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Clipped From The Los Angeles Times
Popcorn, Theaters Levin's Bag Continued jrom First Page ters." He also lias a say in such varied NGC subsidiaries as: Grosset & Dunlap, publishers of hardback books and Bantam Paperbacks; Paperbacks; in England, NGC's publishing companies Trans-World Trans-World Trans-World and Corgy; Columbia Columbia Savings & Loan; Republic Indemnity; Great American Holding Co., essentially an insurance company with a portfolio running between $400 and $500 million, probably NGC's largest, most valuable asset. "But the backbone of the entire corporate structure, the place where we got our start, is the theaters," he says. Right now there are close to 300 of them, but Klein is never sure on a day-to-day day-to-day day-to-day day-to-day day-to-day basis how many they own, because because from 5 to 15 are usually under construction. But it isn't really the theaters either. Would you believe "Let's All Go to the Lobby"? What put National General General on the map several years ago was its aggressive salesmanship. -It -It got the best films possible, and also bought the best popcorn and candies for the concession concession stands. "We were the first to make a short trailer, hustling it out to the concession stand. That trailer helped make us what we are today. We were also the first to go into major closed circuit showings, mostly for big fights." There is an irony about National General. It began business when the 1951 consent decree forced 20th Century-Fox, Century-Fox, Century-Fox, Century-Fox, among others, to sell its theaters. The irony is that in 1965, Levin and NGC went to court and asked permission to produce pictures, claiming there was a shortage of product. There was a shortage, and NGC began making films'. In 1967, the company formed a distribution company for its pictures, and then began distributing distributing Cinema Center Films for CBS. Thus, in a span of 14 year's, history came full circle and once again a filmmaking, filmmaking, distributing and theater-owning theater-owning theater-owning theater-owning company was all under one corporate corporate structure. "I don't mean to sound immodest, but I think we are as important to the exhibitors of the world as any other important producing company. We have a lot of film to offer. "The Justice Department and the federal courts, after a very thorough investigation, allowed us a three-year three-year three-year span from the release of our first picture. They put no limit on the number of pictures, but in effect they said we should offer a kind of first refusal right to other theater owners. The three years is up this December, but we've already got an extension until December, 1972. The judge was very favorable in his rulings, and there has not been one complaint filed against us by anyone in the Justice Department." How does it work, this business of keeping so many sugar bowls filled without causing a sticky scandal? "Our distributors, who are quite separate from our theaters, negotiate the same terms as anyone else. For instance, we could be selling a particularly particularly good film in Chicago where National General has no theaters. The deal we get there would govern the kind of deal we would ask for in, say, Salt Lake City, where we own theaters and so do our competitors. They get first crack at the going prices, and if