How I Got to Madison Avenue. And beyond.

As with life, this blog is developing and changing. It began with a lot of stories that occurred on my career path from Albany to Madison Avenue and back.

There were some similarities to the AMC series "Mad Men," and then I went even farther back in time with a somewhat fictionalized version of growing up in Troy's Little Italy.

And now, a new development. As my free lance advertising and marketing career winds down, I'm becoming more interested in the theatre arts that my father and his 3 brothers helped instill in me as I grew up.

As a result, I've volunteered to help promote the Theatre Institute at Sage, and now, to continue a long-interrupted desire to be behind the proscenium, I've joined the newly formed Troy Civic Theatre, and was actually fortunate enough to appear in their first production.

So, I hope you'll enjoy the new stories that will develop from this latest turn.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Product Placement in Movies

It didn't start with James Bond. It didn't start with Buster Keaton or Charlie Chaplain. It started when the 20th Century began, in 1901. And I will show it to you in this blog. But be patient, I have a story to tell – one that leads to many delightful and intriguing serendipitous discoveries.

Maybe more fanatic cineastes than me already knew this, but here's how I learned about it.

Went to see “Hugo,” in 3D. (Albany area readers: as of this writing, it's still on the screen at the Spectrum8) A wonderful film, based on the uncategorizable book “The Invention of Hugo Cabret,” which I then borrowed from the library,

along with a dvd of “Melies The Magician.”

Follow this trail of imagination, and oh, the places you'll go!

You'll discover the world of 19th century automata, which, by the way, is not a place that gives you food for coins. And although the automaton in "Hugo" is fictional, there is a real one, even more intricate, on display at the Franklin Institute, which in fact, inspired the book in the first place. That landing page is here, complete with amazing videos.

You'll take a trip to the moon. And join in a new discovery of a century-old work -- that there is a restored color version of Melies's science fiction film.

Oh, and that product placement? It was Georges Melies himself, the renaissance man of filmdom, who had a giant bottle of Mercier Champagne paraded across the screen in one of the first filmed stories, Barbe-Bleu.

Not only that, but Melies created humorous commercials that were shown to Parisians at the turn of the last century, and are included in the dvd I watched.

Whether you're a film buff, an ad junkie or just a curious person, I guarantee an enjoyable voyage.

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