Gruen in Marx Brother's movie....

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Gruen in Marx Brother's movie....

#1 Post by MikeTheWatchGuy » Thu Jul 06, 2017 1:30 pm

I stumbled upon a legal case that I had not read about previously that I was stunned to read. It's just too weird to not post.

You can find the full text of the brief, photos, etc, on GruenWristatches on a new page dedicated to court cases.

In a 1951 case between Gruen and Artists Alliance, Gruen alleges that they were swindled out of Product Placement in a films "Love Happy" staring the Marx Brothers.

I'll summarize using words in the actual complaint.... it's too weird to believe...

Gruen constructed a specially designed advertising display consisting of a very large neon illuminated clock with the words "Gruen Watch Time" at the top. The clock had a huge swinging pendulum and Harpo Marx swung from this in a Hollywood "chase" sequence. This display was made and used in the filming in 1948.

Then, in Sept 1948, the film's publicity director wrote Gruen, sending them photos from the filming using Gruen's clock, suggested Gruen might want to send watches to be displayed in connection with advertising the picture.

Then, after Gruen had told people they would appear in the film, they were again contacted, this time with a demand that Gruen pay $25,000 (over $250,000 today!!!) to help cover the costs of advertising the film and Gruen watches. The bill came with a threat to not just remove the Gruen name from the clock prop in the film, but to replace Gruen with BULOVA!

Recall that this giant prop was actually built by Gruen, presumably at some hefty expense.

When I looked up the film Love Happy on YouTube to see what the outcome of this threat was.... I was shocked to see at 1:19:28....
Love Happy Film Frame 02.jpg
Love Happy Film Frame 02.jpg (277.81 KiB) Viewed 757 times
You can read the full brief on GruenWristwatches.

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Re: Gruen in Marx Brother's movie....

#2 Post by kastner » Sat Jul 08, 2017 1:28 pm

It never dawned on me that product placement was going on way back when...but of course it was! Thanks for sharing the story Mike.

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