Showmen's Trade Review (Oct-Dec 1939)

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November 4, 1950 SHOWMEN'S TRADE REVIEW Page 9 GAR The lose two words announce the happiest news showmen have heard in a long time, for they have been waiting a long time for a new, laughing Garbo. Well, boys, she's just that in "Ninotchka," one of those comedies that builds up in popular- ity through word-of- mouth publicity. What you want, how- ever, is to draw a packed house on the opening day, because while word-of-moutli comment, if favor- able, is always to be desired, it often is too late in most communi- ties to make up for skeptics who hesi- tated to come on the opening day. By the time the good word gets around, it's time to change the show. Don't let this happen to you on "Ninot- chka." Having seen Garbo in heavy, dramatic portrayals in her few recent pictures, your patrons will probably labor under the illusion that once again they are due for a sober, sombre Garbo in "Ninotchka." It's up to you to dispel that illusion, for if you permit it to remain, you'll be doing the public an in- justice as well as muffing the opportunity to cash in on a sure thing. You'll have to begin your job early, and hammer away at it every minute. Use the line "Garbo laughs in 'Ninotchka' — don't pronounce it — see it" in your current ads, even though your opening date may be two or three weeks ofT! Have block-type tack cards made up bearing the words "Garbo Laughs" in large black letters, with the rest of the copy in smaller type underneath, and tack them up in every available spot in town and along the highways leading into town. For your teaser ads, nothing hits the spot quite so well as the four layouts the MGM ad boys have prepared for you. Headed with such snappy copy as "We're ga-ga about LAUOHS,M WOTCHKA ^ IDoWt P>OT:\flUTtvtft It- SELL \Tl) ^ • You'll (eel it in youi iniuiybone and when you blusbl "Ninotchka" is alive with those typically Lubitsch "touches"! It's sparkling cinematic cham- pagne; spicy Tomance; bubbling burlesque I And ohi Mr. Lubiisch, what have you done with Garbo? She's flirtatious, vivacious, ... and when she gets de- lightfully tipsy... oo-la-lal Don't miss "Ninotchka" —it's "hotchka"! That M-G-M picture with the Ernst Lubitsch "touch". DAY and DATE THEATRE Something Clever In Teasers Just what you want in the way of a teaser ad is em- bodied in the layout reproduced above. And it's only one of four clever and unusual advance ads MGM have prepared for your use. Smart showmen will make the set a "must" for their campaigns. Garbo ... a Garbo you've never met," and "You don't know the half about Garbo," they'll make the public conscious of the fact that something new and different is in store for them. If you've seen the picture, as many exhibitors did at MGM trade showings throughout the country, you'll be doing the smart thing by making up your own copy for a series of "personal messages" to the public. Even a personalized trailer announce- ment should arouse their interest, for most people believe that when a manager takes time out from his many duties to personally endorse a picture, it must certainly be well worth seeing. In your lobby you can get the idea across in advance by using a giant cut-out head of a laughing Garbo, with stills from the picture in a column arrangement on either side. Above the head, in large cut-out letters, could be the words, "Garbo laughs," while the title and other credits could go at the bottom. It seems to us that placing cut-out heads of Garbo, much smaller in size than that suggested for the lobby, in restaurants, hotel lobbies and store around town, would do much to stimulate interest in the picture. You can pull some old gags out of the bag, dust them off, and use them to good advan- tage in exploiting "Ninotchka." One, for in- stance, is a street stunt consisting of a man carrying a dummy which hangs loosely over his arm. A card on the man's back reads: "He's limp from laughing at Garbo in 'Ninotchka' . . . but he's no dummy — he knows a good comedy when he sees one." Another would be a man dragging a "woman" (a dummy, of course) by the hair around Screenplay by Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder, and Walter Reisch. Based on the original story by Mel- chior Lengyel. Directed by Ernst Lubitsch. town, with a sign on his back reading: "I've finally convinced her that Garbo laughs in 'Ninotchka,' and that we ought to see it at the Blank Theatre." Through the newspaper, conduct a contest in which readers coin words to rhyme with the picture's title and use them in a limerick. Is there someone around town who's gen- erally a "dead pan"? It may be either a man or woman. If you find him, have him posted beside a display on "Ninotchka" in the lobby, and offer free theatre tickets to those wdio can, without touching him, make him laugh. Of course, your subject should be someone who seldom, if ever, cracks a smile, and who it is almost impossible to make laugh. Copy on a large card next to him could have a sign on could read : "Nothing has made him laugh yet . . . but wait till he sees Garbo in 'Ninotchka'." And here's another street stunt you might include in your cam- paign : Have a man in prison garb riding in a "cage" on the flat- bed of a truck. For one thing, provided he's a singer, he could sing "The Prisoner's Song" through a loudspeaker, the lyrics rearranged somewhat like this to fit the oc- casion: "Oh I wish I could see Garbo laughing—But I can't because of these bars —^Oh they tell me she's swell in 'Ninot- chka'—The critics all give it four stars." For another, you each side of the truck reading : "Arrested for disturbing the peace- he couldn't stop laughing at 'Ninotchka'." Distribute to patrons small envelopes con- taining two candy pellets. Something like this might do for copy on the envelope: "Feeling out of sorts? Put these two pills in a glass of water and leave them to dissolve while you go to the Blank Theatre to see 'Ninot- chka.' On returning, you won't need pills." We think the idea of a Garbo Smile Week, in view of the tense world situation and the fact you're trying to get across the comedy angle, is timely and well worth a conspicuous place in your selling campaign. Explained in the press book, we call it to your attention here so that you will be sure to look for it. You can go all the way on tieups, what with the Garbo scarf and sweater combina- tion, the Garbo raincoat, the Garbo blouse and tie, the saucy Garbo hat, the Garbo coif- fure, and the Ina Claire hats and coiffure. And the faultless grooming of Melvyn Doug- las should be a tip for other men who want to look their best, provided you let them know about it through window and cooperative ad tieups with men's stores. Ernst Lubitsch has an enviable reputation as the director of some of the sprightliest comedies ever produced. Any picture with which he is associated has that "Lubitsch touch," and "Ninotchka" is no exception. So make it known in your advertising and ex- ploitation that that "Lubitsch touch" has made a "newer, gayer, more fascinating Garbo." Good For Newspaper Contest This is one of the stills in the set showing the career of Garbo. Who is her leading man and what picture Is represented? That's the question you could put before newspaper readers in a contest using the 21 stills available at MGM exchange.