Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Coming Attractions Memory


Faithful commentor Scott has been sharing memories of going to movies in the 1970s at the fondly-remembered Dolton Theater.

By coincidence, I found a frame of the infamous Coming Attractions announcement that greeted us at the Dolton each week. This was standard, along with the animated popcorn boxes and soda cups singing "Let's all go to the lobby and get ourselves a treat." I need to find a screen grab of that too.


But this Coming Attractions trailer was scratchy and loaded with splices, and we were always happy to see it. That funky 1970s music heard through the splices was a hoot, but so what? We were about to witness tantalizing glimpses of a horror, science fiction, car chase action picture, comedy or western coming to the Dolton in the weeks ahead. The excitment was almost unbearable.
If memory serves, Tarantino and Rodriquez used this same Coming Attractions announcement in in their wonderfully fake trailers in last year's "Grindhouse."

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great post.....actually, coming attractions trailers we have today are just a glimmer of what theater audiences enjoyed pre-show pre-late 70s....
To give some perspective, look at the ownership of 90% of today's theaters...all owned by national chains, with their own glossy pre-movie announcements. Now flash back to the neighborhood theater era, of which Dolton was one of the last remaining vestiges...they
charged less, were second run houses, had older equipment and facilities, and were supported by local businesses if they displayed any advertising at all....our famous local "Garritano's Pizza"
is one such example, circa 70's....
Now, drive-ins were the pinnacle of local advertising, for several reasons....

1.) They had a captive audience for an entire evening. Drive-ins ALWAYS had double bills, and it was not at ALL uncommon to see triple bills.....that meant lots of free time to fill on the screen, before and between flicks..

2.) The audience was extrememly young, and major spenders on compulsive items. Also, it was a very common place for families to
CAMP OUT with their kids, PJ's and all, for 3-5 hours....

3.) The drive-ins were all locally owned, and needed all the revenue they could muster. Those in-between movie 20 minute advertising reels brought badly needed revenue in, along with major laughs for the audience, as they were all locally produced, and wouldn't even pass today's local television muster.....

4.) As an aside, the reason for the plethora of concession stand advertisements at drive-ins was that they derived the majority of their profit from the same, just like todays theaters that just break even per the box office take/film rental ratio......so you
can bet they would throw every dancing hotdog video possible at you.....indeed, the Dolton show did have one of the stranger ones,
in which hot dogs would backwards somersault, and sit like circus animals on pedastals...you have to wonder what the guy was smoking that created THAT one....

Final aside, before I leave the drive in theme.....anyone remember the Pizza advertisement, when the hand grabs a slice, and another hand slaps it away, and says "Not Yet!"....That was an early 70's one....

So, yeah, we lost that funky, organic nature of local advertising at neighborhood theaters/drive-ins pretty much permanently, with local everything else......I guess thats why we have "You Tube"....at least we can watch 'em again and reminisce....
-Scott

Anonymous said...

Drive-in blast from the past.....
yes folks, this is the way funky,
cheap, stinky-looking local commercials were at the drive in
-Scott

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqrVgxf9P3k

Anonymous said...

Here is a link to a company that
sells "Time Clocks" from Drive-in theaters, and a few other things..

Now, you say, what the heck is a time clock? If you are 45 or older, you might remember the 10 minute countdown reel, which kicked
on with 10 minutes left to go before the next feature. It was meant to intill a false urgency in possible concession stand goers, in that they had 10 minutes to buy
before the next movie started, exactly like a infomercial time clock with 5 minutes or so left to go......it was fun, each minute was
featured by a quickie cartoon animation, and loads of last minute food teasers were thrown in.....

Maybe we'll see a time clock in Tarentino's next mock double feature...ala Grindhouse 2.....

Here's the link..

http://www.drive-infilm.com/dvd_video.htm

-Scott

Kevin Deany said...

One of the great regrets in my life is I've never seen a movie at a drive-in. The Halsted Theater in Riverdale was nearby, of course, but my family never went there.

A friend of mine remembers going to the Halsted with his family and seeing Hammer movies there starring Christopher Lee. "Dracula Has Risen From the Grave" (1968) and "Taste the Blood Dracula" in 1970. Before "Taste" he remembers a coming attractions trailer for a Wes Craven/Marilyn Chambers mockumentary on nude beaches called "Together."

It must have made quite an impression on his eight-year-old mind as he still remembers it.