Beware the Lumnious Man in Dallas!

Universal Weekly, February 8, 1936:

ray_pe

“Just take a look at the front on ‘The Invisible Ray’ designed by Louis Charninsky, Managing Director, Capitol Theatre, Dallas.

“There are no less than eight outstanding exploitation features represented, each would do any showman proud.

“At the extreme left is an electrical display, set up through the cooperation of the Dallas Light and Power Co. and the Southern Methodist University physics department. High voltage transformers, placed on a table behind plate glass for protection, produced jumping sparks.  Warning and explanatory signs added to the intrigue.

“The mechanical man, and ballyhoo man, dressed in metallic helmet and cloth cape similar to that worn by Karloff in picture, were used for an entire week around town and out front.

“The ‘invisible fish’ display followed  along the lines suggested in the pressbook, using clear water with a sign explaining the presence of invisible fish and asking the people to look for them.

“At the right side is a telescope focused on poster mounted on adjoining building. Behind Charninsky, looking through the telescope, is ‘The Luminous Man’ poster, available at all Universal Branches.

“Notice the 24-sheet poster cut-out above the front, and the six-sheet cut-outs on either side, in which red and green flashers were used behind the eyes.

“Charninsky, to interest the chemistry and physics students in the high schools and colleges, held a special invitation preview for the instructors who were asked to tell their students about the scientific angle of the picture.

“Newspaper ads and displays in windows around town played up the scientific angle.”

The Invisible Ray

 

 

Since 1997, legendary theatre historian,  Cezar Del Valle has been conducting a popular series of  theatre talks and walks. Currently accepting bookings for 2017:  historical societies, libraries , senior centers, etc.

He has also joined with Local Expeditions to present a series of walking tours.

Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres. The first two chosen 2010 OUTSTANDING BOOK OF THE YEAR by the Theatre Historical Society. Final volume published in September 2014.

Currently editing and updating the third edition of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, Volume I.

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The Mummy Comes to Life in Paterson

Universal Weekly, March 25, 1933:

mummy_pe1_pe

“Edward Helwig, who manages the Rivoli Theatre in Paterson, N. J., believes in plenty of showmanship ballyhoo. This is clearly evidenced by his fine exploitation for ‘The Mummy.’

“Two giant cut-out heads of Karloff were used on top of the marquee with the star’s name and picture title in large cut-out letters. Under the marquee the front was decorated with cut-outs and flash shadow boxes.

“An amplifier was hooked up in the lobby with connection to the projection booth and the punch dialogue of the picture was carried to the street. The horn was concealed and the volume turned down so as to stir the curiosity of passerby.

“The local Rosicrucian Society was contracted and  letter of endorsement from the leader published in the newspaper.”

The Mummy

Rivoli Theatre

 

 

Since 1996, legendary theatre historian,  Cezar Del Valle has been conducting a popular series of  theatre talks and walks. Currently accepting bookings for 2017:  historical societies, libraries , senior centers, etc.

He has also joined with Local Expeditions to present a series of walking tours.

Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres. The first two chosen 2010 OUTSTANDING BOOK OF THE YEAR by the Theatre Historical Society. Final volume published in September 2014.

Currently editing and updating the third edition of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, Volume I.

AboutMe

Goodreads

Medotcom

It is a Night World in Philadelphia

Motion Picture Herald, June 25, 1932:

night world
“Realism and depth were obtained in a front made for ‘Night World’ by Sid Davidson, manager of the Earle Theatre, Philadelphia, Pa.

“It may not be discernible in the above photo but the enlargements, at either side of entrance were used as a background for the cutouts, which were placed in front of them with space between, similar to the arrangement of wing pieces on a stage.

“And how do you like the attractively cut title letters, and the two pairs of crossed legs?”

Enjoy some pre-code fun with choreography by Busby Berkeley:

 

Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres. The first two chosen 2010 OUTSTANDING BOOK OF THE YEAR by the Theatre Historical Society. Final volume published in September 2014.

Currently editing and updating the third edition of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, Volume I.

He is available for theatre talks and walks in 2016: historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc

Now selling  on Etsy and Amazon

Karloff and Chaney at the Loop, Detroit

Motion Picture Herald, May 18, 1946:

dracula_pe“Karloff and Chaney fans were attracted to this outside display at the Loop theatre, Detroit, which did a forceful selling job for manager Fred Walton. Note the profuse display of stills which Walton uses.”

Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres. The first two chosen 2010 OUTSTANDING BOOK OF THE YEAR by the Theatre Historical Society. Final volume published in September 2014.

Currently editing and updating the third edition of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, Volume I.

He is available for theatre talks and walks in 2016: historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc

Now selling  on Etsy and Amazon

“Showmanship”: Promoting Val Lewton’s The Body Snatcher with Karloff and Lugosi

Produced and written by Val Lewton (as Carlos Keith), The Body Snatcher released by RKO on May 25, 1945.
Directed by Robert Wise the film starred Boris Karloff as Cabman John Gray.
Bela Lugosi receives prominent billing on the marquee but his role in the movie was a minor one.

Motion Picture Herald,  December 1, 1945:

body7_pe“Tombstones and coffins on marquee of the Globe theatre, Bridgeport, Conn, gave atmospheric touch to manager A. L. Domain’s Hallowe’en program.”

body3_pe“Not too ostentatious, but this front on ‘Body Snatcher”, designed by L. Swift, city manager, at the Capitol in Macon, Ga., did an effective selling job.”

The promotion begins on the next Lewton film with Karloff.

Motion Picture Herald, November 10, 1945:
body5“Boris Karloff visits the Brooklyn Museum to view the Arnold Boecklin painting, ‘Isle of the Dead’, which inspired his latest RKO Radio picture of the same name.”

Isle of the Dead” released September 1, 1945.

 

Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres. The first two chosen 2010 OUTSTANDING BOOK OF THE YEAR by the Theatre Historical Society Final volume published in September 2014.

He is available for theatre talks and walks in 2015: historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc

Now selling “vintage” on Etsy.

 

The Old Dark House Plays Paterson, New Jersey

Universal Weekly December 27, 1932:

Warner's Rivoli Theatre, 130 Main Street, Paterson, New Jersey

Warner’s Rivoli Theatre, 130 Main Street, Paterson, New Jersey

“The entire theatre front is a replica of “The Old Dark House!’ Giant cut-out heads of Karloff peering over the roof with weird green and red lights in the eyes! Two banks of flood lights crisis-crossing the display at different angles causing spooky shadows! Under the marquee and in the lobby green and red lights flashing on and off cross each other at angles! The whole eerie display flooded with green and amber lights!

“Tha is a brief description of the front and lobby design by Eddie Helwig, manager to sell ‘The Old Dark House’ at the Rivoli Theatre, Paterson, N.J. and follows along the idea suggested in Universal’s practical press sheet. Several character heads, cut-out from the posters were used on the display. The upper part of the ‘house’ appeared over the marquee and the lower part under, taking in the box-office. It was all cut-out of beaver board and painted by the theatre artist.

“During the running of the trailer, a week in advance of the opening, at the point where the weird noises and lighting occur, Helwig turned the house lights off suddenly, sweeping the house into total darkness for a few moments. It was a very effective stunt as it started the patrons talking about ‘Dark House.’ A lobby amplifier was used during the run to ballyhoo the thrills and mystery of the picture.

“Helwig’s campaign resulted in the Rivoli’s best opening in months. Albert S. Nathan, Universal exploiter, assisted.”

The Old Dark House

Rivoli Theatre

 

Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres. The first two chosen 2010 OUTSTANDING BOOK OF THE YEAR by the Theatre Historical Society Final volume published in September 2014.

He is available for theatre talks and walks in 2015: historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.