MOTHRA Pressbook (Columbia, 1962)

We have simply got to take a break from the SUPER DICTIONARY.  I am temporarily SUPER DICTIONARYed out....and this item is just what we need to recover.
Mothra came to the US in 1962 courtesy of Columbia Pictures, and it's a wonderful film.  Can you imagine Godzilla's universe without Mothra?  I have always enjoyed the artwork for the American release, but in true Yankee fashion, it misses the point of the film completely, and leans toward the giant-bug B-movies of the 1950's.  Surely, this full-color gem of fantasy could have been marketed a little differently? Just look at the varying perceptions of the two fairies (here called Ailenas) by Japan and the US...which we will get to shortly.
The back of the pressbook contains the usual articles, which theatre owners could use for local newspapers.  Of interest is the first article, which mentions that modern film-making has become "an international undertaking," hinting that Columbia had more to do with making the film than merely licensing and dubbing it.  Also, the writers seem to understand the plot, but muse that Rolisica is "remarkably like America," thereby completely missing (or ignoring) that intended bit of satire.
The middle of the pressbook is where the good stuff is (it unfolds like a poster, with the reverse side containing all of the ad slicks).  This is the home of all the crazy ballyhoo insanity, like we have talked about before...the kind that is long gone from modern films.  Let's look at some of the highlights:
Columbia, that's just dumb.  You can do better than that.  (Nevermind that today, every store that sells toys is a display for the newest blockbuster.)
Well, Mr. 1962, I would be interested in seeing how you pulled that one off..."eyes which throw changing rays of light," etc...makes you wonder if anybody tried, and came up with anything that looked halfway decent.
And, if you look out the left side of your cabin window, you will see Crazytown, because that's where we are entering.  This boggles the mind.  I want to make a film where the local police and fire departments have loaned all their weapons for a Mothra display, and the greatest bank robbery of all time takes place during opening night.
In between the two columns of "suggestions" are opportunities to purchase TV & Radio ads, as well as posters.  There was a 9' x 12' flag for the film?! Was all of this stuff even made?  75 bucks was an awful lot for a banner in 1962, and I wonder if anybody ordered one...on the other end of the spectrum, badges (as in "we don't need no stinking...") were only 40 cents!
Now, this is an idea that isn't stupid...but I still wonder if anybody did it.  Shades of Gorgo!
Okay, now....hold it! Did I just read--?
I did, I did just read that.  Ok, slight revision to my movie idea:  after the greatest bank robbery ever committed, everyone dies of radiation poisoning.
Once again, did anybody do this? ("abbreviated space suits," snicker)

Now we get to the ad slicks, and I encourage you to read the hyperbole on each one, and think about how absolutely American they are.  I realize there was a mindset back then, when pushing and hyping a film, that accuracy went out the window...but "Continents Crushed by Monster Who Seeks Human Mates" is just going a bit too far!
Also note the prevalence of the "tiny women" and their placement.
This ad is interesting because it refers to Mothra as both a "super-god" and a Male!
In this last ad, the fairies (or just one, reversed and used a second time) are literally in the monster's eyes.

1 comment:

Id0 said...

I'm surprised they didn't come up with "Hire 2 female midgets from a local circus..."
The fire and police department and their weapons are the best.