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SHOWMEN'S TRADE REVIEW
June 30, 1945
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May 1945 DILLINGER
Individual exploitation campaigns, the results of which indicate that an uncommon amount of energy and on-the-spot resourcefulness had been expended on behalf of Monogram's "Dillinger" in every exhibition situation, places the collective campaign for that picture in the Exploitation Campaign of the Month class and it has been so selected by a panel of showmen for Showmen's Trade Review for May 1945.
That the film itself is an exploitation natural is not an accident — the elements necessary for the "natural" class being written into the script under the direction of the fabulous King Brothers, Franklin and Maurice, producers of "Dillinger."
In Pittsburgh the Fulton Theatre front was dressed to resemble a jail, with rock walls, barred windows, etc., simulated. Large numbers of one-sheet and two-sheet snipe posting, with radio time on four stations, together with extra advertising space and an extraordinarily generous number of feature stories and newspaper art gave the picture considerably better than normal business.
In Dayton more than 15,000 special tabloids were distributed together with 500 window cards. These were scare-type pieces, attracting considerable attention. In Canton the same type of campaign was essayed and in addition the chief of police supplied a display of rifles, sawed-oflf shot-guns, bullets, black-jacks, fingerprint apparatus, etc., which were set up in one of the best display windows in the center of the business district. Radio time also was used generously in that city.
San Francisco's run at the Esquire and Tivoli theatres was featured by moving silhouette figures atop the theatre marquees, backed by a loud speaker setup which carried blasting machine gun fire. At night red fire issued from the guns in the displays. The third week's business here was about the same as is normal for the first week.
Toledo and Lima, Ohio, and Tucson, Arizona, also used special theatre fronts, lobby displays and distributed large quantities of the special tabloids.
For the engagement at the Fox Theatre in St. Louis a special front was built, along the jail idea, using 30-inch high letters on a banner piece across the front of the marquee. On each end atop the marquee large 12-foot high, hand painted figures of Dillinger with guns smoking, were featured.
In the theatre's extraordinarily large lobby coming attraction displays, about the size of a twenty-four sheet, were set up and a display of weapons was featured near the exits. Twentyfour sheet posters were given good distribution and 30,000 tabloids were distributed in the working areas and war plants. Six radio stations used 43 spot announcements heralding the pic
Monogram^s ^Dillinge/ Hits Jack'Pot With Sensationalized Series of ^Circus^ Campaigns
ture's arrival at the Fox and the stations placed the announcements near news broadcasts, adding to their effectiveness.
The St. Louis campaign also featured radio interviews on two stations with about five minutes each devoted to plugs for the picture. A local radio movie gossip gal devoted an entire 500-word discussion to the picture on the Friday preceding the picture's opening. Special newspaper feature stories, devoted to the colorful life of the notorious Dillinger also were obtained here.
At the Majestic Theatre in Bridgeport red sashes were worn by theatre employes a week in advance of the picture. They were of a teaser type with copy, "The Woman in Red Put 'Dillinger' On the Spot." The advance lobby display here consisted of a 3 sheet cut-out with guns, locks, handcuffs, etc., which was transferred to the window of a closed theatre during the picture's run. Teaser signs were placed in strategic spots throughout the theatre in advance. They appeared on stair risers, over drinking fountains, in rest rooms and above mirrors. Restaurant menus, window cards, etc., were used extensively and newsboy aprons were distributed to and used by regular newsboys at busy corner locations. A sound truck was used the day before
opening near defense plants, beaches, and in the heart of the city offering free tickets to see "Dillinger" for every Bond purchased on a specified day.
The striped prison uniform gag was used in Bridgeport for the first four days of the picture's run. Copy on the ballyhoo man read, "Broke Out of Jail to See Dillinger," etc.
The Metropolitan Theatre in Providence rriade up large numbers of "tip sheets" for distribution at a nearby race track. The copy read, "The best tip of the week 'Dillinger,' the greatest gangster film ever filmed. NOW, Metropolitan Theatre — A Sure Winner !"
While the campaigns on "Dillinger" have evidenced no particular originality, they indicate that a considerable amount of hard work and sweat have been devoted to the picture's exploitation along "sensationalism" lines. The "sensationalism" so evident in the picture itself has been successfully carried to the moviegoing public, simply by "circusing" in the best accepted manner. The extraordinary business the picture has been delivering is proof enough, if it is needed, that the picture is being handled in the manner calculated to get the best out of it. Collectively it is the Exploitation Campaign of the Month, May 1945.
The enormous, attention grabbing display (right) is one of two set up in the large lobby of the Fox, St. Louis. The other of this pair was located above the main exits.
A simulated jail front with barred cashier windows decorated the Fox Theatre. Fronts similar to this were used wherever physical conditions permitted, all using "scare" copy.
Arsenal equipment in this showcase in the lobby of the Metropolitan Theatre, Providence, included machineguns, handcuffs, teargas bombs one week prior to the exhibition date and during the run of the picture.