Record #1160

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M. A. Lightman, President, MPTOA
Reel 11
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EDITORIAL COMMENT: Are there complete sets of MPTOA Bulletin on microfilm?

The general bulletins of the Motion Picture Theatre Owners of America for 1937.Circuit theatres becoming prevalent - over 300 circuits to date. Those that are unaffiliated ought to be brought together through the MPTOA. Purposes of the MPTOA and current trade practice proposals listed. MGM is the only company favourably considering the proposals. Fears expressed about the effects of radio broadcasting. Includes chart of MPTOA organization and comparison between MPTOA and Allied States.


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Long Description:

MPTOA Bulletin, 11 October 1937. This discusses exhibitor organization, and the extent of the circuit theatres. These have been growing in recent years. "While there has been no marked expansion on the part of the five affiliated circuits in the past seven years, successful independent exhibitors have been gradually and steadily acquiring theatres to build up local circuit operations. Today there are over 300 circuits of theatres, and, according to the latest figures, some 6,307 theatres under circuit operation." - of which 3,910 are "wholly independent theatres that are under circuit operation ... in circuits that average about 13 theatres under the same management." The 23 August 1937 Bulletin notes that some of these are quite large: Lightman in Memphis 65, E.C. Beatty in Detroit, 94, Samuel W. Pinanski in Boston 90; although the question is whether these are parts of the majors, who are also included in these lists. Against this, none of the Allied people listed run more than 8 theatres. The October Bulletin sets out limited goals for an exhibitor trade association, but also argues that the independent circuits represent a very effective exhibitor organization in themselves. It lists the purposes of the MPTOA as named in Article 1 of their constitution. "The type of exhibitor to whom this sort of an association appeals is not the irresponsible, chronically unsuccessful operator who expects his organization to help him chisel on his contracts; defend his cut-rate admissions, use of lotteries, premiums, coupons, showing of lurid 'sex hygiene' pictures; enable him to operate with low wage, non-union employees, etc. MPTOA appeals to reputable, responsible theatre owners, well able to speak for themselves but who realize the need and effectiveness of working together with other exhibitors for the common good, through a representative trade association, so that their considered and coordinated views will carry weight in the industry and the halls of the legislatures. "... The MPTOA trade practice proposals are not being advanced, though the complete proposals are still before the distributors, for two reasons; first, our pleas for reconsideration of the original proposals in those instances where they were rejected in whole or in part or conditions imposed over the objections of exhibitors have met with no response, and, second, the distributors fail or refuse to take the initiative in organizing, establishing and financing the proposed local joint boards of conciliation, which a majority of the distributors approved in principle in their replies, to make effective seven of the ten proposals. It is squarely up to the distributors as to whether anything further is accomplished in the way of organized self-regulation of unfair trade practices to curb excesses, restrain abuses and prevent injustices in the commercial operation of our business. "Their proposals included a minimum unconditional rejection privilege on all contracts for 10 films or more, abandoning the NRA 10% which was hedged with conditions, and preferably an increase to a 20% unconditional rejection privilege; conciliation boards; no unreasonable clearance or zoning, and no such inclusions in first-run contracts without the knowledge or consent of subsequent run exhibitors; regulations on competitive overbuying, cut-rate competition, unfair non-theatrical competition; a simplified optional standard contract "understandable in language to intelligent exhibitors who are not lawyers, with no trick clauses giving unfair advantage to the distributor"; no score charges; restraint on arbitrary designation by a distributor of the days of the week a percentage picture must be exhibited regardless of suitability; no forcing of short subjects.

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