Halloween in 1939 – Variety Style

Today I came across this shamelessly in-your-face advertisement from the October 30th 1939 issue of Daily Variety that I just had to share.

The ad is purposefully, ghoulishly garish–and it works. Universal’s LISTEN TO ME cry to showman across the country on how to lure in the moviegoing public on Halloween. What better than a Dracula/Frankenstein double feature?

Come to think of it … 70 years later and that’s still pretty much a home-run double bill.

"You play them together! You dare them to see it!"

The ad reads:

“Throw away the books. Forget all you ever knew about showmanship!

Because HORROR is paying off again! smart showmen all over the country are cashing in on it!


Universal’s Dracula (starring Bela Lugosi) and Frankenstein (starring Boris Karloff)

You play them together! You dare them to see it!

And the crowds break down your doors!”

Posted by

Film writer and social media marketing professional. 2019 Social Ambassador for the 10th Annual TCM Classic Film Festival. Previously: social media associate at Warner Archive and script writer for Turner Classic Movies. Working on a Montgomery Clift biography due late 2020.

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