Complete collection of Publix Opinion from 1927 – 30
A.M. Botsford entered the film industry in the 1910’s, as the press agent for Paramount star Marguerite Clark. By the late 1930’s, he was producing films for the house, including Arizona Raiders (1936) and Dancing on a Dime (1940).
But in the late ‘20s and early '30s—under the direction of division-head Sam Katz, he was telling the managers of Paramount’s theater chain division, Publix Theaters Corp. how to sell movies. And he did this through a printed newsletter called the Publix Opinion, an 11" x 16" black-and-white tabloid that reflected the format of the early movie house press books.
A complete collection of every issue of this newsletter released between April 24, 1927, and December 26, 1930, is on eBay now at this link.
Most issues ran between six and ten pages, and are jam-packed with articles detailing marketing campaigns for specific film releases. Remember, “The Jazz Singer”, which popularized the talkie, was released October 6, 1927. So this collection of marketing materials covers the advent of modern film.
It also includes a 1929 article about Paramount buying a half-interest in the fledgling Columbia Broadcasting System. There are great spreads of star shots, including Mary Pickford, Clara Bow, Wallace Beery, Roy Rogers, and more, as well as interesting articles about ways to grow audiences (like installing a “$200,000 Health Plant” or what we now know as an air conditioner to your theater) and the problems of the times. (Check out the front-page article from 1930: “Program top-heavy with trailers is serious menace.” Huh. The more things change…) And if you’re looking for background on Sam Katz, there is a two-page spread reprinted from Variety detailing the birth of Publix.