RKO Pic-Tour - When Hollywood was small potatoes.

Movie promotions in magazines???? Have I blown your mind? It used to happen. Back in 1948-ish, magazines were huge business. In fact, they were one of the biggest types of media until the FaceTube came along and ate print's lunch, circa nineteen ninety something. Now newspapers are, let's face it, obsolete, and magazines are holding on by a thread. yeah yeah, big deal. This is news to no one. It's not a giant leap of insight on my part, reporting something that's been talked about for the better part of a decade. But it's still interesting to see a full page ad in Life magazine (which I remind you was The Shit in '48) taken out by RKO Radio Pictures, promoting four upcoming films. It's... What's the word? It's positively cute.

Looking at the types of films we see here, I get the feeling they're not expensive to make. A couple of actors or three. A few sets. Maybe a bunch of location shots in the Hollywood hills, or in the case of "The Window", the streets of New York.

Movies were cheaper to make, and not just in the "everything's expensive now" way. Turn on TCM, and movies were smaller in scope, generally. There were a handful of locations in the script, and a greater percentage of any given movie was shot in sound stages. More of the shooting was done on the back lot. In short, the natural progression of one-upsmanship and an increasingly competitive marketplace makes looking at movie ads this old nearly hilarious.

I mean, look at how little work RKO's promotional department had to do to advertise these films. Each movie gets a quick snapshot and a little blurb underneath. One may get the impression that RKO was a small company struggling to compete with it's larger brothers, but nope! RKO is described as one of the "Big Five" studios of Hollywood's "Goledn Age". They did, however, specialize in "B" movies more than the other studios. Of course there were elaborate blockbusters back in 1948. RKO made King Kong, after all. I wouldn't describe these films as "B" grade, though. They're just simple, I guess.

My point is this: "Wow! Advertising movies was much more straightforward in the past. Thanks for the insight, grandpa Phil. Time for your nap.

But look at that creepy kid! He needs some jokes!

Joke #1: I told them. I told them all I want a Red Ryder BB gun, with a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time. They should have listened. They ALL should have listened. Now they'll all listen to me shoot their eyes out with my regular, non-Red Ryder BB gun with no compass or any things which tell time. Then they'll see how wrong they were.

Joke #2: Poor Zombie Joe was sooo bored. He had the chicken pox, so all he could do was watch the neighborhood brains frolicking and playing baseball down in the street all summer long...

Joke #3: Great. He'd done it again. Bobby had locked the keys in the house with the engine running. Having left the wipers going and the radio on just made him look even sillier.


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