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Kroger Babb (1906 - 1980)

Since it is listed on a page about Kroger Babb, I would assume that this is one of the leaflets Kroger Babb sold on his roadshows.
image sourced here.

Kroger Babb and Ingmar Bergman

Harriet Andersson in Summer with Monika (1953)

Harriet Andersson in Summer with Monika (1953)

Kroger Babb (born December 30, 1906 in Lees Creek, Ohio, USA, died January 28, 1980 was an American film producer and travelling salesman in the medicine show tradition; best remembered for Mom and Dad (1945), an early exploitation film.

In 1955, Kroger Babb acquired the American theatrical rights for Ingmar Bergman's, A Summer with Monika, which he edited down, retitled Monika: The Story of a Bad Girl, and advertised emphasizing the film's nudity. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kroger_Babb [Aug 2005]

See also: Kroger Babb - Ingmar Bergman - exploitation film - bad girls


Howard W. Babb had gotten the nickname "Kroger" from the name of the grocery store where he worked as a boy growing up in Lees Creek, Ohio. Born in 1906, he was a sportswriter, a newspaper reporter, an ad manager, and, by his late 20s, publicity manager for the Chakeres-Warners theater chain, where he distinguished himself with publicity stunts such as having a man buried alive in front of a theater. He got the exploitation roadshow bug when he hooked up with an outfit called Cox and Underwood, which was peddling an aging sex hygiene film called Dust to Dust that was actually a 1935 film called High School Girl with a live-birth reel slapped onto the end. Proving that he was born to be in the business, itís the same plot Babb would use in Mom and Dad. (The Forty Thieves frequently quarreled over territories, but they never sued for copyright infringement. Of course, many of them were carnival men, who regarded all cons as ancient and passed down from generation to generation, but they may also have simply sold stories the same way they occasionally sold sideshow acts.)--Joe Bob Briggs, http://reason.com/0311/fe.jb.kroger.shtml, Nov 2003

Kroger Babb, who billed himself as "Americaís Fearless Young Showman," ruled over a vast army of Mom and Dad "roadshow units" from his headquarters in Worthington, Ohio. He used a form of exhibition that has all but disappeared today, called "fourwalling." Instead of booking his film into theaters for a percentage of the box office, he would simply rent the theater outright and take it over for the week or, in smaller markets, just one or two days. He would pay for all advertising and promotion, put his own banners and marquees out front, and turn the theater into a midway attraction, complete with lobby curiosities designed to lure customers. But because he was a pariah in Hollywood, he had to use independent mom-and-pop theaters that werenít part of the big chains like Paramount and RKO, and he had to fight censorship boards, police forces, judges, clergy, and outraged newspaper editors everywhere he went. The film was in 400 separate court proceedings during its run. --Joe Bob Briggs, http://reason.com/0311/fe.jb.kroger.shtml, Nov 2003

Kroger Babb died January 28, 1980, in Palm Springs, California, at the age of 73.--Joe Bob Briggs, http://reason.com/0311/fe.jb.kroger.shtml, Nov 2003

Mom and Dad (1945) - Kroger Babb

"We can even go way back in history to Mom and Dad, a boring pseudo sex documentary from the forties brilliantly hyped by the great-great grandfather of exploitation, Kroger Babb. Since the film contained footage of an actual birth of a baby, Mr. Babb realized this was a chance to legally show full-frontal female nudity." --John Waters, Crackpot: The Obsessions of John Waters, (New York, Vintage Books), p.14,

Sex hygiene [...]

Medicine Show

But this was not Hollywood promotion. In fact, Hollywood spent 20 years campaigning to get rid of movies like Mom and Dad. This was the last wave of the 19th-century medicine shows -- part biology lesson, part sideshow, part morality play, part medical "shock footage" -- and to this day many old-timers regard it as the purest and most successful exploitation film in history. It played continuously for 23 years, still booking drive-ins as late as 1977, and grossed an estimated $100 million. --Joe Bob Briggs, http://reason.com/0311/fe.jb.kroger.shtml, Nov 2003

Grindhouse cinema [...]

Grindhouse moves giddily through the decades, passing from '30s "road to ruin" pix to the '40s burlesque and dope films, and into the '50s, when grindhouses became "art houses." The two strains collided in 1955 when huckster Kroger Babb bought the U.S. rights to Ingmar Bergman's Summer with Monika. (Babb was notorious for his 1944 cinematic marriage manual Mom and Dad, which featured a birth in clinical detail.) Besides what the authors call "imported Euro-skin," the 1950s saw the ascendance of Russ Meyer with his classic of voyeurism, The Immoral Mr. Teas (1959). -- Gary Morris, http://www.brightlightsfilm.com/18/18_grind.html

A Summer with Monika

Commenting on Ingmar Bergman's, A Summer with Monika, (that Babb retitled Monika: The Story of a Bad Girl, edited down, and launched an advertising campaign for, capitalizing on the nudity contained in the picture after purchasing American theatrical rights to it in '55), "...I don't think too many intellectuals saw Kroger Babb's cut of Monika, but I'll bet the farm that more Americans saw it than any other Bergman film ever imported."(11) Friedman went on to head the Adult Film Association of America for seventeen years. --David F. Friedman

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