Record #1311

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Reel 7
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'History of Film Boards of Trade." FBTs Appended are statistics relating to arbitration in the motion picture industry, 1924-1927.


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X29-29 Film Boards of Trade -- a History. They were organized in early 1923. Prior to then there had been Film Clubs in 8 or 10 of the distribution centres -- some in existence from 1916, originally as social organizations. "It was apparent in 1923 that a field organization of the industry was necessary and would be practical in the principal distributing centres throughout the country. ... It was apparent that these existing clubs could be easily changed from their original intent to business organizations or Film Boards of Trade. ... Eminent counsel were consulted and a formula agreed upon. I [Pettijohn] visited every exchange within a period of 90 days and in each of the 32 distributing centres Film Boards of Trade were organized and every distributor, both large and small, was invited to join." No attempt at uniformity of organization or action. All agreed to the introduction of arbitration, and a system of uniform rules was submitted to FBTs and local exhibitor organizations -- accepted in many cases and put into effect during the summer and fall of 1923 -- and a uniform contract adopted. It then became apparent that the FBT arbitration boards needed a secretary trusted by both sides -- the job took up too much time for one of the distributors to do it, and the local attorneys appointed by some boards were not satisfactory to theatre owners "because of the partisanship displayed by them on behalf of the members of the FBTs who were employing them. On this point, in conjunction with others, I proposed a rather drastic and revolutionary procedure ... the selection of competent women with stenographic and secretarial ability to be selected in each zone ... There was much opposition to this plan. It was claimed that it was not a woman's job; that it would not be congenial work for women; that women would not be able to bring about the results desired, etc.," but it was successful and "It is claimed by many who have followed the activities of FBTs that this organization of secretaries is the outstanding business organization of women in any industry in the country." Also claims that movies are shown to 200,000 'shut-ins' per week, and that the cost of the operation of FBTs represents 06/100 of 1% of what they save all branches of the industry each year.

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