Welcome to the first of a year-long series of almost purely pictorial posts featuring newspaper clippings from fifty years ago -- a year widely recognized as one of the richest in quality in Hollywood history. Mondo 70 will be marking the golden anniversary of a number of landmark films throughout 2012, while illustrating the diversity of moviegoing experience available across the United States. By 1962 nearly every city of respectable size had an "Art" theater dedicated to anything from prestigious foreign fare to blatant exploitation, depending on the marketplace. We're sure to see many now-immortal international pictures advertised along the way, along with hoped-for-hits that haven't withstood the test of time as well. We'll also see many an American film that's barely remembered today, but was pitched like the last word in entertainment. I'm not quite old enough to remember the year, but I've long had an appreciation for the pop culture of the period and the way it promoted itself, and I'll be choosing ads that express that self-promoting vitality most vividly and evocatively. I hope it proves as entertaining for you, the reader, as gleaning the ads has been for me.
For the first weeks of 1962, of course, we'll be seeing the last films of 1961 arriving in smaller markets, while the big roadshow attractions of that year remain reserved-seat exclusives in the biggest cities. Fifty years ago today the holiday attractions on their way out were pictures like Rodgers & Hammerstein's Flower Drum Song and Frank Capra's final feature, Pocketful of Miracles. Starting today, I hope to post something for every day that some picture opened somewhere in America.
Nationwide releases weren't as common in 1962 as they are today, but scan enough dailies and you'll see which pictures are going wide. Frank Tashlin's Bachelor Flat apparently has the distinction of being the first Hollywood release of 1962, opening in some cities 50 years ago today. Here's how they sold it in Milwaukee.
If Bachelor Flat wasn't salacious enough for you, some cities had other options. Here's some spicy alternative entertainment for Miami moviegoers of 50 years ago tonight -- and it's educational, too.
There's more tomorrow, folks, so be sure to check in again. When resources permit, I may even throw in trailers.