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TOPIC: Sweet Lou

Sweet Lou 29 Jan 2004 22:20 #7313

  • CharlieBo
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Our industry lost a great person last night.Lou Lencioni passed away.Lou,a former film buyer for UA,Festival and Mann,before becoming an independent buyer,was one of the best-liked and most respected people in the industry.He was always conscious of the needs of independents,even when he had the dominant theatres in the area.
When I started my independent booking business,he steered two accounts to me to get me started.He was a busy guy,but never too busy to return a call.
I last saw Lou about 5 years ago at ShoWest.We had a drink,and talked about the "good old days",tho we were only about 55 years old at the time.
With Lou gone,the "good old days" are gone too.
Charlie Boeckman
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Re: Sweet Lou 30 Jan 2004 17:07 #7314

  • revrobor
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Hi Charlie:

Sorry to hear about the loss. May he rest in peace. We "old-timers" (I'll be 72 in April) need to pass on our knowledge of showmanship and passion for the industry to these new youngsters before we're all gone.

BTW, I never heard any more from Robert re: his LaJunta operation. Guess he wanted more $ than I could come up with. It turns out we know some of the same people from SoCal.

Bob Allen
The Old Showman
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
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Re: Sweet Lou 30 Jan 2004 19:33 #7315

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Bob
The next time I talk to Robert I'll tell him to get in touch with you
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Re: Sweet Lou 02 Feb 2004 13:18 #7316

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When I came into the business evryone I dealt with was in their late 70's and 80's. They were kind, open, welcoming: true princes. It felt like I was in A Spike Lee movie. Our original booker was Bud Sculley and he was the sweetest guy. Old school and in the finest tradition of the word. He taught me the business but mostly he taught me a lot of manners. It's a tradition to carry on.

Michael Hurley
Impresario
Michael Hurley
Impresario
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Re: Sweet Lou 02 Feb 2004 14:16 #7317

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My first "real" job in the industry was out of college where I was hired as a booker at UATC in San Francisco. Lou and the other booker, Joe Crotty (bother-in-laws, incidentally) were two very different types but both were helpful and friendly, doing whatver they could to assure my success.

In addition to being very savvy, Lou was also very funny. My first responsibilities were booking the co-features for drive-ins in the "country towns" (Willows, Gridley, Susanville, Oroville, etc). He told me the rules: "Never pay more than $25 flat rental per week and always have a man on a horse." It turns out westerns were very popular up there.

UATC owned a drive-in in Stockton, the 99E. Nothing did business. If the theater could grosses $600 a week we were thrilled. Any few distributors wanted to play first run there unless they just needed playoff. One day distributor Jules Needleman was begging for playoff on two Italian war movies dubbed into English (SALT IN THE WOUND with Klaus Kinski and THE COMMANDOS with Lee Van Cleef).
There was nothing to lose playing them at the 99E so Lou said, "I'll play them if we can call it 'The Lou Lencioni Film Festival.' " Done deal and I can still see the newspaper ads with that banner across the top.

Rumors started by Lou flew around the industry faster than the internet (before there was such a thing).

I could pass on dozens of stories but I'll leave you with this bit of wisdom. I love movies and tried to make time to go to every screening and write reviews. Lou almost never attended them. When I finally asked him why, his response, "The paying audience hasn't previewed them before buying a ticket. I'd rather decide what to book from the same perspective they have. Does it sound good; do I like the subject and cast; does the advertising make me interested?"

I can't say I always agreed but it does make sense.

Good bye Lou and our sympahties and best wishes to Barbara and his daughters.
Gary
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