Monday, June 1, 2009

Ancient Ad Mats Unearthed

What a sweet selection from one of Melbourne's leading cinema chains. In '72, there was little distinction made between arthouse and mainstream.

It does my head in these days to see six R-rated (equivalent of X in the US) movies out of a total of twelve in this listing. What an era of amazing diversity it was.

Worth noting that it took Paul Morrisey's Flesh four years to get a release Down Under.

Only the Balwyn (now a multi-screener) and the Rivoli cinemas still survive.

All the listed city cinemas were shuttered long ago.

As an eight year old, I had a most unhealthy interest in Blushing Charlie ('70), a Swedish sex farce and salute to unionism. I wasn't aware of the second part until I saw it in the early 90's, but the small ad mat (pictured) promised naked derrieres.

The film screened in Brighton (a bayside suburb of Melbourne) at the Dendy, one of a chain of independent hardtops. My mother was raised close to Brighton, so my plan to get her to take me to see the film involved an appeal to her sentimental side.

"Mum, did you watch a lot of films when you lived in Brighton?"

"I didn't live in Brighton. I lived in Bentleigh."

"But Brighton was close to Bentleigh, wasn't it?"

The way she looked at me said: "Where is this going? I'm busy."

"Wasn't it?"

"Not too far away."

"Can we see a film in Brighton?"

"What film?"

"Just a film."

The way she looked at me next said something different.

"Get me the paper."

I got her the paper and showed her the ad mat.

"You mean this film?"

She squinted to see the woman's ass.

"Uhuh. It's playing close to where you used to live."

My mother shook her head in disgust.

"You don't need to see rubbish like that. Go and brush your teeth."

I guess I needed dental advice more than R-rated movies from Sweden.

Melbournians may note the listing for the Astrojet Cinema (click on image to enlarge). This long-gone bijou was based at the airport. I always thought that was a terrific idea. Travelers in transit can kill time at the movies! Why hasn't this idea been expanded upon? I once asked this very question when I was working for Village-Roadshow in the early 80's. It was met with indifference.

I'm not giving up, though. I still think a cinema at the airport is a great idea.

The building that housed the Astrojet still stands today.

The Cameo (Belgrave) and the Classic (Elsternwick) still survive and thrive.

This was one of the very first ad mats I ever collected. I was five when I applied scissors to paper and snipped this from the page.

Even at such a tender age, Joanna took my breath away. I placed the ad mat in a school book and protected it like a puppy.

Years later, I'd see Joanna and be somewhat disappointed. Genevieve Waite was pleasing on the eyeballs, but the film is slipshod and vapid.

I would also see The Way West, a film I'd ignored at five, but appreciated when I was old enough to sit still without the expectation of breasts and thighs suddenly filling the screen.

No comments:

Post a Comment