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Fairs provide a strong incentive for young people to become and remain interested in growing crops, raising cattle and producing milk
As a consequence, most States, as well as many counties, seek to preserve their fairs by subsidizing them with public funds. Even so, the fairs must remain essentially self-supporting, because with costs and taxes on the rise today, few, if any, States or counties can afford to finance anything but a minor portion of their fairs operating expenses.
It seems to me that the sponsors and proponents of S. 597 would not wish to add even the slightest additional financial burden to nonprofit agricultural fairs that already are struggling valiantly to remain solvent, so that 4-H youngsters will continue to have a place to exhibit their prize bulls and sheep, and farm wives will continue to have a showcase for displaying their pickles and preserves.
Suppose that you gentlemen of the subcommittee were to declare: “Your point about the nonprofit fairs is well taken, Mr. Collins. Perhaps they should be exempted from the provisions of this bill. But you have suggested also that we consider exempting all establishments operating within a fair's confines. Now, you're talking about profitmaking organizations and business firms, are you not? For what reason should they be exempted ?”
Gentlemen, picture in your mind's eye the layout of the typical State or county fair. There's the grandstand, the livestock pavilion, the women's exhibition hall with its hooked rugs, jams, and preserves. And what's that over there? Why, it's the ladies' aid selling sandwiches and coffee. Farther on, we see the Redeemer Lutheran Church booth, or maybe it's the Methodist ladies or the Baptists, offering the world's largest pizza. We see the dining room operated by the ladies of St. Raphael's Catholic Church with a huge sign out front that urges, "Old-Fashioned Family Style Chicken Dinner! All You Can Eat! Only 75 Cents!” And in order to attract a crowd and to bring in customers to raise funds for their various church-sponsored charities, they've got canned music blaring from their booths and dining rooms. Should they be included in provisions of S. 597 ?
What about the profitmaking exhibitors who show their new lines of tractors, plows, or combines in an effect to make John Farmer consider buying one? Today's manufacturers and distributors of farm equipment have innumerable avenues at their disposal by which they can bring their products to the attention of their farm customers. Showing at the fairs is rooted deep in tradition, and it dates back to an era when farm equipment salesmen had to travel by train and horse and buggy. I doubt very much if those in the farm equipment business today consider fairs as a vitally important sales tool. However, the fairs rely heavily upon the exhibitors for revenue. Suppose that a significant number of exhibitors should say to the fair manager or the members of the fair board, "Look here, if we've got to mess around paying fees for the music we play in connection with our exhibit, we'd rather not show this year, or next year, or ever. It's a nuisance; and we simply cannot be bothered."
Bear in mind, gentlemen, that most fairs operate on a shaky financial footing. The loss of several big exhibitors might very well bring them to the brink of financial disaster.
Finally, we must consider the carnival shows that play the Nation's fairs. I'm not going to deny that a carnival is a profitmaking venture. Mine had better be, or my wife and I won't continue eating. A carnival show may give the impression that it's big business. With few exceptions, however, a carnival is definitely small business. In the United States today, there are about 540 carnival shows operating. All but a handful of them are essentially maw and paw or father-son operations. For example, the management of my carnival show-and I have one of the larger shows/includes my wife, myself, and one salaried employee.
Carnivals play a great deal of music, They did so when your grandfather was a boy, and they continue to do so today. Can you imagine a merry-go-round without music? Can you envision walking along a carnival midway without hearing the blare of, “Has Anybody Seen My Gal?” or some other old familiar tune? A midway is alive with music, loud, sometimes nerve-wracking, but exciting, and exactly the way that carnivals have sounded since the days when grandpa as a boy trudged 5 miles to town to see the fair, clutching a quarter in his little hand.
The larger carnivals, including mine, could pay the fees called for under the provisions of S. 597. But most of the smaller carnivals would find it a burden, and they are the carnivals that play the smaller county fairs that are today struggling for survival. We carnival folk are fighting hard to show a profit these days, especially the typical small family-owned carnival.
Those outside our business often ask us why we don't simply raise the prices of our tickets. I don't know whether or not you're aware of it, gentlemen, but carnival prices have risen very, very little in comparison with general price increases over the past 20 years. The reason is quite simple: we resist raising our prices, and we will continue to do so, because ours has always been an entertainment medium that caters to the ordinary working families of our rural areas whose takehome pay is substantially less than that of their city cousins.
Let me tell you how I spent my gross income last year: 37 percent for fair commissions (that's the money that the William T. Collins shows paid the fairs it played; every carnival does so, and the commissions we pay many faírs represents for them the difference between ending in the black or the red); 35 percent went for labor, because it takes a substantial number of people to tear down, transport, set up and operate a carnival midway; and 13 percent for maintenance. That left me 15 percent for insurance, taxes, new equipment and supplies. When I speak of new equipment, I'm talking about $50,000, $75,000, $100,000 or more, because that's the going prices on the kind of big, expensive, sophisticated rides that the fairs and our public insist that we provide today. The other reason that we resist raising our ticket
prices is that if we did so, we surely would reduce fair attendance. Surveys show that 92 percent of fairs think first of the carnival show as the number one crowd attraction. In other words, if it doesn't have a midway, its not a fair. We know that three of four persons who attend a fair are lured there by the carnival. Last year, fairs attracted an estimated 100 million persons. That means that some 75 million of them were pulled into the fairgrounds by the carnival shows. Consequently, if we raise our ticket prices, we would run the very real risk of bankrupting many of the Nation's fairs.
Gentlemen : Although almost all segments of the entertainment business are showing a healthy profit these days, carnivals are experiencing a tough cost-price squeeze. If I hadn't made a few dollars last year on the concessions connected with my show—the floss candy, the popcorn, the ice cream and the hit-the-milk-bottles-with-the-baseball type of games, I'd have ended in the red.
I shall not presume to advise you, gentlemen, because I know how I resent an outsider telling me how to conduct my business. However, it seems to me that the simplest, easiest and most sensible solution would be to exempt, nonprofit, agricultural State, county and district fairs, and all establishments within their confines, from provisions of S. 597.
I cannot believe that proponents and sponsors of this bill are concerned about the music played by the fairs and the carnival shows that support the fairs.
I appreciate this opportunity you have extended me to speak before this subcommittee, and I thank you sincerely for your careful attention.
Senator BURDICK. Thank you, Mr. Collins. I was going to say that your language is so descriptive and so graphic, I can almost smell that fried chicken. I know something about what you are talking about, because we have this type of operation up in my State.
Thank you very much.
(Subsequently an amplifying statement was received from Mr. Collins and by order of the Chairman it appear as follows:) AMPLIFYING STATEMENT OF WILLIAM T. COLLINS, PRESIDENT, OUTDOOR AMUSE
MENT BUSINESS ASSOCIATION Carnival showmen ask no special favors. Ours is an industry whose past is solidly rooted in the tradition of ruggedly individualistic free enterprise.
However, the fate and future of many of the nation's smaller carnivals and smaller fairs are inseparably tied together. The typical fair cannot continue operating without a carnival attraction to bring paid admissions through its gate and to provide the commission fee that enables many fairs to operate in the black rather than in the red. By the same token, should fairs fade from existence, most carnival shows would follow them into extinction.
At a time when soaring costs, extreme difficulties in securing qualified employees, and less than satisfactory returns on the huge investment that even a small family-owned carnival represents make operating a carnival an unprofitable and a nerve-eroding business, many of our smaller carnival operators are simply giving up. The end of each season sees the inevitable “Carnival Show For Sale" ads in Amusement Business magazine.
We're not getting new blood into the industry. Whenever a carnival ceases to operate, its equipment is purchased by an existing carnival. And many an owner of even a medium-sized or large-sized carnival show is about ready to throw in the sponge. The possessor of the kind of business mind necessary to keep a car. nival show operating need not fear failing to find suitable employment outside the industry. His type of talent is in short supply and high demand among the nation's business firms.
As I say, carnivals ask for neither special favors nor for subsidies. We do feel, however, because of our unique and intimate relationship with the nation's fairs, and because we have continually sought to keep our prices to the public at a reasonable level so that families in the lower income brackets can enjoy the entertainment we offer, that some consideration be given to exempting carnival shows that play non-profit state, county and district fairs from the provisions of S. 597.
It is true that inclusion in the bill would represent only a modest financial burden to even the smallest carnival show. Nevertheless, it would be an addi
tional burden that most of them can ill afford and could provide an additional reason for the closing of even more carnivals. That, in turn, might mean that some of the smaller fairs might have to limp along without the crowd-attracting, money-making lure of a midway.
Senator BURDICK. Rev. William Fore.
STATEMENT OF REV. WILLIAM F. FORE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR,
NATIONAL COUNCIL OF THE CHURCHES OF CHRIST IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Reverend FORE. Mr. Chairman, I am William F. Fore, executive director of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.
Parenthetically, I was glad to hear Mr. Collins mention the contribution of the churches of America. I want to make it clear, however, that I am not speaking with regard to agricultural fairs.
The broadcasting and film commission is a department in the office of communication within the National Council of Churches. It has a board of managers which determine policy. The board of managers is responsible to the general communication and interpretation committee of the council which in turn is responsible to the general board. This general board meets three times a year and is representative of all the members, the communions in the national council.
The broadcasting and film commission has responsibility and authority to “prepare, produce, or arrange for the production of and promote radio and television programs, motion pictures, filmstrips, recordings, and other program materials for general dissemination, on behalf of the churches and the council.” (NCC bylaws VI par. 3, 2.g.) Our activities are entirely nonprofit. Our funds are derived from support from the denominations,
According to its Constitution, the National Council of Churches of Christ is "an inclusive cooperative agency of Christian churches of the United States of America to show forth their unity and mission in specific ways and to bring the churches into living contact with one another for fellowship, study, and cooperative action.” The Christian communions thus cooperatively and evangelically united are some 34 in number with a constituency of over 42 million persons. The council's principal place of assembly is at 475 Riverside Drive, New York City; and its constituent communions likewise have principal places of office for furtherance of their religious objectives.
Background: The constitutional separation of church and state does not forbid the state from recognizing that "the place of religion in our society is an exalted one" (Abington School District, 374 U.S. 203, 226; 1963); that “we are a religious people,” and that, by "adjusting the schedule of public events to sectarian needs, it (the state) follows the best of our traditions, for it then respects the religious nature of our people and accommodates the public service to their spiritual needs” (Zorach v. Clauson, 343, U.S. 306, 313-4; 1952); and that "no purpose of action against religion can be implied to any legislation, State or National, because this is a religious people” (Holy Trinity Church v. United States, 143 U.S. 457, 465, 1892).
Indeed the proposed revision itself recognizes these truths because, in respect of religion and of education, it creates certain exemptions
from the exclusive rights of copyright listed in section 106. (See sec. 110; rept. pp. 6, 75–6.)
Provisions of the proposed bill concerning religion: Summarizing broadly, the exemptions in section 110 require a "face-to-face” audience (i.e. “services at a place of worship or other religious assembly"); according to the wording in the purged law, or “a classroom or similar place devoted to‘face-to-face instruction by a nonprofit educational institution;" or a performance “otherwise than in a transmission to the public," and without “any purpose of direct or indirect commercial advantage;" or "in a transmission to the public,” with the devotion of the monetary proceeds (over costs) "exclusively for educational, religious, or charitable purposes,” except where the copyright owner has served a stated objection to the performance within 7 days after notice.
These limitations to "services" and "place" are new. In section 104 of the existing law neither limitation appears. In that section the religious exemption is determined by the nature of the performance as one of “religious works” provided the performance is given for charitable or educational purposes and not for profit.”
As to “place,” the new section is ambigious and uncertain in point of application. Does it mean a place where worship is actually occurring or rather a place dedicated or utilized for worship? Likewise, as to or other religious assembly.” Does this mean a place where a religious assembly is occurring or rather a place principally or customarily used for religious assemblies?
Furthermore, concerning subdivision (3) of section 110 the House Judiciary Committee's report says, as already stated, on page 75:
On the other hand, as long as services are being conducted before a religious gathering, the exemption would apply if they were conducted in places such as auditoriums, outdoor theaters, and the like.
This interpretation of clause (3) of section 110 seems to indicate that the revision intends that the conditions of an exempt performance are religious "services” currently “being conducted” before a “gathering" currently engaged religiously, in a place of such “like.”
Specific requests for changes in the proposed bill:
1. That the exemption for religious works expressed in section 104 of the present law be continued.
2. That the nonprofit performance of a nondramatic literacy or musical work or of a dramatico-musical work of a religious nature, or a display of a work, if made at a place of worship or other religious assembly, be exempt even if not made “in the course of services.” New section i10 (3).
Webster's International Unabridged Dictionary defines "religious service" as "a form of ritual or worship established for customary religious worship, esp. according to settled public forms of conventions."
I can give examples of this problem if you wish.
Reverend FORE. Well, one came to mind just this week. The Germantown Methodist Church, a very large church in Philadelphia, is planning annually a program in religion in the arts, a 3-day program for its members - Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. They are planning, among other things, to have plays in the social hall, which is