December 23, 2014

What a Sensation!

A unique, original ad in the Courier-Mail heralded the Easter weekend release of SON OF FRANKENSTEIN at the Tivoli Theater — misspelled at the top of the ad! — in Brisbane. Appearing in the Thursday, April 6 edition of the Courier-Mail, the large ad features a striking full-length Monster in charcoal.

The film was double-billed with a minor Universal musical, FRESHMAN YEAR (1938), starring the perky Dixie Dunbar in what turned out to be her final feature. The dancer quit her uneventful six-year Hollywood career playing showgirls, dancing co-eds and characters named Pasty, Mitzi, Ginger, Goldie, Polly and Tiny. She’s called Dotty in this one. Dunbar returned to better parts and real success on Broadway. In 1949, Dunbar achieved pop culture fame as the dancing Old Gold Cigarette box — only her shapely legs could be seen — on early TV, circa 1949.

Brisbane’s Sunday Mail critic gave SON OF FRANKENSTEIN and its cast his good-humored approval, noting, “The Monster has his spine-chilling moments… But he still looks heavily wooden enough to be harmless to anyone with a good pair of running shoes.” Spoilers weren’t an issue, the reviewer stating, “The Monster gets out of hand and eventually has to be tossed into a boiling sulphur pit for apparent lasting destruction.

SON OF FRANKENSTEIN ran for a week and moved on across Australia throughout the year. Unlike FRANKENSTEIN in 1931, the film suffered no territorial bans to limit its release. SON would circle back across the continent over the next two years for second-run engagements including a 1941 stint that saw it packaged with another Karloff/Lugosi thriller, THE INVISIBLE RAY (1936).

An historical side note: By Saturday morning’s first showing, most Australians had something besides Frankenstein movies on the minds. On the first page of Thursday’s paper, a small notice had read, “Mr. Lyons Ill: Wife’s Dash to Hospital”, noting that the Prime Minister, in recent bad health and “suffering from a severe chill” had been taken to St-Vincent’s Hospital. On Saturday morning, the headline read, “Nation Mourns Death of Mr. J.A.Lyons”. The Prime Minister, suffering a series of heart attacks, had died on Good Friday.


Rick said...

...and WHAT a great ad!

Thanks for sharing the great stuff, Pierre.

Happy Horrordays!

Pierre Fournier said...

Happy Holidays, Rick!

Alicia American said...

LOL "Suitable Adults Only" LOL!!!