It's been pretty quiet at The Sphinx, but all of that changes today, as we take a look at the "Campaign Manual" for FRANKENSTEIN CONQUERS THE WORLD. Some people don't like pressbooks, but I always point out that not only are they entertaining, they also help the collector to know exactly what items were made to promote certain films...past the usual poster and lobby cards, that is. For that, they are invaluable.
This first page has some oddities:
1) In the middle of the page, in the credits section, somebody forgot to add the rest of the film title's logo, so it only says "FRANKENSTEIN."
2) Even worse, where the cast is listed, only Nick Adams is correct. His two Japanese co-stars (Toho regulars Kumi Mizuno and Tadao Takashima) are listed by their character's names only. In fact, I saw no mention of their real names anywhere in the book...apparently, nobody bothered to learn them. Also, director Honda's name is again incorrectly given as "Inoshiro," as it is in several other films.
3) The "Synopsis" brings out some odd points about the film. Then again, I bet if you had five people watch the film and write a synopsis, they would give you different answers....anyhow, as a younger person seeing the film for the first time, I remember getting the impression that the boy had eaten the Frankenstein heart somehow, and not that the heart had grown into a child on its own.
It's possible that it's left vague intentionally, but that brings up another question. In Japan the film was called FRANKENSTEIN VS. BARAGON, as we all know, but at what point was Baragon even first named? Watching the subtitled Japanese cut over the weekend, I only saw one place he was even mentioned: when Dr. Bowen (Adams) yells "Baragon is about two miles away!" and everyone seems to know what he is talking about. Kaiju films have two usual methods for naming their monsters: either it's an existing/ancient creature that is historically known (or named after such a creature), OR, somebody in the course of the film gives them a name. It's just strange. But, we'd better move on:
The "Publicity" page of the book isn't always very interesting, but here we get not one, but two articles with Boris Karloff quotes, as Adams had previously worked with him (on DIE, MONSTER, DIE!) while deciding to accept the job(s) he was offered in Japan. Interestingly, Karloff advised him that he should take the role(s), saying "Monsters are an actor's best friend...look at me!" At top right is an article purported to be written by Adams himself, where he quotes Karloff as also saying, "Don't let them make the monsters too lovable or they will upstage you." Well....
|Hate to tell you, Mr. Adams, but you have been upstaged.......|
But as good as that is, the part where we really need to spend some time is my favorite, "EXPLOITATION".....
Here is the whole page, but we will look at a few of their suggestions more closely:
That first sentence is amazing. It defines the term "ballyhoo," doesn't it? I still am left wondering what they intended for the average theater-owner with a budget of seven dollars to do, when Disney Imagineers would be needed to accomplish their suggestions!
The "Midnite Show" thing is actually quite sound...it even seems like it would be fun. That may be the most practical suggestion I've ever read in a pressbook! Now, the "Street Ballyhoo," mind you, is a horse of a different color. Just read that paragraph and let your mind wander.
Even if you find a flatbed truck...where will you find a "giant"??? And, isn't that a bit rude, parading him through town on the back of your truck? Is that even legal? Or...maybe tall people are still a class that can be expoited? I have questions.
If I went to the theater to see "Lawrence of Arabia," and there were travel agent cards laying around, or even a random sign that said "Visit Arabia Today," I don't think I'd make the connection.
Now, we have seen this one before, where we were told to go and "get a smashed car from a wrecking service." Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the wrecking service is just taking destroyed vehicles [that don't go to a police impound lot] to--oh, I don't know--a junkyard, and they would be pretty surprised if you interrupted them and tried to hijack their quarry before they had delivered it.
And then we are told to "get a supply of log chains, the bigger the better." You know, log chains. Like the ones laying around your grandmother's house.
"Get a supply of extremely potent uranium, the more flesh-melting, the better."
And then there is the admonition to make your own signs to "label" street repairs or construction sites with. You would end up popular with the work crews...and probably, arrested.
Finally, another old chestnut that we have seen before: we are told to "enlist" the National Guard (doesn't that usually work the other way around?) to "supply" you with tanks and military equipment! Again, arrested!
I know I said this before, but did anybody ever even come close to trying any of these things?