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Mimishu1995's avatar

How did movie trailers work before the time of the internet?

Asked by Mimishu1995 (19946points) June 24th, 2017

I was watching some trailers for old movies and suddenly this came to my mind: nowadays we either see movie trailers on the internet or in cinemas before a movie. But back when the internet didn’t exist, how did they show trailers? Today we have digital projectors to do editing, but in the past people couldn’t do such things, especially during the 1940s – 1950s, when all people had were some film reels.

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11 Answers

janbb's avatar

They showed them in the movie theaters before a movie. I believe they would have been spliced on to the film reel before distribution or projection.

ragingloli's avatar

cinemas and television

Darth_Algar's avatar

Cinemas and television.

cinnamonk's avatar

cinemas and television

zenvelo's avatar

They were called “previews” and they would be shown in a movie theater as the “coming attractions” before and after the cartoon.

Here is a classic from 1939

anniereborn's avatar

@zenvelo Very cool. How I would love to see a show like that in the movie theatre.

zenvelo's avatar

@anniereborn The Paramount Theater in Oakland CA holds over 3,000 people, and while they mostly have concerts now, they do show classic movies for $5 a couple times a month. I took my daughter to see “Singing’ in the Rain” there a couple years ago.

And, they always show a few trailers and a newsreel.

filmfann's avatar

When trailers were first done, they actually followed the movie, which is why they are called trailers.
aren’t I full of fun, amazing trivia?

filmfann's avatar

By the way, there is a series of DVDs of Grindhouse trailers from the late 60’s and early 70’s, that are a blast to watch.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

They were on TV, radio, and pre-feature cinema. Shots from them appeared in newspapers and magazines too. It was more than enough. I can’t imagine why anyone would watch them intentionally.

Pachy's avatar

“Previews” (short for “Previews of Coming Attractions”) were a popular feature in movie theaters since before I was born. And that’s a looooong time back. And like all film editing was done before the process became digital, a preview’s select scenes were spliced together by a razor blade using footage from the film itself.

Razor blades were still being used in the ‘70s when I was editing TV commercials.

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