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A decades long poster mystery was solved by a recently discovered pressbook!

BruceBruce Member Posts: 787 ✭✭✭ Daybiller

When I (Bruce Hershenson) bought my first vintage movie paper WAY back in 1969, one of the posters I looked for was a one-sheet for "Holiday Affair", the classic 1949 Don Hartman romantic love triangle Christmas holiday family comedy ("Baby, you're just what I want for Christmas!"; "Here's a romantic Yule-tide treat that'll take your heart for a merry sleigh ride - Mitchum playing 'Santa' to a lovely young widow! And wait'll he finds out the mistletoe's loaded!"; "A doll that says 'Yes Darling' That's what Robert Mitchum and Wendell Corey want for Christmas... but Janet Leigh hands them a shock that lasts right through New Year's Eve!"; "Aah, that Mitchum's a softie... Always kissin' girls!"; "...and it's my girl he's kissin'!"; "Mitchum's Latest!"; "It happens in December...but it's hotter than July!"; "Mitchum in a new king of role"; if you want to know what is missing in modern movies, see this one!) starring Robert Mitchum, Janet Leigh, Wendell Corey, Gordon Gebert, Griff Barnett, and Harry Morgan.

I wanted this because this is one of my favorite movies ever, but when I saw the Style A one-sheet, I was disappointed, because I didn't care for the image or the tagline:

But a few years later I saw what was described as the "rare Style B", which looked like this:

I much preferred this poster, but I wondered what the new tagline meant, and also wondered if it could be a re-release, and later, when I located the original pressbook, I saw that only the "Baby, you're just what I want for Christmas!" campaign was included, and NOT the "It happens in December... but it is hotter in July" campaign. Here are images of the front and back covers from the original pressbook:

Now flash forward many decades, and because I could never find any information explaining this, I put the below on the auction when I auctioned this poster:
"Note that no one knows exactly what to make of this poster! One possibility is that it was a "teaser" poster created before the movie's plot was finalized, because it makes the movie look quite different than it actually is (and it certainly has a striking image). Another strong possibility is that RKO was scared of this wonderful offbeat sentimental family movie, which caused them to promote it with an ad campaign that used Janet Leigh gift-wrapped like a Christmas present, with a tagline having Mitchum saying "Baby, you're just what I want for Christmas", and that this poster was a "style B", trying to make it look like a noir romance. While this poster does not convey the plot of the movie well (and neither does the image on all the other posters for the movie), but because it has such a striking image, it is far more desired by collectors! If anyone knows more about this, please e-mail us and we will post it here."


See images of the front and back covers of that second edition pressbook below:


Here is what happened:
This movie premiered in New York City on November 23rd 1949 (Thanksgiving) and played there exclusively until December 21st, when it also opened in Washington. On December 24th (Christmas Eve) it opened throughout the United States (which explains the "Baby, you're just what I want for Christmas!" tagline).

While the movie IS a "Christmas movie" in the sense that it takes place at Christmas, it is more a wonderful romantic comedy that could have been set at any time of year. But apparently executives at RKO felt it had been hurt by being so strongly promoted as a Christmas movie, and since they felt it could do great with a new campaign, in July of 1950, while it was still in its first continuous release, the new campaign with new posters and the new tagline, "It happens in December... but it is hotter in July" was launched.

So the mystery of these posters is now finally solved! They are from the July 1950 first continuous release of the movie. Now I need to go through our sales results, and add this info to those listings, and also email all buyers who bought any item from this release, and offer them a 100% refund, including return shipping!

We ( hold 3,000 auctions a week, 138,000 a year.
See all of our current auctions in one gallery here:


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