Back in the early 1970s in Richmond, Virginia, I was in the advertising business, mostly writing, producing, and voicing radio commercials. One of my clients was the Biograph Theatre, a repertory theater that showed most foreign art films. But we also produced midnight shows on Saturday night for minimal admission, like $2. These were always weird films of some sort. My buddy, Terry Rea, was the theater manager, and one day he said that he was going run the re-release of “Reefer Madness,” a horrendous movie made in the 1930s as an “expose” of marijuana as a killer drug. It was one of the worst movies ever made in the history of cinema, but it has become a cult classic, meaning that people would get stoned and then go watch the movie, and laugh their asses off. So, I produced a commercial for it, and the first Saturday night, the theatre was sold out–600 seats! The following Saturday night, same thing. Terry then had me send a copy of the commercial to the distributor of the film. They loved it and wanted to supply it to other theaters as the national commercial for the film. So we made a deal and it ran on stations all over the country. It ended up selling out every Saturday night for six months! I still have a copy of the spot, so click on the audio below. It’s 26 seconds to allow for a 4-second tag, like “Saturday night at midnight at the Biograph Theater.”
And what was the follow-up movie? “Deep Throat.” More on that later, if I still have an audio copy of it.