December 19, 2014

Loose Again in Brisbane

Bolt your windows, lock your doors! This dire warning appeared in Brisbane’s Courier-Mail on Monday, April 3rd, 1939. The Monster was “loose again” and heading straight for the city’s storied Tivoli Theater.

We couldn’t let the 2014 run out without celebrating this year’s 75th Anniversary of SON OF FRANKENSTEIN, and these great newspaper ads from Australia make for very original Ballyhoo.

On April 5, this next ad ran, proclaiming The Monster as “the screen’s most sensational character” and SON as “easily the best of the ‘Frankenstein’ films”.

Back in 1932, when the first Universal FRANKENSTEIN came to Brisbane and the same Tivoli Theater, the PR went into overdrive with handsomely illustrated ads, “we dare you” hype, nurses in attendance, and a Lloyds of London insurance policy covering the first person who might croak during a showing. The festivities included a live event — a “Frankenstein Night” — at the Carlton Cabaret, with The Monster putting in a personal appearance!

In 1939, the PR was toned down but, still, the ad copy was wildly enthusiastic, patrons were urged to book seats in advance against the expected crowds, and another live event was scheduled. Note, at bottom left of the ad, on that Wednesday, a “Frankenstein Thrill Night Dance” was to be held at the vast Trocadero dance hall. The venue was known to roll out elaborate displays on theme nights — various charity events or the annual Police Ball — and one wonders how the hall was decorated in celebration of a Frankenstein Thrill Night. There is no record of a Monster stalking the dance floor this time. 

Coming up: Another beautifully illustrated SON OF FRANKENSTEIN ad from the Brisbane papers of April 1939.

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