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1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 509 (494)

1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition
1948-49 Theatre Catalog
1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 509
Page 509

1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 509

ttSell" Your Theatre, or Sell Your Theatre!

Good Pictures Come and Go, But Alert Showmanship Provides the Equalizer in Institutional Exploitation

It was my father, a pioneer London film exhibitor, who first put it to me, and very succinctly, too:

ft tSelll your theatre, or sell your theatre!"

Even back in those early days of the industry, the exhibitor did not get a steady succession of money pictures. There were those times when the prospective patron glanced up at the cheap lithograph over the reconverted store front and, deciding that what was advertised was not worth even the modest admission price, walked on.

My parent, bless him, came early to the realization that to stay in business he would have to itsell" his theatre as well as his picture, for good will was of extreme importance. It was one of the first things on which he counseled me when I determined to follow him in the business. After more than a quarter of a century as an exhibitor, I still am mindful of his admonition.

When George P. Skouras placed me in charge of the Rivoli nearly seven years ago, my fellow-managers in the Skouras organization offered congratulations.

UYou wont have to bother with any more of those promotional stunts and tie-ups, eh, Monty?" they said, mindful of my constant special activity at the various theatres .I had managed. uThey may be all right for a neighborhood house, but you wont have to do that sort of thing any more at a de luxe Broadway pre-release theatre."


Managing Director, Rivoli Theatre, New York

Long accepted as an active, energetic showman who has contributed many fresh and original slants on picture and theatre merchandising, Mr. Salmon here analyzes the objectives and thought processes which have produced some of his more recent successful and attention attracting eyforls. As the guiding head of one of the outstanding Tcarriage tradeis showhouses on Broadway, a less imaginative executive would settle down to a routine operating method. But Mr. Salmon has proved that. whether on Main Street or on the .Main Stem, the movie patron reacts to excitement and activity.

I smiled at that. I wouldnit have to, eh? Well, not exactly HAVE to. I was under no compulsion to do so. But it would undoubtedly be better if I did. And so it proved. It is immeasurably better. .

Whether de luxe pre-release on Broadway, or third-run in a residential community, you have to itsell" your theatre as well as your picture if you are to get

AMERICAN LEGION COLOR GUARD and others pose with the author backstage at the Rivoli, New York. after having taken part in a special stage program designed around the merits of Constitution Day.

the utmost in good will. It is the only way to get patronage in profitable number since, as noted, there is no regular supply of good screen product.

With a good film, itsellingll your theatre will give you an extra margin of profit. With a poor oneeand this is even more importanteit means a profit instead of a loss.

You "sell" your theatre with extras. Not necessarily extras of good or excellent service. At a de luxe house, in particular, the patron expects top service.

The extras are:

1. Tangible off-screen added attrac tions. V

2. Intangible good will.

We itselli, the Rivoli on the basis that people can get their money,s worthand usually moreeat all times here. That they "buy" the Rivoli even when we are obliged to play other than a top film is definite proof that we are giving moviegoers extra value.

There is always some special activity at the Rivoli. As far as possible, we try to make these affairs participation ones. People like to take part in something, either as an outlet for expression, or because of the profit motive, or both.

Special events may be divided into two kinds. One is the so-called institutional type. The other is the promotional one, or the one designed to promote your picture. 0f the institutional kind, there is the general one, and the topical, or that tying in with a current event.

In our promotional activities we try to do more than merely publicize the picture. We endeavor to draw people to the theatre through the stunt itself, over and above those lured only by the film.

Thus, when we played HThe Velvet Touch" we held a Rosalind Russell Caricature Contest, inspired by the fact that Sardils Restaurant, the noted Broadway eating place of the stars, has its walls covered with caricatures of these stellar lights. The caricatures were placed on display in the theatre as soon as they were submitted by the contestants. Friends and well-wishers of the caricaturists flocked to the theatre to see the entries of their favorites. They showed up again in overwhelming numbers when prizes for the best caricatures were awarded.

Gary Cooper was a woodsman in HUnconquered," and because he did some whittling in the picture we held a contest for the best models in miniature fashioned after some aspect of the film. Would-be entrants in the competition came to the theatre to view the film for a subject for modeling. Many of them might not have come to see the picture otherwise.

When the Hubbard family took possession of' the Rivoli's screen in HAn THEATRE CATALOG 1948-49
1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 509