SHOW BUSINESS: Prosperity Row

The eight top U.S. motion picture companies last week got something they could really call colossal: a cocky, teen-aged messenger barged into their showy Manhattan offices, left checks totaling over $42,500,000—the biggest single batch of cash Hollywood has ever seen. The checks, ranging from $11,267,000 for Loew's Inc. to $2,113,000 for Columbia Pictures Corp. represented money owed by British film distributors ever since the outbreak of war in 1939 when the Exchequer abruptly barred all cash payments.

First-Class Business. This windfall comes smack atop the biggest year in U.S. cinema history. The stampede to spend new-found cash and forget the...