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THE MtCHIGAN DAILY
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THE MICHIGAN DAILY
September 17, 1956 .. . ,........ - , , --...
Our Researcher Discovers That They Haven't Changed Much
Since the Days, of 'Youthful Folly'
By DAVID KESSELM
IT might appear, to the casual]
observer, that movie adver-s
tising has become somewhat morea
than usually improbable lately.;
Not so. It has always been im-h
It would seem that misleading
advertising copy has been used
from the very beginning. Only theA
style has been changed, but notE
A quick flip through fifty years f
of movie ads in The Daily is re-q
vealing. For instance, in 1898, there t
were no movie ads. But by 1908,d
the Theatorium, whatever thats
was, featured "talking pictures,"a
admission 5 cents.t
Here are more hasty impres-
sions of advertising and how it
A play at the New Whitney, withv
the unlikely title "The Mummya
and the Humming Bird," had aP
simple ad with no pictures ort
adjectives or anything like that.
But by 1920, the superficial por-
tion of the roof was beginning tot
To the Wuerth came "Blind
Husbands," pushed by a photo of
a half-clad woman pushing vainly
against a door. "A drama of human1
emotions; the wonder story of a
man who thought he understoodt
At the Arcade, catering tof
"people of taste," was "The Walk-c
Offs." This Boasted the traditional
combination of a rough man and
a smooth woman, many examples
of which linger on even yet. "He
was a Kentuckian and a 'cave-t
man,' she a beautiful young societyt
woman who taught him a lesson"
The illustration for this is best1
left to the imagination.
The year 1924 brought a big,
virile drama to the Majestic. The
was "The River's End," (adults
35c). The ad pictured fierce
mounted police riding aimlessly
about. "The men may be good or
bad," states the ad, "but what-
ever they are, they are strong."
It continues, "the greatest stories
are not of the atrophied emotions
of society, but of the virile people
nearest the great outdoors."
STILL, the atrophied emotions of
society could be seen at the
Arcade, where Olive Thomas star-
red in "Youthful Folly."
A picture of a lady adorns this
ad, with the sage comment, "Man
never appreciates his wife until
he thinks another wants her."
After a tremendous build-up,
C. B. DeMille's "The Golden Bed"
hit Ann Arbor with the impact of
a pillow full of lead shot. Billed
as "super-gorgeous" and "the story
that sensationalized America," this
epic-prototype dealt with the
searching and intimate story be-
hind American morals and marri-
On opening day, there appeared
a full page ad showing a colossal
bed with a fat girl lying on it in
a repulsive pose.
After this ice-breaker, the size
of ads began to grow until half
page ads were quite common; be-
fore the "Bed" ad two or three
column ads were considered "big."
At the Majestic, Conrad Nagel
in "Married Flirts" vied with the
"Golden Bed." This one was about
"people with too much leisure to
be .monogamous and not enough
sincerity to be happy." But then,
all the Majestic claimed was "Al-
ways a good show, often a great
MARCH, 1925, brought a "rolick-
ing farce" to the Majestic by
that friend of starving authors
everywhere, Avery Hopwood. "Miss
Bluebeaid" starred Bebe Daniels
in a loose dress. It got a half page
ad and was "Risky, Frisky,
Frenchy, and Zippy." Oh well.
Michigan was at the time show-
ing "Sins of the Children," giving
no description but relying on the
title to pack the house.
Next came Garbo in "Romance."
"They were meant to love each
other as man and woman," saidc
the ad, in 24 point type. The photo
showed Garbo clutching her throat7
and must have made a big im-I
pression because "Romance" was
WARNER Brothers asked the1
perplexing ,question, "Does a
woman's heart rule her brain?"
Eric von Stroheim and Constance
Bennett were on the panel, the1
film was "Three Faces West." More
questions were "Does the call of
the flesh drown out the call of
duty? Would she kill her lover to
serve the flag?" The melodramatic
answer is told "dramatically, with
thrills & suspense."
The review of this film said,
"Three Faces is different from the
usual . . . worth seeing." This re-
viewer should have been writing
With another colossal thud,
MGM pushed C. B. DeMille's first
talking picture, "Madam Satan"
into Ann Arbor. Huge ads showed
a woman wearing a Batman cos-
tume. Strangely worded ad said,
"He fell in love with his own
wife," and plenty more.
ADVERTISING hit a new level
of improbability with "Song of
the Flame" in November, 1930.
"Her song gave a million people
freedom, but made her slave to
one great love." Figure that one
At Michigan, "The Office Wife"
was introduced with a sillhouette
of a man and woman necking be-
hind an office door. "See the pic-
ture that started a thousand con-
troversies" said the ad. None of
the thousand was listed.
In "Girl of the Golden West"
Ann Harding is pictured as a
simple yet well-mannered girl, say-
ing "You took my first kiss, you
a hunted criminal." Kisses
were prized, then'
PARAMOUNT started a new and
different form of advertising
with "The Sea God." It was filled
with. characters who "swear to
ha.te yet live to love. Menaced by
cannibals, threatened by pearl
thieves, beset by the dangers of a
Stills showed a woman tied to
a tree beset by everything it says
Science fiction arrived with
"Remote Control," wherein Wil-
liam Haines traps a gang of crooks
and wins a girl by use of "Wire-
Howard Hughes put out "Hell's
Angels" for United Artists in Feb-
ruary, 1931. "It belongs among
the great experiences of life be-
cause it is so real" said the simple,
William DeMille put out a spec-
tacular in 1931, called "Passion
Flower." Goodness. "Over five
million people have read the book"
it says here. Modestly, MGM billed
this as a "Truly great picture."
Photo showed the usual scene, a
man and woman necking and
Ruth Chatterton in "The Right
to Love," had much the same il-
lustration, in fact it may have
been the same one. "The story
of a woman who loved and
' HE Criminal Code" was the
first picture ever endorsed by
the Michigan theatre. A letter in
the ad endorses this picture in
which "passion reached her heart
and prison crucified his soul."
Effectiveness of the endorsement
is lost when one realizes that
there was space left in the ad mat
for it, indicating that the studio
Mr. Kessel, teaching fellow
in the biochemistry department
and Gargoyle Managing Editor,
is a regular contributor to the
anticipated endorsement, may
even have insisted upon it.
"Imagine Garbo in the arms of
Robert Taylor. The thrill you've
been waiting for." Those who
could wait missed "Camille" but
the Wuerth was well-packed any-
how. This MGM film got the tra-
ditional treatment: big still of
Garbo and Taylor gazing at each
other to a background of cam-
Warner put out "Green Light"
with Errol Flynn. Ad claimed this
was the story that "changed a
million lives." The change was
Because of the ever-present
problem of women's hours, the
Michigan advertised that the last
show would end before 10:45 p.m.
when "Love is News" came to
An early horror picture, "Island
of Lost Souls" got this build-up.
"He created the beast men, then
he created his masterpiece, the
Panther Woman." Bela Lugosi
and Boris Karloff here. Also a
picture of the masterpiece.
DURING 1934, the Michigan
theatre showed Betty Boop
cartoons, Paramount news, and
a Saturday Owl show, of tender
memory for many, starting at 9
p.m. Plus the inevitable four acts
First of the "you must see it
from the beginnng, no one ad-
mitted after the feature has
started" movies was "Strange In-
terlude" with Shearer and Gable.
"A new step in talking pictures"
said the ad. Anyway, a new step
in advertising. Photo shows Norma
clutching the back of a sofa while
Clark gazes off into the distance.
To the Majestic in 1938 came
Ramon Navarro in "The Barbar-
ian." Ad showed Arab-type indi-
vidual menacing fallen girl with
big whip. The very sort of picture
designed to bring men out of
their chairs and into the theatre.
AT the Michigan, "Wake Up and
Live" used the massive retalia-
tion technique to keep people
away from "Maytime" with Nel-
son Eddy and Jeanette McDonald
at the Majestic. "Wake Up"
starred the stupefying cast of
Walter Winchell, Ben Bernie,
Patsy Kelly, Ned Sparks, Jack
Haley and lots more. At the
Wuerth that night, "Green Light"
came back to change some more
With "The Howards of Virgi-
nia," advertisers tried a new ap-
proach. Beneath a picture of a
man and woman looking at each
other like a pair of hungry cats,
it said "THRILL as their stirring
romance flowers in lordly Wil-
liamsburg." Beneath a picture of
a man and woman and two smug
children, "SEE them build a house
of dreams in the untamed wilder-
ness." Beneath a picture of the
man and staring down a War Lord
(probably British). "CHEER their
mighty struggle to make America
a land of freedom."
THE Majestic advertised only a
paltry "Cast of Hundreds"
when Wallace Beery appeared mn
some film where he marries a
lady blacksmith. The title has
As World War Two began, ad-
vertising -lost all control and re-
cent developments are only ex-
traneous arrivals upon the scene.
"See it or lose the greatest ex-
perience your heart has ever
known", said the ad for "They
Knew What They Wanted."
"Exciting As Never Before" was
the "Mark of Zorro."
OBVIOUSLY, from this to "Your
richest entertainment experi-
ence," "The King and I," was but
the work of an idle moment.