Celebrating B Movies, Cult Films, and Indie Classics.

From the Original Pressbook: ‘Coffy’ (1973)

by  |  May 21st, 2011  |  Blog, Exploitation

Above is a look at the front and back cover of the original pressbook used to advertise for 'Coffy' (1973). The pressbook has been signed by the films director - Jack Hill and actors Pam Grier & Sid Haig.


Alright guys, today we’re gonna do a different kind of recommendation, yet something I think is cool none the less. I hope you do too.

Don’t have to take my word for it, you can read all about ‘Coffy’ for yourself, with your own eyes, using the original material. The way it was back in 1973!

I want to share with you something from my private collection. Here’s a pressbook for the blaxploitation film ‘Coffy’ from 1973. What is a pressbook?

Good question. Here’s the answer: Back in the old days of cinema a company existed called National Screen Service. Or NSS for short. NSS was in charge and responsible for all the advertising and promotion of all the films in Hollywood. Big and small, NSS would cut trailers, radio spots, lobby cards, 1 sheets, half sheets, inserts heralds, you name it.

Here’s how it would work, NSS would compile all the different advertising into a Pressbook or a Showman’s Manual. NSS would then send said pressbook out to the Movie Theater’s (aka The Vendor).

Once received, the manager of the movie theater would go through the pressbook and choose the types of posters they wanted to advertise to promote the movie. It is of interest to know there were usually many different poster choices, targeting different audience demographics.

Once the theater manager chose the poster(s) they wanted, and this is the best part of the whole thing, NSS would then charge the theater for the posters and promotional materials! The more posters the better!

Just in case there's any confusion about what kind of movie 'Coffy' is, it's EXPLOITATION.

Samples of trivia and the gimmicks used to promote the films release. It's interesting to see the work involved and how many people got exploited for an exploitation movie.

Now, the theater manager would go through the pressbook and clip out prepared articles with interesting tidbits, facts and trivia as well as pictures, send those to the local Newspaper’s and interest would be generated in the film they’d be showing.

After all of that, the theater manager would then throw out the cut up pressbook. After the movies run, the theater’s were instructed to either destroy the posters themselves or send the promotional materials back to National Screen Services to be destroyed.

The posters and pressbook’s etc. were never meant or made available to the public. As such, they are considered to be collectable as they are rare and are considered to be art, since you can hang them on your wall. But not so fast!

In recent years, forgeries have become a prominent part of the Movie Memorabilia industry. There are certain things to look for, but that’s for another time.

I think it’s cool that this pressbook has been floating around in the great nebulas for like 38 years. 38 years! Where the hell has this thing been for the past 38 years and who had it that it survived, uncut, through time and space before it eventually landed in my care? Who the hell knows?  Goes without saying, but with the advent of the internet and digital media, there’s no more need for pressbooks. They don’t make them like that anymore. In fact, they just don’t make them at all.


Please leave a comment and give me some feedback because I may do more in the future!





Matthew Dowling, a native Philadelphian, now residing in Los Angeles, is an actor, writer and film maker. Matt's training with 2nd City, and numerous appearances in TV shows, movies, theater, infomercials, and most importantly... B movies, has prepared him for making B Movie recommendations.

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