The Nightmare Franchise
There has been a great interest in horror movies over the years, but none has gained a cult following as the Nightmare on Elm Street series.
From Wikipedia, I am reprinting their story on the Nightmare Franchise to give you some insight into this phenomenon.
The franchise began with the film series created by Wes Craven. The franchise is based on the fictional character Freddy Krueger, introduced in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), who stalks and kills teenagers in their dreams.
If Freddy kills the teenager in the dream world then they are killed in the real world. His motives were to seek revenge on their parents, who had burned him alive.
The original film was written and directed by Craven, who returned to co-script the second sequel, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987), and to write and direct New Nightmare (1994). The films collectively grossed over $455 million at the box-office worldwide.
The original film was released in 1984. A series of sequels produced by the independent film company New Line Cinema followed. New Line often attributes the growth of their company to the success of the Nightmare franchise. The film series as a whole has received mixed reviews by critics but has been a financial success at the box office.
When comparing the United States box office grosses of other American horror film series, A Nightmare on Elm Street is the second highest-grossing franchise in adjusted US dollars. In 1988, a television series was produced with Freddy as the host.
The pilot episode focused on the night Freddy was burned alive by the angry parents of the children he had killed, though the rest of the series featured episodes with independent plots.
Twelve novels, separate from the adaptations of the films, and multiple comic book series were published featuring Freddy Krueger, as well as a crossover film featuring fellow horror icon Jason Voorhees from the Friday the 13th franchise.
Are you a Nightmare on Elm St. Fan? Check out this great fan site too…
1989, Movie Tee’s Was In Trouble
When I first went into business I got my starting order from CBS Fox Home Video. You may have already read that story, if not read it first, it will give you the necessary understanding of my business, then come back here to read this one which is Chapter 2 of the Movie Tee’s Story.
Welcome back, now it is 5 years since I started Movie Tee’s and as you have read, we were in trouble. Tee-shirts were no longer selling.
Video companies and distributors no longer needed them for promotions, the video stores proved they couldn’t sell or merchandise products properly and selling direct to the consumer, was simply not working.
Movie Tee’s was at a crossroads now and I decided to go after the promotions and premium market and started to come up with unique programs for video releases.
One of the big ones was for the release of the Nightmare on Elm Street promotion that helped us at a time when there weren’t many good things going on at Movie Tees.
I was told that Media Home Entertainment was looking for a unique and affordable premium, to pack inside their new three videos promotional pack of Nightmare I, II and III.
I decided that this would be a great chance to have one last shot at a big program that would generate big dollars.
Nightmare On Elm Street Promotional Viewers, The Pitch
I have been a photographer from the age of ten and had been shooting 3D slides and photos for years. I had seen some cardboard viewers that had a stereo pair inside and I thought this would be a great idea for the Nightmare promotion.
I got on the phone with my contacts at the media and gave them my pitch. I told them I could come up with a low cost, 3D Viewer that could be folded flat and packed inside the video boxes.
We could include a scene from the Nightmare on Elm St. 5 films, which was being filmed at that time.
I sent them some 3D slides I had shot with a plastic viewer to give them some idea of what it would look like and they loved it. This was, of course, years before the motion picture industry embraced 3D.
We were so far ahead of the times with this promotion and I knew that one day, 3D would once again emerge as a medium that everyone would enjoy.
I never realized it would take so many years for the technology to make 3D a reality.
I suppose my first introduction to 3D was through the 3D slides my uncle shot at my Bar Mitzvah in 1956. At that time he was the family photographer, he took the 8mm movies and the 3D slides.
I still like to go back and see my departed mother, father, brother and the rest of our family in those slides, they are so life like and so real to me.
I got the go-ahead from my friend Janice Whiffen who was the VP of Marketing at Media and we were off and running. They would need 150,000 viewers, so this was indeed a big deal and one that could save Movie Tees.
Now I had to move fast and arrange with New Line Cinema, who was shooting the film at that time, to get permission to have their unit photographer shoot the images we needed.
He would use the Movie Tee’s supplied Realist stereo cameras to shoot the images, something he had never done before. The photographer and I came to terms with his work for hire arrangement.
I gave him detailed instructions on the use of the Realist 35mm Stereo camera I would send him and instructions on how to achieve the best 3D effects using it.
Unfortunately, the film was almost completed and we only had a couple of days to get this done. Our photographer had to set up lights and then try to grab Robert Englund for the shots.
Things were chaotic on the set and I had to hope our hired photographer would succeed or all was lost.
I received the single roll of film back from the lab, there were only a handful of stereo pairs. The photographer told me that there just wasn’t enough time and that was all he could shoot.
Luckily I was able to find two pairs of images that I thought would work, those are the ones you see in this article.
After approval from Media Home Entertainment the original film strip shipped to 3D Mark, the company handling the production of the viewers. They already knew we had to rush the order so we could get them out to Media in time for their video release.
3D Viewer Production Problems
Approximately 75,000 of each viewer was to be manufactured and we had less than 60 days to get this done.
Unfortunately, 3D Mark the promotions company I selected to produce the viewers had a number of manufacturing problems that I didn’t know about until it was too late.
You see each viewer had to be hand-assembled and the project was contracted to a company in Mexico to assemble the viewers by hand.
Only 8,000 viewers per day could be assembled and they were supposed to be pre-folded during production. Their production manager wasn’t on top of this sub-contractor and they forgot to fold the viewers. As a result, the end-user could have some difficulty opening these viewers for the first time.
What else could go wrong…the clock was ticking and time was short.
In the meantime, these delays and the impending release date of the videos meant that actual samples never went through the final approvals the way they should have.
I was supposed to get some final samples before production went into full swing, that never happened. They assured me that everything was in order and to trust them.
Now, this was set up so all the viewers would be shipped directly to the video packing company to be inserted in the respective packages.
The red viewer in the box set and the black one in Nightmare 4. After the actual viewers were shipped, I received my samples and realized that the black viewers were not in 3D.
After calls to 3D Mark, they discovered that during the film duplication process, the production manager responsible for selecting a pair (left eye and right eye images for duplication) made an error. They ended up having the film lab duplicate the left eye image twice.
The bigger issue was the impending delivery date of the viewers and with the production of only 8,000 per day, how could we redo 75,000 viewers and still make our deadlines. If we failed to do so, the order could be canceled and I could stand to lose many thousands of dollars.
The Mistake And A Solution
Since Janice Whiffen and I had become good friends over the years, I called her and explained the problem. By this time, very little could be done.
I suggested that we let the black viewers go as planned and hope the consumer didn’t realize that it was, in fact, a 2D image in the viewer and frankly, too many fans, it wouldn’t really matter.
It went with what we had or try to pull the entire project and ruin the promotion, so Janice and I decided to go with what we had and hope for the best.
Since we could produce another 8,000 viewers with the correct images in time, I suggested we could then mix them into the original order. We would use some for distribution to the Media and video executives and distributors. Our hope was that none of the retail customers receiving the premiums would even notice the problem.
As it turned out, they didn’t and the promotion was a huge success. After all the 3D images were quite small and looking through one of these viewers with the plastic lenses, this detailed image could have appeared to be 3D, even though it wasn’t.
Of course, I offered a monetary allowance to Media Home Entertainment and then went back to 3D Mark with a demand for compensation for the faulty viewers.
We came to a satisfactory arrangement and I was able to have them produce the additional 8,000 viewers at no additional cost.
The correct viewers were then sent to Media Home Entertainment to replace some of the incorrect ones we shipped them.
Friendships & Clear Heads Helped Resolve The Problem
I was fortunate to have become good friends with Janice and the others at Media. If I didn’t have a close working relationship and friendship with them, I am sure it would have been a more painful experience for me and Movie Tees.
Janice was indeed one of my best friends during those years and I looked forward to my trips to LA to work with her and her team.
These Were Great Times
I miss her and all the other wonderful people I got to know in the five years Movie Tee’s was in operation and now that I have written these articles, I intend on locating some of them and maybe reminisce a little about those good times. I have found that Facebook has become a great way for me to relive some of my best memories.
I have already reached out and found so many old friends, people I knew and worked with. It truly does help us connect people in a way that no other medium can.
Media Home Entertainment Was Being Sold
As we were dealing with the final plans for this promotion and the problems, I got a call from Janice. She informed me that she was leaving Media Home Entertainment.
Her assistant would take care of the payment to me and the remaining details on this promotion. I was shocked to hear this and later discovered that Media Home Entertainment was being sold to CBS Fox Home Video, the same company that put me in business was the one that would now take me out of this business.
Fate Can Also Close Doors Too
As I wrote in my first article about Movie Tee’s, fate often opens new doors and opportunities, this story shows you that fate can also close those doors too.
Movie Tee’s, the five glorious years I was in this business were simply the most amazing and exciting ones in my life.
I left the women’s clothing industry to enter a new industry that would have me travel around the country meeting with top executives in the motion picture and video business.
I worked in a drop-dead, decorator designed brand new live/work apartment in New York City. I would commute back to New Jersey to be with my family and we all would stay at our New York apartment on the weekends.
I worked with beautiful models as I photographed all of the Movie Tee’s promotional photos for press releases and ads.
Our company exhibited our products at the best trade show ever, the Video Software Dealers Shows in Las Vegas. We took our top models to these shows and we had a blast. So many parties that the studio’s, video distributors and other companies would sponsor.
It was a glorious time for all of us then, after all, it was the 1980’s and times were so different then.
Each line of these articles took me back to those glory days. I hope my readers can also remember their glory days too. Writing these articles has been bittersweet for me, but I simply had to have one more chance to relive and share these stories with you.
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