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Old 08-03-2018, 09:57 PM
Jobu's Avatar
Jobu Jobu is offline
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: WI
Posts: 2,341
Default RKO Theaters Babe Ruth Premiums Handed Out at Babe's Public Funeral/Viewing

As far as I can tell, people are uncertain about the origins of the Babe Ruth RKO Theaters premium.

RKO Theaters was a chain of theaters owned by RKO Pictures:
RKO Theaters previously operated theaters across the country:
…with a number of theaters in the Bronx:
The thread below discusses two variations of the premium, one that advertises The Babe Ruth Story and tells people to see it “ this RKO Theatre” starting on Wednesday, November 3, and another which lacks this box on the back, with the latter apparently more common:
It seems pretty clear that the version with the ad box on the back was handed out in theaters ahead of the movie, but what about the other version without the box?

As Frank Wakefield pointed out in post 4 of that thread, the stats on the back have the correct career totals but only show his Yankee hitting stats, an odd move for a premium with so much space on the back. I think the producers made this choice because this premium was only distributed in New York and nowhere else, so they were focused entirely on Yankees fans.

I have the following premium which has a note on the back from the original owner, saying that, when he was 13, he walked over 67 blocks each way to go through the viewing line for Ruth’s coffin on August 17, 1948. He also adds that everyone who passed the coffin was given this RKO Theaters souvenir photo of the Babe.

Given that the release of the movie was still 2.5 months away, it makes sense that RKO Theaters would have put their advertising on the front without any specific dates or locations on the back as they likely were not yet sure of the release date or which theaters would carry the film. When the release date was known, additional premiums were printed and sent to the theaters where the movie was to be shown.

If anyone has a access to 1948 phone books for the Bronx, I would love to get this kid's actual address.

I look forward to hearing what everyone thinks about this.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg RKO Theaters Ruth funeral a.jpg (72.4 KB, 313 views)
File Type: jpg RKO Theaters Ruth funeral b.jpg (74.1 KB, 311 views)

Last edited by Jobu; 08-03-2018 at 09:58 PM.
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Old 08-04-2018, 09:05 AM
chalupacollects chalupacollects is offline
Ti.m H.
Tim Hu,nt
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 484

Tell you one thing, if that kid walked from 228th Street down to the stadium that was one long walk!
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Old 08-04-2018, 05:31 PM
steve B steve B is offline
Steve Birmingham
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: eastern Mass.
Posts: 5,268

Giving out an advertisement at a funeral is just sooo tacky.

Seems plausible, which may be more influenced by my opinion of NYC than whether it's actually plausible.
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Old 08-08-2018, 09:27 PM
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brass_rat brass_rat is online now
Join Date: Dec 2009
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I agree with Tim -- that's quite the hike! (~12 miles round trip, walking...)

He did have nice weather for a walk though:

I'd try to find his address if I could read his name...that's the only illegible part of the whole story!
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Old 08-22-2018, 03:12 PM
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tiger8mush tiger8mush is offline
Rob G.
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 1,636

Nice premium and neat story! Thanks for sharing Bryan!

Joseph D. lorde?
He doesn't capitalize the "L" in "lorde" which is strange because his grammar is otherwise consistent, so perhaps his last name is something like Dilorde?
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