May 3, 2012
Addressing exhibitors, Universal’s long-running Straight from the Shoulder Talk series of industry ads were basically promotional pep talks dressed as man-to-man, insider correspondence.
Published in Film Daily on December 14, 1931, Talk number 735(!) deals with Frankenstein, still rolling out across the country. The film had finally opened in New York, to record crowds, just ten days earlier. Here, advertising men and exhibitors are celebrated for the bold promotional work done for Frankenstein. “Instead of soft-pedaling on the fact that the picture is gruesome, grisly and shocking,” the copy goes, “they made capital out of the fact.”
In the end, it all serves as a lead-in to Universal’s next scheduled "Super-Shocker", Murders in the Rue Morgue, due for release in early 1932. “Men who welcome a chance to do original thinking will be delighted to hear that I’ve got another big opportunity for them to show their stuff.”
For a talk purportedly penned by venerable studio President Carl Laemmle himself, you can’t help noticing the fingerprints of a seasoned publicity writer. Murders in the Rue Morgue, we are told, is “no Pollyanna. It’s red hot and grisly and packed with the kind of dynamite that can be detonated by smart brains.”