Silent era film advertisements were never low key about their claims of excitement, sophistication or “something new” but my favorite ads are the ones that add that certain, well, zip.
“Every scene goes ZIM BANG ZIP and there are 400 scenes” is quite a claim. When was the last time you went to the movies on the promise of zim bang zip? Alas, there are no listings of surviving copies but if you know anything about The Crucible of Life‘s survival status, do let me know.
The Jockey of Death (more like The Jockey Shorts of Death, amiright?) keeps it simple by promising Thrills! Thrills! Thrills! Good news: you can watch it online legally and for free!
With spoilers more and more being used as the go-to marketing strategy for modern blockbusters (SEE IT BEFORE YOUR FRIENDS TELL YOU ANYTHING!!! AND COINCIDENTALLY GIVE US MONEY!!!) it is amusing to see how loose silents were with the plot points. The House of Fear‘s tagline is literally its entire plot: a startling and gruesome story of an attempt to scare an heiress to death! Gasp!
The film survives but is not available on home media.
What about you? Have you run into any fun silent era ads? Do share!
You can look up lots of swell clippings like these at the Media History Digital Library.
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