Selling the Dream- From Sex to Sedans - Fri. Apr. 19 - 8PM

Oddball Films presents Selling the Dream: From Sex to Sedans, a program of vintage portrait documentaries and instructional films heralding the self-made man.  Whether peddling smut, ice cream, fried chicken or used cars, this evening will truly show you the depth of the salesman. Films include The Most (1963) featuring the Pl@yboy Prince of salesmen- responsible for selling sex to America for over half a century- Hugh Hefne® in the height of his reign;  The Man Who Made Millions Think (c. 1950), a rare long-form commercial gem from the 1950s featuring Lee Harris, king of hair products, giving an unbelievably passionate performance; Franchise Opportunities (1970), a fun, campy instructional film to help you on your way to selling Cookie Pusses and Fudgy the Whales at your own Carvel franchise; in Trader Vic's Used Cars (1975), Charles Braverman takes us into the gumption behind the car salesman; the hilarious documentary The Colonel Comes to Japan (1984) shows what it takes to sell Kentucky Fried Chicken in the japanese market, and all the wheeling, dealing and sake-bombing behind the scenes; the trippy training film A Sharper Focus (1972) utilizes pop-art imagery and puppetry to train young salespeople; plus an eye-popping segment of Special Edition featuring Frederick's of Hollywood

Date: Friday, April 19th, 2013 at 8:00PM
Venue: Oddball Films, 275 Capp Street, San Francisco
Admission: $10.00 Limited Seating RSVP Only to: 415-558-8117 or


The Most (B+W, 1963)
"It's not very flattering but it's a work of art."-Hugh Hefn*r
"a witty and ferociously loaded profile... The simple but devastating technique is to let Hefner spout his philosophy, then, sandwich each banality between fleshy layers of a Playboy party."
The Sunday Telegram July 26, 1964

This rarely screened, award-winning biopic by Richard Ballentine and Gordon Sheppard, chronicles the man known for selling sex to America and creating a socio-sexual cultural phenomenon, Hugh Hefn*r.

The documentary short, which won the 1963 San Francisco International Film Festival's Golden Gate Award,  is an incredibly savage length of film. One wonders, in the face of all the evidence, if it really is a documentary, if its subject-Hugh Hefn*r, Playb*y magazine, Pl*yboy Clubs, Pl*yboy bunnies, the lot - exists at all. That man, strutting, preening, posing, and spouting nonsense, is a new kind of animated cartoon, a sort of mental Magoo who cannot possibly realize what he is saying when he admits, with feigned modesty, "It's probably not true that I have made love to more beautiful women than any man in history," or when he asserts, "Going by the strict definition of the word, yes, I suppose I am a genius."

The prince of playmates lives in an unspeakably vulgar playhouse, with a swimming pool and, apparently, a perennial party. The film shows Hefner's minions (one spits an ice cube back into his drink and says how much "Hef" has done to change his life) and mignonnes. Or, there he is again, in his office, late at night ("I often work in my pee-jays") saying, "I don't think I'd change places with anyone in the world," and that, at least, is a good thing, for no one who has seen Richard Ballentine and Gordon Sheppard's cinematic portrait of Hefner would he willing to switch with him.-Newsweek Magazine September 2, 1963

Franchise Opportunities (Color, 1970)

Being one's own boss may look a bit easier with a franchise, but our hero knows the real score. He's done his research, because energy, enthusiasm and a great wardrobe aren't enough on their own. This funky little film doesn't "soft serve" the hard work involved in opening a Carvel Ice Cream store.

A Sharper Focus (Color, 1972)
Training film for salespeople utilizes pop art animation and bizarre puppetry.  Made by the pioneering, Oscar-nominated industrial filmmaker Henry Strauss.

The Man Who Made Millions Think (B+W, c. 1950)
Bizarre promotional film from the early 1950’s is a portrait of a megalomaniac hair product pitcher that eerily bridges the snake-oil evangelizers of the 19th century and the shamwow crap infomercials of today.

The Colonel Comes To Japan (Color, 1984)
This Emmy-winning documentary was made 14 years after the opening of the first Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise in Japan. Hosted by Eric Sevareid, it is often hilarious/ridiculous as Western fast food meets Eastern politeness and service seriousness.  Many scenes invoke the farce of  Itami’s Tampopo. Sensitively written, produced and directed by John Nathan (translator of Mishima and Oe and writer of many books on Japanese culture), with a nonetheless obvious eye for humor.

Trader Vic's Used Cars (Color, 1975 Charles Braverman)
For used car dealer Victor Snyder, "customer relations are everything." On his modest Southern California lot, his mostly working class clientele can count on more than just a fair deal. Vic's folksy sales techiques may seem quaint, but Braverman's portrait is a refreshing look at a dying breed of small businessman.

For the Early Birds:

The Car of Your Dreams (Color and B+W, 1984)
Genius educational film about the car industry and their sales techniques utilizing solely mind-blowing historical footage that borders on the surreal. It’s no wonder Americans bought into the car mythology lock, stock and barrel. It's a fast-moving compilation of the most annoying, over-the-top, but effective marketing campaigns for American automobiles. Features a never-ending red carpet, 3D graphics from the 1970’s, driving down the highway in invisible cars, races with wild animals and used car salesman screaming sales pitches till they explode. Although produced in the 1980’s, the film’s content stretches through American automotive ad history. A total hoot!