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Harrison's Reports (1960) - Is Paramount Upping Production to Feed it's Telemeter System?





Paramount Pictures has scheduled 27 films for production during the next 18 months including big budget features to star John Wayne, Danny Kaye and Frank Sinatra, it was announced at the national sales convention underway at the company's studios.

With four of the 27 now in production, Paramount has cast 12 of the forthcoming pictures with top star names. John Wayne will star in Howard Hawks' "The African Story" (tenative title)' set for filming in Tanganyika in October. Kaye will be in a comedy in color and with music, to start in the winter. Sinatra will head the cast of a Technicolor comedy to be made by Mel Shavelson and Jack Rose, producer-writer-director team, on a scale with "White Christmas."

Paramount is about to conclude a two-picture deal with Ingmar Bergman, Swedish director. Henry Blanke will make "Dear and Glorious Physician," "Opus" and "Affair in Arcady." Hal Wallis will start Tennessee Williams' "Summer and Smoke," and will make "The Sons of Katie Elder" this year. William Perlberg and George Seaton have on their schedule "The Counterfeit Traitor," "Night Without End," "The Hook" and "Carnet De Bal." Alfred Hitchcock is to produce and direct "Village of Stars" (tentative title) while Richard Shepherd and Martin Jurow will produce Truman Capote's "Breakfast at Tiffany's."

Since Paramount is deeply involved in pay TV via its Telemeter system, now operating in a Toronto suburb, exhibitors must look upon the newly announced product not only as theatrical attractions but also as fuel for the hungry toll TV machine.

The same obviously can be said for product being planned by other companies who are considering entering the pay TV field. It is very possible that Paramount wants to make certain it has some pictures to offer the paying audiences at home, should the other companies fail to rent Telemeter its product or make it available to a different system, such as Skiatron, exclusively, in towns where in the future there is overlapping of two pay TV system, one being Telemeter.

Of course, these situations do not yet exist. Paramount still must look to theatres both here and abroad for its major source of revenue. And unless pay TV sweeps the country in the next two years, the 27 pictures in the accelerated Paramount program will prove extremely beneficial to product-starved theatres in competition with toll television.