Thursday, April 4, 2013


Along with PRC and Republic, Monogram Pictures Corporation is well known as one of the "poverty row horror" film companies that churned out low-cost but often charming horror, mystery, western and action titles. From the 1930s through the 1950s theater audiences were treated to films like INVISIBLE GHOST, VOODOO MAN, and BOWERY AT MIDNIGHT, many of them featuring a certain, by then part-time vampire by the name of Bela Lugosi.

Exhibitor books were just one of the many ways  that film makers and distributors hawked their movies. They were typically printed annually with the intent to preview the list of films that would be released by them for the year. These books contained everything from promotional blurbs and photos to ad art.

The images shown below are from an auction lot containing two Monogram Exhibitor Books, one from the 1939-1940 "season", and the other from 1940-1941.

In a bit of "reverse low-budget" irony, the items were sold for $1,015.75.

  "Monogram Exhibitor Books (Monogram, 1939-40, and 1940-41).Spiral-Bound Softcover Books (2) (12" X 18" & 10.5 X 13.5") Multiple Pages).

These two campaign books are from one of a continuous four year period in the history of Monogram Pictures. In the late 1930s and early 1940s Monogram had established stars like Boris Karloff, and stars on the brink of greatness like John Wayne. Inside is a full page showing all their stars including Tex Ritter, Fay Wray, Keye Luke, Jean Parker, Movita, John Carroll, and others. There are Karloff photos on both pages in a double page layout proposing four titles for the Mr. Wong series. Of note is the page touting that since John Wayne is now a sensational star (Stagecoach), the public has demanded the reissue of 8 Monogram Westerns with Wayne!! This 1939 edition has water damage to the covers and tops of some of the inside pages. There is light wrinkling and smudges. The 1940 issue has special maroon plastic covers with gold printing. Inside are colorful two page layouts on Karloff's The Ape, Hoosier Schooldays, a double page layout on The Gypsy Cavalier with Gilbert Roland, which was never filmed. There are nice photos and art of Tex Ritter, The Range Busters series, Fred Scott, U.B. Iwerks cartoons, and more. This edition has scuff and wear to both plastic covers with a very small chip out of the top right of the back cover. The inside pages are in excellent condition. Fine/Very Fine"

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