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THE AMUSEMENT INDUSTRY
themselves but are willing to pay for the privilege of watching them.
Expenditures on these spectator sports naturally enough do not reach totals comparable to the hundreds of millions the American people are currently expending on moving pictures and the radio, but their popularity is indicated in the gates for certain outstanding events. Over $1,000,000 has been received in admissions for a baseball world series; in the pre-depression period of prize fight popularity, the gate at a world championship bout was more than $2,500,000.
Other commercial amusements are the fairs, carnivals, amusement parks and popular entertainments which are held every summer throughout the country.
Motion Pictures and Radio The final result of this gradual development of commercial entertainment, so greatly accelerated by the popularity of motion pictures and the radio, with their universal appeal and reasonable expense, has been the creation of what may be termed the modern amusement industry with total admission receipts and sales amounting, in 1935, as previously noted, to almost $1,000,000,000. In all, some 37,677 places of commercial amusement were reported in the survey of the Census of Business covering the year 1935, providing employment for 31,215 active proprietors and an average of 157,789 employes, with an annual payroll of $159,641,000. The radio and phonograph industry, numbering 195 establishments, provided work for an average of 44,792 wage earners receiving $42,910,000.
Among the amusement places, motion picture theaters, including those also showing vaudeville, numbered 12,024, or about one-third the total, but they accounted for $508,196,000, or approximately 70 per cent of the aggregate receipts. This compares with a total throughout the country of only 158 other theaters, including legitimate stage and opera, which took in $19,630,000 in receipts, or less than 4 per cent of the total for the motion picture theaters.
Of the former establishments, some 26.8 per cent were located in cities of 100,000 and this group accounted for 55.6 per cent of the total receipts of all motion picture theaters. Moreover,
while 53 per cent of such theaters were in towns of less than 10,000, they reported only 19 per cent of total receipts. Smaller seating capacity as well as lower admissions accounts for this allotment of motion picture receipts, while in rural districts, the development of good roads and increasing use of the automobile have more and more caused the farm population to visit the nearest city for its entertainment.
On the production side, the moving picture industry has expanded, as the present number of motion picture theaters and their aggregate receipts would indicate, to a new high level of activity. The total cost of production, in 1935, was $188,470,000. This constituted a rise of 58 per cent over comparable figures for 1933, and was slightly higher than the previous peak of $184,102,000 in 1929. Expenditures on radio entertainment, as esti
mated by the previously noted figure of $230,890,000 for the retail sales in 1935, are approximately half the amount spent by the public on moving pictures even with due allowance for the costs of broadcasting as represented by the fees paid by adver
tisers. While this total was less RADIO
than 40 per cent that recorded MOVIES
for 1929, a sizeable increase was shown in 1936 when retail sales of radios reached $315,000,000.
Moreover, on a unit basis, a new record was established last year, sales totalling an approximate $7,000,000 in comparison with $4,438,000 in 1929. It is currently estimated that there are some 33,000,000 radios in the homes, cars and meeting places of the nation.
Reports of the radio industry, with which is allied the manufacture of phonographs, place the total value of production, in 1935, at $200,973,000, a gain of approximately 68 per cent since 1933.
General Places of Amusement
Next in importance to the motion picture theaters in the groups of amusement places classified in the Census of Business, but with receipts far below those of either the motion picture or radio industry, are billiard and pool parlors, and bowling alleys. While they number, throughout the United States, 12,412, or slightly more than the total of motion picture theaters, average annual
THE AMUSEMENT INDUSTRY
receipts of only $3,486 bring their 1935 aggregate studios and academies, with receipts of $14,831,000; income to only $43,271,000.
amusement parks with receipts of $8,982,000; An even greater proportion of these establish- bands and orchestras with receipts of $4,611,000, ments are located in cities of more than 100,000 and amusement devices—carousels, ferris wheels, than in the case of motion picture theaters, nearly games of chance usually associated with fairs, one-third of the total, accounting for 44 per cent circuses or amusement parks — with receipts of of the receipts, being found in such communities, $4,360,000. but at the same time, places with less than 10,000 Among other establishments surveyed were inhabitants have billiard parlors and bowling bathing beaches, boat and canoe rental services, alleys reporting 31 per cent of total receipts. On skating rinks, swimming pools, riding academies, a geographical basis, they are widely scattered tennis courts, carnivals, exhibits and expositions throughout the country, although there are more and rodeos. As stressed by the Census of Busilocated in New York than in all New England, ness report, no such survey can hope to be comand also nearly as many as in the entire group of plete. Establishments proffering other services or South Atlantic States.
goods in addition to amusements were excluded As pointed out in the July, 1936, issue of The unless more than half their receipts came from Index, estimates place the number of devotees of paid admissions or fees, and in many instances no billiards and bowling at approximately 8,000,000 data could be obtained because of the seasonal for each of these games, or more than those of character of the amusement. The aggregate reany other organized form of sport. They are not ceipts of these miscellaneous places of amusement, only among the longest established sources of rec- however, amounted, in 1935, to $34,392,000. reation in this country, both billiards and bowling The geographic distribution of receipts of all being well known in Colonial days, but among the places of amusements further emphasizes the conmost popular.
centration in large cities. New York City alone Horse and dog race tracks follow billiard par- accounts for $109,458,000, or somewhat more lors and bowling alleys on the basis of income. than 15 per cent of the nation-wide total. This is While the Census of Business reports only 64 almost twice the total for all New England States, throughout the country, California and Florida or of that of the entire group of South Atlantic leading with nine and eight respectively, average States; it is more than five times that of the receipts per establishment of $507,281, bring the mountain states. Chicago accounts for the next annual total for the group up to $32,466,000 or largest share of receipts, $35,507,000; Philadelalmost 5 per cent of the aggregate for all amuse- phia for $16,739,000; Los Angeles for $16,242,000, ment places. Total purses and stakes on all Ameri- and Detroit for $11,166,000. These five leading can horse race tracks in this same year amounted centers of amusement or entertainment thus acto $12,792,000, while it has been further esti- count for $189,112,000, or some 27 per cent of mated that close upon $2,000,000,000 was wagered the national total. on the outcome of horse races. A group of 426 baseball and football clubs,
Conclusions sports and athletic fields, and sports promoters are These statistics represent at best an approximanext in order, with total receipts aggregating tion of what is annually spent on commercial $25,273,000. Their average employment for the amusements in the United States and would unyear was 5,410 and the annual payroll $9,699,000. questionably be greatly expanded if more comIn this classification are included all professional plete data were obtainable, and admissions for and semi-professional athletic
amateur spectator sports, such clubs, and in the case of baseThese facts, taken from an article
as college football and other ball and football clubs, revenue appearing in the September issue of
general entertainments were from the sale of players' con- "The Index," testify to the enormous
included in the aggregate total. tracts is incorporated with gen- growth of the commercial recreation While it does not appear that eral revenue. movement as well as to the remarka
the total amusement bill is as The legitimate stage and opera,
ble development of certain forms of
high as it was in 1929, the inwith receipts of $19,630,000, the motion picture. The facts and
crease noted in comparative follow these clubs, and are in figures given present a challenge to
statistics for 1933 and 1935 turn succeeded by dance halls, the public recreation movement. (Continued on page 676)
Model Playgrounds for Cleveland
By LEYTON E. CARTER and EDWARD A. LEVY
Ttion, a community trust
HE CLEVELAND Founda
est in problems of recreation, a community trust Mr. Carter is director of the Cleve- tion and of willingness to for charitable and eduland Foundation and chairman of the
tackle constructively the Mayor's Board on Playgrounds and cational purposes, has re
problems which had acRecreation. Mr. Levy is assistant at cently constructed for the the Cleveland Foundation and secre
cumulated in this field. city of Cleveland two model
tary of the Mayor's Advisory Board The study report revealed playgrounds. In so doing on Playgrounds and Recreation. The in a systematic way the the Foundation has had in story of careful planning they pre- striking deficiencies in famind the stimulation of sent, and the step by step proced
cilities, program and perure outlined will be helpful to all public interest and the dem
sonnel in almost every magroups planning playground programs. onstration of what model
jor phase of public recrearequirements involve for
tion which the city faced. meeting community needs
But more than this it sought in an up-to-date fashion. It is believed that popu- to make concrete and practical recommendations lar appreciation of what model standards involve for bettering the situation. The whole situation can best be developed by concrete example. “See- was conditioned by acute financial problems which ing is believing."
confronted the city, which did not preclude, howIn the not distant past the city of Cleveland ever, resourceful and intelligent action upon the stood well down the list of cities in municipal pro- part of city officials. vision of recreation facilities and recreation program. This was due to several causes which can
An Advisory Board Appointed not be elaborated here: the lack of any well-con- An early step taken by the city administration sidered, long range policy of providing physical was the appointment of a Mayor's Advisory Board facilities; ineffectual administration of existing on Playgrounds and Recreation made up of infacilities; stereotyped and inadequate program of formed public citizens—social agency executives, activities; lack of leadership and an uninformed school teachers, business and professional men, and indifferent public. Meanwhile the effects of
representatives of women's civic organizations and the depression further impoverished this already others. The services of the chairman and secreundernourished function of government. As a tary of the Board were made available by the result, during the period when wholesome, absorb- Foundation as well as a modest grant of money ing, and constructive recreational opportunities for incidental expenses. were most bitterly needed by the children and
During the first year of the administration this youth of the city, particularly by the less fortu
group applied itself diligently to the problems renate, public efforts were at a low ebb in quantity vealed by the Foundation's study and the general and quality.
situation with which the city was confronted.
Fortunately there was a "meeting of minds," and The First Step-A Study
the best cooperation existed between the Board Late in 1935 the Foundation, through its di- and the city administration as well as increasingly rector, Leyton E. Carter, assisted by Edward A. cordial relations with the City Council. Levy of the Foundation staff, undertook a study Only bare mention can be made here of the of public recreation in Cleveland. This study was Board's activities. Major attention was given to made public in the early summer of 1936. Previ- (1) improvement of personnel through restoraously, however, many of its findings were made tion of the merit system in the administrative seravailable to the city's new administration under vice, (2) planning of programs of reconditioning Mayor Harold H. Burton - an administration of play areas and equipment chiefly through WPA which had early given evidence of intelligent inter- and NYA assistance, (3) provision of “emer
MODEL PLAYGROUNDS FOR CLEVELAND
gency” playgrounds to be manned largely by NYA it seemed a good place in which to start. assistance, (4) building the case for more ade- Upon selection of the site the Foundation inquate appropriations for the recreation services vited W. C. Batchelor of Ohio State University and advocacy of such before council committees, to develop playground plans for the site. This was and (5) securing some restoration of salary and done in consultation with the city's park and recwage rates for staff positions.
reation staff. In general Mr. Batchelor's recomLargely as a result of distinct progress along all mendations were adhered to in construction. Howthese lines the Foundation early in 1937 gave ser- ever, a more permanent job was done than had ious consideration to the provision for the city of been contemplated in the original plan. Work was one or more model playgrounds as demonstration begun shortly before the first of June and comprojects. Despite the progress which the city ad- pleted approximately six weeks later. The work ministration had made in the whole recreation was done by a private contractor engaged by the field, particularly through the persistent efforts of Foundation and under supervision of the city's the director of parks, Hugo Varga, and J. Noble park department engineers. Richards, recreation commissioner, and their associates, little financial provision could be made
Layout and Facilities for improved facilities of a model character.
In planning and constructing the playground,
known as Lincoln Bath Playground, three prinSecuring Sites for Playgrounds
ciples were borne in mind. First, all facilities Study was given to several possible sites and should be of a permanent type of construction. conditions of need. While it is true that city- Second, activities appropriate to the needs and owned playground sites total less than a score, few wishes of the neighborhood should be provided. of which are of any considerable size, it was also And third, facilities should be developed which true that the Foundation
would insure maximum did not have large sums A section of the handball court at the Lin- use of all parts of the playavailable for expenditure. coln Bath Playground, the face of which is a ground and accommodate At length a site of neighboring garage wall treated with gunnite
as large a number very modest size
of people as possiwas selected, a small
ble at all times. unused spot in the
A noteworthy rear of a city bath
feature of the playhouse. This site is
ground is the numin the so-called
ber of facilities “Tremont Area"
which have been within the most con
constructed of congested district of
crete. The major the city with a white
portion of the playpopulation of mix
ground area is coved foreign extrac
ered with a concrete tion. It is in the
slab 10,800 square lower, if not about
feet in size. Upon the lowest, econom
it are provided two ic brackets and has
regulation basketa high ratio of child
ball courts, with a and youth popula
volley ball court tion. Likewise, it is
marked out inside an area which in the
each, two paddle past has shown, ac
tennis courts, two cording to official
shuffleboard areas records, a high in
and two handball dex of crime and
courts. The permajuvenile delin.
nent equipment requency. All in all
quired for these acMODEL PLAYGROUNDS FOR CLEVELAND
tivities, such as basketball backstops and net poles, is fitted into sleeves which are embedded in the concrete. This makes possible removal of all equipment readily, and, by fitting caps over the sleeves, enables use of the slab for dancing, skating, drama and other activities.
Because of the sandy nature of the soil it was not found necessary to lay a foundation of cinders under the concrete surface. The slab itself is four inches thick around the edges and at the expansion joints. Here curbing fifteen inches wide and flush with the surface extends into the ground one and one-half feet. Temperature mesh is provided throughout and steel reinforcing bars are extended from the curbing into the slab itself at intervals of ten inches. These bars are approximately a yard in length. Three expansion joints are provided, one running the length of the slab and the other two the width. Boundary lines for the various activities are painted on the playing surface with cement paint. It was found that with two coats of this paint the lines remain visible, despite intensive use of the facilities, for approximately six months. It is recognized that the most effective method of laying out the playing courts is the process whereby strips of concrete-colored with a pigment—are embedded in the playing surface. The cost of this type of construction over the large area proved prohibitive.
Five concrete ping pong tables were provided. Each table, including the five legs and playing surface, was constructed in one piece. Permanency in construction is believed assured through liberal use of temperature mesh and steel reinforcing
Permanent equipment, such as basketball backstops and net poles, is fitted into sleeves which are embedded in concrete
bars. In addition, the table legs were extended approximately two feet below the grourid level. A red pigment was added to the cement used in construction of these tables to reduce the glare of the sun upon the surface. Permanent boundary markings were obtained by inserting strips of dark colored concrete into the playing surface.
Three horseshoe courts have also been provided. The sides of the boxes and the back are built of concrete. A railroad tie has been placed at the front. These boxes were made permanent by extending them approximately twenty inches below the surface of the ground and by the use of steel reinforcing bars.
A unique feature of the playground, it is believed, is the handball court. Fortunately there is located directly adjacent to the playground and within six inches of the property line the back wall of a garage. Permission was obtained to use this garage wall as the face of the handball court. A substance known as gunnite—a thin grout cement—was employed in the surfacing of this wall.