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Throwback Thursday: Ginger Rogers, Billy Wilder And Superman

Throwback Thursday: Ginger Rogers, Billy Wilder And Superman

The 1942 comedy The
Major and the Minor
is notable today as the Hollywood directing debut of
Billy Wilder, who wrote the film with his longtime partner Charles Brackett. They
would go on to make such classics as The
Lost Weekend
and Sunset Blvd., but
in 1942 Wilder’s name wasn’t a selling point: it was all about Ginger and, to a
lesser degree, leading man Ray Milland. In its first-run engagement at the two
Paramount Theatres in L.A., the downtown branch added a second feature from
B-movie specialists William Pine and William Thomas (known as the Two Dollar
Bills), while both venues featured—and advertised—the latest of Paramount’s Superman cartoons, a testament to the
appeal of this popular series. Also appealing to the patrons of these big-city
theaters (as it would be today): free parking!

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Ah those were the days when you could go to an extravagant movie palace (both of these LA theaters definitely qualify!) and see an "A" picture, a "B" picture, a cartoon, newsreel and some prevues of coming attractions, all for about one tenth the price of a small popcorn in a modern day, boring, no frills big box multiplex. No 30 minute commercial marathon masquerading as activity before the show either, just music and a closed curtain! Keep those movie ads coming Leonard, a great reminder of once was and will never be again!

Terry Bigham

Look by Diana Lynn's name and you'll see "Directed by Billy Wilder"! Just as director Frank Mc Donald's name is given for "Wildcat". But, back then, it was the stars, not directors or producers (with very rare exceptions) that sold movies, as you said, Len.

Jeff Heise

Interesting that WILDCAT lists the director and the ad for MAJOR & THE MINOR lists Wilder as co-writer with Brackett but it does not list him as directing the film. Arthur Hornblow gets a producer mention, though…

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