Marie Antoinette Premiere

The new M-G-M film, Marie Antoinette, was scheduled to premiere at the Carthay Circle Theatre, Hollywood, CA, on July 8, 1938. Not wanting to miss a publicity moment, the opening was set to be broadcast on the NBC-Blue network. On the east coast, that broadcast went on the air at 11 p.m. (EST).

We first became aware of this broadcast from this article in The Film Daily of July 7, 1938:

The Film Daily 7-7-38

From there, we checked for newspaper listings. Here are two from opposite coasts. Both are from July 8th. The first is from the Altoona Tribune, Altoona, PA, and the second from the Arcadia Tribune, Arcadia, CA.

Altoona (PA) Tribune 7-8-38

Arcadia Tribune (CA) 7-8-38

On hand for the broadcast were Norma Shearer, Tyrone Power, John Barrymore, Anita Louise and Joseph Schildkraut, all of whom were in the film. Also appearing were Louis B. Mayer, vice-president of M-G-M, W.S. Van Dyke, the film’s director, Hunt Stromberg, producer of the film, and Adrian, the costume designer. Pete Smith, a producer and narrator for many M-G-M shorts was also there for the broadcast.

Other dignitaries appearing were Will Hays, President of the Motion Pictures Producers and Distributors of America, California Governor Frank Merriam, and the President of the University of Southern California, Rufus Von KleinSmid.

Stewart, with help from Freddie Bartholomew and Robert Young were the emcees for the program. Hedda Hopper was also on hand to describe the dresses of the women as they arrived at the theater.