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Friday, February 03, 2006






Greenbriar Exhibitor Memo For Feb. 3, 1959


Pardon us if we seem a bit distracted, but it’s February 3, 1959, and there's only a few weeks left before Some Like It Hot, the big new Billy Wilder comedy with Marilyn Monroe, goes into release! United Artists is dropping a cool million on the campaign (says so in Boxoffice), and we sure can’t disappoint the regional supervisor with indifferent showmanship at our theater! But gee, where to start? Okay, first we gotta get these tabloid calendars into the super-markets. Maybe some of those skinflint local merchants'll go along with a tie-in --- save a little printing cost --- after all, we are giving the calendars away for free. And how about the record stores? Think they’ll agree to stock all three albums "inspired" by the music in Some Like It Hot? UA’s offering a special one-sheet to promote the records, and it’s free too! Maybe the store will hang one up over the LP’s. Now what about these fancy standees --- Yikes! The color one costs twelve bucks, but it is five feet high after all, and would be a real grabber in the lobby. We can just toss it in the dumpster after the engagement. Not like anyone would ever have further use for this stuff. The full-color set of four door panels seems mighty steep at five bucks. Don’t those UA guys realize how worthless this junk is after you’re through with the movie? Not like we could ever sell it, or re-use it, or anything. Man, those garbage collectors are sure gonna be bitchin’ at us in a couple of weeks. Say, where am I going to come up with a "progressive jazz authority" to go on the radio station? Those rock n’ roll platter spinners don’t like eggheads on their program. Real drag. Still, the regional guys told me to come up with something, so I guess I’ll have to call that junior college in town, see if there's some professor that’ll do it for nothing. Boy, the pressure was really on at that publicity con-fab last week. The bosses are putting the heat on us to do big things with Some Like It Hot. That guy in the picture, the one in shirtsleeves with the pipe, says he’s seen the picture. Claims it’s the best Marilyn yet. Yeah, that’s what Warners told us about The Prince and The Showgirl, and I can still hearing the crickets in our empty auditorium during that one. Then he goes on and on about how "a picture of this obvious business potential merits the most intensive selling campaign we can bring to it." Oh yeah, we’re all real impressed. And you’re hoping the big boys in New York are too, right boss? Boy, are these meetings suffocating. Every one of these guys thinks he knows everything about the business, and all of them just trying to kiss up to a supervisor. Man, unless we can get a hit, I don’t know how much longer I’ll last in exhibition. Maybe this Some Like It Hot will ring the bell. Aw hell, it’s just another movie. Six months from now, nobody’ll even remember it.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

How cool! This blog is the best thing I've come across in weeks! Keep up the great stuff!!

9:02 AM  
Anonymous Griff said...

It was interesting to note the little UA "40th Anniversary" burst... ten years later, United Artists made much of its 50th anniversary, promoting it by putting sizable "50/GO" logos on their ads -- i.e., it's our fiftieth anniversary, now watch us go. [Well, they did win the Oscar that year.]

When 1979 rolled around, the studio may have been too preoccupied with internal matters (key players Krim, Benjamin, Medavoy and others had left abruptly in '78 to form Orion) to promote its 60th anniversary; after MGM acquired the company in 1981, few seemed to care any longer about observing birthdays of "the company that the artists built."

10:18 AM  

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