December 6, 2009

Read The Book! See The Picture!

James Whale’s Frankenstein was first shown on December 4, 1931, in New York. The film went into national release on December 6.
A newspaper ad for a showing at the Capitol Theater of Grand Island, Nebraska, publicizes the 1932 Photoplay Edition of Mary Shelley’s novel, illustrated with stills from the film. Presumably, the Pease Drug Co. returned the favor, displaying the book along with a poster or stills from the film.
The cross-promotion idea was touted as a “Tie-Up With Book Dealers” in the film’s Exhibitor’s Campaign Book, a source for advertising copy, posters, banners, lobby cards and ideas for attention-grabbing stunts. “Frankenstein has been a best seller for a hundred years…” the Campaign Book crowed. “Play up the book angle. It will pay you well.
Other “tie up” suggestions included bookmarks, giving away copies as prizes in a newspaper contest, donating copies to a public library and getting a local radio station to broadcast readings featuring “as many sound effects as possible. Noises such as howling wind, stifled screams, thunder, etc., will give a startling effect.”
For extra impact, a “Book Ballyhoo” stunt was suggested: “Build a large replica of the book and have a man inside parade around town. Or mount it on a truck with poster cut-outs”.

Image source: Scenes from the Morgue.

Do Not See It! Another beautiful ad from the Capitol in Grand Island.
The Covers of Frankenstein: 1932 Photoplay Edition
All Seats 35 Cents. A newspaper ad for the first showing, in New York.


rob! said...

Look how sad the Monster looks in that photo! They were definitely playing up the pathos by choosing that particular still.

Nice find, Pierre. I'm constantly amazed this stuff has managed to last over the decades.

Max the drunken severed head said...

I love it ! Very creative ! That's actually really cool. Thanks.

Skinny Arbuckle said...

just discovered your blog and i'm loving it! thanks so much!!!!

Mandyy said...

I would love to see this movie, horror films have always been a favorite of mine, and I think that everyone should read the book, it's a great story of courage and humanity