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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Two Ways To Exploit The MM Breakout


Selling The Suddenly Hottest Ticket In Movies

Never a particular fan, but I do find interesting the way showmen swarmed like bees to whatever footage could be had of Marilyn Monroe once she became a star. There were oldies done before and during breakout year that was 1952, these not the stuff of revival but for fact Marilyn had supporting parts. Two were We're Not Married and Let's Make It Legal, brought back in tandem to Loew's Esquire in Toledo during late 1954. By then, Monroe was "That Beautiful Blonde Bombshell" in vehicles that showed her to better advantage than a pair of B/W comedies of several seasons back where MM participation was modest. The Esquire's "Wide Vision Screen" would have served no purpose other than to clip top and bottom from 1.37 frames of both We're Not Married and Let's Make It Legal. Another Monroe address, The Houston Drive-In, was actually located in Macon, Georgia. That's where "Every Man" among patrons was given "The Most Sought After" calendar art "In The World," being a notorious nude pose that had much to do with Monroe ascent to stardom. Was this what manager Russ Saunder handed out gratis to male patrons?, and did wider flung exhibition use the torrid pin-up as lure to shows featuring the star? We could speculate on complaints the Houston may have gotten in that event. Imagine teenage boys newly driver-licensed  being given the calendar ... this may have been a promotion built on quicksand, unless the Houston was wise enough to play safe and give away more benign posing by Monroe, which would, of course, have been far less sought after. But something ... anything ... that was free with admission came welcome, even where it wasn't precisely the item that ads implied.

More Marilyn at Greenbriar Archives: How To Marry A Millionaire, Some Like It Hot, Niagara, Something's Got To Give, All About Eve, The Fireball, and Let's Make It Legal, Love Nest, Dangerous Years, and Hometown Story.  

1 Comments:

Blogger John McElwee said...

Donald Benson speculates on that Marilyn Monroe giveaway calendar art ...


The ad says "a" calendar, not "THE" calendar. And "the most sought after center (fold) in the world" could be defended as referring to Marilyn herself. So any calendar with a photo of MM -- even a single page with all 12 months printed tiny under the image -- would qualify (and be way cheaper than rounding up a stock of THE calendar). Mr. Saunder could print it on the cheap and make it an advertisement for the theater besides.

Since it was a freebie to begin with, a slick glamour shot on something better than newsprint would probably mollify most customers. It would also outflank defenders of public decency, official or otherwise (who'd probably come calling the moment that ad ran).

Complaints? A burly employee or two by the snack bar could loudly question why the customer assumed this fine theater would pass out dirty photos (which even a horny teen might recognize as a good point), and why said customer was so eager to get his hands on one. Heck, even the girl at the register might pull it off with enough volume ("I'M SORRY. I'LL TELL THE MANAGER YOU ONLY WANTED THE PICTURE OF THE NAKED WOMAN. LET ME WRITE DOWN YOUR FULL NAME."). Few locals would stand in that line very long.. A little like the horror gimmick of a refund if the movie is TOO scary, then requiring a very public walk of shame to claim it.

True, if you tried this in the wrong market it could get ugly. But a personable local showman could probably pull it off with minimal hard feelings. After all, if he could get away with selling a Monroe cameo as a Monroe feature . . .

7:14 AM  

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