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.