicago Strike Spreads.

The movie theater lockout in Chicago on its third day, spread to houses that have been open, as machine operators prepared to seek an injunction against distributors who have refused to supply films, an Associated Press dispatch announced.

The Minneapolis motion picture operators branch of the International Alliance of Theater Stage Employes informed the theater owners of the city Wednesday night that they would walk out and strike unless their demands for wage increases and better working conditions were met before midnight, tonight.

St. Paul Theater Closed to Halt Musicians Row

58 Mill City Playhouses May Shut Doors Tonight

Tieup to Take Place Unless Owners Answer Movie Operators Ultimatum Satisfactorily Today.

Because of disputes between theater owners and labor organizations in the Twin Cities, the Astor theater in St. Paul will close its door Friday night, and unless a compromise can be brought about today 53 theaters in Minneapolis will close down at midnight tonight.

Because of a threatened walkout of musicians, unless the orchestra is kept employed while the theater is open, the Astor theater will close indefinitely, Finkelstein & Ruben officials announced.

Meeting in Minneapolis Wednesday afternoon with officials of the Theater Owners’ and Managers’ association, representative of the St. Paul Musicians’ association and their national union officers negotiated a contract the terms of which included references to the Astor and the maintenance of the orchestra there.

No Fear for St. Paul.

Harold Finkelstein today made the following statement on behalf of Finkelstein & Ruben regarding the situation:

“Labor negotiations involve no difficulties in St. Paul. The operators’ agreement was reached some time ago, and the musicians’ association and the managers settled on a contract Wednesday. A dispute arose in regard to the Astor theater, which was disposed of by the closing of the theater.

“A rather tense situations has developed in regard to the operators in Minneapolis, but we hope that the two negotiations committees will be in accord before the time designated as a breaking point.”

In Minneapolis the strike of motion picture operators which threatens 58 theaters will take effect after midnight tonight unless theater owners today satisfactorily answer an ultimatum issued by the operators early this morning.

Would Make 6,000 Idle.

Closing of the Minneapolis houses would throw out of work between 6,000 and 7,000 persons, it is estimated.

The strike threat followed a three-hour conference at the Nicollet hotel in which owners and union operators failed to come to an agreement on the latter’s demands for wage increases and better working conditions.

The Minneapolis Motion Picture Theater Operators’ association is a branch of the International Alliance of Theater Stage Employes.

With their present wage scale agreement which has been in extence for the past two years expiring at midnight, the operators went to the conference demanding increases ranging from 10 to 8 per cent. The increases demanded are on the existing scale which are from $1 to $1.45 an hour for a 6-hour day.

St. Paul operators announced that through their organization they had negotiated satisfactory contracts and anticipated no difficulties in this city except on the orchestra issue.

The stagehands organization, it is understand, has not yet completed its […] with […]

Wage Increase Given Mill City Movie Operators

Settlement of the fight between Minneapolis theater owners and the union motion picture machine operators over a new age scale was effected Thursday night when representatives of both factions agreed on a wage increase ranging from 7 to 15 per cent.

This action ended a two-day fight which for a time threatened to close 58 theaters in various sections of the city.

A dispute between St. Paul theater owners and musicians will result in the closing of the Astor theater, after tonight’s performance.

Astor Will Close.

A walkout of musicians was threatened unless an orchestra was kept employed as long as the Astor remained open, and the matter was settled by announcement of Finkelstein & Ruben, owners of the Astor, that the theater will be closed.

The St. Paul machine operators’ contracts were settled satisfactorily.

The Minneapolis agreement includes an increase of from 7 to 15 per cent on the existing wage scale ranging from $1 to $1.45 na hour for a six and one-half hour day, and a similar increase in the overtime scale.

Work Will Be Reduced.

Operators at the majority of large theaters will make an average of $1.80 an hour overtime while operators in smaller theaters will make an average of $1.55 an hour overtime. A few changes also will be made to reduce the amount of work done by the operators at the theaters.

Nearly all movie and vaudeville houses remained closed in Chicago Thursday night as a result of the rupture of relations between owners and employes over contracts, an Associated Press dispatch said.

End of Movie Tie-Up Indicated in Chicago

CHICAGO, Sept. 2. — Prospects for a settlement of the differences between the movie theatre owners of Chicago and the stage hands’ and operators’ unions appeared brighter late tonight than they have since Monday, when the owners called a lockout as a protest against an operators’ strike directed against the Orpheum Circuit houses.

Total Loss to Chicago Exhibitors in Union’s Bad Beating of Orpheum

Chicago. Sept. 6.

No grosses in Chicago week: no film on exhibition. No shows, because the Orpbeum Circuit (vaudeville) saw fit to drag Chicago’s entire picture fleld in with it in a technical dispute with the Motion Picture Operators’ Union that in reality concerned no one but Orpheum and the operators.

It seemed of no consequence to Orpheum that in doing so it deprived many falling film men of a week’s receipts which they needed like Orpheum needs acts.

Still, Orpheum’s desire to slice expenses to the amount of two men’s salaries brought many to the brink of bankruptcy. What prevented that happening was the calling off of the affair at the laat and most desperate moment.

And if the callinpr oft lia conic at tlie moment, the Exhibitors’ Association of Chicago would
inevitably have been no more.

Momentary Catastrophe

The catastrophe, while it lasted, was tlie most one-slded of battles. There was no sense of duty or service among the exhibitors. No one but Orpheum desired that closed shop — they needed the week’s receipts. The majority went with the lockout, because they were coerced
into doing so. Meanwhile every unionized theatrical employee in Chicago were bound together in fighting the half-hearted exhibitors.

From a simple point of order dispute between Orpheum ami t)\e operators, the fight drew In every orfMlna exhibitor and the stage naMa, musicians, Janitors and theatre construction unions. At the blowoff two commissioners of labor, a representative of Will Hays and Mayer WUUam Hale Thompson were prominently flstlcufflng among or parting the flstlcufTers.

The lockout was born two weeks before christened. It happened when Orpheum discharged two of the shift of four operators at its newly acquired Belmont theatre. ,m*.|iUce was a part of the circuit?* I^ileral e^nomy move.

January, last, Orpheum and op-
erators agreed to mutually decide
to poi-mit eonditions and anwise-
ments prevalent in 1926 to tcfUialn
unchanged In 1927.

Tffhen Orpheum leased tlie IjcI-
tnont from L.ui.liner & Trin^ a few
months ago, the bouse employed
four picture operators and played a
vaude-picture combination poliey,
A condition of the 1927 aL-recnicnt
allowed fur the cutting of operators
only when the theatre would change
policy. The only apparent change
in policy attempted by Orpheum at
the Belmont was spllttinr.the weelt
twice instead of once.

The operators’ union did not see
this change as sufficient to war-
rant the cut. therefore ordered ll.s
members working In local Orplieum
houses to strike. For one day Or-
rlicuni theatres In Chicago were
daiiiined. After much phoning,
Mark Heiman, talkinp: on the Nen-
Tork end. ordered his Cliicngo oil!, i-
boys to put the two operators back
to work. Tliey did, but Mark or chnnijed his mind and a
week laiT the operators they
Were aR/.in through.

For a second time operators were
ordered to strike as far as Orpheum
houses were concerned. But this
time Orpheum apparently was de-
termined to s.iti.’^fy its foolhardv de-
•ite and called on the Kxliililtora’
Association, of which it Is a mem-
ber, for help.

B. & K. Behind

Jack Mill.-r, radical organizer, Prp.sidcnt of tl.e association and al•”•ayi cundemn iid f as h is s ide h l oh attitude ii.ward Orpheum. warmed up readily. He seemed tickl’ d to death to comply and r.alahan & KatJ! hacked him. It is .Miller’s Iiro-orpheum and n, * K. attitude, with , It recanl for the ro«f of the “iRinizations membership that always has been cause for strained relations and n< ar bust-ups in the Exhibitors’ Association.

Miller immediately ordered that
all members of the Association
close their theatres In sympathy
with the Orpheum Circuit. Some
complied; some didn’t. Those that
didn’t were literal slaps in the face
to .Miller and the association.

To avoid this split-exhil)itors’
situation, wliicii would have meant
curtains for Miller and the associa-
tion, they went so far as to request
that film exchanges refuse to release
any prints until the end of the
light. That the exchanges comjilied
with Miller’s demand cliarges both
with suppression of trade, say the
suffering exhibs.

This cut off the film supply. All
unsymputlictic tlioaties. many oi*
them independently operated by men
not holding membership In the Ex-
hibitors’ Association, were forced to
close. Other theatres with a suin-
cient supply of pictures for a week
at least were frightened into closing
liy the thouglit that they would find
it hard getting pictures in the future
should they hedge.

An order from the big exhibitors
with the film distributors car-
ries much weight. The exchanges
refused to deliver in face of squawks
from revolting exhibitors and an
announcement by attorneys for the
unions that a Writ of injunction
would be applied for in Federal

Several independent exhibitors
brought witnesses with them when
applying tor films, a suggestion of
the union’s attorneys. The wltnessoe
later swore to aflid.avits charging
the distributors with refusing to de-
liver fllow that liad already been
bootht paid for.

Just Arbitrary

Word of this situation reached the
Hays olHce. Charles C. Pcttijhon,
its general counsel, caino to Chi-
cago. Chicago Film lioard of Trade,
arbitrary body o{ Chicago distrib-
utors, assumed an attitude of right-
eousness and, under questioning
intimated lilnis were not released
because showings in the small
neighborhood theatres would hurt
the pictures’ chances In the larger
first and second run houses.

No reason given, hcfwevcr,
for the boycott on films that had
alrcar bodies had joiiiod the operaiors. It
then appeared that Miller and the
exhibitors had chosen the most un-
favorable time to strike. During
the week the stags hands’ and elec-
tricians’ agrc’iiieiit with the thea-
tres expired. The organization
had demanded an increase of about
12 ptr cent for the next year, but In
a mass meeting Thursday night, the
time of expiration, they unanimously
decided to refuse to consider any
offer of settlement by the exhibitors
until the operators had settled their
dlfflculties Following this th” Th>–
atrc Janitors’ I’liion tlcclarrd itself
in sympatliy willi the oper.itors.
A’hile the Chicago Federation of .Mu-
sicians was naturally involved on
the side of labor.

Tliomas K. Muloy, of fh’-
operators’ union and group leader
of all the unions in this alTair, re-
fused to arbitrate on anything but
llU! li>,lm”nt theatr’–

Maloy contended his org.inizai ion’s
difhculties were concerned only with
Orplieum and that particular tlie-
alie, wlierea.” he had not attacked
the exhlhltors in g-nerel. despite
thst they had locked om« the oper-
ators. To diKPute this. Miller, talk-

ing for tlie exhibitors, stated his I ion wanted arbitration on –
the entire situation. i
While this was going on the
unions were exchanging compli- I
ments. Recipient of the st.age j
bands’ support. Maloy declared that
neither would the operators settle
until the stage hands were satis-
fied in their demands.

Clumsy Leadership

What made it worse for the ex-
hibitors were the men who were
clumsily leading their light. Karly
in the week the big noises for the
exhibs were Miller and Ben Ka-
hane. attorney fur Orpheum, Ka-
hano’s “big word ” lai tics were not
favoralde to tlie unions and Miller
Is piolialiiy the beat disliked labor
organizer in the countr>’.

Miller was openly accused of at-
tempting to get the exhibitors be-
hind him to further his personal
standing. Some time ago Miller |
suggested that the stage hands and i
exhibitors establish an arbitrary ]
board of five, two representing Llie ,
union, two for the exhibitors and a
layman. George Eiuwn, business
agent for the stage hands, turned 1
down this offer and accused Miller |
of designs on an iniauiniiry otiice :
that would give him complete con- i
trol of all unions in a short lime. j

The case of Kahane was that of
an incomiietent advisor. While in t
the past Orpheum’s labor ditflculties 1
have been smoothly managed by 1
Mort Singer, the bag was taken I
from Singer this time with the re- j
suit prol’aM.v unavoidable thereby.
The tirst indelicate move on K.a-
hane’s jiart was his announced
opinion that the contract for the
fJelmont theatre with the eoerators
was not legal.

The unitdis replied their .argument
was with the exhibitors and not a
lawyer, and they did not want to
arbitrate with lawyers in general or
Kahane In particular.

After ^filler and Kahane had
Ihnroii.k-hty failed. John Balahan and
Asber Levy finally took the lead
for the exhibitors. “She affect of
this new leadership was not no-
tloeable, thoush. untU ■» mrbltra-
tlon meeting was suggested. Com-
missioners of Ijibor Marshman and
Keightly were sent from Wa.shlnB-
ton to arrange an amicable settle-
ment and suggested the meeting.

Just in Time

To further the arbitration, Mayor Thompson stepped in as a neutral party. Saturday night, as the exhibitors wero about to disband in a state of war ea’ h other, a meeting between the unions and exhibitors was hel#,a^’t|i« lockout was declared at an ^ira.

To bring about the end and gain the week-end and holiday n < ( ipts, tlie exhibitors admitted almost total defeat. The two mm were put .back on the job at the Belmont, which was the operators’ only concern In the first place, and the stage hands Were granted a salary
amounting to about per cent, of their demands.

Miller announced— again speaking for the exhibitors by bis own reiiuest — that the exhibitors fought to “sliow the unions that ‘unslOilcd labor” cannot tell the theatre owners how to run their businc. .< ” It that was the real reason, and it is a logical one, the exhibitora selecteil |b.itilo. It came when’ tho tinlons I were strongest and the exhibitors’ resistance the weakest.

As a result, the current term will probably be the last for Jack Miller. He doubled his large number of enemies by his methods in the fight and luckily did not have to deny that he was once an operator himself, later the business agent for the operators he fought last week,
and later thrown out of the operators’ union for unfair tactics.

Wasted Losses

T’- pi. ‘lire theatres’ Idleness causcd a loss of approximately Jl.SOO.Ofift to the exhibitors of Chicago and kept 350 theatres end 25 – Of’O people Idle for six driys. The l.-ist liiinnt” h.ilt saved th” eoiintv’s b.niliriitit’ y elrrl< from more peti- tions than he could hand!” at one time and barely averted what jfrnicd lo d”\-elon Into one of the wor’-t M”nal tragedies r v r .^tif. f i>d l y American show business.

To make the victory more complete for the unions, the operators, stage hands and musicians will be paid for the time they were idle. Actors thrown out of work will be paid for the full dates, while other acts sent out of town for the duration of the strike will automatically be paid at the rate of the Chicago engagements.

And about all the defeated and misguided propellers of the wrong from the start lock out could say at the finish was, “Didn’t we have nerve,” with the suffering exhibs agreeing they had a hell of a nerve.

Strike Stuff

[partial transcription]

Minneapolis, Sept. 6.

Reaching a compromise at the eleventh hour, local motion picture machine operators and theatre managers avoided a strike here. Managers consented to an average 10 per cent, advance, the final settlement giving the men a boost averaging 12 per rent, for both regular and over-time. Under the new overtime scale, operators at the majority of the large theatres will make on an average of 11.80 an hour overtime, while operators in the smaller theatres will earn on an average of $1.55 overtime. Under the new agreement film will be delivered to them at their projection rooms. Hitherto they have had to go and get it themselves. The new contract runs for one year.

The managers have yet to reach an agreement with the stage hands, but the musicians signed up last week for another year as the scale in effect throughout 1926–27.

F. & R. in New York on Publix Line-Up

Minneapolis, Sept. 6.

In order to pursue negotiations now pending for a pooling here of the F. & R. theatre interests with Publix, for which the 4,200-seat New Minneapolis theatre is being built, E. R. Ruben and M. L. Finkelstein, officials of the local concern, are in New York this week conferring with Publix heads.

Because F. & R. has started to use new Paramount product throughout the circuit, reports are that these two concerns have already reached an agreement on joint operation of theatres in this city, with the consequent elimination of a competition which undoubtedly would prove ruinous to all concerned. However, there have been no papers signed as yet and negotiations, pending for a number of months, are still in the formative sage, [sic] according to E. R. Ruben.

“Our purchase of 1927–28 Paramount pictures has no significance as far as the local partnership with Publix is concerned,” said Mr. Ruben before his departure for New York.

Picture Operators Get Wage Increase; Sign One-Year Pact

Members of the Motion Picture Operators’ union have secured an increase in wages ranging from 7 to 15 per cent. The same percentage of increase applies to overtime as well as straight time.

The agreement was reached between the union and the theatre managers after several days of negotiation. Almost up to the last, hopes for a settlement did not seem bright, and it appeared that there was a hopeless deadlock.

Finally a basis of settlement was arrived at. The agreement is for the duration of one year instead of the two-year contract that was terminating. This contract, however, was the only time an agreement had been entered into for more than a year.

Under the new agreement the minimum wage for operators will be $1.15 an hour and the maximum $1.45. The agreement calls for time and a half for overtime.

Motion picture operators work six and one-half hour shifts. Where the operation of the theatre requires a longer period of operation the job becomes a split shift job and two operators are employed.

Musicians’ Union, Show Managers Sign Working Agreement

The local Musicians’ union has negotiated a one year agreement with the theatre managers providing improved working conditions for picture houses of the second class and vaudeville houses.

No increase in the basic wage is specified in the agreement, however slight increases in wages were obtained for extra rehearsals and stage work.

The agreement provides practically the same conditions as the musicians have been working under for the past year, but which had not been previously written into the contract. They are now plainly set forth in the new agreement.

The new agreement terminates August 31, 1928.

Finkelstein & Ruben Closes Deal for Publix Alliance

Minneapolis — Negotiations have been completed in the deal which allies Northwest Theaters (Finkelstein & Ruben) with Paramount and Publix.

Under terms of the agreement, the Publix house under construction here, will be operated under Finkelstein & Ruben management.

The agreement assures F. & R. preference on Paramount service, and future development of the circuit will be participated in by Paramount and Publix.

Some months ago, Publix started construction of a 3,000-seat theater here, following disagreement between the circuit and Paramount. Previously at various times Publix had sought an interest in the chain, but without avail.

Rccentlv, the firm booked in a block of Paramount pictures on telegraphic instructions from Eddie Ruben in New York. The deal finally was closed by M. L. Finkelstein, who has just returned from New York.


Closing of the deal with F. & R. was confirmed yesterday at the Publix office.

Stagehands of Ten Twin City Theaters Strike

Stagehands in 10 vaudeville, motion picture, stock and other theaters in the Twin Cities went on a strike at midnight last night following a break in negotiations with theater owners over new contracts to take the place of those which expired September 1. The strike involves approximately 150 men.

W. A. Steffes, president of the Northwest Theater Owners Association, said last night that all of the theaters involved in the strike would conduct all of their performances today.

Among the demands of the stagehands was one day off in seven with full pay for the seven days, and the right of appeal in the cases of men discharged by a theater. They also sought an increase in wages for some of the hands.

Steffes Explains Stand

“Every theater will operate Sunday as usual despite the strike,” Mr. Steffes said.

“We have been informed definitely that the strike is going on, but it will not cause any interruption in theater performances. This matter has been pending since September 1 when the contract with the stage hands expired. We have had meetings since then but no agreement has been reached.

“The strikers, for one thing, are demanding one day off with pay. As a matter of fact they have the right of a day off each week now, but not with pay. They are also demanding that the right of discharge be placed in their hands and, in addition, they want to cut the number of performances per week to 14 in theaters which are now operating on a schedule of 21 performances a week.”

Fight for Day Off

Decisions of the local stagehands’ union to strike came after a visit here by C. C. Crickman, international organizer of the union, who recommended to the international body with headquarters in New York that the stagehands be allowed on day’s rest in seven, and the strike was given sanction by the international body, William Dunn, business manager of the local union, said last night.

“We will fight for this day off, if it costs a million dollars,” Mr. Dunn said. “We are determined to obtain it. We do not believe that our demands are excessive.”

He said that the union asked in addition to the one day rest in seven, the right of appeal for a man discharged by a theater.

Ask Appeal of Discharge

“Any man who is discharged, with the exception of those found incompetent or drunkards, we believe is entitled to appeal his case to the union executive board. We also ask that a guarantee of 20[?] weeks’ employment be given the heads of the various departments, the property men, assistant property men, the carpenters and the electricians.

“It is also asked that the men who clear the stage be given the wage of $3.75, instead of the $1.75 a performance they are now receiving. The request for one day’s rest in seven world work no hardship on the owners of the theaters as they would have to employe only one additional man. Only on man would be off each day.”

Joseph Elwood, business agent of the local motion picture operators union, said last night he had wired the international headquarters asking a decision as to whether the operators in the Twin Cities should strike in sympathy with the stagehands’ walkout.

He said the international body may “wait and see if the theater owners import nonunion stagehands to take the place of those on strike. If this is done,” he said, “I believe there is a possibility of the operators also striking. At any rate, we shall wait for at least a half day before any action is taken.”

There was also talk that the musicians union would strike in sympathy with the other two unions.

The Shubert theater will require only one stage setting for this week’s production. The set used last week was removed by union stage hands last night. The theater planned to hire carpenters and workmen to construct a new set today for the rest of the week and to have employees operate lights and curtain.

Importance of Publix–F. & R. Deal Stressed

Minneapolis — The most discussed topic in local film circles is the deal between Publix and F. and R. The threat of competition in the Minneapolis first run field which was hanging over the F. and R. circuit is now removed by the joint agreement which calls for a participation in the new big Publix theater by both organizations.

Future developments in the theater field likewise will find both organizations participating. However, it is only in the major spots that Publix will be interested. F. and R. is expected to continue its expansion in small towns without Publix sharing in the growth.

The deal on future theater properties is largely like the agreement between Publix and Saenger in the South. Both Publix and Saenger are operating the new Saenger in New Orleans as partners. Saenger is continuing its present operations as is Publix, but on future activities the organizations are partners.

For Paramount, the F. and R. deal will be exceedingly important since “preferred treatment” for the Paramount product is guaranteed by F. and R. in all of the houses in chain — approximately 140.

Sympathy Theater Strike Held Likely

Possibility that musicians and picture machine operators will join the stage employees at Twin Cities theaters in their strike complicated the situations today as the stage hands walkout entered its third day.

The managements of the houses reiterated determination to keep their establishments open and operate with crews recruited from staffs of ushers and office workers.

The sympathetic strike of picture machine men and orchestra musicians, it is indicated, may take place tonight. Representatives of the operators and musicians were conferring with the striking stage hands at noon.

Strikers declare that back stage workers now have walked out at two more theaters, the Loring in Minneapolis and the President in St. Paul, making a told of 15 houses involved in the controversy between the management and workers.

The situation continues deadlocked with neither the theater managers nor the organized stage hands making any overtures to end the difficulty.

Action of the Musicians and Motion Picture operators is in the hands of the International union’s officers and, according to local union officers, any action by the Twin Cities locals must be approved by these international officials.

Northwest Mgrs. and Union in Deadlock

Minneapolis, Sept. 20.

Although stagehands here and in St. Paul, members of the International Alliance ot Theatre Stage Employees Local, went on strike at midnight Saturday, all theatres In the twin cities with one exception thus far have been giving performances as usual. Policemen are stationed in front and back stage at the theatres and there was only one case of disorder reported Sunday. Stagehands now are appealing to national headquarters of other theatrical unions in an effort to have orders issued for the locals here to walk out In sympathy.

The strike—or walkout as the managers call it—resulted from failure of the stagehands and managers to agree on terms for a new contract. The managiers refused to meet the demands for improved working conditions and a readjustment ot wage* claiming that local business makes it impossible for them to shoulder the Increased operating costs which would ensue. Demand [sic] include one day oft In seven with pay necessitating’ the employment ot an additional swing man at each house; a guarantee ot to weeks’ minimum employment per ison at the Metropolitan, legitimate road show theatres in Minneapolis and St Paul, right of appeal for a man discharged by a theatre^ 13.75 per performance Instead ot $1.75 tor scene shifters, an increase ot tour In the personnel at the Palace and 8t Paul Lyceum, musical oomedy tab houaea, and a segregation of departments in tha theatres.

Last season’s contract expired eleven days ago, but the men continued on the job while meetings were being held with managers to try to reach a compromise. William Dunn, business manager of the local stagehands’ union, claims that at th^ end tha ttaion only insisted on the one day off wMi pay, tha right of appeal, and the pay boost for scene shifters.

William A. Stelles, president at the Northwest Theatre Owners’ Association, declares the men ara sttll demanding various wage Increases and that the right of dlschai-ge be taken from the theatre managers’ hands as well aa tha other concessions.

13 Houses Affected

Thirteen houses and about 105 employees are -jftected by the strike. Hastily assembled new stage crews wer^ on the job Sunday. Steffes claims that no strikebreakers have been Imported, but that the new crews have been recruited from among other theatre employees and the managers. At the Shubert (dramatic stock). Buzz Balnbridge, managing director and lessee, and two friends, struck the single set for “Hell’s Bells,” current attraction, early Sunday morning and he now constitutes the entire crew backstage.

The Sunday night performance of Mitzl in “The Madcap,” at the St. Paul Metropolitan, was called off and annbuncement made that the Shuberts themselves would take over the theatre for the week starting Monday’night and send in their own stage «rew. Because of the big production carried by the Ha^ Carroll Revue at the Orpheum slight difficulties arose.

The only disorder so far occurred Sunday morning when about tt strikers routed tha transfer men carrying the Carr&II stuff to the Orpheum stage. ‘ When the new stage crew attempted to handle the scenery and trunks there was a row.

Joseph aiwood, business agent ot the local motion picture operators^ afflllatcd with the stagehands’ union, has Intimated that the operators will strike In sympathy.

Musicians to Join Stage Hand Strike

Authorization for the Musicians’ union to join striking stage hands and motion picture operators was received from national headquarters late Tuesday in St. Paul and Minneapolis and two weeks notice was tendered the theater managers immediately.

Despite the suddenness of the calling out of the motion picture operators Tuesday night, no interruption to the programs was made. House employes manned the machines and although in some cases there were several breaks in the showing of films, the programs were run off on time.

Calling out of the musicians in two weeks is not expected to interfere with the theatrical business here as all houses concerned have a list of musicians they can call on.

Definite assurances that the Actors’ Equity, the union of performers, would not interfere in the Twin Cities fight was given late Tuesday. This would permit the legitimate, vaudeville and stock houses to operate without interruption.

It was understood that no pickets would be posted in St. Paul in front of theaters. Minneapolis, however, is not in this agreement and pickets were stationed in front of all theaters in which there is a strike as soon as the picture operators were called out.

Picture Operators Join Stage Strike

Motion picture operators of St. Paul and all except a few suburban theaters in Minneapolis walked out Tuesday night, on a sympathetic strike with the stage hands, who have been out since Saturday.

The operators left just before the first show was scheduled to start in the St. Paul motion picture houses.

At the Capitol the management was given 20 minutes notice by the operators. The performance started promptly, however, the machines being manned by other employes of the theater.

All the theaters in the Twin Cities are operating as schedules, the operators’ places being taken by employes who are familiar with the machines.

Signed Agreement.

The operators signed a new agreement with the theater owners September 1, whereby they were given a wage increase amounting to 8 to 15 per cent.

“We walked out on orders from union headquarters in New York City,” George LaVictoire explained Tuesday night in behalf of the local operators’ union.

“The stage hands’ union appealed to the International operators union to order the sympathetic strike. We will stay out until the dispute is settled. We have at no time refused to meet the theater owners to try to find a solution of the difficulty.”

Musicians to Go.

“It virtually is certain that the musicians will walk out in the Twin Cities, declared E. P. Ringius, secretary of the Musicians union Tuesday night. “We are waiting for orders from headquarters.”

W. A. Steffes, president of the Theater Owners association, made the statement that the theaters of St. Paul and Minneapolis would remain open.

“We have an obligation to the people of St. Paul to keep the shows running, and we are going to fulfill it at all costs,” he declared.

He said that the theater owners do not contemplate meeting the strikers demands.

Stagehands Here Picket Theaters

Striking stagehands in the Minneapolis theaters today posted pickets in front of the showhouses affected by the walkout.

With the exception of three outlying picture houses, all of the theaters in Minneapolis were open and continuing usual performances today.

Late yesterday the strike spread to a number of other theaters. Motion picture operators, who joined the strike of the stagehands, said that owners locked out the union men.

“A few of the smaller theaters may have been slightly affected by the strike,” W. A. Steffes, president of the Northwest Theater Owners Association, said today, “but, we are providing the theaters with operators just as rapidly as we can get in touch with them. The theaters are open and will remain open.”

Joseph Elwood, business agent of the Motion Picture Operators Union here, said today that three theaters closed rather than employ nonunion men, and that four retained their union help.

The main item in the controversy between the owners and the stagehands is the demand of one day off in seven with pay. Under the old contract the stagehands were allowed one day off, but not with pay.

Although it has been rumored that the theater musicians would join the stagehands and the operators in the strike, Fred Birnbach, secretary of the Minneapolis Musicians Association and an office of the international musicians organization, said today that he had received no official word from international headquarters authorizing them to join the strike.

St. Paul Movie Operators Strike

ST. PAUL, Sept. 21 (AP).—Motion picture operators in St. Paul and most suburban theatres were on strike today in sympathy with stage hands who have been out since Saturday night. The stage hands seek one day off in seven and a guarantee of thirty weeks’ work a year in certain theatres. The theatre owners announced they would keep open.

Theater Men Give Version of Row

Following announcement Wednesday that the Musicians’ Union has authorized calling of a strike among Twin Cities musicians in two weeks, in sympathy with the striking stage hands and motion picture operators, the Northwest Theater Owners’ association today resorted to advertisements in newspapers to place the theater owners’ side of the controversy before the public.

Performances continue as usual.

The advertisements of the theater owners declare the stage employes, who first went out, asked seven days’ pay for six days’ work; the right to say who should work in each theater despite the owner’s wishes; insists on using 10 men in two theaters where six always have been employed; demand a guarantee of 30 weeks work in the legitimate theaters which were open 14 weeks last year annd [sic] require segregation of all departments, so that a carpenter cannot hold a ladder for an electrician.

Twin City Theatrical Employees Forced Out

Stage Employees, Motion Picture Operators Are Involved in Question of 7-Day Week for Stage Hands; Musicians Affected

All the theaters of the Twin Cities are involved in a walkout of the stage employees and the motion picture operators; and there is a possibility that the musicians, scenic painters and bill posters may become affected at an early date. All of these unions are affiliated either through the same international organization or by a federated agreement. If the conflict is carried to its point of full development it will mean the closing down of practically all the show houses in St. Paul and Minneapolis.

The trouble started between the stage employees and the theater managers. Heretofore agreements have been entered into between these parties through negotiation just as in the relations between the other allied or affiliated crafts. The contract or agreement between the stage employees and the theaters expired on Sept. 1. Little attention was given the question of negotiation until shortly before the time when a renewal was necessary. But when the parties came together the stage employees asked for a six-day week. Under the old agreement, the stage Employees worked every day of the week and at irregular hours. It was contended that this practice was detrimental to the welfare of the workers and was not necessary to the conduct of the business.

Refused to Heed Request

The theater managers refused to give favorable heed to the representations of the stage employees’ committee, and the period preceding the date of expiration of the old contract arrived without a settlement. The local union, after due consideration, granted a 17-day extension of the old agreement and endeavored to resume negotiations; but the representatives of the managers turned a deaf ear to the union committee. At midnight, Saturday, Sept. 17, the grace period expired and all stage employees in St. Paul and Minneapolis were called out.

Motion Picture Operators Act

On Tuesday evening, Sept. 20, the motion picture operators who are affiliated with the same international organization, walked out. Every member in the stage employees’ union and in the motion picture operators’ union quit his post upon call.

The musicians, who are organized under a different international, but who have an agreement with the International Alliance of Stage Employees and Motion Picture Operators, will respond if a demand is made for their support. The Bill Posters’ union and the Scenic Painters’ union are closely associated with the other crafts and will refuse to work with strikebreakers, and will become involved.

This is the first time the theater employees of any branch have had difficulties with the managers, and some of the members of the union suspect the present trouble was sought by some of the new leaders in the local theater field. It is pointed out that recently the Northwest Theater Managers formed an association with W. A. Steffes as president and other comparatively new men as dominating forces. Young Harold Finkelstein, son of the senior Finkelstein, has been taking a very active part in affairs and it is believed that these are in some measure responsible for the failure to reach an amicable settlement.

Breach Looks Suspicious

In speaking of the trouble, Mr. North, the secretary of Stage Employees’ Local No. 20, stated that it was very puzzling just what is back of the present unfortunate rupture of the long and harmonious relations existing between the theater employees and the managements. He expressed the firm relief that the breach has been forced by anti-labor counsel. There have been preparations going on for some time by the theater managers to meet an expected break and this confirms the suspicion that the trouble was invited. Strikebreakers after a sort, were placed on the jobs, but there is little fear that these will meet the needs of the theaters.

Sec. North of the Stage Employees’ explained the demands of the Stage Employees to a representative of the Union Advocate as follows: “The stage employees work long and irregular hours, and every day in the year. The local union took the position that it was not necssary that men should work every day without interruption during the season, and asked in the agreement that arrangements be made to employ an additional worker to relieve the regular workers some one day each week. The additional employee would work from four to six days, depending on the number of workers employed in the respective theaters. While there were other betterments asked, none were considered vital. The main proposition is the six-day week.

“The six-day week is now in effect in a large number of cities and has proven practicable and desirable from a just and a humanitarian standpoint. It must be understood that the union does not contend for a six-day theater; it is believed that they should operate seven days, but it is maintained that the employees are entitled to one day’s rest in seven.”

Dangerous Work

The daily papers report that the theaters are operating. Of course this is so only in a very incomplete way. It confirms the charge that the break was planned and preparations were made to meet the exigency in some measure. It must be understood that the theater is a dangerous place when the electrical apparatus is handled by inexperienced operators and under the present situation there is imminent peril.

The striking employees have issued an earnest appeal to the public to cooperate with them in inducing a settlement of the controversy and advise that this can best be done by staying away from the theaters until a settlement is effected. Banners are out now and all the show houses will be advertised as unfair. No doubt this will cause the average patron to give up his regular theater amusement for the time being. It is probable that most of the houses will either be dark or empty until the conflict is over.

Theater Managers Try the Citizens’ Alliance Advertising Scheme

The crooked hand of the Citizens’ alliance is suspected by experienced judges in the present trouble in the theaters. Already the dirty trick of “muddying the waters” is seen in the misrepresentations advertised in the Daily papers. These advertisements contain a number of half truths calculated to give the public an evil impression of the labor side of the controversy.

The main demand of the stage employees is for “one day’s rest in seven.” The question of wages is secondary.

The union claims the right to protect its members from discrimination and persecution, and will no permit a member to be dismissed without just and reasonable cause. This cannot be interpreted as the right to dictate who shall be employed. If unions did not furnish this protection active workers might be driven out of the trade and the union destroyed.

Only one extra worker would be required in a theater employing six workers or less and the extra worker would not have to be employed the full six days. It would depend on the number to be relieved.

The demand is not for 30 weeks guarantee for the force employed, but for the man in charge. The stage employees work long and irregular hours but have no assurance of employment for any fixed period.

The union requires a certain number of workers for each theater and this force interchange in their lines of work. The ridiculous claim that a “carpenter cannot hold a ladder for an electrician” shows the malicious extreme to which the anti-labor publicity agent of the theater managers has gone to make a case for his employers.

All of the demans of the union could be amicably compromised, but for some reason the managers became defiant and broke off negotiations. The contract of the motion picture operators provided for an annulment of contract in case of labor trouble.

The lying advertisements seek to give the impression that the motion picture operators broke their contract. This is in keeping with the other charges contained in the paid publicity of the managers.

The theater employees ask the public not to be influenced by malicious misrepresentations made for the purpose of prejudicing the cause of the striking theater employees, and urge that patronage be withheld as a matter of safety to the patrons and justice to the workers until a settlement has been reached.

14-Hour Day Not Unusual Theatre Workers Assert

That the 14-hour working day is not at all uncommon in Twin City theatres, is the assertion made by striking theatrical workers who are seeking to enforce a one day’s rest in seven rule in Minneapolis and St. Paul showhouses.

In a statement issued by the union committee Wednesday afternoon they present their side of the controversy to the public. The complete statement follows:

“The controversy existing at present between the stage employees of this city and St. Paul, and the managerial association of both cities involves the question of one day’s rest in seven. The stage employees are entering upon the fourth day of their strike in protest against the seven-day week. They wish to submit to the public the true conditions which exist at the present time.

“In some of the theatres they are compelled to work from 13 to 14 hours on Sunday, with scarcely sufficient time to get out for meals. They are subject to very late hours on Saturday night, owing to the fact that the majority of shows close their engagement at that time and must be prepared to leave for their next engagement. They are also subject to all-night work, such as pulting on “tank acts” and various other acts of that type. The department heads of each theatre are subject to call every morning of the week at the call of the manager, for the upkeep of their respective departments. In theatres such as the State theatre of this city, and the Capitol theatre in St. Paul, stage employees are compelled to work until 3 and 4 o’clock in the morning, and very often later, and are compelled to report the same morning at the theatre at 10 o’clock. Although the men receive extra compensation for such work, nevertheless it works hardship upon them and denies them the society of their families, which members of other crafts enjoy. In stock theatres, such as the Shubert and Palace of this city, and the President and Lyceum of St. Paul, stage employees are required, in addition to working the current attraction, to build and prepare the next week’s show. In these houses the request was made for additional help, but the request was withdrawn in deference to one day’s rest in seven. Also the demand for a guarantee for 30 weeks at the Metronolitan theatres in both cities, was withdrawn.

“This controversy involves in the Twin Cities, 130 stage employees, and 16 theatres. The stage employees of the Twin Cities feel that inasmuch as the one day per week rest is established in theatres throughout the country, their request is not unreasonable nor unjust.”

Theatre Strike Halted

STRIKE settlements have been effected in most of the principal cities where trouble loomed a week ago and the situation has returned to normalcy. Los Angeles, one of the storm centers, narrowly averted a strike a few hours before it was scheduled to go into effect. A new three year agreement granted wage increases to theatre unions, but only the musicians won their demand for a six-day week, which was granted only providing the musicians individually pay for a substitute. Wage increases of 7½ per cent the first year, 2½ per cent the second and none the third were granted musicians.

Three hours after non-union operators had been placed in the booths of three Publix houses, an Interstate house and a tabloid theatre in Houston, Texas, a wage settlement was reaxihed between the theatres, union operators and stagehands. Union operators immediately replaced the nonunion men.

Under the new scale granted in Houston, operators at the Publix houses and the Interstate houses will receive $65 a week. Stagehands at the Interstate will receive $65 a week and their assistants $60. The raise in salaries is approximately 12 per cent. Settlements have been reached with motion picture theatre machine operators in St. Paul and Fargo, N. D., by the theatre owners, represented by Theodore L. Hays of the Finkelstein and Ruben organization and in Fargo by Ben Friedman of the American Amusement company.

In St. Paul the contract is the same as last year in most cases but a slight increase in wage scale was granted the workers in legitimate houses and in some of the suburban theatres. Chicago’s movie strike spread to Missouri towns, but thus far the unions have been decidedly defeated in their efforts and demands. At Springfield, Mo., a city of 65,000, operators, stage hands and musicians demanded an increase of $5 weekly. The exhibitors flatly refused. Then followed a lockout, with the theatres being picketed. As it became apparent that the exhibitors did not intend to yield, the union demands dwindled to $1.75 for two operators. That, also, was refused by exhibitors. As a result of the Springfield strike, theatres of that city are operating successfully on a non-union basis under police protection.

Musicians to Join Theater Strikers

Union musicians in St. Paul and Minneapolis will join the striking stage hands and motion picture operators Saturday at midnight, according to orders received late Thursday by E. P. Ringius, secretary of the St. Paul Musicians’ association, which is local No. 30 of the American Federation of Musicians.

This order from the national president rescinds the two weeks’ notice clause in the musicians’ contract which was signed a short time ago for the coming year.

All Musicians Included.

All musicians including organists, pianists and members of orchestras will leave the theaters of the Twin Cities Saturday night after the final performance under the terms of the union order, unless an adjustment is made.

Spokesman for the theater managers of both cities assert that they will continue their shows without interrupts.

The reason given by the musicians for the failure to observe the two week’s clause in their contract is that in a few houses in Minneapolis motion picture operators who had not gone on strike were locked out.

Seven St. Paul Theaters Affected.

The houses that will be affected in St. Paul by the withdrawal of the orchestras are Palace–Orpheum, Capitol, President, Tower, Lyceum, Park and Metropolitan.

A nominal picketing of St. Paul theaters involved in the strike was started Thursday with a truck decorated with signs explaining the strikers’ side of the trouble.

The truck carried a band which played “The Gang’s All Here” as it drove past the theaters.

Stage Employees Ask One Day Off During Week; Operators Out

Vaudeville, Burlesque, “Legit” and Motion Picture Houses

Are Affected Stage employees and motion picture operators at the Gayety, Metropolitan, Palace, Shubert, Hennepin-Orpheum, Pantages, Logan, Seventh Street, and all Finkelstein & Ruben theaters are on strike, and operators in all other Minneapolis theaters, with the exception of eight, have been locked out. When the Labor Review went to press late Wednesday night, the only theaters in Minneapolis not involved in either strikes or lockouts were the Dewey, 38 Washington avenue S.; Cozy, 405 Plymouth avenue; Miles Standish, 3736 Twenty-third avenue S.; Stockholm, 103 Washington avenue S., and the Elite, 2519 Twenty-seventh avenue S. Those five were operating- as usual with their regular union operators, the managers having refused to join the lockout instigated by the Theatre Owners’ association. The Glenwood, 1221 Western avenue; Homewood, 1919 Plymouth avenue, and the Liberty, 1013 Sixth avenue N. assumed a neutral stand between owners and the union and closed their doors for the duration of the controversy.

The trouble arose when the owners refused to grant stage employes one day’s rest in seven. After all efforts at a peaceable adjustment had been exhausted, the stage hands struck Sunday morning. The theatres attempted to operate with nonunion help and this led to a walkout Tuesday night of all motion picture operators in all the Finkelstein & Ruben show houses. The F. & R. theatres employ both stage hands and picture operators, as do the Palace, Pantages, Seventh street and Hennepin-Orpheum.

Wednesday night at 6 p. m. strictly motion picture houses employing no stage hands joined in the fight by declaring a lockout of their operators, making the theatrical scrap almost universal in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

In spite of claims made by the owners’ association, union officials strenuously deny that any issue is involved in this controversy except the question of allowing the stage employes one day off from work during the week. Theatres attempting to operate under nonunion conditions in Minneapolis are:

Gayety, 101 Washington avenue N.
Metropolitan, 318 Marquette avenue.
Palace, 411 Hennepin avenue.
Shubert, 26 Seventh street N.
Garrick, 42 Seventh street S.
State, 805 Hennepin avenue.
Hennepin-Orpheum, 910 Hennepin avenue.
Pnntages, 710 Hennepin avenue.
Seventh Street, 21 Seventh street S.
Aster, 607 Hennepin avenue.
Strand, 36 Seventh street S.
Unique, 520 Hennepin avenue.
Lyric, 711 Hennepin avenue.
Grand, 619 Hennepin avenue.
Crystal, 305 Hennepin avenue.
Savoy, 212 Hennepin avenue.
Bijou, 20 Washington avenue N.
Loring, 1405 Nicollet avenue.
Agate, 2223 Enst Franklin.
Alhanibra, 3211 Penn avenue N.
American, 16 East Lake Street.
Broadway, 1006 West Broadway.
Camden, 4217 Washington avenue N.
East Lake, 1537 East Lake street.
El Lago, 35th avenue S. and Lake street.
Empress, 412 West Broadway.
Gopher, 1706 Fourth avenue S.
Heights, 3949 Central avenue.
lone, 399 Cedar avenue.
Lasoon. 2902 Hennepin avenue.
Lake, 2721 East Lake street.
La Salle, 2541 Nicollet avenue.
Lyndale, 2932 Lyndale avenue S.
Minnehaha, 3954 Minnehaha.
Arion, 2318 Central avenue.
Franklin, 1021 East Franklin.
New Lake, 35 West Lake street.
Logan, 2027 West Broadway.
Park, 725 Tenth street S.
Southern, 1420 Washington avenue S.
Nokomis, 3749 Chicago avenue.
Princess, 12 Fourth street N. E.
Rinlto, 735 East Lake Street.
Ritz, 347 Thirteenth avenue N. E.
Rosebund, 1506 East Lake street.
Vista, 713 Cedar avenue.
University, 1308 Fourth street S. E.

In addition to the foregoing list, which it is suggested readers clip and keep for a “stay away list” during this controversy, there are the notorious Wonderland, 27 Washington avenue S., and the Robbinsdale, at Robbinsdale, both of which were unfair to organized labor before the strike and lockout took place this week.

Theatrical scenic artists and billposters are also involved in the controversy.

Says Profits, Not Wages, Have Raised the Cost of Living

MINNEAPOLIS — In a Labor Day speech here Senator Shipstead disproved by Government statistics that the high cost of living is due to high wages paid organized labor.

“The wage earner has found that his share of the wealth he produced has dropped 30 per cent in six years, the income of the farmer has decreased 42 per cent and the income of large corporations increased 70 per cent,” said Senator Shipstead. “These profits are not taken out of the air,” he said.

“Increased productivity is largely due to labor-saving machinery. There is no longer controversy as to what class produces wealth. But there is a controversy as to distribution.

“Statistics of the Department of Labor show that employment dropped 18 per cent during the period from 1920 to 1926. During the same period, the average monthly pay roll dropped 30 1-10 per cent. The average working man is producing 34 per cent more finished product than seven years ago. He is producing one-third more because of labor-saving machinery.

“At the same time, according to Secretary Hoover, the earnings of 25 per cent of the largest corporations increased to 70 per cent. In August, Roger Babson, the business statistician, declared that in six years the average price of the stock of 20 of the largest corporations increased from $64 to $177.

“On the iron range, north of Duluth, more ore was shipped last year than ever before, with 6,000 less men employed than previously.

“From 1920 to 1925 there was a greater shortage of food all over the world than ever before. Three times as much agricultural products were exported from this country than ever before. But in those six years the income of the farmers dropped 42 per cent.”

Musicians Walk Out of Theaters on Eastern Call

Move in Sympathy with Movie Men, Stage Hands


Shows Not to Be Interrupted, Managers Say; Improvised Orchestras to be Attempted.


St. Paul Musicians’ union, Local No. 30, went on strike at midnight in sympathy with movie operators and stage hands, who walked out earlier in the week.

Theaters owners in the Twin Cities, for both cities are affected, announced Saturday night that the shows would be continued in all theaters.

Approximately 100 men in St. Paul and 200 in Minneapolis are directly affected by the walkout, while about 4,000 other members, who are part-time musicians, hold memberships in the unions.

Answers National Call.

Edward Ringius, secretary of the St. Paul Musicians’ union, announced that the action of Local No. 30 follows receipt of orders from the American federation of Musicians, New York.

St. Paul musicians have been notified of a meeting at the local’s headquarters, 349½ Wabasha street, at noon today.

“At this meeting,” Mr. Ringius said, “plans will be laid for our future actions. We cannot come back to work until we receive our orders from the national body.

Reports Saturday night were that […] Park(?) musicians, without knowledge of the union, met informally and decided to send a protest to headquarters against striking.

This protest, it was said, requested the national body to permit the local musicians to give the theater owners two weeks’ notice, as their contracts call for, instead of the three days’ notification, which preceded the strike.

For One Day Rest in 7.

The strike of the musicians follows the walkout of the movie operators, which in turn followed a strike of the stage hands, who are demanding “one day rest in seven.”

Meanwhile there was little change in the general strike situation. St. Paul theaters were picketed by a sign covered truck of the stagehands and motion picture operators were reported to have entertained normal Saturday night crowds.

Theodore Hayes[sic], manager of Finkelstein and Reuben[sic], said that the theater owners were preparing to continue performances with music if possible today.

Arrangements have been completed for an orchestra at the Capitol theater, he said, adding that it was probable there would be an orchestra at the Tower.

The Metropolitan will be dark next week, but it was announced that orchestras have been arranged for at the Palace–Orpheum and the Lyceum theaters. Arthur Casey of the President theater is installing an electric phonograph to replace his orchestra permanently, he announced.

Musicians Ready to Quit Theaters

Union musicians employed in all theaters in the Twin Cities are scheduled to walk out in a sympathetic strike with stagehands, motion picture operators, electricians, bill posters and scene shifters, Saturday night. If musicians go out, union theater employees on strike will number nearly 500.

Theaters will remain open, despite the strike, W. A. Steffes, secretary of the Northwest Theater Owners Association, announced Saturday.

Union stagehands started the strike last week, when they walked out after theater owners had refused demands for one day off a week with pay. Motion picture operators, electricians, bill posters and stagehands followed suit within a few days. The musicians are the latest to take up the strike.

Musicians are walking out on telephone orders from national headquarters.

A dozen theaters in Minneapolis now are being picketed. In some instances, theater posters have been covered with union signs.

Imported Strikebreakers Take Jobs of Minneapolis–St. Paul Taxpayers

Minneapolis, Minn
September 19th,
1 9 2 7

No doubt, by this time you have learned that we are having serious labor difficulties in Minneapolis and St.Paul.

The Stage Hands discontinued service last Saturday night – Operators and Musicians are still at work in all theater. However, we do not know at what moment the Stage Hands walk-out will effect Operators and Musicians.

I am, therefore, going to suggest that you make a hurried and thorough survey of your town and drop me a line immediately, giving me the name of anyone in your town, who is capable of operating machines stating the name, address phone number and what kind of a machine he can operate.

Do the same thing as related to Musicians.

Remember we are keeping the theatres open in Minneapolis and St, Paul and need all the assistance we can get if we are to continue doing this.

Get this information to us at once. Remember the help must, of course be Non-union.

Yours very truly


W.A. Steffes
As President


The foregoing is a copy of a letter sent to country towns in the Northwest by W. A. Steffes, president of the Northwest Theatre Owners’ Association, in his search for strikebreakers to man the jobs of stage employes, motion picture operators, scenic artists, bill posters, and musicians involved in the Twin City theatrical strike and lockout. The letter was evidently sent broadcast throughout the Northwest.

Union Disavows All Knowledge of Stink Bomb Outrages Here

Stink bombs, declared to have been set off by interests hostile to the unions on strike at the theaters, have sent their fumes through the State and Garrick theatres at various performances.

This stink bomb activity is declared by the representatives of the unions on strike to be an attempt to discredit the unionists and endeavor to swing public opinion against the strikers. Union representatives are emphatic in declaring that the stink bomb occurrences are not due to any union activities.

They state that the unions have and will employ only peaceful methods to win the strike. They believe that once the public fully realizes that the one and only demand the strikers are making is for one day of rest in seven, that it will be impossible to turn the public against the strikers.

The only exception to this they point out will be if the theatre managers are able to make the public believe that the strikers are resorting to violence in any form. The strikers are on guard against this and are using every possible means to see that interests hostile to the strikers do not discredit the unionists by plants and frameups.

Theatres which are operating under union conditions have been invaded by gangs of rowdies hired to break up the performances.

Saturday night so loud and insistent were two of these bands of rowdies in moving picture houses operating under union conditions that it was necessary to dismiss the audiences. Attempts to induce these rowdies to stop their noise and permit the performance to proceed were unsuccessful and then the houses were cleared.

Panic Narrowly Prevented When Film Blaze Starts in Theatre; Daily Newspapers Suppress Facts

Musicians Join Controversy; Stage Employes Insist One Day’s Rest Is Only Issue

What might have developed into a panic, costing the lives of women and children, was narrowly averted last Friday night when a fire started from a motion picture machine operated by a strikebreaker at the Hennepin–Orpheum theatre.

Eye witnesses to the near-tragedy say the smoke poured out from the projection room and the fumes of the burning film filled the theatre. There was only a narrow margin between calmness and absolute panic on the part of what audience was present when the blaze transpired. The noise and din made by the large amount of downtown fire apparatus responding to the alarm almost precipitated another stampede after the ushers had succeeded in quieting the crowd’s first fears caused by the smoke and stench.

With the exception of one line, buried under a small headline, “Fire Alarms,” not a word appeared in any of the Minneapolis papers about this fire imperiling the lives of women and children who were present at the show.

Motion picture machine experts, in explaining probably causes of the fire, are emphatic in stating that no greater fire menace can be created than that brought about by placing an inexperienced operator on a motion picture machine. These experts point out that the base of a film is composed of the same material as is used in high explosives—gun cotton, and it requires constant alertness on the part of the operator and a thorough knowledge of the mechanism of projection machinery to prevent disastrous fires. A good operator, they say, can tell by the sound of his machine if everything is all right. The moment he detects a strange sound he is able to locate the trouble and thus stop a fire before it starts.

With the exception of the Dewey, 38 Washington avenue S.; Cozy, 405 Plymouth avenue; Miles Standish, 3736 Twenty-third avenue S.; Stockholm, 103 Washington avenue S., and the Alhambra, 3211 Penn avenue N. all of the theatres in Minneapolis are operating, or trying to, with nonunion stage employees, picture operators, musicians, scenic artists and bill posters.

The musicians joined the controversy Sunday when they walked out of the showhouses in response to orders from their international union.

The dispute is now in its second week. The stage employees walked out September 18 when the managers refused to consider their request for one day’s rest in seven. The subsequent use of nonunion workers brought about a strike of picture operators employed in theatres using stage employees. This was follwed by a lockout of operators in houses not affected by the stage strike. The lockout was engineered by the managers’ association.

Much misrepresentation has been resorted to by the Threatre Owners’ association. Through statements and advertisements in the daily newspapers, the managers have tried to befuddle the issue, which the theatrical unions’ committee says is nothing more than the right to have one day’s rest in seven.

The claims made by the owners’ association and the unions’ joint committee’s reply follows. The managers’ statement is set in small type and the unions’ answer is in the regular size type. [On this website, we will use italics for the managers’ statements instead.]

  1. That the stage employees walked out of their own accord.
    Stage employees left their positions only after The Northwest Owners’ Association absolutely refused to consider their vital request of One Day rest in seven.
  2. In sympathy with them, the Motion Picture Operators went out. The Operators took this action after they had arrived at a satisfactory agreement as to their wages and working conditions, and a contract between all parties had been signed on September 3, 1927.
    Motion Picture Machine Operators walked out in accordance with the contract in effect at that time between the Mangers’ Ass’n and the Motion Picture Machine Operators.
  3. Seven days’ pay for six days’ work.
    Existing Contracts read—(Fractions of a week shall be computed on a six (6) day week). The seventh day has always been given without pay.
  4. The right to say who shall work at each theater, regardless of owner’s wishes.
    An Absolute Misstatement.
  5. That non be discharged without consent of the union.
    The only request made by the Stage Employees was that managers show cause for dismissal.
  6. In two theatres, they insist on using ten men where six have always been employed, conditions and policies the same.
    This proposition was withdrawn during negotiations.
  7. In the legitimate theatres that were open fourteen (14) weeks last year, they demand thirty weeks’ guarantee whether the theatre is open or not.
    This was also withdrawn during negotiations.
  8. Segregation of all departments. This means that a stage carpenter cannot hold a ladder for an electician while he puts in a lamp : but another electrician must be employed.
    A Deliberate Falsehood.
  9. To sum up;—Their demands mean that the Operation of the theatre is taken entirely out of the hands of the owners and placed in those of the stage employees’ Union.
    To sum up—The Stage Employees request one day’s rest in seven and nothing more.

Strike headquarters have been established on the second floor at 818 Hennepin avenue, and the union committee announces it will be pleased to answer any and all inquiries regarding the strike and lockout.

The Theater Strike

We wonder if the members of the three theatrical crafts in the Twin Cities realize that, in their present strike, they are cutting off their noses to spite their faces, to say nothing of whetting an ax for the good that lays their golden eggs.

Here is no clash between the closed shop and the open shop, for the employers are extremely desirous of a return to the former friendly basis, with all employees union members. But the union motion picture operators and musicians are forcing the theater men, willy-nilly, to man their machines with non-union operators and their orchestra pits with non-union musicians.

The original strike of the stage hands grew out of a wage disput, pure and simple, and involved no issue of closed shop or open shop. So what faint excuse might otherwise exist for a sympathy strike by the other unions, vanishes completely.

For several years now, theatrical employees of all three crafts have been liberally paid, in comparison with compensation received outside the theater for work requiring the same degrees of talent and skill.

This fat pay was based on the traditional and well night universal custom of arranging weekly compensation on a seven-day basis, with the employee furnishing and paying his own substitute on his one or more days of rest each week.

That this arrangement was satisfactory to both the musicians and operators was demonstrated, when they recently signed new contracts continuity it for another year. But the stage hands, less wisely led, balked. They wanted to work six days, but to retain their seven-day pay envelopes, with the theater owners compensating the substitutes on their days off. That would really be a wage boost of over sixteen per cent. They also wanted to force two theaters needlessly to enlarge their stage crews, in order to make more jobs. And they wanted to tie owners’ hands so the union could veto all discharges.

When they did not get what they wanted in a new contract, these stage crews struck. Theaters remained open, so first the operators and then the musicians went out in sympathy. The old custom was satisfactory to the operators and musicians, else they would not have signed new contracts retaining it. And yet they now strike, because the stage hands reject a custom with which they themselves are satisfied!

The striking crafts could accomplish only one end, even if they should win. Either through closing the theaters, or whittling down the patronage of the theaters, by forcing higher admission schedules, they could get the Minneapolis public out of the habit of going to shows, which achievement would be the height of folly on the part of individuals whose livelihood depends on this very show-going habit of the public.

Strike of Theater Workers Is 100 Per Cent

Show Houses Blunder Along with Unskilled Help, Exhibiting to Small, Disgusted Audiences; Public Pays for Pleasure, Gets Torture

The strike of the theater workers of St. Paul and Minneapols is complete; stage employees, motion picture operators and musicians have all walked out in support of the demand of the Stage Employees for a “One Day Rest in Seven.” The motion picture operators and the musicians have no grievances but are involved through affiliations or agreements in concert with the Stage Employees.

In a paid advertisement of the theater managers it is intimated that the motion picture operators broke their agreement, and, on the same basis the musicians did likewise. The facts are that in the agreement of the motion picture operators and the musicians’ union with the theater managers, there is a clause specifically providing that in case of trouble involving affiliated organizations, the agreement with the employer is suspended and the obligation to the affiliated union takes precedence.

Mutual Support Vital

This provision is vital as the motion picture operators belong to the same international union and the musicians are bound by a national federated agreement. There has been no contract breaking on the part of the unions which have gone out in support of the Stage Employees—in fact, contracts have bene sustained at a sacrifice by the sympathetic strikers.

The theater employees, including the stage hands, motion picture operators and the musicians have regularly made agreements each year with the managers, and have reached satisfactory terms without any ill-feeling or drastic measures. In fact, the experience of the past led the Stage Employees’ union to feel that no trouble would be experienced this year, and the matter of an agreement was not pressed. When the time came for the renewal, the managers manifested an unfriendly attitude, and refused to give any consideration to the propositions of the union. Their belligerent manner admonished the Stage Employees that they were in for a fight. But to show that peace and not war was wanted a 17-day period was allowed by the union for further negotiations.

Scorned Peace Opportunity

The managers’ organization, which is a recent affair in the Twin City theater circles, disregarded the overtures of the Stage Employees and assumed to run things in its own “high and mighty” manner. There was no alternative left for the Stage Employees but to walk out at the expiration of the the 17-day grace period.

This year, as in previous years, the Stage Employees’ union submitted its agreement and the managers offered their proposition, the main improvement sought by the employees was the abolition of the seven-day week. Hitherto the Stage Employees have worked every day in the week when there was work to do and then were laid off. Not only were they obliged to work without interruption of a weekly rest day, but their hours were irregular and intermittent, working a few hours and waiting around to meet the exigencies of the business. This practice has come down from former years when labor had no voice in shaping working conditions and hours.

Slaves of Their Calling

The working hours of the Stage Employees made them veritable slaves of the trade, and there has been steady effort made to bring some sort of regulation in their working hours. In a large number of cities the six-day week has been established, and the move in the Twin Cities is in accord with this desirable and practical reform. Experience has demonstrated that it is possible to arrange the hours of employment so that the workers will be released from the treadmill at least one day in the week, even though he may have to work all sorts of hours during each of the remaining 24-hour days of the week.

The managers’ publicity agent is seeking to abscure [sic] the real issue by making the question one of wages. At present the wages are based on a six-day week, although the workers give seven days. The wages paid are meager at best and if they represent seven days’ compensation the workers are intitled [sic] to wage increases as well as a reduction in the length of the week! The matter of wages could be settled, but the “one day’s rest in seven” is the one point that the stage employees justly insist upon, as there are plenty of unemployed workers to fill in.

Other Demands Negligible

There were a number of other points in the agreement submitted to effect in the past, or, if new, were withdrawn so that the real question at issue is the matter of the number of days to be considered a week.

Of course the union insists on the right to review the reasons for the discharge of an employee. This is one of the main functions of a labor union—not only as a matter of justice to the worker, but for the preservation of the union. It is notorious that employers are ever ready to frame up some fancied reason for the discharge of the active union member, and unless the organization intercedes, this species of persecution would extinguish the union by driving out its active advocates. This is not new in the theater business, or in other trades, and it is now sought to make it out an unreasonable demand. It is an established practice and common sense.

Help Increased One-Sixth

Under the proposed six-day week, each worker employed would be relieved some day during the seven, and his place would be filled by an extra worker who would continue to fill the places of each of the other regular workers as their day for a layoff came. If there were six regular employees it would mean one additional worker for six days, and if more or less the additional worker or workers would be employed only for the time vacated. The claim that it would mean the increase of from six to ten workers is an unmitigated falsehood. Such statement is the work of an ignorant or malicious person.

The 30-week guarantee of employment does not apply to the force but to the man-in-charge. A number of the demands made were either withdrawn or they are misrepresented in the paid advertisements of the theater managers. The stage employees have stated to the theater managers that all demands except the “one day’s rest in seven” have been waived and reaffirm that position publicly and denounce the injection of other questions as an attempt to becloud the issue and win public sympathy.

Exhibits Bungled

The theaters are being run after a manner by the manager, the janitor and a motly crew of strike breakers. The pictures shown are all comics now, and the bungling exhibits furnish a sort of amusement for those who have the hardihood to venture into a show house during the present struggle.

The musicians, who furnish an essential part of the pleasure at the motion picture theaters, as well as the other shows, went out Saturday. This takes away at least 50 per cent of the joy of the theater, and combined with the crudity of the showing the theaters are a poor place to go for amusement these days.

“Carrion Birds” on the Move

Imported strike breakers have already appeared, and this confirms the believe of the strike leaders, that the entire affair is the result of deliberate scheme to “rat” the theaters of the Twin Cities. The stage employees and motion picture operators are bannering the struck theaters so that no on need be ignorant of the struggle.

Attention is called to the peril of attending performances at a motion picture show where the projecting machine is operated by an unskilled person. The fire hazard is always great and incomparably more so when the machinery is in the hands of a novice.

The striking workers involved feel their cause is just and expect the public to cooperate with them in effecting a settlement. It is largely a matter of public support. Theater amusement is not an essential and unless it is presented in an artistic manner it loses its effect. The striking theater employees ask the public to consider the justice of the strikers’ cause along with the inadequate return the patrons will get for their money and their own safety.

7-day Week is Barbarious

There is no reason why some should work seven days a week while many are wholly unemployed. This is the sort of slavery the labor-crushing gang seeks to establish. Help block this iniquitous condition by keeping away from the show houses until decent working conditions on the stage are put into effect.

Strike for Six Day Week Hits Every Theater

Every theater in St. Paul and Minneapolis is involved in a strike of stage employes, moving picture operators and musicians, in which the six-day week is the issue. The stage employes are primarily interested. They have been working the seven-day under an agreement which expired Sept. 1. Negotiations failed and the strike was called. It is now in its second week.

Last Saturday every member of the Musicians’ union joined with the stage employes and operators. Most of the theaters are dark. Non-union operators have been secured in a few instances, and it is reported they have done much damage because of incompetence or inexperience.

Their First Trouble.

It is said this is the first time the theater employes in St. Paul and Minneapolis of any branch have had difficulties with the managers.

Members of the union suspect the present trouble was sought by some of the new leaders in the local theater field.

It is pointed out that recently the Northwest Theater Managers formed an association with W. A. Steffes as president and other comparatively new men as dominating forces.

Young Harold Finkelstein, son of the senior Finkelstein, has been taking a very active part in the affairs and it is believed that these are in some measures responsible for the failure to reach an amicable settlement.

Breach Looks Suspicious.

In speaking of the trouble, Mr. North, the secretary of Stage Employes’ Local No. 20 of St. Paul, stated that it was very puzzling just what is back of the present unfortunate rupture of the long and harmonious relations existing between the theater employes and the managements.

He expressed the firm belief that the breach has been forced by anti-labor counsel. There have been preparations going on for some time by the theater managers to meet an expected break and this confirms the suspicion that the trouble was invited.

Strikebreakers after a sort, were placed on the jobs, but there is little fear that there [sic] will meet the needs of the theaters.

Mr. North explained the demands of the Stage Employes to a representative of The Labor World as follows:

“The stage employes work long and irregular hours, and every day in the year. The local union took the position that it was not necessary that men should work every day without interruption during the season, and asked in the new agreement that arrangements be made to employ an additional worker to relieve the regular workers some one day each week.

“The additional employe would work from four to six days, depending on the number of workers employed in the respective theaters. While there were other betterments asked, none were considered vital. The main proposition is the six-day week.

“The six-day week is now in effect in a large number of cities and has proven practicable and desirable from a just and humanitarian standpoint. It must be understood that the union does not content for a six-day theater; it is believed that they should operate seven days, but it is maintained that the employes are entitled to one day’s rest in seven.”

The daily papers of the Twin Cities report that the theaters are operating. Of course this is so only in a very incomplete way. It confirms the charge that the break was planned and preparations were made to meet the exigency is [sic] some measures.

It must be understood that the theater is a dangerous place when the electrical apparatus is handled by inexperienced operators and under the present situation there is imminent peril.

The striking employes have issued an earnest appeal to the public to co-operate with them in inducing a settlement of the controversy and advice that this can best be done by staying away from the theaters until a settlement is effected.

Banners are out now and all the show houses will be advertised as unfair. No doubt this will cause the average patron to give up his regular theater amusement for the time being. It is probably that most of the houses with either be dark or empty until the conflict is over.

Mill City Film Plant Is Damaged by Blast

A mysterious explosion in the rear of the Famous Players–Lasky film headquarters, Minneapolis, at 10 P. M. Friday tore out a heavy steel door of the building and shattered windows in buildings in an area of several blocks.

No traces of a bomb could be found in the building, a three-story steel and brick structure at 1100 First avenue north, but detectives were unable to lay the cause of the blast to any other source.

Door Found Pried Up.

The explosion occurred in the rear of the building, off Eleventh street north, in a room in which films are stored.

It was apparent that the large steel door at the rear of the building, which was blown, had been pried up at the bottom before the explosion. A police gun squad which was half a block away when the blast sounded, rushed to the building, but found no one around.

Windows of the Dayton company warehouse and barns, across the street, the Wells Memorial building and several other film exchange offices in the same block were broken.

Strike Connection Scouted.

W. A. Steffes, president of the Motion Picture Theater Owners of the Northwest, discounted a theory that there might be some connection between the explosion and the strike of the Twin Cities theater employes.

M. Steffes [sic] received two mysterious telephone calls Friday in which he was told, “We’ll get you,” but he said he believed the calls to be work of harmless cranks.

“I do not believe the strikers had anything to do with the explosion,” he said.

Theaters Find It Costly to Break Union Agreement

To make the Chicago movie theater owners thoroughly regret their contract-smashing jamboree, the three unions involved in the lockout last month have collected over $180,000 in wages lost by their members when the Chicago Exhibitors association would not let them perform their accustomed work. The movie musicians collected for all their members. The movie operators collected for all but those of the Orpheum circuit where they had called a strike before the lockout began. The stage hands collected for all their members but only for the first three days, as they then turned the lockout into a strike and won a 7½ percent raise.

The trouble began when the Orpheum’s Belmont theater broke its contract by cutting down its movie operator staff from four men to two. The $180,000 payment made this week is a reminder that the unions expect every owner to be an honorable business man and live up to his written promises.

Public Opinion Seen as Factor in Strike

Minneapolis — Public opinion probably will decide the outcome of the struggle between theater owners and labor unions here and at St. Paul and public opinion now strongly favors the theater owners.

This is the reaction reflected by attendance, to the “campaign of enlightenment” being conducted by exhibitors, who in “cold turkey” terms are putting their side of the case before the public, stating in advertisements, posters and slides that they deplore the walkout and are availing themselves of the only alternative—keeping their houses open with non-union labor.

Theater owners have been at grips with the union in what both state will be a finish fight, for nearly two weeks now, and exhibitors are united in a solid front to resist what they term the unreasonable demands of the unions.

Both Minneapolis and St. Paul are strongholds of unionism, although there have been several isolated cases of controversies between theaters and unions. Several bombings of theaters—one of which wrecked the Glenwood Palace, Minneapolis suburban house, have figured in the various struggles. The present situation, however, is the first city-wide theater strike the two cities have experienced.

The Wonderland, Gateway grind house long has been the target of the unions because of its open shop policy. Its case attracted wide attention several years ago when the Proprietor, John Campbell, obtained a permanent injunction restraining picketing or any other interference at the house. Three of the foremost labor leaders of the Northwest were jailed for violating the injunction.

Exhibitors Confident in Twin City Strike

Minneapolis — “Everything is great.” This is the terse manner in which W. A. Steffes, president of the Northwest exhibitor association, sums up the strike situation in the Twin Cities.

All crafts, to a man, have walked out at theaters of the two cities, which are lined up solidly to “throw off the shackles of unjust union demands.”

Steffes declares that no settlement is in sight, and that none can be until the unions back down from their demands. Business at the theaters, now being operated on an open shop basis, has not suffered materially, and theaters are prepared to continue under the present system, unless the unions yield.

Theaters are 100 per cent organized and Orpheum and Pantages houses of the two cities are prepared to close in event effort is made to extend the strike to other cities of the circuits.

Steffes is a fighter whose activities have won him the nickname of “Fighting Al,” and with the 100 per cent backing given him is confident that exhibitors will be victorious. The showmen’s side of the present controversy is being told the public in newspaper advertisements, posters and slides. Previous to expiration of the labor agreements, Steffes had requested the unions to accept a reduction in wages, on account of adverse business conditions in the Northwest. Despite this, however, operators were granted a wage increase, but went on strike two weeks ago with stagehands whose demands were refused. The musicians went out a week later.

Studio Economy and Efficiency at Highest Peak, Lasky Says

Pictures now are being made with an efficiency and economy never before attained by the industry, as a direct result of the economy program which has aroused the “economic conscience” of Hollywood, Jesse L. Lasky, first vice president of Paramount, stated yesterday on his return from the coast. He will remain in New York a month, and then attend the company’s fall convention at Chicago.

“Policies which we adopted last winter are beginning to bear fruit,” he said. “These policies, which were already in force, were enunciated at our convention last May when I served notice on stars, directors and studio personnel that the Paramount organization was an institution that stood for certain standards of entertainment, that this institution was bigger than any single member or group of members in it, and that if an artist or director could not do things the wav we wanted them done lie could seek employment elsewhere.

“Since then greater progress has been made by our studio executives in carrying out these policies. Incmmpetents have heen weeded out. Players whose box-office drawing power was largely in their own imagination or in our theater advertising have been replaced by fresh, eager personalities that fit better into our plans for the continuing growth of an institution. Directors who had lost freshness and brilliance in their treatment of stories have been dropjied. and in their places are young men who have the new. modern manner of screen story telling which the public wants. But. above all. we have built a producing organization at the studio which is young, resourceful, new in its viewpoint and keen in its showmanship.

“The campaign against incompetence and extravagance reached a focus early in the summer when the producers in Hollywood announced a reduction in salaries. Although this salary cut was abandoned, it had its effect in the creation of a new state of mind throughout the studios.

“All this is extremely gratifying to me, because the reaction of the studio forces to this common-sense operation of picture production justifies the faith I have always had in Hollywood. I am proud of Hollywood. I am proud of its studio workers. Their loyalty to this business can never be questioned in the face of the progress we have made this summer toward sane, sensible operation. Today the production of motion pictures rests upon as efficient and sensible a foundation as that of any other business you can name. And not aniy has this lieen accompli bed but quality has been improvefi. Never before have the theaters of this country lieen receiving such fine productions as the/ have shown this fall, and plans for future oictures make it obvious that this high stai.dard will lie raised even higher.”

“Road Call” Hits Theatres

Latest Development Believed to Bar All Big Acts from Twin Cities

Patrons of Non-union Shows are Treated to Spectacle of “Falling Curtains”

Local theatres fighting to continue their practice of forcing stage employes to work seven days a week were hit by the Theatrical Stage Employes’ International Alliance’s “road call” which took effect in all Minneapolis and St. Paul show houses Tuesday. The road call for the American Federation of Musicians has been issued to become effective Oct. 8. A “road call,” it is explained, means that members of either the stage employes’ or the musicians’ unions traveling with shows or acts will not do any work in any theatre affected by a local strike. It practically bars all large acts and road shows from app earing in either Minneapolis or St. Paul until the theatrical strike and lockout is ended.

All acts of any size carry their own stagc crews, and the “road call” will undoubtedly result in them being rerouted to miss this territory. Travelling bands and orchestra s, and all nets in whkh members of the musicians’ union appear will also be unable to show here. Vaudeville houses will be the hard est hit, as the two road calls lea\’o them with practically nothing except acrobats, talking acts and trained animal stunts. Most of the others will be forced to detour until after the controversy, or play under a terrific handicap with curtailed staffs and performers.

The Hennepin–Orpheum theatre in Minneapolis had a disastrous experience with an iniported orchestra this week. Ten alleged musicians were imported from Chicago when the local mnnagcment found it impossible to re. place the union orchestra on strike to assist the singe employes . The scab melody-murderers were taken from the train in St. Paul and hrought to Minneapolis under heavy guard. After playing one tune in the theatre they were discharged and sent back to Chicago, so terrible was their playing.

The first and only appearance of this so-called orchestra at the Hcnnepin-Orphcum is said to have been horrific. Weird sounds, such as no one ever dreamed could come fro n1 a musical instrument, crashed, groaned, moaned, screamed, squealed, howled, growled, blared and whined from the orchestra pit. Finally one man in the balcony could stand it no longer . He stood up and shouted above the awful din:

“For God’s sake give the stage hands two days of in seven and get the old bunch back again!”

During the strike and lockout severa l of the theaters arc providing addcd attractions (or patrons in the line of “falling curtains.” At the Palace theatre, Sunday, the hoisting lines on a curtain let go and the “drop” crashcd with a bang. Luckily none of the actors was injured. Many of the patron s were so disgusted with the performance that they left and demanded their money back.

Reports from St. Paul say that the Lyceum theatre there is also suffering from “falling of the curtains:” the disease coming on in the middle of a performance.

These accidents, which may at any time cause serious injury to a performer, are traceable directly to incompetent men employed in handling scenery, members of the Stage Employes’ union say.

Only two theatres in Minneapolis, the Dewey and the Stockholm, 38 and 103 Washington avenue S. are now unaffected by either strikes or lockouts . Stage employes , musicians, motion picture operators, bill posters, scenery haulers, and scenic artists are the crafts involved.

The controversy originated when the houses employing stage hands refused to ‘grant one day’s rest in seven. Attcmpts to operate without union crews back smgc brought about a strike of picture operators in the Hennepin–Orpheum, Seventh Street, Pantages, Palace, and all Finkelstein & Ruben houses. Then the manngers’ association locked out all operators in houses where no stage hands were employed. This was followed by a strike of musicians and other theatrical crafts.

The small theatre owner is helpless in this controversy, an official of the Motion Picture Operators’ union explained Tuesday. The theatre managers’ association is controlled by votes on the basis of · one vote for each theatre. Under this plan the Finkelstein & Ruben interests, through their Twin City holdings can go into managers’ meetings and cast at least 23 votes.

Parley Seeks to End Stage Strike

After nearly 15 hours of continuous negotiations in an effort to end the strike of Twin City theater employees, a conference of national and state union officials, theater owners and a representative of the United States department of labor resumed their meeting shortly after midnight last night.

The strikers were represented by Charles Crickmore, Seattle, and Edward Tenny, Youngstown, Ohio, representing the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees; Fred W. Birnbach, representing the international organization of the American Federations of Musicians, and John P. Rossiter, representing the state unit of the musicians. Mr. Rossiter is also president and Mr. Birnbach secretary of the Minneapolis Musicians Union.

Fred Keightly, commissioner of conciliation of the United States Department of Labor, was acting as mediator.

Theodore Hays, president and W. A. Steffes, secretary of the the Northwest Theater Owners Association; Frank N. Phelps, Chicago representing the Orpheum circuit, and individual theater owners of the Twin Cities were also present.

The strike started nearly a month ago when stage hands walked out after refusal of theater owners to grant their demand for one day off with pay each week. They were followed a few days later by the motion picture operators and 10 days later by the musicians.

Negotiations started yesterday were the first since the walkout. Theaters have continued to operate with non-union crews.

North Side Theater Bombed

Charge Tears Hole in Steel Door at Rear of Building.


District Residents Are Awakened by Detonation After Midnight.


Proprietor and Patrolman Standing Nearby at Time of Blast.


People living in the vicinity of Oliver avenue north and West Broadway were awakened by an explosion that partly wrecked the rear end of the Logan picture theater, 2027 West Broadway, at 1:10 a.m. Monday.

Herman Jeub, owner of the building, was standing at the front of the theater at the time in conversation with a patrolman. They ran to the rear of the building, but could see no one.

Rips Hole in Steel Door.

An examination showed that the bomb, which is supposed to have caused the blast, was placed in such a position that it tore a hole through the steel-covered back door, and also ripped two holes through the projection screen some 10 feet away. Otherwise little damage was done. Most of the force of the explosion appears to have expended itself on the outside, according to Patrolman O. F. Johnson, who made the first investigation.

According to Mr. Jeub, comparatively small damage was done, and no one was injured.

Northside police made a thorough search of the neighborhood, taking in several blocks in all directions from the Logan theater. Nothing was discovered, however, that would aid the police in identifying the bombers.

Second Blast in Month.

On the night of September 30, the Famous Players–Lasky Film exchange building at 1100 First avenue north, was blombed. Two men were seen hastening from the vicinity just before the explosion. Police failed to find these two men. Immediately after the explosion, six members of the Minneapolis local of the stage employes union were arrested as they were leaving strike headquarters at 818 Hennepin avenue. It was proven conclusively that they had nothing to do with the bombing, and they were released.

The Paramount Famous Lasky corporation, the Minneapolis Film Board of Trade and the Northwest Theater Owners’ association have offered rewards aggregating $2000(?) for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the persons who bombed the film exchange.

Theater Bombed on W. Broadway

Bombers attempted to blow up the Logan theater at West Broadway and Oliver avenue N., early today, but failed to gain access to the tehater and the blast did little damage except to the rear of the building and to the projection screen at the rear of the house.

The theater is operated by W. A. Steffes, secretary of the Northwest Theater Owners’ Association.

The blast occurred two hours after the last patrons had left the building. The only person in the structure was Mike Feldon, 1827 Irving avenue N., watchman, who was sweeping near the orchestra pit. He said that a moment before the explosion he heard an automobile go through the alley.

A call was sent in to the North Side police station, which dispatched patrolmen and detectives to the neighborhood of the theater. Although a thorough search was made of the neighborhood, no arrests were made.

Police said the bomb had been placed on a ledge near the back door, and was filled with dynamite, like the bomb which damaged the rear of the Famous Players–Lasky film exchange, 110 First avenue N., the night of September 20, because the force of the blast was downward.

The bombing of the film exchange also failed to do serious damage, although windows in the building and surrounding buildings were broken. Six men who were arrested soon after the explosion, were released after questioning. A $3,500(?) reward was offered by the exchanges, the Minneapolis Film Board of Trade and the Northwest Theater Owners, but no further arrests have been made.

100 Police and Special Agents Guard Theaters Against Terrorism

No Further Negotiations With Employes Until Bombing Is Halted, Steffes Declares.

International Union Head Will Be Here in 2 Weeks

Murnane and Brunskill Order Special Protection for All Houses After Conference With Proprietors.

More than 100 police and special guards were placed at St. Paul and Minneapolis motion picture theaters today as police of both cities and the state fire marshal’s office announced that they had taken this measure to end, definitely, terrorism attempts which led to the bombing of two theaters Monday.

Meanwhile, all negotiations between theater operators and striking employes were broken off today by the operators “until the bombings and other efforts at terrorism have ceased.”

The orders for police and private guards were issued today by Chief of Police E. J. Murnane and Chief Frank Brunskill of Minneapolis, after conferences with theater owners and H. K. Chance, chief deputy state fire marshal.

Investigations Are On.

Investigation of the bombing of the Forest theater, 924 East Seventh street, Monday night, and of the Logan theater in Minneapolis, earlier in the day is being conducted by police, the state fire marshal and special investigators.

The Logan theater was empty when the attack was made, but the Forest show house was well filled when bombed Monday night and one woman was bruised as the crowd sought to gain the exits.

Announcement also was made this morning that the international president of the Stage Hands and Motion Picture Operators union will arrive in the Twin Cities in two weeks.

Bombing of the two theaters Monday and of a film exchange a week ago, coupled with the arrest of a man charged with “stink bomb” throwing in a Minneapolis picture house, brought the strike conferences to an abrupt halt.

What Bomb Did to St. Paul Theater and Lodge Hall



This is what the bomb did at the rear of the Forest theater, 924 East Seventh street, Monday night. The top pictures shows some of the 20[?] windows that were shattered in the rear of the Odd Fellows hall, 724 Reaney street, back of the theater.

The bottom view is a closeup of the rear entrance of the theater, which was shattered and the door blown off its hinges. A recurrence of these conditions is said to be “very difficult if not impossible,” due to extensive precautions taken by police.

Another Bombing

Minneapolis — The Logan, suburban house, operated by W. A. Steffes, Northwest exhibitor unit head, who is directing theaters’ activity in handling the strike of operators, stagehands and musicians, was bombed yesterday. The house was partly wrecked. Bombing followed breakdown of reconciliation efforts instituted Saturday on request of stagehands. The theater outrage follows the recent bombing of the Paramount exchange.

All Negotiations Off in Mpls. Strike

Minneapolis—All negotiations for strike settlement were definitely called off between the Theater Owners Committee and a committee representing local stage hands, operators and musicians. The meeting, held Sunday, could not even reach a point where either side would discuss a contract and realizing the futility of proceeding under the existing conditions, a recommendation was made by two International officers that another meeting be held Monday. Officers feeling that the committees could discuss and possibly reach some basis upon which to negotiate. Sentiment following the bombing of Al Steffes’ Logan theater late Sunday night practically ended all negotiations between the committee. The theater owners committee now refuses to deal with any body except international officers, positively refusing to negotiate with local unions.

Monday night, while running with a full house, the Forest, and F. & R. St. Paul suburban house was bombed but the explosion spent itself on the outside, with only slight damage.

This latest bombing has made the situation even more acute. The same evening a girl was severely burned about the face when someone squirted an atomizer containing a stench preparation on patrons leaving by a side exist. A Hennepin–Orpheum striking stage hand was later arrested and identified as the perpretrator [sic] and at the preliminary hearing next morning was bound over until Thursday after pleading not guilty.

Police protection has been doubled for all theaters in Minneapolis, with an officers stationed in front and in the rear twenty-four hours. The Minneapolis police chief authorized a reward offer of $10,000 for information resulting in the conviction of bombers. Extra precautions are being taken to protect the public against stench bombs.

Business is suffering in suburban houses, but downtown houses are at normal.

What Other People Think

Children or Theaters

To the Editor of The Journal:

I notice that our policemen are asked to work extra hours that all theaters may be provided with guards to prevent bomb throwing. I have also been informed that traffic men are to be taken from street intersections adjacent to schools. I am obliged to remain at home with the younger child, and can not take my children to and from school. I know with what fears my mind will be harrassed [sic] these next few days, not that the protection formerly given my boy and girl has been withdrawn. Let the theaters supply and pay for their own guards against the bombers, and do not take police protection from small children.

— Mrs. C. Orwin, Minneapolis.


Guard the Children

To the Editor of The Journal:

I believe it was a most injudicious act to take the police away from the school crossings in order to guard the theaters of Minneapolis. The average motorist gives little consideration to the pedestrian crossing the street. It is dangerous for an adult. How much more dangerous is it, then, to a child of five or dix endeavoring to cross a busy street when the traffic is whirling by?

I am personally fond of the theaters and fond of motoring, and also am a father. I believe that any father who is a movie fan places the life of his child ahead of his attendance at the shows. It is not necessary to attend shows, but both the law and good citizenship demand that we send our children to school.

Recently my own son, a boy of six, was 45 minutes late getting home from school. He finally came home with tears in his eyes, saying that he could not get across the street, and finally had piced up courage enough to go into a store and ask the storekeeper to take him across.

It seems as though in this day and age, human life and public morals are lost in the shuffle for the benefit of that time old economic institution called property.

— J. R. Ridpath.

Anti-Labor Forces Plot Defeat

Anti-Labor Elements Resort to Dastardly Acts to Force Breakup of Conference Promising Satisfactory Agreement

The latest development in the strike of the theater workers is the rejection of the proposition made to them by the managers. At a joint meeting in Minneapolis Thursday night, called for the purpose, the proposition was decisively defeated. This was no surprise as it was designed to be rejected.

Representatives of the managers and strikers had held a number of conferences last week and on last Sunday evening at 7:30, when the conference adjourned, all but three points had been settled and these promised an early and easy adjustment. When the St. Paul representatives appeared Monday to resume the conference they were told all negotiations were off on account of the bombing of the Logan theater in Minneapolis.

This was a shock to the strikers’ committee as it looked like everything was going to end happily. Then events began to happen that put a new phase on the matter. Immediately a demand was made for police protection and a great show of terror was affected. A special hearing was had by the Minneapolis city council in response to the demand for police protection. The St. Paul police authorities have absolved the stage employees from responsibility for the explosion in St. Paul and have taken no steps to place extra police on duty.

Now comes the real explanations for the breakup of the conference. The managers made a proposition to the strikers radically different from the basis upon which the joint conferences worked. A cut in the number of employees and a drastic reduction in the wages all along the line were demanded in the offer of the managers and which was rejected at the meeting Thursday evening.

The entire proceedings look extremely suspicious and the belief is advanced that some among the managers are working with outside forces to prolong the strike and prevent an amicable settlement.

That some foe of the theater workers’ unions and the labor movement has placed an obstacle in the way of an early and amicable settlement of the trouble with the theater mangers and caused terror to persons and great damage to property at a show house in Minneapolis, managed by Mr. Steffes, chairman Theater Managers’ association, and at a motion picture house on Forest street in St. Paul during the past week. During the previous week bombs were exploded in Minneapolis.

These occurrences are viewed with keen regret and resentment by the committee in charge of the strike; they have done much to prevent possibilities of an early adjustment. It was reported that the managers’ representative declared that negotiations would cease until these outrages stopped. While this is not a direct accusation against the strikers, it is an implication that they have the power to prevent violence.

Employees Against Violence

By what process of reasoning it can be even remotely inferred that the strikers should participate or condone such infamous actions as exploding bombs in or near a theater is difficult to explain. It would not only be folly as it would have the effect of destroying the road to a peaceful settlement; but it might mean the death of many persons who would be innocent of any connection with the matter in controversy.

In addition to the stage employees there are several hundred sympathizers involved in the trouble, and the latter are desirous of a settlement. It is scarcely probably that they would permit violence to be employed in the case.

International Representative on Scene

International representatives are in the Twin Cities endeavoring to adjust the difficulty, and the use of terrorism militates directly against their efforts. From the side of the strikers they have everything to lose and nothing to gain by violent tactics. Certainly the issue is not so desperate that strikers could be goaded to such a futile and dastardly extreme.

The newspapers reported that Mr. Steffes, of the Managers’ association, declared all negotiations off until the use of violence ceased! This was an insinuation that the strikers were responsible for the bombings and were in a position to call a halt. With negotiations under way and a settlement in prospect, what possible motive could their be to resort to such ruthless conduct.

Who Wants Strike Prolonged?

By all principles of reason, it would be those who wanted to prevent a settlement that would explode bombs. Does Mr. Steffes know who is interested in prolonging the strike and why does he not go after them? It certainly is not the strikers. Such being the case, why did he jump to the unwarranted conclusion to break off negotiations until the bombing stopped, and is he playing into the hands of a confederate?

But there are persons in St. Paul who do not want to see this strike amicably settled, and they will resort to every infamous trick to accomplish their end. These are the trouble makers who thrive on industrial strife. The way in which these bombings have been carried out indicates quite clearly that there is something akin to fakery in connection with them. A short time ago a bomb was exploded in Minneapolis in a motion picture theater where there was a strike and the perpetrator had a known motive to discredit the strikers.

The Agent Provocateur

This is an old trick of the anti-labor forces; they either explode bombs or have someone get inside the union and then have him do the trick from the inside. The most famous case was that at the Lawrence, Mass., textile strike, where Woods, president of the woollen [sic] mills, authorized the placing of bombs so as to involve the strikers.

Organized labor has nothing to gain from violence, and when it has to be resorted to it is time for the labor movement to liquidate and go out of business. The enemies of labor know this and try maliciously to fasten such methods on the labor movement.

The strikers are holding their lines solid, and are carrying on an energetic campaign of education among the general public.

All theaters in the Twin Cities are being bannered and are poorly patronized. Some of the downtown show houses are at times visited by out-of-town people, but in the main the attendance is far from fair.

The strikers urge the public to keep away from the theaters until the trouble has been settled. The shows are poor and the fire hazard is great, and the cause of the strikers is just. These are very sound reasons for staying away from the show houses.

New Firm to Handle F.&.R.–Publix Deal

Minneapolis — Stabilized bookings in all of the F. & R. key city houses is assured by the Publix-Northwest Theaters (Finkelstein & Ruben) deal, observes “The F. & R. Showmanship News” in commenting on the new arrangement. A new corporation is to handle the joint affairs of the two exhibiting forces under the deal.

Under terms of the arrangement, the Publix house under construction is placed in the hands of F. & R. and gives F. & R. first call on Paramount product tor the next 25 years. Publix retains a 50 per cent interest in the house it sponsored here, and in six St. Paul houses. In addition, the two arms plan an expansion program in this territory and will be partners in houses built, first of which is the theater under construction at Rochester, Minn.

William Hamm, of the local firm, is to be president of the new company to be formed in the deal. Sam Katz will be vice president, and each organization is to have equal representation on the board of directors.

City Moves to End Minneapolis Strike

Minneapolis — Spurred by outrages which make necessary police and fire guards at every theater of the city, the council has moved to take a hand in bringing about an end to the strike. A resolution has been passed calling for appointment of five aldermen as a committee to bring theater owners and the strikers together.

William F. Canavan, head of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employes and M.P. Machine Operators, yesterday was scheduled to take personal charge of the situation, in efforts to break the deadlock which has resulted in calling out every union employee in theaters here and at St. Paul.

Meanwhile, business at the theaters is holding up surprisingly well in view of the fact that this city ind St. Paul are regarded as strongholds of radical labor factions.

Twin City Showman, Union Compromise to Settle Strike

Minneapolis—Theater owners made slight concessions and stagehands receded from their main demands yesterday to settle the general theatrical strike in the Twin Cities.

The strike, which lasted six weeks, proving the longest in theatrical history, was settled after a series of conferences lasting from 10 A.M. Tuesday until 4 A.M. Wednesday. W. A. Steffes, Northwest exhibitor unit president; Theatore L. Hays of Northwest Theaters and William Canavan, head of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employes and M.P. Machine Operators, effected the settlement.

Although stage hands were granted an increase they failed in attempt to secure one day’s rest in seven. There will be no segregation of departments which would have meant employing additional men, and theater managers reserve full rights to employ and discharge stage hands.

While stage hands originally requested a one year contract with no wage increase, one day rest virtually meant an increase of $9.63 per week. Under the new agreement stage hands accept a three year contract with two dollars increase for the first year, three dollars the second year, and two dollars increase the third year.

Operators had recently signed a one year contract in which they accpeted a new three year agreement calling for no increase the first year, 2½ per cent the second, and the same for the third year. Musicians return to work with no change in the contract which had recently been negotiated. There is practically no change in working conditions in the new contract with stage hands, nor any in the operators’ new three year agreement.

The majority of crafts will return to work Sunday with some houses putting union men back today. It is estimated that the agreement with stage hands will save from $3,000 to $5,000 a year for legitimate houses.

The strike, which lasted six weeks, was the longest in the history of the theatrical world, and estimated at a cost to the allied crafts of approximately $160,000.00 in business. Both sides expressed complete satisfaction over terms of the new contracts and pickets were immediately removed from in front of theaters.

Theatre Strike Ends

Controversy Closed at 4 A. M. Wednesday, Three-Year Contract Signed for Twin Cities

Managers and Unionists Express Satisfaction with Terms of Settlement

The theatrical strike and lockout in Minneapolis and St. Paul ended at 4 a. m. Wednesday when a three-year agreement granting an increase in wages and no reduction in the size of crews was signed by representatives of the managers’ association and the Theatrical Stage Employes and Motion Picture Operators International alliance. All Twin City theatres which have been involved in the controversy since September 18 will be operating with their former union stage hands, picture operators, musicians, scenic artists, bill posters, and transfer men not later than Sunday.

Five international officers of the Theatrical Stage Employes’ union were present at the peace conference which was in continuous session from 2 p. m. Tuesday until the settlement was reached at 4 a. m. Wednesday. They were W. F. Canavan, international president, and Richard J. Green, general secretary-treasurer, both of New York City; George E. Browne, international vice president, Chicago; E. J. Tinney, Youngstown, Ohio, and Charles Crickmore, Seattle, international representatives.

The conference ended with no bitterness on either side, President Canavan told the Labor Review Wednesday morning. “The settlement is satisfactory,” he said.

Loyal support was given the strikers by the local labor movement and the general public during the life of the controversy. The publicity committee of the theatrical unions issued a statement Wednesday morning in which they expressed their appreciation for the stand taken by Minneapolis citizens.

“The members of the theatrical unions involved in the recent controversy with Minneapolis and St. Paul show house managements wish to thank Twin City organized labor, and the general public for the loyal manner in which our strike was supported,” the publicity committee’s statement reads. “In spite of regrettable happenings around the theatres, which our members were in no cases responsible for, we had the respect, support and good will of the majority of citizens. We deeply appreciate this attitude on their parts, and assure our friends that we shall do our utmost to show our gratitude.

“The strike and lockout is over. We are returning to work with no bitterness in our hearts. We have made substantial improvements in our wages and working conditions and there is no reason why our relations with the managers should not be of the most pleasant nature possible.”

Under the terms of the new contract all stage employes return to work at an increased wage of $2 a week. At the end of the first year of the pact pay will be boosted $3 more a week, and an additional $2 weekly raise will be given at the conclusion of the second year. All theatres will continue to employ the same size crews as were used prior to the strike. While the seven day week continues, the increase in pay will during the third year of the contract amount to a sum of almost equal to the cost of hiring a substitute to enable each man to lay off from work one day out of seven.

Motion picture operators, the majority of whom were locked out shortly after the back-stage employes struck, also received an increase in wages and an extension of their contract for two more years, making it expire on August 31, 1930, the same date as that of the stage employes. The operators’ increase amounts to 2½ per cent each year.

W. A. Steffes, president of the Motion Picture Theatre Owners Association of the Northwest, and Theodore L. Hays, general manager of the Finkelstein & Ruben theatre chain, both expressed satisfaction with the ending of the dispute.

“Like Mr. Steffes and Mr. Canavan, I believe the relations between the men and their employers will be more cordial than ever,” Mr. Hays said. “In addition to the wage schedules, a number of other conditions were improved, several obstacles to harmony removed entirely and a more satisfactory understanding established between the owners and the workmen.”

The news of the strike settlement was applauded in all sections of the Minneapolis labor movement. Members of trade unions have shunned the shows since the inception of the dispute and many of them were making preparations to hold theatre parties next week in celebration of ending the strike.

“I congratulate the theatrical unions and their employers on their success in reaching a satisfactory settlement,” A. T. Evans, president of the Minneapolis Central Labor Union, said. “Both sides showed they were able to sit down around a table and talk over their grievances in a sensible manner and make an amicable adjustment.”

Relief Felt Over Twin City Strike Ending

Minneapolis—Theater patrons of the Twin Cities breathed sighs of relef when announcement was made of the settlement of the general strike and the feeling of security is to be enhances today with return of many union employes, with the balance to resume their duties at the theaters next Sunday.

Ending a period of fear, engendered by bombing of theaters, throwing of stench mixtures in theaters and on patrons, and assault on a non-union operator, the compromise was a welcome one and business is expected to show a decided spurt as a result.

Peculiarly, operation of the theaters over the six weeks’ period with non-union employes, did not materially cut grosses at the various houses. The fact is more surprising, when it is realized that the Twin Cities are strongly unionized, and hot beds of labor radicalism. This is due to the campaign conducted by theater owners in carrying their case to the public. The theatermen had been prepared for a finish fight, and it was not until arrival of William Canavan, head of the international union of stagehands and operators, that any compromise appeared possible.

The unions, it is said, were prepared to extend the strike to every theater of the Orpheum and Pantages circuit, a fact declared to have weighed heavily in the compromise, although the balance of Twin City showmen were ready to “go to the mat” running open shop unless they secured a contract which would give them as “Greater Amusements” here put it, “the undeniable right to run their own business.”

Burning the Records

WILL HAYS is the czar of moviedom. He decides what shall be shown on the motion picture screens throughout the country. Ostensibly his job is to see that nothing salacious or indecent is produced at Hollywood so that the morals of tens of millions of movie-goers shall not be corrupted.

Recently, however, Hay s showed his hand as a labor-baiting censor. The Exhibitor’s Herald, a motion picture trade journal carried a news item to the effect that all news reels taken of the Sacco-Vanzetti demonstrations, and so forth, are to be destroyed.

Thus all cinema records of this world-famous case will be lost to the working class forever. Not only are the prints to be destroyed but the negatives have been ordered to be burned also.

The united enemies of Sacco and Vanzetti want to close the books of the case; they want to have us all forget. But we will not forget, and reply to the murderers by the organization of our activities to build a labor defense movement to avenge the death of our two martyred comrades.

Twin City Strike Ends

The Twin City theatre strike, which started September 17 and lasted 38 days, is at an end.

Five hundred stage hands, motion picture machine operators and musicians went back to their jobs this week as the most extended and costly theatre strike in the northwest came to an end.

W. A. Steffes, president of the Motion Picture Theatre Owners Association of the Northwest, announced the following settlement after theatre owners and strike representative had conferred many times:

A three year contract replaces the former one-year contract with the stage hands, and they are to be paid $2 more per week during the first year of the contract, $3 more for the second year and $2 more the third year, a total increase of $7 a week for the three years.

Picture machine operators also are put under a three-year contract, which replaces their annual agreement. They are to receive no increase the first year, but an increase of 2½ per cent the second year, and 2½ per cent more the third year. Hitherto the St. Paul scale has been slightly lower than the Minneapolis scale, but it will now be equal to it.

The musicians who, with the operators walked out in sympathy when non-union men replaced the stage hands, returned to work with no change in their status.

Steffes expressed his satisfaction with the settlement, as did Theodore Hays, general manager for Finkelstein and Ruben and W. F. Canavan, president of the International Stage Hands Union, who helped with the negotiations.

Steffes said: “Although the settlement cannot be termed a complete victory for either side, the strike has been successful in establishing a better understanding between owners and craftsmen. We are entirely satisfied with the agreement reached, and believe that relations from now on will be more cordial than ever before.

The strike started when the stage hands of Minneapolis and St. Paul demanded one day’s rest in seven. This request was refused by the theater owners, who interpreted it as a demand for seven days’ pay for six days’ work.

Steffes estimated that the strike caused a 10 per cent decrease in theatre grosses during the five weeks. The 58 theatres of Minneapolis probably do a business of about $150,000 weekly, which means that the loss was about $15,000 a week, or $75,000 for the period of the strike in that city alone. The loss, however, was actually much heavier Three theaters and one exchange were bombed during the strike, and the damage done must be reckoned in the total loss; also several thousand dollars which Minneapolis spent hiring emergency policemen to guard the theatres.

F. & R. House Opposed in Minneapolis Neighborhood

Minneapolis—Opposition to a theater in the Lake Harriett “loop,” located in an exclusive residential district, has been revived by residents of the neighborhood following announcement of a house by Northwest Theaters (Finkelstein & Ruben). When a proposed theater previously was announced, a petition signed by 2,000 residents in opposition to the theater was filed with the council.

Past and Future (1928)


Looking at 1927 in retrospect we find our opinions running to diverse reactions. Mergers—expansions—millions in new investments—the big fells getting bigger—turmoil—economy—smaller profits—the little fellows growing less important. The industry as a whole enjoyed a year of mild success. Nineteen hundred and twenty-eight, from present indications, will be far better. Many sincere economies have been effected in all branches. More are to follow. The industry is cleaning house for the long pull. All told its prospects were never brighter.

The presentation orgy has about reached its limit. In the unusual houses like the Roxy, Paramount, Grauman’s Egyptian and the Chicago presentations will continue to play their important part. In the small houses they must be abolished. Sound economics demands it.

Production will continue on its highly competitive way. Excessive and extravagant expenditures are being gradually curtailed. Both players and companies are receiving better treatment and more co-operation from each other. The importation of foreign stars and directors continues. At present there is a lack of story material. New writers are being constantly developed. Again the industry is returning to the thought that after all “The Picture Is the Thing.”

We look for no radical change in distribution methods in 1928. Every one seems to agree that the present method is uneconomic and unsound but like the weather every one talks of it but nobody ever does anything about it. Percentage booking as a general practice may be the answer. In time this may come but not in 1928. The independent producer and distributor is plugging along on his merry way. For him 1927 was a fairly successful year. Nineteen hundred and twenty-eight should be even better.

No period in the thirty years of motion picture industry was as full of interesting events as the past year. Highlights were many. Among those that might be mentioned were the Trade Practice Conference which attracted nation-wide attention, the purchase of First National by Stanley and West Coast, the opening of the Roxy in New York which occasioned the biggest special edition of the year published by The Film Daily and the subsequent purchase of the theater by William Fox, the trend in foreign countries to limit imports of American films, the introduction of the Brookhart bill aimed to abolish block booking and the course of motion picture lectures at Harvard, sponsored by Joseph P. Kennedy. The year was marked by the passing of Marcus Loew, Sam Warner and June Mathis.

The month of December, 1927, saw the birth of the Film Daily Relief Fund. It has the enthusiastic support of the entire industry. Much good has already been accomplished. Its permanency is assured. Despite the present feeling of unrest the motion picture industry is about to embark upon its greatest years of prosperity. Some readjustments are still to be made. They are minor compared to the whole. The motion picture is and will continue to be the greatest force for clean, wholesome amusement in the world.

List of motion picture theaters operating in the Twin Cities

Statistics from the Theaters section of The Film Daily Year Book 1928, containing “a complete list of over 20,000 motion picture theaters operating in the United States” for 1927:

Population, 434,000
Theater   Address Seating
Agate, 2225 E. Franklin 400
Alhambra, 3211 Penn Ave. No. 300
American, 16 E. Lake St. 450
Bijou, 20 Washington Ave. N. 1500
Camden, 4217 Webber Parkway 350
Cedar, 713 Cedar Ave. 250
Crystal, 305 Hennepin Ave. 350
Dewey, 38 Washington Ave. So. 400
East Lake, 1537 E. Lake St. 400
El Lago ….
Elite, 2519 27th Ave. So. 300
Emerson, 2605 Emerson Ave. No. 350
Empress, 412 W. Broadway 450
Forest Park ….
Garrick, 40 So. 7th St. 1600
Glen Lake, 2201 6th Ave. No. 240
Glenwood Palace, destroyed 350
Gopher, 1706 4th Ave. So. 400
Granada ….
Grand, 619 Hennepin Ave. 1000
Ha-Ha, 3954 Minnehaha Ave. 350
Heights ….
Hennepin-Orpheum, 910 Hennepin Ave. 2000
Homewood, 1919 Plymouth Ave. No. 900
lone, 309 Cedar Ave. 450
Lagoon, 2906 Hennepin Ave. 980
Lake, 2721 E. Lake St. 400
LaSalle, 2541 Nicollet Ave. 500
Liberty, 1013 6th Ave. No. 420
Logan, Logan and West Broadway 650
Loring, 1405 Nicollet Ave. 600
Lyndale, 2932 Lyndale Ave. So. 500
Lyric, 711 Hennepin Ave. 1500
Main, 1029 N. W. Main St. 350
Mazda, 246 Hennepin ….
Miles Standish, Second Ave. & 38th ….
Minnesota, 9th and La Salle (building) 3200
New Arion, 2316 Central Ave. N. E. 650
New Astor, 670 Hennepin Ave. 900
New Cozy, 405 Plymouth Ave. 500
New Franklin, 1021 E. Franklin 800
New Park, 725 So. 10th St. 400
New Lake, 31 W. Lake St. 500
New Palace, 5th & Hennepin ….
New Rose, 114 Hennepin Ave. 300
New Vista, 7th & Cedar ….
Nokomis, 3749 Chicago Ave. So. 400
Old Mill, 310 Hennepin Ave. 300
Pantages, 710 Hennepin Ave. 2000
Princess, 4th St. and E. Hennepin Ave. 700
Rex, 212 Hennepin Ave. 350
Rialto, 735 E. Lake St. 600
Rosebud, 1506 E. Lake St. 300
Savoy, 242 Hennepin Ave. 350
Seventh St., 21 S. 7th St. 2000
Southern, 1422 Washington Ave. So. 650
State, 801 Hennepin Ave. 2750
Strand 1100
Stockholm, 103 Washington Ave. So. 320
Strand, 37 S. 7th St. 1200
Unique, 520 Hennepin Ave. 800
University, 1308 S. E. 4th St. 400
Vista, 727 Plymouth ….
Wonderland, 27 Washington Ave. So. 400
St. Paul
Population, 248,100
Theater   Address Seating
Alhambra, 16 E. 7th St. 400
Arcade, 947 Arcade St. 300
Astor, 449 Wabasha 1100
Blue Bird, 902 Rice St. 300
Capitol, 7th and St. Peter 2375
Concord, So. Robt. & Concord ….
Cozy, 389 W. 7th St. 300
Dale, 635 Selby Ave. 700
DeLuxe, 287 Maria Ave. 400
Empress ….
Faust, 624 University Ave. 400
Forest, 924 E. 7th St. 500
Garden, 929 W. 7th St. 450
Garrick, 6th and St. Peter 1200
Hamline, 1533 University Ave. 400
Ideal, So. St. Paul 350
Liberty, 135 Eaton St. ….
Mohawk, 629 So. Smith Ave. 600
Mound, 1029 Hastings Ave. 400
New Francis, E. 7th St. 205
New Ray, 179 E. Fairfield Ave. 300
New State, E. 7th St. 400
Orpheum, 5th & St. Peter ….
Oxford, Grand and Oxford St. 1000
Palace Orpheum, 7th and Wabasha 1400
Palace, 108 Concord St. 600
Princess, 19 E. 7th St. 900
Park, 1595 Selby Ave. 1000
Regent, 436 Wabasha 300
Radio, 1195 E. 7th St. 400
Rialto, North St. Paul 300
St. Clair, Snelling and St. Clair St. 1200
Shubert, Exchange and Wabasha 800
Strand, 440 Wabasha 750
Summitt, 391 Selby Ave. 300
Tower, 438 Wabasha 1000
Venus, 1077 Payne Ave. 400
Verdi, 302 University Ave. 300

Representative Exhibitors’ Views on Brookhart Bill

Opinions received this week by Motion Picture News from representative exhibitors in various parts of the country on the Brookhart Bill in every instance condemn coercive block booking. Some of the exhibitors are against the bill because it would mean Federal regulation of the industry; others favor it as “the lesser of two evils.” The opinions follow:

By E. V. Richards, Jr.
Saenger Amusement Co., New Orleans

We do not believe in coercive block booking nor do we believe in coercive politicians forming a bureaucratic interference in business—and the Brookhart Bill is leading to that. State rights are waning fast enough without our helping it along. Let’s fight in our own backyard or expect to meet the fanatics nationally in all future problems if the Brookhart gate is opened.

By Nathan Yamins
of Fall River, Mass.; Official of M. P. T. O. A. and Member of Committee on Revision of Contract

A close study of the Brookhart Bill discloses that it is aimed primarily at the abolition of block booking. In addition to this it seeks to bring about a more equitable distribution of product so that the Independent Exhibitor will be in a position to show worth while product even in cities where the Distributor-Producer may have competitive theatres. Both of the problems interest vitally, not only the Producer-Distributor and Exhibitor, but what is of greater importance is the public interest concerned; and consequently and consideration of the problem must be had with the public interest in mind.

My personal feeling is that block booking is the most vicious practice existing in our industry and must be abolished in some way or other. It is vicious because the Exhibitor is made to take a block of average and poor pictures in order to get one or two worth while pictures, and consequently must assume the loss of showing poor pictures or of keeping them on the shelf.

Moreover, it is vicious from the point of view of the public because they are forced to see product that is not worth while because that product has been purchased by the Exhibitor in order to secure a picture that may be worth while. In my opinion, as long as block booking will exist, there will be no incentive to make good pictures. Since it is practically admitted that block booking should be eliminated, the question then is whether this can be done within the industry itself or whether we must resort to government regulation in order to bring about this elimination.

After many years of organization work which brought me in close contact with Producer-Distributor representatives and with the problems of the industry, I feel convinced that the only hope for the elimination of this vicious practice lies in government regulation.

I am free to admit that government regulation is not to be desired, but I am a firm believer of the old adage, “of two evils choose the lesser,” and I am personally in favor of supporting the Brookhart Bill even though it brings with it some phase of government regulation, if it will bring about the elimination of block booking.

By Karl Hoblitzelle
President, Interstate Amusement Co., Dallas

Frankly, the idea of shying away from government regulation impresses me as illustrating the present state of our industry. We are supposed to be already subject to the general lawg, and therefore subject to government regulation.

The Producer-Distributor Companies are perfectly aware that the present system of running the industry is a violation of existing law. This was settled by the Supreme Court in the Binderup case. All of us are familiar with the history of the Fed- eral Trade Commission proceeding. Yet nothing is done. In other industries where ordinary merchandise is concerned, the public has been protected by enforcement of our anti-trust laws. But in this great popular art, affecting the very habits, beliefs and ideals of our people, they are being left at the mercy of centralized capital.
What if the Brookhart Bill should be passed? Presumably just another statute—to be evaded or forgotten. Under existing conditions, and in view of the record on other laws, it is reasonable to suppose that arrangements would be made to keep the law from being enforced.

By C. W. Deibel
Liberty Theatre, Youngstown, Ohio

Am certainly opposed to coercive block booking. Also opposed to Brookhart Bill or Federal regulation. Believe motion picture business big enough in itself to remove any objectionable features.

By E. M. Loew
Head of E. M. Loew’s Theatres, Dorchester, Mass.

I believe the Brookhart Bill is a step in the direction of justice to the exhibitor because of the following reasons:

1. It eliminates block booking, which is and has been for a long time an unnecessary evil both as far as the public and the exhibitor are concerned. I think it is also injurious to the distributor because it eliminates competition to a certain extent. The distributor is assured of the sale of all his pictures whether they are good or poor.

2. It eliminates the “pig in the bag” buying of pictures. The exhibitor should not be forced to buy pictures he has never seen, any more than one would buy a pair of shoes without seeing them and trying them on. This block booking method of selling makes the exhibitor take all the chances, as he has to sell the pictures to the public.

3. It affords the opportunity to the independent exhibitor to bid for pictures with the producer-exhibitor. The booking control which the producer- exhibitor has in a large number of the states today amounts to almost a monopoly of the best first run motion pictures and in some places also the best second run photoplays. The independent exhibitor is compelled to sell out to the producer or affiliate with them because he is unable to go out and bid for pictures.

By V. U. Young
General Manager, Gary Theatre, Gary, Indiana

As a member of Associated Theatre Owners of Indiana I am committed to support the Brookhart Bill in its entirety without amendment. My thought is that if it should lead to Federal regulation of the industry that that outlook is safer than what we are now facing.

11 Twin City Theatres Joined to Publix Chain

Special to The New York Times.

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn., March 27.—Eleven twin city theatres owned by the Twin City Amusement Trust Estate and formerly operated by Finkelstein & Ruben, today were taken over by the new operating corporation, Northwest Paramount, headed by Sam Katz of New York, President of the Publix Circuit.

Incorporators of the new company are Sam Katz, F. L. Metzler, New York; William Hamm, St. Paul; and Mose Finkelstein, Minneapolis. I. H. Ruben, Harold D. Finkelstein and Edmund R. Ruben, members of the Finkelstein & Ruben concern, are not included as members of the new company in the articles of incorporation.

Northwest Paramount has a capitalization of $100,000. Mr. Hamm announced today that it would be merely an operating company.


At the offices of Sam Katz, President of Publix Theatres, here it was said yesterday that Publix had bought an interest four months ago not only in the eleven theatres mentioned in Minneapolis and St. Paul but also in nearly ninety others in the Finkelstein and Ruben theatre chain in Minnesota and Montana. Publix, it was said, had bought 49 per cent. of the stock in these theatres, and there had been an agreement with Paramount–Famous Lasky to furnish the bulk of the pictures for these houses. Publix is the theatre division of Paramount.

William Fox, motion picture producers, distributer and exhibitor, has been negotiating for some time with Finkelstein and Ruben for the purchase of a portion of their remaining interest in the theatre chain. This deal, it was said here yesterday, was expected to be made, and in that event Fox and Paramount will be partners in this chain of houses.

Plea by Theatre Owners

SEATTLE, July 14 (AP).—Independent motion picture theatre owners will meet in Chicago next October to demand that the group of producers and distributers of which Will H. Hays is national head allow them more favorable exhibiting conditions.

This was announced here today by W. A. Steffes, President of the Motion Picture Theatre Owners of the Northwest and the Exhibitors Allied States Association.

“We will demand,” he said, “that the Federal Trade Commission either accept or reject the recommendation we made at its national conference last Fall, when the film industry got together to work out a code of ethics.”

Their recommendations included a request that the Trade Commission will eliminate compulsory block booking, which compels a theatre to take the output of one producer for a year. The independents, Steffes said, wish to keep the producers out of theatre ownership to a degree sufficient to insure that they could not “hold a club over the independents.”

Musicians Fear Talking Films Will Cut Jobs

Thousands of American musicians are threatened with loss of their jobs and the American public faces a deplorable adulteration of its musical entertainment as a result of the introduction of the talking movies, it is charged by Joseph N. Weber, president of the American Federation of Musicians.

More than two hundred theatres have installed the new machines, which synchronize spoken words and music with screen action, and nearly a thousand have prepared for such installation, it is said. In many instances whole orchestras have bene thrown out of employment.

Plan To Fight

The American Federation of Musicians plans to fight the development with all of its resources. In that connection it is recalled that the musicans, in convention in May, increased their dues to provide $1,500,000 additional yearly to their defense fund.

“And in opposing the substitution of canned music for the genuine article we will be doing the general public a great service,” said Mr. Weber in a statement issued recently. “What threatre [sic] patrons actually face is a total loss of high grade musical entertainment, for which, however, they will continue to pay.

“The score of motion picture, reproduced mechanically, may intriguie the public interest at first as a novelty, but that will not last. You cannot mechanize an art. Soon this mechanical music will become as hollow and unsatisfying as a synthetic kiss.

“But once the innovation has been accepted and competing theatres have adopted the practic, what can be done about it? The public will have to go on accepting the substitute or stay at home, for the movies have established practically a monopoly on public entertainment.

Is “Tragic Threat”

“From the musicians’ viewpoint the apparent determination of some theatre owners to make this change comes as a tragic threat, not only to their individual fortunes, but also to their art. It means literally corruption of the public taste for good music. It means that the worker is to be photographed at his labor and then driven from his job by the competition of this photograph.

“We want it understood that we are not opposing scientific progress. Argument is scarcely required to establish that canned music—however, perfect the reproduction—cannot approach the genuine article. Music is dependent for its quality upon the mood of the artist. The public will not be allowed to realize this. What we fear is that this form of entertainment will be patronized as a novelty and thus will gradually transplant real music in theatres.”

“Robot” Theatres Seen

Mr. Weber condemned the avarice and short-sightedness of theatre owners who are attempting to capitalize the “shadow and echo” form of amusement.

“If someone will justly supply a robot to operate the projection machine, these owners will install coin turnstiles at their theatre doors, and let their queer museums work while they sleep,” he said.

“The organized musicians are addressing appeals to union sympathizers and music lovers everywhere to join forces in an effort to convince the theatrical interests that driving musicians from their theatres will not prove profitable.”

The What-Not Column

If I ever hear of a theater where the ushers chew tobacco, use profanity and keep in physical trim by blacking patrons’ eyes I am going to buy a season ticket and be a steady attendant. I am thoroughly fed up on the saluting, bowing, kotowing, salaaming, backward-walking, ultra-courteous young men who go through bending exercises and almost kiss the tips of my shoe strings every time my wife and I step inside a theater. Some day I am going to forget they are simply carrying out orders from some higher-up and strangle half a dozen of them.

Some people may like to have a big fuss made over them, but I don’t. The Minnesota-Publix is the worst place—it seems to be overrun [with] gorgeously clad Adonises who start prostrating themselves in front of a patron as soon as he enters the door. The first time I went to the Minnesota I thought the ushers had mistaken me for the Prince of Wales or some oriental potentate. I expected every second they were going to start addressing me as “Your Royal Highness” or throw themselves on their faces and cry out, “Have mercy, Most Noble King of the Age, Sublime Ruler of thy People’s Destiny, Chosen One of Allah, Powerful Prince of the Faithful, etc.”

One fellow in [particular], did everything except strew roses in my path. When he was leading me to a seat he stopped every few feet, executed a smart about-face, and bent himself in the shape of a right-angle. When he had found me a couple of seats and bowed himself away in the semi-darkness, his final gesture of courtliness led me to believe he had gone to notify the manager I was in the house and arrange to have the spotlight turned on me while the orchestra played “Hail to the Cheese” or whatever it is they play when some celebrity is present.

I am now rather accustomed to receiving usher-homage, but I still long for the good old days when the ushers were ex-prize fighters who frequently grabbed patrons by the slack of their pants and tossed them out on the cobble-stones.

Introduction (1929)

From Jack Alicoate’s introduction to The Film Daily Year Book (1929):

Glancing backwards for a moment we see nineteen twenty-eight as the greatest milestone in the thirty years’ progress of this great industry. With its tremendous theaters, its millions upon millions of investments, its international prestige and its wholesome force for good, the motion picture compellingly stands today as the giant of the amusement kingdom. The coming of sound and the talking picture have made its position even more secure. Color for more general use is just over the hill and it is not unlikely that a third dimension will be knocking at the door soon.

Northwest Theater Men Meet in Move Against Producers

Foremost amoung matters to be considered at what the theater owners termed an indignation meeting is the alleged refusal of motion picture producers to approve talking movie equipment not manufactured under their direction or supervision. As a result, it was asserted talking or sound pictures seldom are head outside chain houses operated by the producers.

Breach Has Widened.

The breach between the producers and independent exhibitors in this respect has been widening since talking and sound pictures were introduced, said Abram F. Myers, former chairman of the Federal Trade commission and now general counsel for the Allied States’ Association of Motion Picture Exhibitors, who is attending the meeting.

“Under the system now in vogue,” Mr. Meyers said, “the independent owners are practically unable to obtain any of the talking or sound motion pictures. The producers have the last say in approving the machines used and unless the independents have installed the machines manufactured by these producers, instead of others that are cheaper and equally good, they withhold their sanction with resultant hardship on the exhibitors.”

Publix–F. & R. Deal Is Climax of Long Parleys

Minneapolis—Closing of the Paramount deal for acquisition of Publix brings to an end negotiations for the circuit by various interests extending over a period of years. Paramount, Fox, Warners are reported to have sought purchase of the chain at various times.

Eighteen months ago, it appeared practically certain that the chain would be sold to Fox. Negotiations had been carried on over a period of weeks, reputed to have been $9,000,000, was agreed upon and William Hamm and M. L. Finkelstein went to New York to close the deal. A last minute hitch, said to have been over terms of financing the transaction, prevented consummation.

At the time the First National deal was on a year ago. Warners are understood to have made an offer for the circuit but no deal was made.

Several months ago, when Publix began its campaign to buy out holdings of its partners, the F. & R. circuit was one of the first objectives. A survey of the chain was made recently by Fred Greene, following which two weeks ago M. L. Finkelstein and Eddie Ruben came to New York, where they were joined by William Hamm, to close the deal.

De Mille Asserts Talkers Will Improve Our Speech

That the talking films will imorove speech in America is the opinion of Cecil B. DeMille.

“We have been growing steadily more and more careless in our use of the English language until the talkies and the necessity for perfect articulation caught us up short. The talkies have the power to reclaim this situation. By virtue of their very mechanical limitations they are setting up the highest standards of speech we have had.”

The Collective Spirit

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is an organization uniting into one body all branches of motion picture production for the welfare of the industry as a whole. It serves and represents the cultural and profes­sional aspects of this major modern art and business.

The Academy embodies the collective spirit and genius of the creators of motion pictures, its membership including the leading actors, di­rectors, writers, technicians, and producing executives.

Within the industry it provides a common meeting ground for the conciliation of internal differences, for friendly interchange of ideas and for the solution of problems to the general benefit. It is both a forum for the specialized crafts within the industry and the instrument of their harmonious relationship.

Recognizing the responsibility of the artists of the motion picture industry in society, the Academy builds good will by bringing the pub­lic and those who make pictures into closer contact. It furthers the honor and good re­pute of the profession.

Focusing always on constructive progress the Academy is devoted to the advancement of the arts and sciences of motion pictures. It signalizes distinctive achievements and con­stantly fosters high standards in the multiple activities of motion picture production.