I haven’t found much interesting to report on from Starlog recently so I thought it would look at another topic. May 25th, 2017 marked the 40th anniversary of the opening of Star Wars so I thought it would be fun to see how it was advertised in the newspapers back then. Thanks to the Google Newspaper Archive I had an easy way to do that.
Let’s look a the Youngstown Vindicator from Youngstown, Ohio. Like a lot of places Star Wars didn’t open here on May 25th. The first ad can be found on Saturday, June 18th, 1977, a week before it opened.
The Sunday, June 19th issue ran the same ad along with a second larger one.
Monday, June 20th shows a slightly different version of the small ad.
The 21st goes back to he larger ad, but prints it smaller then it was in the Sunday edition.
The same ad runs on the 22nd. On Thursday the 23rd, the day before opening, there is a new add with reviewer quotes.
The 24rd, opening day, uses the same ad. On the 25th a smaller version of the same ad runs but adding that there are no advanced tickets and tickets go on sale an hour before show time, clearly a reaction the demand for the movie.
The same ad runs on the 26th and 27th, with Tuesday the 28th brining a new ad.
This is repeated on the 29th, but the 30th brings a new format ad. It’s interesting to note that below the logo it now says “a film by George Lucas”.
July 1st repeats this ad, and July 2nd brings back one of the previous formats.
July 3rd and 4th are missing from the archive, but the 5th goes back to another previous ad, bringing back the “A long time ago…” tag line.
Pretty much the same ad on the 6th. Notice that the text about no passes changed from ad to ad. Sometimes it’s “absolutely no passes!”, sometime “Sorry! No Passes!” and this one combines them.
July 7th brings back the large ad.
This is repeated on the 8th. The 9th goes back to this format, but “No Passes” now appears twice in the ad.
The 10th and 11th use basically the same ad. The next change comes on July 12th.
The 13th uses the same ad, but it shrinks again on the 14th.
Variations of the same ads run for the next few months, and then on Thursday November 3rd we see the beginning of the end.
Final weeks turns into almost the final two months. We get this ad on December 17th.
But all this talk of final weeks is only for that theater. On December 22nd a new theater starts advertising it.
The new theater uses the same ads as the previous ones for a few months, until the Oscar nominations come out which is first shown in the February 27, 1978 issue.
For the next few weeks they use variations of the previous ads with the Oscar nominations text. For example here is the March 2nd ad.
After the Oscar ceremony the ads show the winds, here is April 7th, 1978.
Here is the add from May 25th, 1978 saying that it has been held over again.
The final ad appears on June 28th, 1978.
June 29th, 1978, 370 days after it opened in this area, was the final day the movie ran in this market. There was no ad that day, just a listing in the movie timetable.