Let's All Go to the Lobby
|Let's All Go to the Lobby|
Four anthropomorphic snack food items singing Let's All Go to the Lobby.
|June 19, 1953|
Let's All Go to the Lobby is a 1953 animated musical advertisement played before the beginning of the main film or before intermission. It features four anthropomorphic concession stand products walking to the concession stand, while a chorus of singers sing "Let's all go to the lobby to get ourselves a treat". One shot from the film depicts a candy bar, a box of popcorn, a box of candy, and a soda walking behind the silhouettes of audience members in the foreground, creating an illusion of depth.
The film is technically known as a snipe, which is defined as material broadcast in a projection screen without being part of the featured presentation. This definition includes advertising material, previews of coming attractions, courtesy requests for the audience, and notices concerning the concession stand of the movie theater. According to film historian Scott Simmon, the history of advertising films begins with Admiral Cigarette (1897) by William Heise.
The Chicago-based Filmack Studios, originally known as Filmack Trailer Company, was founded in 1919 by Irving Mack. The company specialized in the production of newsreels and promotional material for theaters. By the 1950s, the sales of the concession stands represented a significant portion of movie theaters' revenue. Filmack commissioned a series of Technicolor trailers aimed at informing audiences about a theater's newly installed concession stand. Let's All Go to the Lobby was one of these films.
The trailer was animated by Dave Fleischer and produced by Filmack Studios. Fleischer was identified as the creator of this short film in a list of Filmack's releases which reported that "Both trailers were produced exclusively for Filmack by Dave Fleischer...". Specific details for his involvement are lacking, and the rest of the production crew remains unknown. Production may have started by 1953, but Robbie Mack (a later owner of Filmack) estimates it was completed c. 1955. The release date is typically estimated to 1957. The original production records are considered lost. Filmack sold to various theater owners the right to use the film, which it still owns.
Four animated food items (from left to right: candy bar, popcorn, candy, and a soda) are depicted walking leftwards. In the foreground before these characters are silhouettes of audience members, creating an illusion of depth. Daniel Eagan notes that this illusion of depth in animation was a standard technique of the medium. It had been perfected in the 1930s, in films from both the Fleischer Studios and Walt Disney Productions. Later, a group of four consumers are depicted enjoying their purchased food items. The sequential action of this simple scene uses techniques that can be traced back to Gertie the Dinosaur (1914) by Winsor McCay.
The eponymous song of the film is set to the same tune as "We Won't Be Home Until Morning", "The Bear Went Over the Mountain", "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow", and "Marlbrough s'en va-t-en guerre" (c.. 1709). The tune is of unknown origin and probably predates these songs. It was well enough known in the early 19th century to be used for a passage in Wellington's Victory (1813) by Ludwig van Beethoven.
While the use of animation in lieu of photography lends a degree of abstraction to the idea of concessions, in America's Film Legacy, Daniel Eagan argues that "[w]ith its simple, repetitive lyrics and streamlined animation, Let's All Go to the Lobby has a hypnotic pull that is as compelling today as it was fifty years ago." He also notes that by choosing not to simply photograph the offered items, the creators of the film managed to avoid using brand names for the products for sale.
Filmack has continued selling copies in the decades since its production. The company estimates that 80% of independent theaters have screened the film at various points.
In 2013, the film was re-used in a pre-movie GEICO commercial in which the characters go off the set after that performance and talk on their cell phones to talk about their schedules and their performances. The Gecko appears and talks to them about not using their cell phones while the movie is playing. The food items apologize to the viewers and go back in the scene in the opposite direction where they sing "Let's All Silence Our Cell Phones".
In 2019, The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part made a reference to this short film, re-enacting it with different characters and a different ending. In this footage, Systar System inhabitants Banarnar, Ice Cream Cone, and Chocolate Bar are singing the song until they get attacked by Princess Unikitty.
- Eagan, Daniel (2010), "Let's All Go to the Lobby", America's Film Legacy: The Authoritative Guide to the Landmark Movies in the National Film Registry, Continuum International Publishing Group, ISBN 978-0-8264-2977-3
- Inspiration - Filmack Catalog. February, 1954. Volume 15, Issue 2. Page 10.
- Original prints are Kodak date coded 1953.
- Eagan (2010), p. 543-544
- Komorowski, Thad. "Let's All Go to the Lobby" (PDF). Library of Congress.
For one of the more iconic shorts in the National Film Registry, Technicolor Refreshment Trailer No. 1, better known as Let's All Go to the Lobby, easily has one of the murkiest histories.
- Valentine, Maggie: "The Show Starts on the Sidewalk: An Architectural History of the Movie Theatre, Starring S. Charles Lee". Yale University Press, 1996.
- National Film Preservation Board
- "'Let's All Go to the Lobby': SVA Faculty Members Recast the GEICO Gecko". SVA Close Up. 2013-10-30. Retrieved 2017-01-15.
- Weho Times: Reivew of Lego Movie 2