Highlights of the ephemeral "snipes" film genre.
More than mere ‘Coming Attractions’-style teaser trailers for upcoming feature films, the snipe film category encompasses such assorted skeletal trailer reel elements, as: ‘tags’ and ‘daters’ (eg. “Starts Sunday,” “Bargain Matinee”); concessions advertisements (eg. “Let’s All Go To the Lobby”); theatre policy notices (eg. “No Smoking”); holiday well-wishing messages from local businesses; Soundie-style musical interludes; and, countdown clocks—essentially everything other than the promos for feature films that one generally associates with the term, ‘trailer.’ Snipes, these "other" kinds of trailers, are an oft-overlooked genre of independent and industrial film. Produced by such regional independents as Chicago’s Filmack and Boston’s Pike Productions, snipe film production was known to be a refuge for emerging or out-of work animators; Walt Disney, Dave Fleischer, Walter Lantz, and Jay Ward are all known to have authored snipes during the hungriest points of their careers. Furthermore, as they were very often custom-tailored to the needs of specific theatres and localities, snipe films can reveal much about the cultural heritage and movie-going practices of individual communities.
This research is supported by Northeast Historic Film's William S. O'Farrell Fellowship, and New York University's Moving Image Archiving & Preservation Department.