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The bane of a film booker’s life was
          the Head Office Contract Department,  INNOCENTS AT WORK
          headed at Fox by Andy Anderson who  Ern Bruhn
          later became an excellent friend.    When Alf Lawrence bought the Korrumburra Theatre in Gippsland (eastern
            Each month Contract sent down    Victoria) it represented a big step forward for his company Lawrence Brothers’
          multiple pages of queries. They would  Talkies.
          insist on a one penny credit for this,
                                               One day in 1937 or 1938 the team went out to paste up programs on the
          and two pennies debit for that. These
                                             theatre’s billboards around town. This was routine, it required no special attention.
          adjustments mostly occurred in the
                                             The boards had space for four posters, the mid-week show and the weekend one.
          case of once or twice a week theatres,
                                             There were always two films per night.
          where exhibitors bought double feature
                                               At one site we stood back and gazed on our handiwork.
          programs including a short and a
                                             This is how the board read:
          newsreel. Their film rentals had to be
          allocated in accordance with pre-
          determined percentages, and minute
          mistakes often occurred.
            Andy maintained that his
          responsibility to each film producer
          was sacred, and the allocations had to
          be correct. To this day I cannot
          understand what the difference a penny
          would make in the realm of film
            It was the custom at Fox to hold an
          annual sales convention, lasting three or
          four days, attended by Head Office
          executives, interstate Branch Managers
          and salesmen. So we got to meet great
          professionals like Arthur Jepson,
          Howard Keast, Reg. Sharpe and Merv.
          Pinchbeck. These conferences included
          addresses by all the top people - the
          Managing Director, General Sales
          Manager, Publicity Director the
          Company Secretary and more.
            NSW Branch bookers were invited
          to relevant sessions, but more
          importantly to the lavish lunches and
          dinners held at famous hotels: the
          Australia, Ushers, Carlton, Wentworth
          and the American Club.
            The latter was in a quaint
          weatherboard cottage in Macquarie
          Street. The club had been formed in the
          Fox Theatrette by Sid Albright and my
          old friend Jim Coleman. It was here
          that I first experienced fine wines,
          oysters and rare beef.
            But the big hit of the conference
          was the party on the last night. This
          was held at Cottage Point, a house
          owned by Sid a mile up the river from
          Bobbin Head, and accessible only by
          water. The house was unique, designed
          around a huge rock. Guests were
          transported by bus from Brisbane
          Street, and then by launch for a night of
          hilarity, gambling and drunkeness!
          Great times, presided over by a great
          host, Sid Albright.

          To be continued

          12  2006 CINEMARECORD
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