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Matt Weinstock -- February 27, 1959

February 27, 2009 |  4:00 pm

Not Dead, but Reeling

Matt_weinstockd_4 Reports of the death of the movie industry at the hands of television are premature, Jerry Wald, Fox producer, told a Press Club audience.

He conceded, however, under the expert needling of Joe Hyams of the N.Y. Herald Tribune, that the business has developed a suicide complex.

One big trouble, he said, has been the prevalent thought that a big star, which means a big guarantee, can save a bad story. Not true. The story, producers have learned, must come first.

"Just write a masterpiece, or even a best seller." Jerry advised newsmen, and we'll take care of the rest.

NOT LONG ago 9,000 inquires were sent out, asking what themes people preferred. Of the 7,800 replies, the majority looked for the theme of survival, the will to live. Next came security, sex third. Wald wasn't knocking it. After all, he made "Peyton Place." Incidentally, he had a rebuke for lurid movie advertising, which is out of his control.

1959_0227_messickWald also blamed myopic movie moguls for some of the trouble, recalling the time a studio chief was asked why he didn't make "Johnny Belinda," the story of a girl who couldn't talk. The movie exec replied, "Because we have talking pictures."

His parting shot. "Television is where you see all the pictures you've been trying to avoid for years."

And so goes the war.

* *

ART CRITICISM is an exclusive realm, in which the eye of the beholder is everything.

At an exhibit, Harry Essex, writer and artist, was asked what he thought of a group of paintings. After a moment's thought he said, "They make me feel like going over and putting titles on them -- January, February, March, April . . ."

* *

Hear the pettifoggers' pronunciamento,'
I fear the smog's hit Sacramento.

* *

ALL'S WELL at last among the feuding claimants to the title, mayor of 7th and Alvarado. Korny Kenny, self-proclaimed alcalde, has graciously slipped the halo to his friendly opponent, Joe Hart.

In a formal statement Kenny wrote, "The people have spoke, my heart is broke, I wish the new mayor the best. But I would of won if it wasn't for the gosh-darned vest." He was referring to his sportingweskit, object of derision. Another factor in his abdication was that he ships out on freighters and is gone for months, leaving 7th and Alvarado without a firm hand. 

Joe Hart, who backed into WW 2 in time to get wounded in the South Pacific, has had cards printed with a big red heart on them through which his name and new title stab prettily. His slogan: Equal rights for pigeons and men.

* *

THE CONCENTRATED LAPD raids on narcotics peddlers and addicts which netted about 200 suspects a few days ago turned up a fearsome non sequitur.

An officer knocked on a door but got no answer. He knew people were inside and shouted for them to open the door. No answer. He asked, "What's going on in there?" No answer.

1959_0227_abby_2 Taking a more jovial approach he called out, "What's happening, man?" Came the frightened response, "I don't know anybody by that name."

* *

AROUND TOWN -- Tom Devlin, L.A. newsman, has brought out a 350-page documented report on the strange case of the Finn twins, charging their conviction was a miscarriage of justice. It represents five years of investigation. In a forward Devlin explains his purpose, "A man must do what he must do" . . . You know those bus loaders on the Broadway islands who have their cash boxes on a long stick? Between cars, one of them was solemnly waltzing his stick . . . No truth to the rumor, Roy Walters whispers, that one of the new edifices planned for Bunker Hill will be called the Bunker Hilton.