We’re used to cinema advertising – posters, lobby cards,stills.
But there was another set of fascinating film adverts aimed not at the public, but at operators of motion picture theaters.
Only recently I found MEDIAHISTORYPROJECT.ORG,a non-profit organisation which has digitised collections of Classic media periodicals that belong in the public domain.
The website has extensive runs of important trade ( and fan) magazines. I had never seen the majority of these film ads ,and they are wonderful,many in color.
The Hollywood studios competed fiercely with each other to advertise their product as the biggest, the best – and most importantly ,the most profit making.
The big studios had their own chains of cinemas,but across America there were thousands of cinema owners who had to be persuaded to book the particular studio’s releases.
It’s advertising, so of course every film is the biggest and the best,and the wording was always aimed at telling the theater exhibitors they MUST screen this film!
-“METRO – GOLD MINE – MAYER!”
-“MARQUEE MIGHT THAT’S DYNAMITE!”
-“LEO’S FRIENDLY SPROCKETS PUT DOLLARS IN YOUR POCKETS!”
Exhibitors were invited to trade screenings. They were told about all the advertising the studios would be doing in fan magazines.
(One ad says the studio advertises in 90 publications with a circulation of 53 million.
Below are a selection of these rarely seen adverts from one trade paper, THE FILM DAILY:
(The very last picture is a touching tribute to the late Carole Lombard from MGM).