In 1940, New York City saw one of the most interesting film premieres ever: for Pinocchio.
To add some PR flair to the event at Radio City Music Hall, Walt Disney hired 11 little people to dress up like the animated marionette. They were to romp and frolic on the roof of the theater marquee—kind of like a live-action “Its a Small World” attraction.
As a perk for the gig, the midgets were given free beer with their lunch. Needless to say, a good time was had by all. In fact, too good a time!
Ultimately the group of marionettes dancing about on the marquee got so drunk that they stripped naked!
Disney, acutely aware of the kind of “public relations” this would generate, quickly called the police. When the police arrived, the band of inebriated little people had by that time settled down on the marquee to shoot some craps in the nude. So — get this — the police hauled them away… in pillowcases!
You just can’t make up stuff like that. And if you did, these days, you’d get sued into the ground or hauled away in a pillowcase.
Gosh, That’s Handy!
To Catch a Screen
Screen captures—also called screen grabs or snapshots—are basically freeze-frame images of what’s appearing on a screen. They are used in design and marketing to show screen-displayed media (websites, software, etc.) without having to go online, run software or even be near a computer.
PC: Press the PRINT SCREEN key. In keeping with many functions on PCs, it won’t actually literally do this, it will store the picture in memory, so the next step is pasting it into a graphics program.
MAC: Press the key combination COMMAND + SHIFT + 3 and an image file will appear on your desktop.
Common Printing Mistake
Captured computer displays are 72 dpi (“dots” or pixels per inch) which is considered too low a resolution for going to press. So, you wouldn’t think it surprising that people are sometimes possessed with the uncontrollable urge to increase their resolution. But take a look at what they look like after resizing.
Scaled up or down in an imaging application, the pixels are “re-sampled” and become blurry.
Color correct them, save them in the right format, but otherwise leave them alone. They can be safely sized up or down in the publishing program (Quark, InDesign, etc.)
Remember the Academy
John Wayne ran an Academy-Award campaign in 1961 for the film The Alamo—”the most expensive picture ever made on American soil”—that sparked some industry controversy. The PR and marketing scored the film six nominations but must have left Hollywood reeling from all the Western-themed sentiment and the guilt-inspiring patriotism.
The film’s co-star, Chill Wills, nominated for Best Supporting Actor, was running his own campaign with ads saying the cast was praying for a Will’s Oscar “harder than the real Texans prayed for their lives at the Alamo.” Pushing it to the limit, another ad listed the names of all the Academy members and said, “Win, lose or draw, you’re still my cousins, and I love you all.”
Academy member Groucho Marx responded by taking out an ad that said, “Dear Mr. Wills. I am delighted to be your cousin, but I’m still voting for Sal Mineo.”
Sal Mineo was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Rebel Without a Cause.
You Can Quote Me?
The heavy campaigning of Miramax’s films in 2003 helped to earn 40 Oscar nominations. One ad that ran in industry publications quoted the esteemed former Academy President Robert Wise (director of West Side Story and The Sound of Music). The quote endorsed Martin Scorsese for best director for Gangs of New York.
Robert Wise must have been surprised when he read the ad, because he had said no such thing. It turns out the ad was based on an article written by a publicist—who worked for Miramax.