Walter Mencken 11 a.m., May 24
Meet The 3 Stooges, Peter Lorre, Bette Davis, and more in person!
My first meeting with Jerry Lewis should have been in 1963 when he made an opening-night appearance at Skokie's Old Orchard Theatre. My dumb-sock parents couldn't get their act together and instead carted me to see The Nutty Professor, sans-Jerry, at the Sunset Drive-In.
George C. Scott gave me the old fingeroo with his last minute cancellation of an in-person appearance at the Nortown Theatre to plug The Savage is Loose. The poor bastard must have tripped over his empties while reading the opening day reviews.
It's one thing to lure talent to San Diego for press interviews, another to expect the stars to attend a screening their latest film. Back in the day it was not uncommon for A-list movie stars to put in an opening night personal appearance at a theatre near you.
Imagine if Kristen and Robert popped in to greet the throngs of "Twi-hards" waiting on line at the Grossmont to see Breaking Dawn Part 2. Shake hands with Bob DeNiro after he introduces the 8pm showing of Focker Off at Edwards Mira Mesa. And don't even get me started on the prospects of Chloe Sevigny's Brown Bunny promotional caravan pulling into Landmark's Hillcrest.
Did anyone expect Sean Hayes, Chris Diamantopoulos, and Will Sasso to tour the country (in full makeup) to hype the release of The 3 Stooges? That's exactly what Howard, Fine, and Howard did in 1941 to promote one of their Columbia two-reelers. Bogart on screen and Moe, Larry, and Curly on stage. It's the stuff dreams are made of!
Shrewd theatre managers knew exactly how to up their concession stand per-capita whenever Peter Lorre came to town. Put in a supply of morphine between the Jujubes and Junior Mints. (PS: Hide your kids!)
On screen and off: no matter how you cook it there's going to be dog on the menu.
If TV's Superman and Lois Lane had no problem whoring themselves out in New Jersey, surely Chris Bale isn't too big for his britches and could show up to sign autographs at the Gaslamp's premier of Dark Knight Rises.
Bette who? Why wasn't Yvonne Furneaux present to answer questions about working with Louis Jourdan on The Count of Monte Cristo?
Nice guy Burt Lancaster showed up even when he didn't have a picture to promote.
It was victory through ear power when Clark Gable landed in New York to say "howdy" in the flesh.
Who says the art of personal ballyhoo is dead? Just this weekend Jim Hemphill -- perpetual student, world's greatest projectionist, and damn fine director in his own right -- put in a live appearance at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica before a screening of his latest film, The Trouble With the Truth. Keep at it, buddy boy!
[Source: ChmnofBrd @ PhotoBucket]