In my humble opinion, I've found four excellent articles that address three fascinating ways to make money in this mean old hateful sinful world:
the movie business, the football business & the War Between The States business.
First we have a front page article published in the January 26, 1961 issue of Tuscaloosa's GRAPHIC:
IN MOVIE BUSINESS 41 YEARS
HE'S NOW "OUT OF THE PICTURE"
A man who has seen the movies grow from the flickering jerks of the Keystone cops to the wide-screen fluid motion of Bridget Bardot put himself officially "out of the picture" when he sold the Druid Theatre last month.
C.B. Grimes, a veteran of 41 years as a local theatre owner, sold out his last movie house, The Druid, December 30 to Otto Miller, a longtime associate. He was responsible for the beginning of every movie house in town except the drive-ins.
A native of Columbus, Ga., and graduate of Georgia Tech, Mr. Grimes came to Tuscaloosa in 1919 to run the old Belvedere Theatre (now the location of the Ritz) for S.A. Lynch Enterprises of Atlanta. During the 41 years since, he has owned The Bama, The Druid, The Ritz and The Diamond and several others now out of operation. Since 1950 he has operated only The Druid.
When he arrived in Tuscaloosa, fresh from World War I army service and six months of movie training in Spartanburg, S.C., he took over the Belvedere which was showing to a packed house, the Mack Sennett girls, Keystone Cops and other little film gems. The projector was hand cranked with short intermission to rewind the films and Mrs. Sewell Leach played accompanying piano music. In another small movie house he operated, a tab show enticed customers along with the movie. This usually was a traveling show which stayed here a week and consisted of a comedian and a chorus line.
Within two months of his coming here, the Belvedere and the adjoining Dugins Shoe Store with only a cardboard partition between them caught fire and burned to the ground. Fortunately the theatre was empty and since it was the habit of Dugins to close for lunch, no one was in that store either. In the meantime, however, Mr. Grimes and his company purchased the Grand Theatre which was located where Pizitz is now and was owned by C.B. Verner, Sam and Hugo Friedman.
By 1921 Mr. Grimes company was The South Alabama Enterprises and with this group he built the original Bama (now the Druid), the Ritz and , in 1945, The Diamond. The present Bama was established in 1938.
It was at the Ritz in 1927 that the first sound movie was shown, one which featured Conrad Nagle. According to Mr. Grimes, sound is the one improvement which meant most to the moving picture industry. While Al Jolson's "The Jazz Singer" was not the first talkie, it was the one which was so popular that theatre owners were forced to put in sound equipment.
CLARA BOW image courtesy of http://arroyochamisa.blogspot.com/2007_12_01_archive.html
From that time on movies- and stars- improved. Mary Pickford, Clara Bow, Charlie Chaplin and that all-time squealer, Rudolph Valentino gave way to Norma Shearer, Jean Harlow, Laurel & Hardy and Clark Gable.
Mr. Grimes can probably claim the record for the number of movies he has seen. For years he sat through the first showing of a movie to be sure the film and the sound were just right.
The era of the best movies, and consequently the biggest box office, was during World War II, he says. Since then outside activities have cut down somewhat on crowds, but as he says, "There will always be movies."
One of the greatest harms to films according to the veteran movie operator, was the 1946 Supreme Court decision that barred producing firms to own any theatre houses. Therefore, producers make fewer pictures and sell them at a higher rate, since they do now get a percentage of box office returns.
Popcorn has been one of the greatest boons to the movie house owner.
Mr. Grimes lists among all time great movies "The Shiek"(which was brought back many times and always played to a crowd), "The Jazz Singer", "Gone With The Wind" (which incidentally will premiere again this Spring at the same theatre in Atlanta at which it opened 20 years ago). Among the biggest money-makers in Tuscaloosa have been "Jesse James" and "Old Yeller".
Through the years, Mr. Grimes has been a good citizen, cooperating with community projects, and helping students get through the University by giving them jobs as ushers and projection operators.
Once about eight years ago the buses were stuck in Tuscaloosa overnight because of ice and snow. He kept the theatre open and warm for passengers to spend the night.
The First Methodist Church had services in his theatre when the furnace in the building broke down. And along with Miss Susie B. Anders, Girl Scout director, he began the traditional Toy Matinee for the benefit of the annual Christmas Store.
Mr. Grimes has long been a supporter of the Crimson Tide, having gone in 1926 to the first Rose Bowl game in which Alabama played. Although officially retired with plans to be a home gardener, he's too active to sit back. We predict he'll have his finger in many community pies.
Our next set of little journalistic gems are two posthumous articles about Bama Coach Frank Thomas which were published in the June '54 issue of COACH & ATHLETE:
FRANK THOMAS image courtesy of http://www.collegefootball.org/famersearch.php?id=30012
FRANK THOMAS PASSES
Leaves a great coaching record and a host of friends
by Ole Timer
On a stifling Sunday in July, 1930, I was a fairly innocent bystander at a conference office of Borden Burr in Birmingham. The principals were Dr. George Denny, aging president of the University of Alabama, and a chubby, raven-haired, 30-year-old named Frank Thomas, backfield coach at the University of Georgia.
The business being concluded, Dr. Denny waggled his famous ill-smelling pipe by way of emphasizing world which I could never forget.
"Now, Mr. Thomas," he said, "now that you have accepted our proposition, I will give you the benefit of my views, based of many years of observation.
"It is my conviction that success in football derives from two factors. These are, one, material; two, coaching ability.
"It is my conviction that material is 90 per cent, coaching ability, 10 per cent.
"I desire further to say that you will be provided with the 90 per cent, and that you will be held to strict accountability for delivering the remaining 10 per cent."
It was under such chilling auspice that Frank Thomas accepted the job of succeeding Wallace Wade, who had resigned as head coach after putting Alabama in the very top flight of American football and who would go to Duke at the end of the ensuing season.
As he and I meandered down the hallway and stairs in the almost intolerable heat of the closed office building, "Tommy", as he was known to his friends, shivered.
"Those were the hardest and coldest words I ever heard," he said. "Do you reckon his figures are right?"
I said I thought the proportion was considerably off, but there was no doubt the good doctor meant what he said.
That fall, while Thomas was still functioning as backfield coach for Harry Mehre at Athens, Mr. Wade fielded his greatest Alabama team. It swept everything before it, including Washington State in the Rose Bowl. Thereupon the dour Scot turned the job over to his youthful successor and went to Durham to write another lustrous chapter of Southern football.
NO YOUNG COACH ever faced a harder task than did Thomas. In his eight years the great Wade had won four sectional championships, and two victories and a tie in the Rose Bowl. To live up to such precedent would at best be difficult, if not impossible. Even Wade himself had had poor success with seemingly outstanding material in 1927, 1928 and 1929. Then there was another thing. Ten of the eleven first-string men of the superb 1930 team had concluded their college careers. Only John Cain, the sophomore fullback, was left, around whom to build for 1931, and soon became a semi-cripple.
but the ambitious Thomas was not dismayed. He found a goodly squad of upcoming sophomores and proceeded immediately to install the Rockne scheme of attack- the shift out of the T into the Notre Dame box. Fifteen years later, when ill health ended his active coaching, he was sticking close to the old formations and basic philosophy than any other Notre Dame graduate in football.
IN HIS FIRST SEASON he lost only to Tennessee. In '32, only to Tennessee and Georgia Tech. In '33 Alabama was Conference champion. In '34 came a national championship and the greatest victory ever won in the Rose Bowl. In that 29-13 defeat of Stanford occurred an incident which tied in amusingly with the remarks of Dr. Denny four years before.
Stanford had driven for an early touchdown. At the start of the second period, "Dixie" Howell swung into action, passing to Don Hutson and Paul Bryant for fine gains and himself corkscrewing through the massive Stanford line for a touchdown. In ten plays after the ensuing kickoff, Howell's passes had propelled the ball to the 6. On fourth down, with goal to go, Riley Smith kicked a placement to put Alabama ahead, 9-7.
Disdainfully, Stanford again kicked off. Howell ran it from the 5 to the 26 and Jimmy Angelich added 7 on a reverse to the weak side. Then came a perfect play-the thing every coach dreams of, but few live to see. A blackboard diagram was transmuted into the synchronized action of eleven men, each doing precisely, fully and, at the very split second, his assigned duty. The lithe Howell ran 67 yards to goal, with no Stanford man ever having opportunity to lay hand on him. In the end zone, Howell became violently nauseated and was withdrawn. The inexperienced Joe Riley took his place.
Stanford received but lost the ball by a pass interception at Alabama's 46. Thomas had expected no such quick repossession and , with Howell out and a lead of 16 to 7, figured it was time for conservative play. So he sent Tilden Campbell in to substitute for the daring Riley Smith. "Don't throw the ball around," Thomas told Campbell. But as he started from the field, Smith said to the huddle, "I've called the play. Run it and make it good."
They did. It was a 64-yard pass play, from Riley to Hudson, for a touchdown.
Thomas could hardly wait until we met again, he later told me. He said,"You remember what Doc Denny said about coaching being only 10 per cent? Well, he was right." Then he narrated the background of the extraordinary play which destroyed Stanford.
HE WAS, of course, joshing. His sense of humor was one of his priceless assets and he thought the incident a good joke on himself. Also, he was a modest man and gave credit sincerely at all times to his co-workers and his players.
He was given good material, certainly. Them as has, gits. But to say that Alabama material averaged better that at certain other Southern schools is probably not true. He gave a genius to the coaching, without which Alabama could not have equaled the remarkable record made during his tenure.
Furthermore, the mere possession of a large squad of able athletes is no assurance of championships. It takes a keen and experienced eye, a deep knowledge of boy psychology and an unflagging zeal of leadership to pick from 100 or more scholarship athletes the 18 or 24 to be fitted, welded and bolted into a team which operates like a piece of precision machinery.
In possessing those qualities, plus sound knowledge of positional and team tactics and a personality that was pleasant but firm, lay the secret of Frank Thomas' success.
It was notably illustrated in the case of Millard Howell and Don Hutson. Both were physically frail and unimpressive in high school football. Howell was a crack infielder, Hutson a sprinter. Thomas saw their latent potentiality. He kindled their ambition, and made them into the greatest passing combination collegiate football has seen.
Of his 15 teams at Alabama, 13 players made one or more generally accepted All-America selections. From the chubby, soft-voiced, rosy-cheeked little man they had got the inspiration and tutelage that carried them to football greatness.
by TOM SILER, Knoxville News-Sentinel
ONE OF THE SOUTH'S TRULY GREAT COACHES passed on since the last issue of COACH & ATHLETE went to press. We refer, of course, to Frank Thomas, the brilliant Alabama leader from 1931 through 1946.
Frank finally succumbed last month, losing a battle against a multiplicity of ailments after eight years of pain and torture. It was one of the few losing battles of his life.
He was such an instantaneous success at Alabama that we sometimes forget what a big assignment he inherited in 1931. The story goes that Dr. George Denny, the president famed for his love of football, told Coach Thomas:
"We think football is 90 per cent material and 10 per cent coaching. We'll furnish the material, you provide the coaching."
Frank Thomas supplied the coaching
... the leadership, the inspiration
the know-how, and exacted the discipline necessary
to build a football squad into a harmonious and efficient unit.
We last visited Coach Thomas last September, sitting on the back porch, listening to the doughty little leader reminisce on great teams of the past,
great games, bowl headaches and surprises.
Coach Thomas tagged the 1934 team- Dixie Howell, Don Hutson, Bear Bryant, et al - as his greatest.
This was the team that routed Stanford in the Rose Bowl, 29-13.
"Stanford had the best personnel any team of mine ever faced," Thomas said.
"We expected them to give us a real good going over on the ground. Instead, they'd crack us for three or four or five yards on the ground, then pass. I think they could have pounded us to pieces. Instead, they threw a lot and we could handle that sort of offense.
"Our own offense wasn't bad and Howell and Hutson had a great day together. That, plus Stanford's throwing, gave us a pretty good margin."
Looking back, Frank said he thought getting ready for a bowl game was the coach's toughest job. He smiled as he recalled the SEC winter meeting in Knoxville in December of 1941.
"My team was going to play Boston College in the Orange Bowl. That was the team that George Halas (Chicago Bears) said could beat any of the pros. I picked up a half dozen defenses from among the coaches at the meeting to us against that new T-formation, man-to-man motion and all that.
"Well, to make a long story short, none of these defenses worked. BC had us 14-0 before we could turn around. Gosh, they looked powerful. Finally, our boys got together and we sprang a runner or two loose and got back in the game. The score was 21-19 and less than a half minute to play.
"My quarterback called for a pass was down in BC's territory. The pass was no good, but the BC defender fell on his arm as he came down and broke the arm. That stopped the clock. So, with just eight seconds left, we sent in a kicker and kicked a field goal. So, after a wild first half we led, 22-21, and that seemed to take the starch out of the Boston boys." Alabama won, 39-31, on of the Tide's four-out-of-six bowl victories under Thomas.
Did Coach Thomas have a "must" in charting plans for bowl games?
"Yes, just one. The players must be allowed to make up their own minds on the trip. I'd always call the squad together, tell them of the invitation, of the practice plans, the training plans, the work involved, the discipline and all that. Once they understood everything, I'd ask for a vote.
"Then, if they voted to go, they had no reason to complain of anything. I wouldn't want to risk taking a team anywhere without letting the players express themselves."
Bob Neyland, whose Tennessee teams dueled Thomas and Alabama 10 times, agreed with his old rival that the 1934 Tide team was the standout.
"But I think Frank did his greatest job against us in 1933,"Neyland recalled. "We had a pretty good team that year and we got a 6-0 lead and fought them off for a half. I remember that I thought we had things in pretty good shape.
"But Frank came back in the second half and took the game away from us. They pulled a trap play on us and one of the backs, Walker, I think it was, ran up the middle 40 yards or so for a touchdown. Later in the game Alabama got down near our goal line and then pulled a 'T' play on us. They took off on a quick count and swept over for a touchdown. It was smart coaching on his part."
Frank not only won.
He always displayed the highest in sportsmanship.
He never popped off.
He never groused in defeat.
He contributed much to football in the South and certainly his Alabama teams were a major factor in keeping DIXIE football in the nation's headlines.
& last but not least
THE NEWSWEEK SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS FROM THE MARCH 27, 1961 issue:
image courtesy of http://www.missouri-vacations.com/missouri-festivals-events/reenactment-battle-pilot-knob.htm
CENTENNIAL OF THE CIVIL WAR...
...Business Booms Like The Gettysburg Cannon
The grapes of wrath are long since trampled-but another, sweeter vintage is still to be squeezed.
In this week's SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS, General Editor Sandford Brown examines businessmen's strategy and the chance for business profits in the four-year, nationwide commemoration of the Civil War centennial.
All over the South last week, the populace was stirring.
There was shouting in the streets and the sound of cannon fire.
In Montgomery, Ala., 20,000 people (including Yankee tourists) had already flocked to see Jefferson Davis "inaugurated." In Jackson, Miss., 3000 "infantrymen," 74 "calverymen," and flurries of drum majorettes passed in review before Gov. Ross Barnett as the state solemnly "seceded" from the Union. In Charleston, S.C., the Ravenal Tourist Agency was selling framed copies of the South Carolina Ordnance of Secession for $25 apiece. Fort Sumter hotel waitresses, dressed in gray frocks with red trim, were serving "Confederate Highballs" and "Rebel on the Rocks" (both bourbon concoctions). Householders everywhere were rummaging in attics for old uniforms, and there was a bustling market in Minie balls. The Dixie Life Insurance Co. announced that its new policies would be delivered by men wearing gray Confederate uniforms.
In short, with malice toward none and souvenirs for all, the nation's Civil War centennial was moving inexorably into the shooting stage.
The first official shots will be commemorated in Charleston on April 12 with a fifteen-minute holocaust of fireworks over and around Ft. Sumter. ("Only fireworks can authentically re-create the explosive drama, compelling excitement, awesome battle scenes," says the Ohio Fireworks Manufacturing Display Co. brochure.) From that day on, commemoration will run unchecked until mid 1965. Citizens will be dragooned to don uniforms, shoulder muskets, and run through re-enactments of major battles, and there will be some ceremony to mark almost every skirmish, political speech, or calling-up of the local militia.
REMATCH: Most of the excitement, of course, will be south of the Mason-Dixon line.
"The South may have lost the war, but it's sure going to win the centennial," says executive director Karl Betts of the National Civil War Centennial Commission, set up by Congress to oversee the whole show. Yet no fewer than 44 states have appropriated money to organize centennial commissions, and even Alaska and Hawaii have centennial committees.
After the flags and troops will come the commercial camp followers, in numbers undreamed a century ago. The centennial will be a bonanza for such specialized industries as diorama makers and "civic celebration management" firms. The fireworks industry looks for a one-third increase in annual sales. Publishers are already issuing Civil War books by the shelf. Advertisers will find Civil War "tie-ins" for everything from frozen foods to jet planes. Record firms will sell enough Civil War music to shatter the stillness at Appomattox. What with the games and gimcracks, plastic cannon balls and model gunboats, Americans will probably spend more money on or because of the centennial than the $9 billion the North and South spent to fight the war itself.
"It will be a shot in the arm for the whole American economy," says the National Commission's Betts.
TOURISTS' CHARGES: The biggest returns of all will come from tourism and the assorted fringe benefits. Mississippi centennial director Sidney Roebuck predictors that pageants and guided tours his state's 700 battlefields will boost the annual tourist take from $360 million in 1960 to " as high as $750 million $1 billion" by 1963. And Montgomery, Ala., has already proved that commemorating can do more than simply fan the fire of sectional pride.
For its Jeff Davis inaugural, Montgomery's centennial committee shelled out $100,000 for five nights of parades and pageantry, even hired a vintage train so the the ersatz Davis could arrive in town just as the real one had. Despite cold, wet weather, the committee cleared a $20,000 profit from admissions and sale on such items as 2,560 string ties and 1,600 to hats. On top of that, the city's retail business jumped a solid 25 to 30 per cent for the week of the centennial.
For others who may be inspired by this to unlimber the cannon on the village green, Montgomery centennial chairman James Pruett has two pieces of advice on staging pageants:
"First, grow beards.
That gets the man in the street interested in what's going on.
And second, hire a professional."
One professional in the field is the John B. Rogers Producing Co. of Fostoria, Ohio, which wrote the 90-minute script for the Davis inaugural pageant ("The Man and the Hour"), produced it with a cast of 1000 Montgomeryites, and advised on all details from souvenirs to fireworks- all for a flat fee of $24,000. The Rogers Co., which regularly handles some 150 civic celebrations a year and has a stock of 150,000 costumes that can outfit anything from a gold rush to the Pilgrims' landing, is masterminding the firing on Ft. Sumter, working on the Natchez centennial and the battle of Antietam, and looking for new clients.
"We are still dickering for Gettysburg," says a Rogers official hopefully.
The biggest re-enactment, at least until Gettysburg: First Manassas or Bull Run. Wile the war's first major battle was pretty much an accidental collision on July 21-23, 1861, the centennial battle has been on the drawing boards for years. Among other things, the non-profit First Manassas Corp. has bought 165 horses and conditioned them to sound of gunfire, bought 24 authentic artillery pieces to mount on specially-made gun carriages, and "drafted" costumed "infantry" units from all 23 states whose soldiers fought in the original battle. Total estimated cost: $200,000.
Not everyone shares the enthusiasm for this sort of hoopla. "Must we constantly re-enact all our past conflicts?" asked the abolitionist New York Post sourly last week. "How will they handle Hiroshima? And what will the kids do when grownups steal all their games?"
Answer: Play with their own Civil war games and toys, just now beginning to pour into the market. Parker Bros. (Monopoly, Careers) reported 25,000 orders for its "1863" board game since its introduction last week (North and South players move infantry, cavalry, and gunboat pieces over a map of the Eastern U. S., trying to capture cities and decimate each others'
forces). There are even games for single battles (e.g., Gettysburg, Chancellorsville).
Georgian L.D. Sheridan Jr. set up the Southern Games Co. last year to market his Battle of Atlanta War Centennial Game, a kind of chess-with -terrain which duplicates the military situation of 1864 and gives the Confederate army chance to reverse its defeat by Sherman.
MOCK WAR: Revell, Inc., claims it worked for a year digging up details for its 3-foot scale model of the Confederate raider ALABAMA whose plans "mysteriously disappeared" after the war. Toy-soldier makers are switching from GI's and armoried knights to Rebel cavalrymen and red-trousered Zouaves. The National Cap and Cloth Hat Institute looked for its Civil War cap (in blur, gray and neutral models) to have a "tremendous impact on the 6-to-12 set."
It is hard to say, in fact, where the Civil War won't have some kind of commercial impact.
Along with the flags, hats, uniforms and replica muskets (Not surprisingly, the market for genuine Civil War weapons has soared. Rifles that sold to collectors for $10 a decade ago bring $150 or more now and are hard to find. Cartridge boxes have gone up from $5 to $35, and there is even a market for bits of used ammunition picked up on battlefields.)
Industry is grinding out tableware, ashtrays, figurines, playing cards, tie pins , cuff links, place mats, match covers, and hundred other items with Civil War motifs. New York's Hammacher, Schlemmer & Co. is offering a canine "turncoat," blue on one side and gray on the other, and cut for smart poodles. Southern suvenir shops plan to market a schizophrenic necktie, emblazoned with clasped Confederate and U.S. flags at the top and an unreconstructed Rebel soldier snarling "Forget, Hell!" at the bottom. Even the Japanese are int act, with a flag-decorated music-box lighter that plays "Dixie."
Civil War publishing, an industry in itself with an average of about 100 new books a year, should double in volume this year. Doubleday reports that its massive "American Heritage Picture History of the Cjivil War," a book that costs $20 and must be place on a table to be read in comfort, has sold 350,000 copies since publication last November- a record in its prices class.
BATTLE HYMN: Record companies hive picked up the beat with at least a dozen of Civil War songs issued so far this year (e.g., "When Johnny Comes Marching Home," "Maryand, My Maryland," "Just Before The Battle, Mother") Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer has grossed $59 million thus far on the run of "Gone With The Wind," expects to squeeze another $7.5 million out of the till on the current go-round. National Broadcasting Co. replace it "Riverboat" series with a weekly Civil War drama called ""The Americans" and saw its ratings zoom. For $20, Living History, Inc., of Shenandoah, La., will send subscribers reproductions of Frand Leslies's Illustrated for two years, and , for $14, a year of Harper's Weekly, timed to arrive in the mail on the same dates that the originals reached news-hungry subscribers in the 1860s.
Going this one better, Atlanta radio station WEAD is broadcasting daily five-minute newscasts of the "latest" Civil War developments.
For other businessmen, the only way to get on the Blue and Gray bandwagon is through advertising tie-ins. Sinclair Oil has plunked $225,000 into an ad campaign to stimulate auto trips to historic sites. National Distillers discovered to its delight that the whiskey consumed in quantity by General grant-the one whose brand Lincoldwanted to know- was none other that National's Old Crow (or so its researchers claim).
While few firms have such neat connections, none is likely to be discouraged,
Chrysler Corp. last week began advertising a specially built Valiant called the Dixie Special, to be sold only in four Southern states and featuring a finish of "High gloss...Confederate Gray." Foremost Dairies is printing battle scenes on milk cartons (although it has abandoned plans for a series of 'Civil War flavored ice creams"). For advertisers who are still groping, the National Centennial Commission has set up an advertising subcommittee to help out. Sample advice on how to tie in:
Tobacco advertisers can point to the clandestine barter in smoking and chewing tobacco that brought enemy soldiers together."... Even an air travel advertiser has a unique story to tell. "Military aviation (the observation balloon) was born in the Civil War."
Some officials, in fact are frankly worried that too much commercialism may profane the solemn import of the centennial commemoration an appalling national tragedy. The Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association, for one, is scrambling to buy up battlefield land now occupied by 78 hot dog stand and souvenir shops in time for the 1963 battle centennial. The National Commission is doing whatever it can to discourage tourist traps and blatant hucksterism.
Yet most business men have good commercial reasons for avoiding bad taste, distortions of history, or anything that would aggravate feelings which still run deep in parts of the U.S.
The best general rule, as Fort Sumter Hotel manager B.H. "Pie" Guy puts it in describing his plans for the Fort Sumter commemoration:"We don't plan to go into any sort of carnival. We will keep everything on a high plane and still try to give the people some atmosphere.
They expect it."