Throwback Thursday: Cecil B. DeMille in Person

Throwback Thursday: Cecil B. DeMille in Person

What better way to promote a movie playing in Los Angeles
than by announcing a personal appearance by its director and stars?

It’s a ploy that still works, judging by recent showings of Boyhood
and Calvary here in LA. In 1938 there was no more famous a filmmaker
in America than Cecil B. DeMille. Not only did the veteran showman appear onscreen
in promotional trailers for his films; he came into millions of American homes
every week as the host of the hugely popular radio show: Lux Radio Theater.  He was, in fact, the only director of this period
to become a household name — a status that only a few filmmakers can claim. So if
the box office returns for his latest was sagging a bit he had no hesitation about
beating the drums in person, and bringing along some of his (less stellar)
actors as well. 

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Comments

Maggie Munro

The story of Castle's "shock" seats has been making the rounds for years. I saw "The Tingler" at least twice – possibly three times – in three different SoCal theaters when it was first released. The "shock" was more of a buzz – a vibration. That said, it was huge fun to scream and yell with all the other kids in the audience. Castle himself set a really creepy tone in his on-screen introduction to the film. What a showman!

Terry Bigham

In the 1950s William Castle took the concept of directors self-promoting their films to the ultimate: not only appearing in his films, but selling them with such crazy stunts as the electrically wired shock seats for his "The Tingler". Castle outlined them in his autobiography "Step Right Up, Folks! I'm Gonna Scare the Pants Off America!"

Norm

I suppose Alfred Hitchcock built upon that promotional idea, since I can remember he was always dominating Tv and/or films.

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