Well, let's get back at it. Slowly, but surely, I promise. For those who have newly subscribed since my last message (welcome aboard!), rest assured these collectibles-related posts don't come too often, though I do have a couple of them stored up.
And, hey, I won't apologize for allowing one of my all-time favorite collectibles to pull me back over to the blog—I'll warm my fingers up here, and eventually work my way back to talking about the old movies themselves.
The 8x10 linen-textured photos put out by the EMO Movie Club in the mid- to late-1930s have long been a favorite. I'm always a sucker for a set that's huge with an open checklist. The latest grouping I've acquired allows me to add three (3) new premiums to that checklist, plus send me back to my archives to catalog another three pieces I'd forgotten to add the last time I had encountered these.
That makes for, holy cow, a total of 258 known EMO Movie Club premiums issued between 1935-38.
July 1935 to be precise, as I'm now able to be.
Before I really nerd-out with the minutiae and lose all but the hardcores, let me unveil my favorite bit of trivia around the EMO Movie Club. EMO's identity. I think I've actually mentioned this before in a bit of an aside, a note tossed at the bottom of a post to make sure you were reading, but EMO was Eli M. Orowitz. Eli Maurice Orowitz, 1896-1959, to be more precise. Eli had a son named Eugene, but Eugene became better known as Michael Landon. Yup, that Michael Landon.
And I think that's pretty neat!
Here's a clip from some city's Herald-Journal (sorry for the poor record-keeping, didn't expect the page to disappear from Google!), February 22, 1970:
Kind of harsh with that "which failed" bit, but hey, whoever heard of the EMO Movie Club in 1970? 2017 ... anyone?
Okay, before moving along, here's a couple of quick links in case I'm about to lose you: the GALLERY page, which includes images of 240-plus of these photos; and my current R95 stock on eBay, which numbers just under a hundred pieces—I'd love to get that number down some! I'll be sure to include both of those links again for those who prefer to read on.
So, what was the club all about? To my mind the pictures were the best bit. Select theater discounts soon entered the equation, but I'm not sure how extensive those were. As for the pics, in July 1935 any movie fan who mailed one slim dime to the EMO Movie Club in Atlantic City, NJ, would receive back a cardboard-stiffened packet such as this:
..and I can now tell you that inside that very first packet they would receive the following eight (8) linen-textured movie photographs: Buddy Rogers, William Powell, Sylvia Sidney, Loretta Young, Jane Withers, Katharine Hepburn, and two "romantic poses," one picturing John Boles with Jean Muir, and the other Dick Powell with Joan Blondell.
Here's a look at that last one:
By the way, in case you noticed the return address reads EMO Movie Broadcast, apparently EMO had also taken to the airwaves. According to Independent Exhibitors, August 14, 1935 issue: "Our hat is off to EMO (Eli M. Orowitz) who built his "EMO MOVIE CLUB" up from scratch to the point where it goes over the air from 81 broadcasting stations throughout the country; after being caught in the crash we are all trying to forget about. His exhibit on the Steel Pier is a darb."
Steel Pier exhibit, anyone? Darb? Oh, darb, as in these linen pics are darb!
Back to the club. Regarding dues—essentially a monthly fee to receive each new packet of 8 photos—they quickly rose from the original 10 cents per month to 12 cents (15 cents in Canada) in order "to maintain the quality of the linen-like photos ..." (thank you, EMO!). Members were encouraged to send in a 25- or even 50-cent piece to subscribe in advance and make for simpler payment than the monthly dime plus two pennies (seems like a lot of people just sent the dime).
Once you ordered a packet of photos you also received an EMO Movie Club membership card, which the club was promising big things for early in their existence. By October the club newsletter announced that executives of the RKO theater circuit agreed to a twenty-percent discount on regular admission fees when club members in committee of eleven or more show up at the theater together. This deal was in place in Providence, Cleveland, and Detroit, with more cities to follow.
Here's a little addendum about the Pirtle circuit of theaters around Illinois that's a bit dry, but illustrates what the club was trying to bring its members:
By November 1935 the club newsletter boasted a membership count of over forty thousand, a number that even The Film Daily was buying as they reported it in their issue dated April 29, 1936.
I've included the club newsletters at the bottom of this post so anyone who's interested would have a chance to read them over. For me, the letter referring to the "November set" of photos offered a trove of information in listing the contents of each mailing from the club from July through October 1935. My checklist/gallery page already listed the mailings from September 1935 through July 1936, so now we know which eight (8) photos were sent to members during each of the first thirteen (13) months that the EMO Movie Club was in business.
I've appended those dates to each item on the checklist when it was known.
(I did not add the packets as advertised in the 1938 EMO Movie Star Photo Magazines that I previously covered in 2012. While the club was still issuing new photos by 1938, several of the earlier photos were being repackaged by then, leaving me unsure of which photos were originally sent together. I suspect the club had undergone major changes and/or experienced some type of hiatus before those 1938 mailings.)
I've also added six (6) new images to the gallery, though a few of those poses were identical to images previously included (the difference comes only in the name of the movie mentioned at the bottom of the photo). Two of the new-to-the-site images follow, Shirley Temple and Dick Powell:
Shirley has sold already, but if you'd like to check out all of the vintage EMO Movie Club photos that I currently have for sale, here's a link to them in my eBay Store.
(Other new images in the gallery are Jeanette MacDonald (San Francisco), Ruby Keeler (Colleen), Bette Davis (Special Agent), and Bing Crosby (Two for Tonight).
And, as promised, here's another link back to the CHECKLIST/GALLERY page for those who've read along this far.
Finally, those first few EMO Movie Club newsletters follow (if you click them, they should enlarge for you).
This last one was oversized, I had to scan it in two parts:
Thanks for reading. I should be back with something else sometime soon!
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