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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Marilyn Monroe Makes Ad Presence Felt


A Soon-To-Be Star In The Second Feature

Among suspect tales told in recently published My Dinners With Orson is Welles claiming he "dated" a pre-stardom Marilyn Monroe. Actors looking to enhance their C.V. and juice up memoirs fell back inevitably on real or imagined romance with Norma Jean before she was Marilyn. In addition to OW, there was Tony Curtis and more discreet Mickey Rooney, plus others numerous beyond recollection. Sport for those born later might be detection of MM in ads that exploited her first even when she was billed last. The above is one I came across for Home Town Story, released by MGM in mid-1951 (run time: 61 minutes). The film had been financed by General Motors and made the previous year at Hal Roach Studio "to sell the benefits of big business" without advertising GM product outright, said Variety. The auto giant sold Home Town Story to Metro, however, and it played support through spring/summer '51 as part of the latter's release program. Leo must have got a bargain, as Home Town Story, despite lowest domestic rentals of any MGM feature release that year ($243K), still earned a profit of $195K. Marilyn Monroe's minor role is for fans a most notable aspect of Home Town Story, along with her being exploited the more in ad art and stills (a portrait at above left was part of publicity for Home Town Story and varies but slightly from her pose in the RKO Grand's ad). Keen observers would have recognized this star in the making. As to Home Town Story, curiosity abounds for propaganda content remaining after Metro whittled down GM's "institutional" handiwork.

More early Marilyn Monroe at Greenbriar's Archive HERE.

4 Comments:

Blogger Dave K said...

And the bait and switch continues to this day! HOME TOWN STORY is, of course, a longtime PD staple and DVD package art and streaming listings always feature Ms. Monroe in a seductive glamor shot (alone) identified as the star!

By the way, John, in case I haven't mentioned it yet, I LOVE the luxury of your daily posts! What a treat to find at least one new (sometimes more) blog entry everyday. You continue to be a goldmine of info and thoughtful observation. Please keep up the good work!

11:59 AM  
Blogger Lou Lumenick said...

Interesting to see Majorie Main billed ABOVE the title with Greer Garson -- this certainly wasn't the case in the poster art I can find.

4:49 PM  
Blogger John McElwee said...

Looks like Marjorie Main is the big noise on our RKO Grand ad! First Lou Lumenick, and now Dick Dinman, noticing Marjorie's above-title billing:


Hey John,

In your latest delightful entry you make a big deal about Marilyn Monroe's elevated billing in HOME TOWN STORY but fail to mention the even more dramatically elevated billing of a far more iconic glamour gal with the same initials: namely Marjorie Main in THE LAW AND THE LADY. If I'm not mistaken in the original L&L adds only Greer Garson and Michael Wilding had 100% billing above the title with Fernando Lamas getting substantial "introductory" billing and Main below the title in 25% lettering. And judging by all I've read I must be the only living male who didn't have a romance with Monroe. As for Main --- well ----- I'll never tell.

Cheers, Dick Dinman

P.S. In N.Y. THE LAW AND THE LADY ended up on the multiples as a distinctly second feature to THE PEOPLE AGAINST O'HARA.

6:02 PM  
Blogger radiotelefonia said...

The film was probably not fully produced by General Motors but mostly by the advertising agency: McCaan Erickson

GM was and still is such a mediocre company, and I am not talking here about the bailout. In the 60s their models in the United States caused Ford to adultered their own ones.

But in Argentina the story was different. GM was a mediocre company trailing behind Ford, Renault, Peugeot and Fiat. Their models were never really popular and Ford retaines its original designs (the Falcon, with restilyings only and not the bad changes made in the USA and Australia, became Argentina's car, the Ford T of the year 2000, being manufactured for 30 years and it is still now running in the streets).

The performance of GM in Argentina was so bad that the Chevy Nova has its Nova name removed (in Spanish "No va" means it does not work)... and the company's performance was so bad that it had to close its doors in 1978, returning back in 1997.

But their commercials are still horrible: their latest one for the Onix model is shown as an Argentine production, when it is actually a Brazilian commercial dubbed in Spanish from the original version in Portuguese.

9:41 PM  

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