Sunday, November 02, 2014

Scraps: Now Showing

Even if the date had not been there at the top of the page, it would have been an easy matter to approximate, and perhaps even pinpoint, the day when this scrap was printed. It’s a page of movie advertisements, and it would be fairly simple to research the release date of each film. As it turns out, the date is there, and that date is December 31, 1951.

Not all of the movie titles are known to me. Sure, I’ve heard of My Favorite Spy and Quo Vadis, but others are only vaguely familiar and some are completely unknown. I couldn’t have told you who starred in The Magic Carpet, Darling How Could You! or Double Dynamite, or what they might be about.

And yet, while I may not recognize some of the titles of these films, I certainly know the names of nearly all of the major movie stars appearing in them. There’s Gary Cooper, whose Distant Drums was playing at both the Warner Theatre on Broadway and the Fox in Brooklyn. And if you weren’t a Gary Cooper fan, that didn’t seem to be a problem at all. You could also choose from movies featuring such future legends as Bob, Hope, Lucille Ball, Hedy Lamarr, Robert Talylor Doris Day, Danny Thomas, Claudette Colbert, Groucho Marx, Frank Sinatra and Jane Russell.

As far as I can tell, nearly every artist mentioned on this discolored scrap of newspaper is now dead, but there is at least one exception. On New Year’s Eve, 1951 not only could you see the comedy Double Dynamite at the Paramount in Times Square, starring Groucho Marx and Jane Russell, but there was also a live stage show which included the Five DeMarco Sisters, the Four Step Brothers and comedian Joey Adams. Headlining the show was a singer who is not only still alive today, but who, at the age of 88, just released his latest album. And that singer is Tony Bennett!

Or perhaps, rather than a live show, you would have preferred to be one of the first on your block to see the epic Quo Vadis. And now, finally, you could. New Year’s Day, 1952 offered the first showing of Quo Vadis where there was no reserved seating. Of course, that still didn’t come cheap. Ticket prices ranged from ninety-five cents to a dollar eighty. 

You know, even that seems kind of high to me. After all, ten years after the publication of this scrap I was still paying only twenty-five cents to go to the movies on Saturday mornings. Then again, we were kids, and we didn’t care about watching Quo Vadis. We wanted to see Gorgo.


At 6:37 AM, Anonymous FUNGUS!!!! said...

Distant Drums....9:45, midnight and 2am!!!!

That's the time I'm least at my advanced and advancing age!!!

Yeah, I noticed the prices of the movies on those scraps and it seemed pretty cheap...until you consider the wages and prevailing prices of the day!!!

I may have been there to see those movies, at the time I was 9 months old and Mom and Dad were pretty active back then!!!

These days if I go to a movie It's usually a matinee when the prices are cheap!!!

Most of the time I'll watch a movie on TMC or one of the other channels that show the movies you've written about today!!!

(just too cheap to pay full price!!!)

At 10:38 AM, Blogger Leonard Stegmann said...

You know, that dollar in 1951 was equal to almost $9 today. That means those higher priced $1.80 seats cost the equivalent of about $17! And they didn't even have IMAX!


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