Have you ever wondered why movie previews are called trailers? Well, as it turns out, they are called trailers because movie previews were originally shown at the end of a film, trailing the main feature.
As explained by Filmmaker IQ, it all started in the 1910s. During that time, theatres were very different from what we are used today. At that time, you would pay the admission fee and you could sit in the theatre for as long as you wanted. There wasn’t a specific play to watch and then leave; several movies, cartoons or short films were played in a continuous loop and you could just sit there and watch them for as many times as you wanted.
In an effort to get audiences to the movies, Col. William Selig, a pioneer for the film industry, noticed the popularity of print serials in newspaper so he approached the Chicago Tribune to adapt a film version of a print serial. Each week, a new instalment would debut along with an article in the Chicago Tribune that continued the story. Here’s what made this serial unique though: (the article continues after the ad)
At the end of each instalment, something would happen to put the characters in some sort of a peril, and a screen would pop-up inviting patrons to come back the following week to see what happens. The movie trailer was born!
Check out the amazing video for the history of the Movie Trailer by Filmmaker IQ: