Monday, June 30, 2014


Charismatic Tony Curtis is remembered today for only a small handful of his many films and yet at one time he was one of the most popular box office attractions in the world. This was from the early days of that period and shows why so many of his films have fallen by the wayside. Typical poses, typical slogans. Can't imagine it was anything other than a typical film. Nothing here to make me want to see it, then or now.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

By The Light of the Silvery Moon-1953

This film is a sequel to the earlier ON MOONLIGHT BAY but you certainly can't tell that from this ad. Both Gordon and Doris look a bit off in an otherwise nice layout, as though they were retouched just a tad. Gordon's name, with the necessary small "ac" throws off the symmetry of the upper portion of the ad. Basically the ad's telling me, "Hey look! It's an old-fashioned love story with a number of songs and two likable people. If that works for you, then here it is." Okay, what the heck. That does work for me sometimes. I'm in.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Test Pilot-1938

A good movie and a great ad! The color works well. The ad seems to push Myrna as its main selling pint with no less than 3 images but the camaraderie is being promoted as well. Gable and Loy were, at one point--before or after this I don't recall--named King and Queen of Hollywood. And tracy was already touted as perhaps Hollywood's best actor.With war fever building, the background of test pilots and planes was timely, too. That was enough. I'd catch the opening matinee.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Remains to be Seen-1953

Okay, now this ad's just creepy...which is, I guess, the idea, seeing as how it's touting the creators of ARSENIC AND OLD LACE as having written the play n which it's based. The thing is, Van Johnson looks creepy in it, too! And June Allyson--never a favorite of mine, I have to add--just looks awkward. Is she dancing or about to punch someone? Probably Van!

Screenplay is by future sitcom guru (I DREAM OF JEANNIE) and ever further future mega-bestselling author, Sidney Sheldon but that's not necessarily a good thing. An okay supporting cast highlighted by black actress Dorothy Dandridge which definitely intrigues. Still, even though I like a good scary comedy, there is nothing here that grabs me and the ad itself is a turn-off.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Kiss The Boys Goodbye-1941

I swear we're choosing these at random but here's another Don Ameche one!It's nicely laid out and the red lipstick on the black and white images works well but it's still a tad busy toward the bottom. Stage star Mary Martin never quite made it in films although she achieved some middle-aged fame on television beginning in the 1950s as, of all things, Peter Pan! She--and her lips--are clearly the selling point here, though. While the movie is based on a play by no less than Clare Booth Luce (co-founder of LIFE, future representative and ambassador), that's buried in tiny print at the bottom. Ameche gets top billing but smaller imagery. 

Jack Benny's Rochester, only a few years on the radio by this point, was popular enough to solo, and with special billing yet! Although not under his own name, Eddie Anderson. Sigh.

Oscar Levant was another odd talent who, although often playing a  variation on his true neurotic self on film, never quite made it and had to wait for Jack Paar where he became a perennial TV favorite as a guest. A good if lesser-known supporting cast backs them all up and some forgotten song title are highlighted.  

Would I go. I don't think so. I like the ad, I like Ameche and Rochester. Nothing else says yes...including the lips of Ms. Martin, mother of Larry Hagman. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

My Dream Is Yours-1949

Well, this busy page gets your attention but it's a little much for one's eyes to take in. Promoted in the main here is, of course, Doris Day, whose 2nd picture this was, although she'd been big on radio, records and in personal appearances for several years. Her name at upper left slides into her picture and then a series of then-topical "flying discs" that lead down to the picture's title. There another disc points over to comic actor Jack Carson, who had also appeared with Doris her first time out. We're told it's in Technicolor. We see it's directed by the man who brought us CASABLANCA...although I'm not sure that's a selling point as it's hardly the same type of movie. It's a Warner Brothers picture and while that's downplayed until bottom right, it would have been obvious to many filmgoers since Warners had and made good use of one of the best stables of contract supporting players in Hollywood, several of whose names are seen here. 

Bottom line--It's made by people with good reps, its star is pretty and sings well.
I'm there.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Story of Alexander Graham Bell-1939

Alexander Graham Bell, of course, invented a telephone. Not the first one, though, but his Bell telephone worked better than earlier models and so history chose him to make it simple. This movie deals with his true story and, as Hollywood tended to do, some made up parts.

The picture became so popular that its star's name, "Ameche," actually became synonymous with telephones, as in "Get me my brother on the Ameche." I used to think that was some after the fact PR but I actually heard someone in an old radio show use the expression once.

This ad offers some images that aren't easy to understand unless one already knows the story, along with way too much text in an attempt to explain it all. Most prominent is the face of Ameche--here not long away from being Charlie McCarthy's radio announcer!--pressed up against that of Loretta Young, indicating a love story, with Henry Fonda nearby, indicating a love triangle...which it actually isn't.

A good cast. Fonda, of course, would remain an A list actor all his life, even winning the Oscar for what turned out to be his final role in the 1980s.

Ameche's career faded drastically but eventually, in the '80s,  he had one of the biggest comebacks in film history with a spate of big name hits, above the title billing and award nominations!

Bell's telephone, on the other hand, has largely been supplanted by other means of communication.

In 1939, though, I would have used it a lot and thus been curious about the man who invented it. I'd have gone. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Jack Ahoy-1934

Jack Hulbert is one of those early sound comics--in England mainly--whose reputation has faded over the years but he was quite popular in his day. So much so that his name and face were all that was needed to sell a movie. Probably his best remembered picture today is ALIAS BULLDOG DRUMMOND (aka BULLDOG JACK) in which his comic character is thrust into the center of an otherwise serious mystery in the place of the famous detective of the title.  It was funny. He was funny. If, in 1934, I was familiar with Jack Hulbert, this simple would undoubtedly be enough to send me off to the theater.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Song of the Islands-1942

It's hard for us to imagine form our viewpoint today just how exotic and alien Hawaii seemed in 1942. Before Pearl Harbor, many Americans had no idea where Hawaii was or even exactly WHAT it was! Thus the fad for Hawaiian music and culture was brought to the fore as the islands were mentioned in the news so often.

This is a well-done ad, highlighting the Hawaiian music aspects without hitting one over the head with them. The lovely Betty Grable's WWII pin-up status assured her popularity in wartime musicals despite her--admit it--rather modest acting and singing skills. Victor Mature seems an odd choice here  for leading man but then one realizes that they seem to be trying to make him look like Bogart here and Bogart was, in 1942, at the early peak of his popularity! Jack Oakie always made a great sidekick.

Further down in the cast, one sees the names Harry Owens and Hilo Hattie. The former was perhaps the biggest proponent of Hawaiian music on the mainland and the latter was his discovery and protégée who went on to a unique iconic status in the Islands. 

Would I see it? Hard to say. If I were a contemporary filmgoer, I would be more likely to be intrigued by the setting and thus more likely to say yes. As it is now, I'd pass.