The Louise Brooks Society archive contains hundreds of examples of vintage newspaper and magazine advertisements, many of which promote Brooks’ films. These ads — gathered after spending thousands of hours combing through vintage publications — were found either on microfilm at a library, online in a digital archive, or in some surviving form of print. (You wouldn’t believe how few old newspaper pages are still around.)
Displayed here are just a few examples of advertisements for the 1926 motion picture, The American Venus. As with the film’s bibliography, much can be gleamed from the detail found in these pieces. They reveal not only where the picture was shown, but also the gist a film’s ad campaign and which stars the studio or theater management thought important to feature. Other interesting details are also sometimes revealed, like the cost of admission, and whether or not any special promotion, musician or opening act accompanied the film. If there was a contest, the ads likely made mention of it. If the film played as part of double bill, we learn what films were paired.
The Street of Forgotten Men was known to have been exhibited about under other titles including: O mendigo elegante (Brazil); La calle del olvido (Chile); Ulice zapomenutých mužu (Czechoslovakia); L’école des mendiants (France); Le roi des mendiants (France); La rue des hommes perdus (France); Die Strake des Grauens (Germany); 或る乞食の話 (Japan); La calle del olvido (Mexico); Vidas Perdidas (Portugal); Улица забытых людей (Soviet Union); La calle del olvido (Spain); Skuggornas barn (Sweden).
ABOVE: When The Street of Forgotten Men premiered at the Rivoli, Louise Brooks was dancing in the Summer Edition of the Follies at the nearby New Amsterdam. The film played two weeks, and collected an impressive $60,000 in admissions. Some of its success may be attributed to the theater’s air conditioning, then an innovation, as well as the presence of Ben Bernie, who opened for the film. Bernie was a well known American jazz violinist, bandleader, and radio personality noted for his showmanship and memorable bits of snappy dialogue. He can be heard on RadioLulu. Want to see Bernie performing? Not long before he opened for The Street of Forgotten Men, Bernie and His Lads appeared in an early DeForest Phonofilm sound short, which can be seen HERE. The pianist is none other than Oscar Levant. (New York City – July 1925)
ABOVE: Nearly nine months after it’s initial release, The Street of Forgotten Men was still in circulation in the United States. Appearing as an added feature at this Ohio showing was the House of David Band. The musical group was part of a nearby religious community based in Michigan whose members refrained from sex, haircuts, shaving, and eating meat. As followers of the Christian Israelite faith, the group’s popular touring act were sometimes described as “Shaveless Sheiks of Syncopation.” (Toledo, Ohio – March 1926)