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History of THE WITCHMAKER initial marketing and premiere in 1969
History of THE WITCHMAKER initial marketing and premiere in 1969 ------------- Here's the background story of my connection with THE WITCHMAKER (1969 Excelsior Films) starring Alvy Moore, Thordis Brandt, Anthony Eisley, and John Lodge (also Susan Bernard).
Before that, I worked two years as a regional movie publicist for the Jack Wodell Associates SF CA USA based regional ad/PR agency which specialized in local (SF Bay area) movie publicity, primarily for Warner Bros., but also for other studios, large and small.
United Artists Theatre Chain of SF CA showed a lot of "Indy" movies (along w/Hollywood studio movies) in movie houses and drive in theaters the chain owned.
THE WITCHMAKER (1969) was aimed at drive in theaters, which did big biz w/teen agers in parked cars necking quite a bit, and not paying attention to the quality of the movie.
It was a rather dull movie, never became a "classic," but did well anyway, made money for it's investors when presented at large chains of drive-in movie theatres, still operating in the LA CA USA area and elsewhere in 1969.
It was created from the partnership of LQ Jones and Alvy Moore, both character actors of long experience and high standing in Hollywood for 20 years before THE WITCHMAKER (1969) was made and released.
The movie was shot in Louisiana in 3 weeks, featured Ms. Thordis Brandt, who was a famous beauty queen of the times who had appeared in FUNNY GIRL (1968) starring Barbra Streisand...Brandt was a Ziegfeld Follies beauty (in contrast to ugly Steisand, which was the joke of the movie.....Fanny Brice/ Streisand made more money, got more famous than the beauties who worked as Ziegfeld beauty queen girls).
Brandt was no actress. She was a model for still photos.
She ran through the jungles of Louisiana bare breasted, but cupping her tits with her hands. THAT was the big sex scene in the show.
Keep in mind porn had just become legal, and the Sex Revolution of the 1960's was in high gear.....subject of big interest for the public which the major studios didn't get near.
Indy movie makers jumped in to make money and did covering the subject, recruiting the likes of Thordis Brandt and other "witches" and girls of beauty part of the movie to show off their charms and parts.
Making Indy movies is not an original idea....many get made, most go nowhere, including very good ones with very famous names and big stars...but no distribution.
Jones and Moore got VERY lucky connected with the SF CA USA based United Artists Theatre Circuit....which backed THE WITCHMAKER (1969) ...already finished when the deal was made.
MORE movies were funded and made, but never did as well as the THE WITCHMAKER which was tested and promoted and premiered in Phoenix, AZ at the Acres Drive In, and promoted on the local KOOL-TV Gene Autry owned TV station.
I was the main guy in Phoenix AZ flown for a month or so to Phoenix AZ to set up and execute the premiere of THE WITCHMAKER (1969) which eventually included a gathering of all the big shots and actors part of the movie....they appeared on local TV and other local media, and hyped the show.....which did VERY well at the Acres Drive in during the hot summer of 1969 (June or July or so).
I was 25 years old, but quite a big shot publicist and publicity/ PR manager for JackWodell Assoc. Ad and PR Co. at 582 Market St, 19th Floor (which also was the main publicist for the SF CA USA Film Festival, and did non-movie PR on occasion for restaurants such as the IMPERIAL PALACE Restaurant of fame in Chinatown, SF USA).
Jack Wodell Assoc. created the TV ads and previews of coming attraction ads (aka "Trailers") and also the radio spot ads and also the newspaper ads for THE WITCHMAKER (also the "one sheet" movie posters, which I have a copy of in my kitchen as I type this in 2012 in Columbia PA USA!).
It also placed all the ads for the movie in Southern Calif. where United Artists Theatre Circuit owned maybe 70 drive-ins, ALL of which opened THE WITCHMAKER on the same 1969 weekend, and that resulted in VERY big money for everybody! Sue Bernard was in the movie, and she was the 25 year old daughter of Bruno Bernard, aka "Bruno of Hollywood" who was famous for movie star celebrity portraits.
Sue is now a very rich old lady in her late 60's still raking in money because her Dad shot the most famous photo of all of Marilyn Monroe, and left Sue the Copyright.
Right! The movie lasted and lasted and lasted.
It was turned into a VHS tape in the 1980's which few Indy horror movies of the 1960's were......one can still buy movie posters for the movie on the Internet.
Most of the people part of it are dead or geezer.
Well.....memories from Tex Allen (birth name David Roger Allen) of THE WITCHMAKER (1969 Excelsior Films) starring Alvy Moore, Anthony Eisely, John Lodge, Thordis Brandt, and Sue Bernard (and others
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