Claudette Colbert, Percy Crosby, and the Bride of Frankenstein

One of the more tedious and time-consuming jobs here at the Library is scanning, especially for a book like Skippy vol. 4 that contains three years of dailies (1934-1936). For those of you who are counting, that’s more than 900 scans. It’s also a very rewarding task in that we know that our efforts are digitally preserving those 900-plus strips of rotting newsprint.

As we place each daily face down on the scanner, we can’t help but look on the back. More often than not, it’s the classified section or an ad for a local department store (“Chic New Spring Hats, only 69 cents!”)…but certain newspapers would run dailies on the verso of the local entertainment listings, and that can be fun—and instructive.

Newspaper strips weren’t published in a vacuum, so looking at the movie ads can give us a new perspective about their place in overall pop culture. At the same time as readers were enjoying Skippy’s philosophy about life, moviegoers could catch Boris Karloff in James Whale’s Bride of Frankenstein, Frank Capra’s Academy Award-winning It Happened One Night with Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable, or Margaret Sullavan and Herbert Marshall in The Good Fairy, Mae West vamping it in Goin’ to Town, or Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy singing their way through Naughty Marietta, among other wonderful choices. Here are a few of those ads from 1934. Enjoy!

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