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Wednesday, June 01, 2016

All-Disney Bills Taking Off


RKO's Terry Turner Takes Snow White Over The Top

RKO may have been on a slide by 1952, but they still had Terry Turner. He was merchandising genius behind socko King Kong bring-back in summer of that year, having shown in Spring what forward-think sales acumen could do for another oldie, Disney's Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs. Magic elixir as deftly applied by Turner was television, spot ads on home tubes swelling attendance beyond dreams of showmen who figured relics for half, if that, fill of seats. Now came Turner to show how Snow White and Kong could fill housing and smack down even first-runs. Motion Picture Daily cited early numbers for the Disney that were but ten percent below hit that was Cinderella two years before.  Blizzards didn't keep them away. The February test tipped Turner to bigger grossing he'd do once weather warmed up. These ads are for Cleveland's Snow White run, begun April 1952 and running most of that month. Note "Happy" the dwarf as lobby guest ("Meet and Greet") on opening Saturday, plus fresh perk that was The Olympic Elk, fourth in the acclaimed series of True-Life Adventures from Disney. These featurettes were enhance to many, if not most, Disney bills through the 50's, a major induce for adults to sit in rather than just dropping Junior off. Mastered by now was concept of "All-Disney Programs" to clear deck of inappropriate support shorts or features. Theatres booking Disney henceforth could occupy all of hours with his proven stuff rather than possible stiffs RKO might send for back-up. Reward was lush, Snow White doing best domestic rentals ($1.7 million) since 1937-38 dates that sent records spiralling.

4 Comments:

Blogger radiotelefonia said...

The Disney films, mostly the shorts, at this time were still playing a lot in movie theaters devoted to short subjects. When I look for images of these kind of theaters from Brazil (newspapers featuring ads with illustrations are available online free of charge) there is an overabundance of Walt movies and almost nothing from other studios.

12:23 PM  
Blogger Donald Benson said...

Was there a moment when studio-employed talent (actors and directors, mainly) sensed there was real money in reissues and television, and bargained accordingly? Or for that matter, when studios realized their vaults were full of evergreens? (Still amused that Warner had to buy out Ted Turner to reclaim its own library, which Turner had been buying up for years)

9:51 PM  
Blogger Tom Ruegger said...

"Note 'Happy' the dwarf as lobby guest ('Meet and Greet') on opening Saturday."

But also note that the picture/drawing of Happy in the "Meet and Greet Happy in Person in our lobby" ad is actually a picture/drawing of Bashful.

RKO theater owner: "Close enough. It's one of those 7 little guys."

5:35 AM  
Blogger John McElwee said...

Thanks for noting that, Tom. I'm as bad as RKO Palace management for not properly telling those dwarfs apart.

3:46 PM  

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