Sunday, December 16, 2012

Advertising Psycho in 1961 in New Zealand

The first advertisement for Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho in NZ's paper of record, The New Zealand Herald was a long column on May 25 1961:

Psycho had opened in the US a full year before, in June 1960, so presumably the NZ movie-going public was absolutely ravenous to finally see the new sensation, and possibly ticked off at having had to wait so long. The second Herald notice (May 28, 1961) appears to acknowledge that situation:

although the rumors referred to may also be to censorship possibilities/worries (NZ's censors followed the UK's in imposing cuts on Psycho's shower sequence).

The third Psycho ad. repeats the savagely chopped and inserted title/logo, but also dramatically announces and imprecates!

The fourth ad., now directly underneath the ad. for the current occupant (The Sundowners w/ Kerr and Mitchum) of the St James cinema announces that tomorrow there'll be a big announcement:

The (possibly anti-climactic) announcement turns out to be that bookings will now be taken:

On June 7, 2 days before Psycho opens, Hitchcock the showman returns:
Psycho does different things to different people! And no one but no one will be admitted after the film begins.

The same day, the evening paper in Auckland, The Star announced the winners of its various Psycho-related competitions including its Hitchcock-look-alike:

Come on down Mr H. Pietry to the most terrifying, shocking, and generally incredible film experience of your life!

One day to go and the Herald can barely control itself:

Thursday evening's Star and Friday morning's Herald indirectly hail the grand opening:

Friday night's Star, however, takes the biscuit:

It's now Psycho time and DO NOT KILL YOUR FRIENDS' (enjoyment by telling them the ending). Note the specification in the ad. of exactly when the main feature will start, i.e., after roughly 40-50 minutes of shorts (including travelogues features such as 'Ports of Paradise' and short documentaries from Rank films' Look at Life series. Water shortages in England before Psycho - who woulda thunk it?!)

As in North America, Psycho played in NZ with no previews so both the Herald and the Star reviewed Psycho on Saturday June 10. Both reviewers act very wise about Hitch's marketing savvy. Neither mentions Herrmann.

After Psycho is released the ads become a parade of Alfred Hitchcock Presents drollerie sometimes with two Hitchcock representations to drive the point home:

Even William Castle would be proud of "Pay no attention to the rumour that this film may send you completely berserk!' or "If you can't keep a secret keep away from people after seeing Psycho". Most tho' not all (e.g., not the rumor of speechless wives) of this schtick was drawn from an acclaimed media/marketing package of teaser ads prepared by Paramount:

A couple of post-release ads are worthy of special note.

I thought that use of supposed infra-red footage of audience reactions in advertizing began with '70s mega-thillers such as The Exorcist and Jaws, but here it is as part of Psycho's ad. frenzy. Was Psycho then the first with this?
And, finally, a reference to shows packing out:

Psycho was a well-deserved, monster hit world-wide, the showbizerry of which left an imprint on a whole generation.

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