That great headline from Variety in 1935 heralded an interview with Joe Kinsky who ran 77 movie theatres in  Iowa,Illinois and Nebraska.

Mr Kinsky wanted to let the studios know what kind of movies were popular with his patrons.

The headline ‘translation’ is:

STICKS – People in rural areas

NIX – reject

HICK – rural life

PIX – pictures

Conventional wisdom in Hollywood was that themes of upper class life wouldn’t work in the countryside, but Mr.Kinsky said,” Farmers aren’t interested in farming pictures …..Stars are only draws when they appear in stories that are worthwhile.”

Musicals were ‘lame ducks’.

What did fill the theatres were George Arliss, Charlie Chan and ‘Ruggles of Red Gap”, “Barretts of Wimpole Street”, “The Scarlet Pimpernel”,”David Copperfield” and “The Count of Monte Cristo”.

He also said, “Too much dialog is the death knell of a feature….”

His patrons want action – G-Men and gangster types.

He also though picture companies would help their business by an advertising campaign to educate fans to see pictures from the beginning instead of hopping into a theatre at any time.


Louis,Jack,Darryl,Harry, put that man on retainer. He knows what sells!

4 responses »

  1. And wasn’t it used in “Yankee Doodle Dandy”? James Cagney as George M Cohan is reading the Variety headlines when he encounters a group of jive-talking teenagers.

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