The Variety Ad That Helped Launch The Friday The 13th Franchise

The right place and the right time is truly synonymous with popular horror franchises that were birthed in the late 1970's and early 1980's. The Halloween and Friday The 13th film franchises owe a lot of their success not only to the creative minds that came up with the ideas for the original films, but to an audience of film-goers ready for a change at the box office. After the huge success of the independent box office hit Halloween, Sean Cunningham embarked on employing a similar formula for success, but he needed something catchy and way to generate buzz.

After coming up with what Sean thought was a can't miss film title, Friday The 13th, he wanted to put feelers out in the film community to see if he could generate enough interest to not only warrant making his little horror film, but possibly secure the financing necessary to start production on the burgeoning film idea.

In the July 4, 1979 issue of Variety, the infamous and very first ad appeared for the original film in the franchise, proclaiming Friday The 13th "The Most Terrifying Film Ever Made". Even though there was not one single scene filmed or any kind of crew assembled to start production, this one ad jump-started the journey to the financing needed to create the Crystal Lake tale. Sean Cunningham fielded many inquisitions about the film, but luckily for him, there was one phone call he never received.

According to Sean, one other reason for placing the ad in Variety was to see if anyone else had laid claim to the Friday The 13th title. With no prior knowledge of the title ever being used, Sean felt that if he put it out there his film would be using Friday The 13th to promote his production and no one called him out on it, then he would be safe from being sued later on down the line. He was correct, thankfully, and the rest of course is history.

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