THE EXORCIST DAYBILL – ORIGINAL OR REISSUE?
Australian Movie Posters are not always easy to date, particularly when various posters were printed for the same film. The Exorcist Daybill is a good example.
Australian Daybills were usually not dated. They were never intended to be collectors items and the printers had little interest in whether anyone would be able to pin a date on a particular poster at some point in the distant future. Films were reissued in Australia but often at different times to US re releases.
Posters for re releases would sometimes be in full colour, sometimes on "stock" posters where the title could be added later, occasionally duotone. They could be completely different to the original art as in the reissue of North by North West or very similar to the original with just subtle changes made in wording.
Consequently, many mistakes are made – particularly on ebay where sellers either guess at the originality of a daybill or let the buyer decide by looking at a photo. As Linda Blair would say, its enough to make your head spin.
The Exorcist appears to have been first screened in Australia in early 1974. It has been generally accepted that the daybill with purple lettering and a purple border is the original and most desirable Australian poster for this title. However, there are at least four others.
It is easy to tell that the daybill on the extreme right is a reissue stock poster, although not so easy to date. The stock poster was used for various horror films with the title and simple art added when necessary. It was probably used in the late 70s and early 80s but there is no evidence of an official re release that I can find.
So what about the other four? Well, they are all quite similar, in that the wording and censorship and printers details are all the same along with the distributor's information. It is quite likely that they were all printed for the first release.
Some have thought that the black and white version might be a second printing but there is no evidence of that from any recorded information. The daybill with the pink lettering and background does not turn up often and my guess is that this was simply a colour variant that the printers tried at the time of the original release.
Recently, the Exorcist daybill with the yellow background in the image surfaced. I had never seen this one before. Perhaps the printers decided not to use the extra colour to save some money in printing and that is the reason why it has rarely been seen. There is no reason to doubt that this one was also printed for the first release. One collector notes that the original British Quad movie poster used the similar yellow colour in their poster.
The Press Sheet sheds no light on which came first and I doubt that there will ever be any definitive information on which of the four daybills is the true first release. However, I think it is reasonable to describe all four as original Exorcist Daybills.
As far as desirability is concerned, I would say that the yellow daybill would be the most sought after followed by the purple and then the pink. Many thanks to Mark Stewart for some of the images. Sweet Dreams!