Master Showman - Kroger Babb Dwain Esper

This beauty is from the incredible Kroger Babb, the master showman himself. Written by Babb's wife Mildred Horn, this was the type of book you could purchase if you went to see his classic Mom and Dad (1945) directed by drunken William Beaudine. This book has a chapter called "Children's Early Sex Problems". No, you don't want to know. Babb and Beaudine would go on to release some Christ-sploitation, The Price of Peace (1948).

 I've been collecting rare books since the mid 70's. I have some truly incredible material in my library. Most of you who know me know that I'm obsessed with Dwain Esper and his re-release of Freaks. Aside from my 16mm print of the Dwain Esper credited Freaks, I also have these two books penned by Espers wife Hildegarde Stadie. Of interest, though these books appear to be different volumes made for men and women they are not, they are the exact same book with a different cover on it. Both books are dated 1945. They would sell then during the screening of one of their "Modern Motherhood" films, so not only did they clean up with the film but they racked in even more money with the books. From the days of showmanship. Being ripped off by these guys was an honor. Getting ripped off by doctors, lawyers and Indian chiefs is a disgrace!

Dwain Esper had optioned Freaks (1932) from MGM in 1949. This gave him a ten year lease of which he continually re-released Freaks often with title changes. It was also known as The Freak, Natures Mistakes, and at one point was even titled The Love Life of Freaks. Here is an original hand bill distributed in 1949 announcing the Dwain Esper re-release. When I was giving a presentation in Fall of 2017 on the subject of Tod Browning, a woman in the audience recalled seeing it in 1949 as a youth. It impressed her so much that in the 1960's there was a showing in Manhattan and she dragged her husband to see it.

The following is from Esper's roadshow of Hitlers Captive Women (which was actually a well budgeted Monogram propaganda film from 1943 called Women in Bondage) and a newsreel of Soviet Russia that was given the far more exploitative title of Slaves of the Soviet or Slaves of Stalin. This roadshow played continuously through the 1950's, as the cold war raged on and the curiosity about WWII atrocities was gaining strength.

Here are some postcards advertising Esper's dips into anti-drug and sex arena. These are of course "Warning" films that actually exploit the subject matter which in turn makes thew message implied by the film to be a mute point!