New movies were on the move for Luton cinemas

Easter Parade at the Savoy in 1948
Easter Parade at the Savoy in 1948

Many years before the internet and when very few people owned a TV, film distributors and cinema managers came up with some novel ideas to promote the latest movies.

They could advertise in newspapers and magazines, of course, and trailers for forthcoming films were shown before the main feature in local cinemas, as they are today.

But competition was fierce, with many towns and cities across the country having several picture houses to choose from.

Luton was no exception and the Savoy, later called the ABC, in George Street claimed above its entrance that it had the ‘world’s best holiday programme’ for Easter 1948.

White horse and carriage were hired to help spread the word that the big attraction was American musical Easter Parade, starring Judy Garland and Fred Astaire.

Featuring music by Irving Berlin and including well-known songs like We’re A Couple Of Swells, it was the highest-grossing musical of the year.

A stilt-walker took to the streets of Luton and the Hatters’ Kenilworth Road ground to tell shoppers and football fans not to miss The Amazing Colossal Man, a 1957 black-and-white science fiction film showing at the Ritz, which later became a nightclub under many names, in Gordon Street.

The movie revolved around a 60ft mutant produced as a result of an atomic accident.

A truck was turned into a float to advertise The Long Ships, an adventure film starring Richard Widmark and Sidney Poitier, about to open at the Odeon in Dunstable Road in 1964.

Screwball comedy Move Over, Darling, with Doris Day and James Garner, was playing there at the time.