02/05/11 .6

so this next part is the entire history of trailers. the reason i put this in is so people have some understanding of where trailers came from and their origins.

History of the movie trailer

So how about a little history on trailers?

Trailers aren’t nearly as old as movies themselves, but they date back pretty early, right back until 1913, at the Winter Garden Theatre on Broadway, the first movie trailer ever shown, was for the musical: The Pleasure Seekers. [2,3]

And it only grew from there. In 1916 Paramount became the first studio to official release trailers and by 1919 they had their own trailer department. Then the inception of the NSS (National Screen Service), in 1919, served as the main distributor for mostly all means of promotional material including trailers. From the late 1920’s until way into the 70’s the NSS controlled and distributed mostly all of the promotional materials for movies, including trailers. The way that this work was, theatres would “rent” the trailers from the NSS, then the NSS would pay the people who made the trailer. Afterward the studios would collect royalties from the NSS.

Studios were mostly too distracted with making of the movie itself, so they left it too the NSS. And they produced what ever was needed, with the resources of the studio.

As you might expect, not too many of the trailers from that period were brilliant, have a look at the trailer for The Greatest Show on Earth, (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggnE9DyX0yE) this a very generic trailer for the time. Though some were worth a note, such as Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ps8H3rg5GfM) Apart from that, and a few others, many of the trailers lacked any originality, and as studios were looking more and more for a way to distinguish their product among a sea of clones, they started to detach themselves from the NSS and start their own trailer departments.

As time passed, to the 1960’s to be exact, the audience started to demand more of film. This prompted many studios to move out of Hollywood and to places like New York or London and shoot many of their films on location.

As the film industry changed, so did the entire trailer industry. People were no longer enticed by the hollow promises made by movie trailers.

And so changes were happening, studios started to hire new people, specialists, with a background in advertising. And as result trailers started to use subtler title treatments, other types of graphics, they stopped using the first names of actors, people started to make trailers far more story driven, rather than the old way of bragging about the stars and use of fancy adjectives, which for the time was very “passé”. And soon enough they completely abandoned the old linear way of editing and started to make trailers in the style that you know now, all cut up and non-linear. It was thanks to people like Esther Harris and Max Weinberg, for these rather dramatic changes.

Another very notable name is Andrew J. Kuehn. This is the man is responsible for revolutionising the film trailer, pretty making it what it is today. He first worked for MGM, and in 1968 he opened his own company called Kaleidoscope Films. And for the next 3 decades he played a major part in the film trailer industry. [2,7]

And so, during the 60’s, one might say that this was somewhat of a Movie Trailer Renaissance.

this is the list of all the trailers mentioned and a link to see them. they all have the title of the movie, the year and what i could and did use them for. also after it is the bibliography.

Filmography of trailers

Spiderman (2002)


A good example of special footage, that was never intended to be in the film, being used for promotion.

Psycho (1960)


A good example of old style trailers.

Dr Strangelove (1964)


The first to use non-linear style editing for a trailer.

La Dolce Vita (1960)


The comedian (2002)


A trailer making fun of voice work.

Terminator 2 (1991)


Cheaper by the dozen (2003)


2 different movies showing the flexibility of voice over

Tenacious D (2006)


A stupid voice over

Greatest show on earth (1952)


Very generic old style trailer.

Pineapple Express (2008)


Good use of music

The Warrior’s Way (2010)


A trailer with all mentioned elements

Billy Jack (1971)



All accessed on the 04/04/11.

[1]Media Report


[2]History of Movie Trailers


[3]Wikipedia on Movie Trailers


[4]Movie trailers rank #3


[5]Coming attractions: Reading American Movie Trailers.

Author: Lisa Kernan,

Publisher: University of Texas Press

Publish date: 11/2004

[6]Avid website


[7]Avid wiki


[8]Andrew J. Kuehn biography


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