Just In For Monday
Dick Dinman Takes Greenbriar Inside 60's Exhibition
Most of you already know Dick Dinman from his website plus many and fabulous radio broadcasts about Classic Hollywood. He has for years hosted weekly coverage of DVD releases, recordings of great film scores, and best of all, one-on-one interviews with Golden Age veterans, many of whom have talked with Dinman and no one else about their fabled careers. I remember being astonished (yet again) when he scored a chat with famously reclusive Eleanor Parker, who to my knowledge, had never looked back with such detail on stardom years. Dick has lately been in touch with Greenbriar, having read Showmen, Sell It Hot!, which prompted him to reveal another aspect of a lifelong biz career, previously unknown to me. I was delighted to hear of Dick Dinman's background in exhibition, a boots-on-the-ground showman who sold them hot back in the 60's. Further revealed in our correspondence was his being at ramparts of Bonnie and Clyde's
John, Just finished your book and as someone who has spent more than a decade in exhibition (at National General/Mann Theaters) I feel qualified to confirm that your book is an out-and-out masterwork. So many chapters brought back memories, but perhaps it was your BONNIE & CLYDE chapter which brought back the most. How well I remember the preview at the Village Theater in Westwood with Warren Beatty, who was sitting in front of me, constantly jumping up and charging to the projection booth when the projectionist kept turning down the sound during gunshots that Beatty had purposely designed to mimic George Stevens' "cannon in a barrel" blasts in SHANE. We expected nothing when we booked BONNIE into the Vogue Theater on Hollywood Blvd. for a locked four weeks to get us to the Christmas opening of BILLION $ BRAIN. BONNIE'S first week was respectable but unspectacular and you can imagine our surprise when the gross doubled on the second week, and continued to rise in the third to such an alarming degree that we called UA branch manager Dick Carnegie to try to get out of playing BILLION $ BRAIN so we could play BONNIE through the holidays, and beyond. We were "in bed" with UA at the time and when Carnegie threatened to end our association and take away the James Bonds, etc., we capitulated and opened BILLION $ BRAIN for Christmas, which totally died. Since all the other theaters on Hollywood Blvd. were booked, a porn theater across the street from the Vogue hastily cleaned up and played BONNIE for months to the tune of astounding grosses. Again my congratulations on a fantastic book which I plan to revisit time and time again.
Many thanks to Dick Dinman for a unique, and first-hand, look at an exhibiting phenomenon. Greenbriar highly recommends further peruse of Dick's amazing backlog of broadcasts, including all the interviews he has gathered. There is more film history here than in a hundred books.