Oral Histories

Interview of David Lipton

Advertising and publicity director for Universal Studios.
Recollections of David Lipton
Oral History of the Motion Picture in America
Film and Television
Biographical Note:
Advertising and publicity director for Universal Studios.
Lindquist, Rae Andre
Lipton, David
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
Interviewee Retained Copyright
Series Statement:
These interviews with prominent individuals in the motion picture industry were completed under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Film Institute to the UCLA Department of Theater Arts. The project was directed by Howard Suber, UCLA Department of Theater Arts. The UCLA Oral History Program provided technical advice but was not involved in respondent selection, research participation, research preparation, interviewing, editing, or transcript preparation.
Childhood in Chicago; entry into film business as office boy for Balaban and Katz; father's work on construction of Eiffel Tower and St. Louis World's Fair; developing publicity for Orphans of the Storm, 1922; coached in advertising and publicity by Lloyd Lewis, Ted Leburthen, Ben Serkowich, Oscar Doob; early movies and movie theaters in Chicago; theater posters by A. Raymond Katz; stage bands and other acts; Fanny Brice; Paul Whiteman; Emile Coué; the popularity of radio; visit to Hollywood, 1928; booking practices; minimal impact of underworld on Chicago movie business; "Umbrella Mike" and theater construction; Paramount-Publix theater circuit; change in advertising techniques with advent of sound; transfer to Detroit office of Balaban and Katz, 1929; organizing publicity department for Famous Players Canadian Corporation; publicity director for Sally Rand, 1933-36; differences between Rand and Gypsy Rose Lee; Rand's intellectual reputation; press relations counsel for Columbia Broadcasting System, New York, 1936; "Major Bowes' Amateur Hour"; use of Weekly Variety for publicity; CBS television planning session, 1937; publicity director, Universal, New York, 1938; Norman Alley's newsreel coverage of Japanese invasion of China; move to West Coast; Universal school for stars: Piper Laurie, Yvonne DeCarlo, Deanna Durbin; publicity for My Little Chickadee; natural publicity talents of W. C. Fields; promoting Marlene Dietrich in Destry Rides Again; success of Abbott and Costello; promotion techniques; George Gallup and audience preference polling; head of advertising and publicity, Columbia Pictures, New York, 1941; Harry Cohn and Nate B. Spingold; promoting Rita Hayworth; cooperation with producers; Motion Picture War Activities Committee; Motion Picture Association and censorship; with Lieutenant Stanley Kramer preparing newsreels for troops overseas; security surrounding military film Two Down and One to Go; head of advertising and promotion, Universal, 1946; economics of public relations; booking practices; drive-in theaters; distribution of theaters; length of movies; foreign distribution; quality of motion picture advertising; National Screen Service; function of advertising in motion picture industry; Otto Preminger's control of picture advertising; critics and reviewers; magazine advertising; advertising agencies; J. Walter Thompson; Jack Tinker and Company; McManus, John, and Adams; problems of conglomerates; television film production; decline in national advertising.