The Seventh Seal, 1957
Hasbro’s “Grim Death’s Fun Scythe” proved much less successful than would the Star Wars Light Saber some years later.
The 400 Blows, 1959
During the first week of screenings in New York, patrons leaving the theater were struck once, sharply across the face, by an authentic French headmaster.
Cool Hand Luke, 1967
A limited number of vials of George Kennedy’s sweat, authenticated by Mr. Kennedy himself, were offered to paying customers, for use as either keepsakes or popcorn garnishing.
Rosemary’s Baby, 1968
The Tiny Terror Raw Meat Mobile. When wound, it played “Sympathy for the Devil.” A cold seller.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 1975
Japanese-manufactured dolls came complete with removable frontal lobes. McDonald’s briefly entertained the notion of piggybacking them with “Unhappy Meals,” but then decided against it.
After screenings during the first month of showings, pamphlets providing the exact definition of statutory rape in the state of New York were distributed.
Apocalypse Now, 1979
The Colonel Kurtz “Smooth Scalp in a Can” excited little interest. It was wrongly assumed that those who loved the film might love the smell of napalm on their bald pates.
My Dinner With Andre, 1981
Inaction figures of Andre Gregory and Wallace Shawn did not generate much interest, despite the fact that the look of bewilderment on the Shawn figure’s face was remarkably lifelike.
Vincent and Theo, 1990
A bloody, desiccated ear! One in every box of Weetabix. A source of protein and revulsion, if nothing else.
Life Is Beautiful, 1997
Limited-edition movie poster with the original tagline, “Comedy = Tragedy + Italian goofball actor.”
The Blair Witch Project, 1999
Camera-motion-sickness bags probably did more harm than good through the power of suggestion.