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Sunday, May 04, 2014

You Haven't Seen It Till You've Seen It Again


Best Business Is Repeat Business for The Three Caballeros (1944)

Repeat biz is said to drive success of Star Wars sort of sci-fi and comic book pix, but where did encore attendance have beginnings? I'd have gone three times at least to see The Lost World in 1925, given earlier birth, but did others? How many patrons double-dipped in an era when downtown streets were filled with theatres? Brandt's Globe sat between Broadway palatials the Astor and the Strand, plus thousand-seaters up/down the Main Stem, yet "There's That Man Again For The 5th Straight Week" to see The Three Caballeros. Was he for real, or were the Brandts pulling our chain? It helped for the New York Post to endorse repeat viewing, "renewed relish" to be had for going back. Certain movies did lend themselves to a second, third, however many look. The Globe had used a similar selling device for Chaplin's reissue of The Gold Rush in 1942, dressing their marquee to effect that "You Will Want To See It More Than Once," and maybe that power of suggestion did bring customers back. I checked Caballeros' pressbook for the ad shown here, but no trace; chances are this was creative art on the Brandt's part. So question arises: Would we, or did we, repeat-go to Disney animated features when they were new? Can't offhand think of any I went to see twice theatrically, but then I wasn't around when The Three Caballeros played first-run. Things might have been different given that circumstance.

5 Comments:

Blogger Robert Fiore said...

Less likely when you had to depend on your parents to take you, wouldn't you day?

3:11 PM  
Blogger John McElwee said...

Donald Benson remembers feature pairings during the 60's:


In my late-boomer youth I'm hard pressed to recall going back for a first-run film, unless there was a girl interested in going ("Sure. I haven't seen it yet myself!").


But if half of a double feature was something I'd seen and liked, I'd stick around. Sometimes a familiar co-hit would tip the scales if the unknown quality wasn't quite strong enough.


I miss the days of officially paired double headers. All those Bond twofers, the made-to-order cheapie teams (someday I intend to see "Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter" with "Billy the Kid Meets Dracula"), and other sensible or not pairings:


-- "Odd Couple" and "Rosemary's Baby", promoted on a single poster as the greatest double feature of all time. Both were hits to be sure, but I never saw the logic. Unless "Odd Couple" was viewed second to calm you down after the horror flick. Like staying up to watch a dull cop movie after Shock Theater.


-- "Sleeping Beauty" and "The Black Hole," marketed together as Disney spectacles and technical achievements (think this was an attempt to salvage the latter's initial run). True story: San Francisco Chronicle dropped the ad in the middle of their porno theater page.


-- Disney's "Treasure Island" and the TV-based "Doctor Syn, Alias the Scarecrow", more logically paired in the 70s with nifty matching posters highlighting Long John Silver ("Pirate Gold!") and the Scarecrow ("Smuggler's Loot!"). Felt like a last call for that kind of show.


Otherwise, they tended to be random pairings originating at the theater level. The 1966 "Batman" with Cecil B. De Mille's "Greatest Show on Earth" played the Granada in Morgan Hill, as well as "Georgy Girl" with "A Man for All Seasons".

4:21 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

I saw the ROSEMARY'S BABY / ODD COUPLE double-feature, after having seen both movies individually. Other than both being hits for Paramount, I don't understand the pairing either.

In the '60s I occasionally made return visits to see a movie: THAT DARN CAT, BLINDFOLD, CAT BALLOU. In each of those cases, though, my second viewing had less to do with the movie itself than it had to do with Hayley Mills, Claudia Cardinale, and Jane Fonda, respectively.

10:44 PM  
Blogger Rob Farr said...

My Mom, born in 1920, often told me she would sit thru movies she liked several times. No doubt it was on the same day since she was talking about the Depression.

7:28 AM  
Blogger Scott MacGillivray said...

The big Boston house that ran THE JOLSON STORY first-run did not advertise the Jolson voice or Larry Parks or anything you might see in the movie. Rather, the ads were "How many times have you seen it? 3 times? 7 times? 9 times?"

12:39 PM  

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