Putting Up A Great Front
Broadway's Rialto Celebrates Sherlock Holmes
Behold the above masterpiece of front design and marvel that such artistry was taken down and replaced on week or bi-week basis while Broadway's Rialto Theatre was operated by "Merchant Of Menace" Arthur Mayer, the Harvard-graduate showman best of all at his job and known industry-wide for it. Mayer didn't limit to exhibition, being analyst (his many trade columns), historian (a memoir, Merely Colossal, in 1953), and teacher/lecturer at USC, Stanford,
Ad space sold high as kites in NY dailies, so Mayer put his dollars on the street, where passerbys could be lured by siren tune of ghouls within. Universal's Sherlock Holmes group was strictly B, played beneath larger fish in urban markets, but The Scarlet Claw ran lone at the Rialto, a berth we fans would accord any Universal favorite, but which theatres too-seldom did when pics were new. Here was premiere of The Scarlet Claw on Broadway, in a spot seating 594, admission from forty to eighty-five cents, depending on showtime, and age of patronage. You could enter the
Mainstream critics always condescended to success that was
Sherlock Holmes was singularly exploitable because you could sell him for mystery or outright horror, depending on need.