The influence of HERCULES and Steve Reeves in one trade ad!

This ad, published in MOTION PICTURE DAILY, shows the two big upcoming movies from Paramount in the *fall* of 1959: LI’L ABNER and the re-release of SAMSON AND DELILAH (1949)

The re-release of SAMSON AND DELILAH was set after the success of HERCULES, which was made in 1958 but released in August of 1959 in America. Remarkably enough, Steve Reeves auditioned for the role of Samson but his physique was considered too much by DeMille who eventually cast Victor Mature. Just to show you how influential the success of HERCULES was, just look at the original poster of SAMSON AND DELILAH when it was released in 1949 and compare it to when it was re-released in the fall of 1959.

The new poster amplified the muscular action hero and replicated the look of Steve Reeves as Hercules even though Victor Mature wasn’t even close to having the body of Reeves. Even the text “THE MIGHTIEST MORTAL WHO EVER LIVED!” is a direct line taken from HERCULES’ trailer. And notice how SAMSON is huge and ‘…AND DELILAH’ is much smaller. DeMille and Paramount finally took notice of Reeves.

Second, Steve Reeves tried to audition for the role of Li’l Abner.

He didn’t get the role which wasn’t a big loss considering how bizarre the movie was. It might have been a big loss for Paramount though. Had Steve starred in LI’L ABNER and the film released right after HERCULES, who knows how successful it might have been. I’m certain someone back then at Paramount mused about this. Even so, the apparent influence of Reeves and the success of HERCULES was obvious in the trade publication ad above.

PEPLUM titles advertised in old US newspaper

It’s always cool to see old newspapers with ads for PEPLUM movies. This one is a great example.

Now for those who aren’t aware of this in the past movies were advertised heavily in newspapers, mainly in the ‘Entertainment’ section. It was one of  the best ways to reach a vast audience…back then. Not today. But this selection of ads illustrates the reality of PEPLUM movies released in the US. We see  THE AVENGER (1962) staring Steve Reeves. I never cared for that title. It’s also known as WAR OF THE TROJANS or THE LAST GLORY OF TROY. It was the sequel to THE TROJAN HORSE (1961). As we can see it opened in 4 cinemas (‘starts today’) along with THE SECRET MARK OF D’ARTAGNAN (1962) starring George Nader. So, basically a double feature. Or maybe the two movies shared the same cinemas but patrons had to pay specifically for one movie only. Regardless, it shows how PEPLUM Swashbucklers were paired with ‘mythological’ titles like THE AVENGER. Some people wonder I cover these ‘swashbuckler’ movies or wonder why they’re even considered PEPLUM movies. Well, here’s your proof why.

Side note: There’s also an ad for MUSCLE BEACH PARTY starring future PEPLUM star Peter Lupus (aka Rock Stevens).