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question of monopoly in the moving-picture industry, and we had a witness to come before us and he was sworn to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and so far as this subcommittee is concerned we accepted that testimony and do accept it until it is proven false. In his testimony he stated the fact that representatives of the leading five moving-picture producers called upon Mr. Norman Chandler, of the Los Angeles Times, and demanded that he delete from his paper the column of Jimmie Fidler under penalty of losing advertising, which advertising he testified they did lose. Now it seems to me that under the powers given by the resolution to examine into monopoly, that if this kind of thing did take place, and if representatives of these five companies did wait upon Norman Chandler with that demand and threat, and if Stahlman at Nashville also did it, that it is absolutely germane to bring out the facts because that is connecting up monopoly strong enough to interfere with freedom of the press. It shows the punishment to be inflicted if those newspapers did not concede to the demand.
Senator MCFARLAND. May I say--
Mr. Dietz (interposing). I do not think that is true. There are 1,800 newspapers in the United States or thereabout. You attempt to make the case that the motion-picture industry is a monopoly and is attempting as a part of one of its practices to corrupt the press.
Senator TOBEY. No; I do not say that. I am merely taking the sworn testimony of a witness who appeared before us and am asking you about that.
Mr. Dietz. Well, we are trying to get at the basis of this investigation.
Senator Clark of Idaho. Mr. Schenck said he paid his money to bring you here because you knew about this.
Mr. DIETZ. And I am telling you all I know about it.
Senator CLARK of Idaho. Why infer, then, that it is a roundabout way to get at it. We are taking you at face value on Mr. Schenck's say-so.
Mr. DIETZ. I am not trying to equivocate at all.
Senator Tobey. The members of this subcommittee, like Caesar's wife, have to be above suspicion, and I will say that someone has slipped on my table under my elbow 15 cents. Certainly that is no emolument to this subcommittee, but nevertheless it goes into my pocket. [Laughter.]
Senator Clark of Idaho. You may proceed with your questioning, Senator Tobey.
Senator TOBEY. Mr. Dietz, in the testimony of Mr. Fidler he stated that the following gentlemen were those who waited upon Mr. Chandler and made the demand and threat: Mr. Mayer, and that means Mr. Louis Mayer, I take it; Harry Warner, Frank Y. Freeman. Who is he?
Mr. DIETZ. He is the production head of Paramount pictures.
Senator TOBEY. And Mr. Harry Brand, of Twentieth Century, is he not?
Mr. DIETz. Yes, sir. He has charge of publicity.
Mr. Dietz. He is vice president in charge of production of MetroGoldwyn-Mayer.
Mr. SCHENCK. He is not a vice president.
Mr. Dietz. I beg pardon. He is not a vice president, but is in charge of production. Senator TOBEY. The testimony of Mr. Fidler
down that Mr. Mayer of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Harry Warner of Warner Bros., and Frank Freeman of Paramount, and Harry Brand of Twentieth Century, and Howard Stricking of M-G-M, representing a preponderance of the moving-picture producing industry, waited upon Mr. Norman Chandler and made this demand and threat, and the subcommittee knows about it, about his sworn testimony. Mr. Dietz, if you were a member of this subcommittee I take it you yourself would feel you would have to inquire into these things beyond peradventure. Now, what other newspapers is Mr. Fidler's column published in? We have heard about the Nashville Banner and the Los Angeles Times and what others, if any are there?
Mr. DIETZ. The Daily Mirror in New York I know of because I see it quite regularly. As a matter of fact I would be hard put to give you the papers Mr. Fidler's column runs in.
Senator TOBEY. Is it a fair statement to say a goodly number of newspapers ?
Mr. DIETZ. I believe 140.
Senator TOBEY. And those newspapers you would call respectable newspapers, would you not ?
Mr. DIETZ. Yes. They are not always the first paper in the town but good papers.
Senator TOBEY. Representative newspapers you would say?
Mr. Dietz. I would say yes, sir. You could not get 140 newspapers in a block without describing them that way.
Senator TOBEY. And they are still publishing Jimmie Fidler's column despite the fact that you believe him to be a congenital liar!
Mr. DIETZ. I believe the most of the papers are publishing his column. I do not know the progress of his syndicate, whether it is growing or becoming less, but I believe they are still publishing it.
Senator TOBEY. Have you talked to Mr. Stahlman more than once about this matter?
Mr. Dietz. No; I never have. Senator TOBEY. Only the matter you referred to over the telephone, is that it?
Mr. DIETZ. Only recently, when I wanted to be absolutely sure of a matter of 3 years ago.
Senator Tobey. You have had no correspondence with him by letter?
Mr. DIETZ. No. Senator Tobey. The only thing was the conversation over the telephone?
Mr. DIETZ. Only this one conversation since this particular thing came up.
Senator TOBEY. That is all so far as I am concerned, Mr. Chairman. No; one other question: Mr. Fidler testified under oath that he was broadcasting over N. B. C., giving his appraisal of various motion pictures, and that when he reviewed pictures adversely the
motion-picture industry went to the broadcasting company and it was arranged that Mr. Fidler would be prohibited from reveiwing high-cost pictures unless he gave them to a high rating over the radio, regardless of whether the high-cost picture was good or bad, and that both N. B. C. and C. B. S. made this requirement of Mr. Fidler. Do you know anything about that!
Mr. Dietz. Well, I know there was always dissatisfaction with Mr. Fidler's technique. One of the rumblings was about a way he was advertising shampoo, I believe, and he was using indiscriminately the names of players, stars, as incidents to this particular radio advertising. You know, there is a very interesting question to go into. I am not passing judgment on it
Senator TOBEY (interposing). Do not go too far on that because there is a little bit of analogy that might be mentioned. There was a member of the United States Senate who received a thousanddollar check for endorsing a certain brand of cigarette, but he never used that brand himself.
Mr. Dietz. At least in that particular case the Senator in question knew what was going on. Mr. Fidler just uses the names of his people without consulting them.
Senator TOREY. Do you know anything about N. B. C. and C. B. S. being approached?
Mr. Dietz. I hate not to be enlightening. I know that there were some conversations. I do not know the parties concerned. I know that there was general dissatisfaction with the so-called bell system of Mr. Fidler's, and that there was added dissatisfaction with reviews prior to the general release of a film. You see, it is our theory that the public is a very good judge of films. We feel that many critics are very good judges of films also. We feel that simultaneously the critics and the public have the right to view and judge and decide whether they should continue to attend. Also, we feel that the local reviewer has a certain status to maintain.
Mr. Fidler runs quite across this conception of ours, which is to review films as early as possible and sometimes even before the film itself is finished, and he qualifies, although in a majority of cases he has not himself seen it perhaps, to tell the whole country the facts about the film. Now, sometimes it reacts in our favor when it is very good, and quite often it reacts the other way. We would be willing to sacrifice the good for the bad to do away with that system.
Senator Tobey. Well, let us get back to my question, whether or not you know anything about a representative or representatives of the motion-picture industry going to the broadcasting companies and seeking to have them prohibit or to change Jimmie Fidler's reviews over the radio.
Mr. Dietz. I say that I know there was some consultation, some discussion with broadcasting companies, but not on my part. On the part of individuals concerned, but not individuals directly responsible. I would not have disapproved it, however. So I would say that there were or very well might have been discussions along those lines.
Senator Tobey. I thank you. Now, who were the parties, if you know, who went to the broadcasting companies?
Mr. Dietz. I frankly do not know. I do not really remember who saw them.
Senator TOBEY. Do you know that certain individuals connected with the moving-picture interests did go to C. B. S. and N. B. C. and remonstrate and demand that it be changed?
Mr. DIETZ. I do not think they remonstrated or demanded, but that they have discussed these things. Whenever a particular question falls into the realm of opinion—and, of course, the movie itself has the aura of demanding opinion as to its merit. That is the type of business we are engaged in. Whenever personalities are involved and there is much at stake, and whenever there is intense human competition, it is perfectly understandable that all forms of communication should be the subject of discussion. Now, where it takes a form that you consider reprehensible, that is only your opinion that it is so. I protest that no such action that could not be urged and discussed completely, has been taken.
Senator TOBEY. You seem to state it with certain qualifications. You give a picture to us here that certain parties went to N. B. C. and C. B. S., but there is a limitation on what they said. Now, you know that they went, and you know there were certain limitations, but you do not know who they were. Is that correct?
Mr. Dietz. Well, I would like to explain it this way to you, Senator Tobey: I know that if I ran into a broadcasting official I would say, “That is pretty lousy stuff that Fidler is doing on your air waves." I might have any number of informal discussions.
Senator TOBEY. That is not really an answer to my question. You have told us that you knew of incidents, or of this thing happening, and then you have gone to a limited extent to say what they said and did, and to describe in a measure what was done, but as to who the gentleman was or the gentlemen were, you do not know; is that it? Your memory is good as to its having taken place.
Mr. Dietz. I do not want any reflections made on my memory. I am giving you as correct a statement as I can. First, let us relate this to the point: we do not advertise to any extent on the radio. The radio itself often comes to us for service. It is collaboration. There were some meetings of parties, and I could not name them, and they did discuss with the National Broadcasting Co., I believe, the question of changing that bell system or the timing of the bell system of Mr. Fidler's. I read Mr. Fidler's testimony that he stated that. Substantially, again, as a wording, that is correct. It was desired to have Mr. Fidler's reviews deferred until some time more nearly simultaneous with the showing of the picture.
Senator TOBEY. How do you know that!
Mr. Dietz. Well, I know that through the many, many communications that I have with the coast over a period. It is a fact.
Senator TOBEY. But the interesting feature, and the important feature, is that while you know the fact and you know the instance and you know the limitations, you do not know the personalities. Mr. DIETZ. Well, if
will allow me Senator TOBEY. Yes.
Mr. Dietz. I will attempt at some very reasonable time to give you the personalities.
Senator TOBŁY. Thank you very much. That is all I have to ask.
Senator CLARK of Idaho. Mr. Dietz, I have not got quite all this Stahlman and Los Angeles Times thing in my mind. I am going into it briefly to see if I understand you. As I understand it, you have never seen Mr. Stahlman in your life?
Mr. DIETZ. I don't think I have.
Senator Clark of Idaho. Well, I mean as far as your memory serves you, of course.
Mr. Dietz. That is right.
Senator Clark of Idaho. As I understand you, you have never written him a letter, to the best of your knowledge ?
Mr. Dietz. Well, I am pretty sure I must have written him a letter at some time or other, because I have written letters to every publisher at one time or another about films.
Senator CLARK of Idaho. Then, you have never, however, written him any letter in connection with this incident which occured in Nashville that we have been talking about?
Mr. DIETZ. That is correct.
Senator CLARK of Idaho. You have talked to him once, you say, on the telephone, which is since these hearings started ?
Mr. Dietz. Right.
Senator CLARK of Idaho. Where did you talk to him then? In Washington here?
Mr. Dietz. Washington; yes. He was in the Navy Department. I called the Banner, found out that he was in the Navy Department, put through a call to the Navy Department, and had the conversation with him.
Senator CLARK of Idaho. With him at that time?
Senator CLARK of Idaho. And he told you that he had no knowledge of having any communication from you on this incident?
Mr. DIETZ. That is right.
Senator Clark of Idaho. That is right. Now, how long has Mr. Crull been with you?
Mr. Dietz. I don't know; I don't even know if he is there now.
Senator CLARK of Idaho. You do not know whether he is there now or not?
Mr. DIETZ. That is right.
Senator CLARK of Idaho. How, thèn, did you ascertain what had happened down there in Nashville in connection with this incident?
Mr. DIETZ. Mr. Stahlman wrote a letter to Will Hays in which he complained, and rightfully so, that a manager of a theater had told him substantially what has been said. Now, Walter Trumbull, who is employed in the office of the Motion Picture Producers & Distribtors of America, telephoned me and said, “What is this about the Nashville Banner?'
And I said, "I don't know. What is this about the Nashville Banner?”
And he says, “Stahlman says you are trying to fence with him, or whatever you would say."
And I said, “Well, let's find out about that. I don't know anything about that,” and he came to see me.