April 24, 2010

Not For The Young, The Nervous, The Scarey!

A gorgeous, outlandish banner ad shows The Bride carried off in a white satin wedding gown, waving a bridal bouquet.

Bride of Frankenstein was an adman’s dream, Boffo entertainment building on the vast popularity of the 1931 original, with over-the-top characters and TWO killer concepts: The Monster Talks! and The Monster Demands A Mate!

Here, a theater goes all out with Bride ballyhoo…

A stunning, giant Monster head dominates the marquee. Directly underneath runs a modified version of the wedding gown banner, with The Monster blacked out in sinister silhouette.

At box-office level, the bandaged Bride on a gurney was a “stunt” suggested to exhibitors by Universal’s publicity department: “Arrange a wax figure swathed in bandages on an operating table… A teaser sign —Who will be The Bride of Frankenstein? Who will dare? — completes the display.”

Note, in the photo, the display case at bottom left. That's the “First Aid Lobby Booth Stunt” I blogged about here, from the Universal Exhibitors’ Campaign Book, with its red cross and sign reading “Free service to patrons during the run of Bride of Frankenstein”. The lithographed posters used on either side of the theater entrance would fetch the price of a house, today.

Also in the theatre photo, notice the box office is decorated with semi-circular images. These were shots of the film’s characters as seen (below) in a poster from the studios’ pre-release promotion book. This particular trade ad features a stunning painting — The Bride rejecting The Monster’s proposal — by Universal staff artist Fred Kurz.

Among other tips for exhibitors, Universal suggested punching out the eyes of The Monster on posters and replacing them with “little red lamps”, or lighting his face with “green and purple baby spots”. Catchy “display lines” — The Super-Shocker Of The Century! — were provided by the studio, to garnish newspaper ads or to be spelled out on theatre facades by a sign painter. Here is some choice hyperbola…

Tomorrow: Dr. Pretorius, I presume?

Universal Weekly, featuring more great art by Fred Kurz
More Bride Ballyhoo
Bride Showmanship
The Selling of Frankenstein, Parts One, Two, Three, Four.


Martin Powell said...

Fabulous! I love this kind of stuff! By comparison, the cinema today is deadly dull. They really knew how to celebrate a film in Hollywood's Golden Age.

Christopher said...

I love that top Bride banner...I think The Bride of Frankenstein takes the prize for the most consistantly mouth watering artwork displays in posters,Lobbys etc..not a bad one in the bunch..

Anonymous said...

Is it just me, or does that giant head over the marquee look like Forry Ackerman?

prof. grewbeard said...

jeez, that banner is sexy!...