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Did you know... that studios would sometimes run out of pressbooks for very popular movies, and then print "condensed" versions for theaters wanting to show the movie during its extended first run?

Return to Did You Know Archive
Added: 08/14/2017

Anyone who has ever purchased any number of pressbooks soon discovers that there is sometimes more than one version of a pressbook for some movies (and that these are almost always from the more popular movies). Usually one version will have more pages and often more color than the other version, which is often only black and white, and sometimes just four or six pages.

Are those smaller, less colorful versions from later re-releases of those movies? Sometimes they are, but when this is true they are usually dated, and often there will be text along the lines of "X movie returns to theaters...", etc. But what about the ones that either have the original date, or no date at all, and which solely give the info, posters and ads that were made when the movie was first released?

I am certain that, in almost all cases, those smaller pressbooks were printed when the studios had a big hit on their hands, and lots more theaters showed the movie, and they literally ran out of pressbooks to send theaters. But they didn't want to go to the expense to print a new batch of elaborate pressbooks, so they made these stripped-down "condensed" versions to send to those theaters.

Here are two pressbook covers (from That Touch of Mink and To Kill a Mockingbird) that give proof of this happening, because in both these cases, the studio, Universal, explained what these pressbook are in the printing on the cover! Unfortunately other studios only rarely printed information on their condensed pressbooks, but they still also made them.



As I said above, these condensed pressbooks are almost always from the more popular movies. I have seen them from the top Universal titles of the 1930s, from the early James Bond movies of the 1960s, and many, many others.

Naturally, these condensed pressbooks almost always sell for far less than their larger and more elaborate counterparts. And because of these they can be an attractive alternative to getting those much more expensive (and sometimes impossible to find) first issue ones.

So now you know why there are sometimes two different versions of first release pressbooks for a single movie!


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