Why are Trailers called Trailers?

Here's an explanation I got from one of my emails. I'm not sure of who the author is. (if you do, please tell me so I can update it.)

Why are the previews of coming attractions that we see before a movie called "trailers"? They don't trail behind the movie, they come before it. Shouldn't they be called "preceders"?

— G.M., via e-mail

Your logic is unassailable, G.M., and if such previews were being given a name only now, yes, "trailers" would be a counterintuitive choice. But as you imply, it's a perfectly reasonable thing to call an ad that's shown after a movie, and back at the dawn of the film industry, that's in fact when trailers were shown.

According to Paramount executive Lou Harris, as quoted in the Los Angeles Times of October 25, 1966, the first trailer was screened at Rye Beach, a New York-area amusement park, in 1912:

One of the concessions hung up a white sheet and showed the serial "The Adventures of Kathlyn." At the end of the reel Kathlyn was thrown in the lion's den. After this "trailed" a piece of film asking Does she escape the lion's pit? See next week's thrilling chapter! Hence, the word "trailer," an advertisement for a coming picture.

Harris goes on to note that Hollywood has periodically tried to introduce other names for these clips, like "Previews" or "Prevues of Coming Attractions," but trailer has remained the preferred term within the industry.

A few points here: One, if the coming attraction happens to be the next installment in a serial, of course you'd show an ad for it after the preceding episode, not before. And two, Harris seems to suggest that the word trailer refers less to when the clip was screened within the sequence of the program than to how the actual piece of film was used – it was stuck on the end of the main attraction and thus trailed behind.

Those familiar with early movie-theater logistics have pointed out that trailers shown after the feature served an important function beyond that of enticing patrons to come back for future shows: they also helped clear patrons out of the current show. Early theaters typically screened a variety of films in a repeating loop, and it was standard practice for customers to come in whenever they wanted and stay as long as they wanted. Theaters, and the movie studios that owned them, were therefore always looking for ways to keep audience turnover brisk. Apparently it was felt that running trailers between the features helped break up the hypnotic flow of entertainment, giving viewers a chance to snap out of it and at least consider moving along.

In its entry for trailer the Oxford English Dictionary provides quotations showing the word used in the sense meaning "promotional movie clip" from as far back as 1928. But in the New York Times of June 2, 1917, I found this passage in an article reporting on the movie industry's participation in a campaign to sell U.S. war bonds:

A committee of the National Association of the Motion Picture Industry yesterday began sending films known as trailers [advertising the bonds] to all of the 15,000 or more movie theatres in the United States. These films are seventy feet in length and will be attached to longer films that are shown at every performance.

Always fun to outdig the OED. Note that this explanation, like Harris's above, suggests a concrete basis for the term: a trailer is a short film that literally trails from the end of a longer one.

In her 2004 book Coming Attractions: Reading American Movie Trailers the late film scholar Lisa Kernan traces the development of the format. An early leader in the trailer game was National Screen Service, which in 1919 began making "crude 35 mm film ads from transferred film stills (without the studios' permission) and sold them to exhibitors to run following feature films." Seeing a major advertising opportunity, the industry was soon providing NSS with footage, and the company enjoyed a monopoly on trailer production until the late 20s, when the studios first started making their own trailers in-house.

It was in the 30s that trailers evolved beyond simple newsreel-style sequences of movie clips to include some wipe effects and more sophisticated graphics, and by the end of the decade they had their own narration and musical scores. Along the way, of course, someone apparently figured out what to us may seem entirely obvious: whatever the supposed benefits of showing trailers at the end of the show, more of the audience is more likely to stick around for more trailers if you screen them before the movie that everyone came to see.

500 Days of Summer Official Trailer

The official trailer for 500 Days of Summer, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel.

My agent recommended this movie and after watching the trailer, I think it's worth watching it!

So go for it!

Here's a shot description from Wikipedia:

(500) Days of Summer is a 2009 American romantic comedy film. It was written by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, directed by Marc Webb, produced by Mark Waters, and stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel. Principal photography began in April 2008 in Los Angeles, California.

The film made its debut at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and was a hit with festival audiences. It was picked up for distribution by Fox Searchlight Pictures and opened in US and Canadian limited release on July 17, 2009, later expanding to wide release in the US on August 7, 2009.[2] The film was also released on September 2, 2009, in the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom, and opened in Australia on September 17, 2009.[3]

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant Trailer

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant Trailer

You can visit the official site her: http://www.thevampiresassistant.net/

Here's a short description of the movie from Wikipedia:

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant is the 2009 film adaptation of the first three books of the book series The Saga of Darren Shan by author Darren Shan. The film began principal photography on February 8, 2008 in New Orleans and ended on June 3, 2008.[3] The film was distributed by Universal Studios. A portion of The Vampire's Assistant was filmed on a set constructed within New Orleans City Park, approximately 1000 feet off of the side of the road, along Harrison Avenue. The film was originally set for release on January 15, 2010, but was moved forward to October 23, 2009.

Enjoy the trailer!

The Wolfman Trailer

The Wolfman Trailer

Starring: Benicio Del Toro, Hugo Weaving, Anthony Hopkins, Kiran Shah, Elizabeth Croft, David Sterne

One good horror movie, all of us should watch!

Alice In The Wonderland Movie Teaser Trailer

Alice In The Wonderland Movie Teaser Trailer

It's another Johnny Depp's amazing film! You know you want to watch it!

The animation is also wonderful. I can't wait!

Where the Wild Things Are Official Trailer

'Where the Wild Things Are' Official Trailer

The first time I saw this, I said to myself they're like the cutest wild monsters one can ever see. I'm not even sure if it's worth watching. Oh well, here's the trailer and see if you'd like it?

Inglorious Basterds Official Movie Trailer

Inglorious Basterds Official Movie Trailer

Brad Pitt is Amazing here. One critique even said Brap Pitt grew in this movie as far as his acting powers are concern.

This is one recommended movie!

Faith Like Potatoes

We had a film showing a while ago in our Church and we have chosen this film.

And I think we've chosen the Best for this season. Believe it or not, we just came from a conference with a Theme: The Grand Harvest. And the movie talks just about that! A faith that should be real and a faith that even circumstances an people around don't agree so long as you believe, THINGS WILL HAPPEN! Even the impossible things!

Plus it's based on a real story.

Here's the DVD Trailer. You better get one!

Faith Like Potatoes

The best scene by the way was when the actor chose to give his life up to the Lord and bringing with him his wife and children. Ahhh amazing and so touching!

100 Movies to Watch Before You Die

Of course I'm not cursing you or anything but I bumped into this article in Yahoo and I think it's worth posting for all of you to know!

Here are just few of my picks:

  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

    Directed By: Ang Lee
    Starring: Chow Yun-Fat, Michelle Yeoh, Ziyi Zhang

    - I can remember Zhang Ziyi's rise to Stardom through this film. Amazing story! Amazing fight scenes!

    E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

    Directed By: Steven Spielberg
    Starring: Dee Wallace Stone, Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore 

    - Wasn't Drew Barrymore cute? 

    The Lord of the Rings (2001,2002,2003)

    Directed By: Peter Jackson
    Starring: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen
    RolloverWhy You Should See It
    - Of course. Who wouldn't watch this series?

    The Matrix (1999)

    Directed By: Larry Wachowski, Andy Wachowski
    Starring: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss 

    - I love the bending and flying fight scenes! Amazing story!

    Saving Private Ryan (1998)

    Directed By: Steven Spielberg
    Starring: Tom Hanks, Tom Sizemore 

    - Go Go Go Tom Hanks!

    The Sound of Music (1965)

    Directed By: Robert Wise
    Starring: Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer 

    - I'm not sure if there's still anybody who hasn't seen this movie. A Classic!

    Titanic (1997)

    Directed By: James Cameron
    Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet 

    - I've like seen this a million times! One Great MOVIE indeed!

    For the complete list click here:  100 Movies to Watch Before You Die

Ang Tanging Pamilya (A-Marry-Go-Round) Trailer

Ang Tanging Pamilya (A-Marry-Go-Round) Trailer starring Ang Tanging Ina herself Ai-ai Delas alas, Ex-president Joseph Estrada, Toni Gonzaga (whom I love so much), Sam Milby and introducing Aling Dionisia Pacquiao!

My team and I are watching this film this Nov. 14th here at SM Cebu. We're watching it to support the Philippines Film Industry and at the same time watch the voyage of an upcoming star: who else? ALING DIONISIA!

See you at the theaters!

Star Cinema na naman! I bet this would be great!

Prince of Persia | The Sands of Time Film Official Movie Trailer

Prince of Persia | The Sands of Time Film Official Movie Trailer

A film by Jerry Bruckheimer, plus producers of Pirates of Carribean, plus a Jake Gyllenhaal.

A very wonderful combination indeed.

Truly a Movie to Watch for!

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