Friday, May 12, 2017

1965 ads for the Rialto: Louisville's million dollar movie palace

Walt Disney's Emil and the Detectives was the Rialto's holiday feature, followed by a brief booking of MGM's Lili from 1953.   This ad appeared on January 10, 1965.
 Next came Goldfinger, in second run. January 24, 1965.
Next was How to Murder Your Wife, not one of Jack Lemmon's better comedies and age hasn't improved it. Ad from February 21, 1965. But something big was going happen very soon.  It was the Star Wars of the 1960s, the movie that people stood in long lines for and many saw over and over again. It was, of course...
On March 7, The Sound of Music was announced as a reserved seat Todd-AO roadshow engagement. The opening shots of the Alps were, by all accounts, breathtaking on the Rialto's Cinerama screen. (I didn't see it until it hit the Ohio Theatre a year and a half later).  I have no doubt the extra cost of a 70mm print must have gone a great deal in contributing to its stunningly successful run, which as you shall see, went and on and on. 
April 4, 1965.  It had been released a month earlier in bigger markets, and the reviews were mixed, but there was something about The Sound of Music from the very beginning that caught fire at the box office. It was no doubt in part to Julie Andrews, who had hit big with Mary Poppins, but The Sound of Music was a much bigger picture in many respects.  Even so, its success surprised everyone, and that had to have included the management of the Rialto.
                      By June 20th, this ad seemed to be almost giddy with the movie's success.
           And on September 26, it hit the six month mark. But it was not even halfway through its run.
By October 17, they must have realized that many of their customers were coming back again and again like junkies for a fix. One friend of mine saw it about seven times at the Rialto, but my parents weren't interested in musicals. I was happy to see anything.  My aunt had the soundtrack album, which I played on her Magnavox a few times, but I only had a vague idea what it was about.
On November 7, 1965, 20th Century Fox's publicity department claimed nineteen million people had seen the movie worldwide.  The Rialto wanted YOU to see it SOON, because really, how much longer COULD it play?  Well, much, much longer as it turned out.
      They were still urging people to rush out to see it before it was too late at Thanksgiving.
Can't think what to give Aunt Sally for Christmas?  How about a ticket to her favorite movie?  It was always exciting to get reserved seat tickets in the mail, by the way. They always came in a small envelope with an advertisement for a dry cleaning company.  And it would go on beyond that, too...  By now the projectionists and the ushers must have been slowly going mad.

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