Shaw Marketing & Publicity Department
Barbara Werle, a star of 'Krakatoa - East of Java' at Lido, Singapore, 1969
As a source of publicity, personal appearances by stars created maximum impact for their films wherever they went. Touring stars from Hollywood or Shaw Studios added glamour to movie premieres, cinema openings, festivals, charities as well as other events in Singapore and all over Malaysia.
Autograph signing sessions never failed to draw crowds as well as interest from the press.
For a touch of goodwill and community awareness, charity premieres of movies also added a boost to the marketing efforts.
Premieres often mark a film as one of superior quality and 'worthy' of support. By 1959, Singapore joined the select group of countries where a world premiere could be held. The first, on Oct 8, was for MGM's film 'Libel' starring Dirk Bogade, Robert Morley and Olivia de Havilland.
Li-Li Ho, a Southern Screen starlet
signing autographs in Singapore, 1967
Charity premieres in post war Singapore were presented by such organisations as the University of Singapore Student's Union, Singapore Red Cross, Y's Men's Club, Rotary Club and Lion's Club. These events were always attended by community leaders.
In the colonial years, heads of government such as H E Governor of Singapore, Sir Robert Black graced the charity events. From the mid-1960s, VIP guests included the former Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew, the former President of Singapore Inche Yusof bin Ishak,
the former Minister for Social Affairs and Culture Inche Othman bin Wok, the former Minister of State for Culture Lee Khoon Choy, the former Minister of Culture S Rajaratnam, the former Minister for Science and Technology Dr Toh Chin Chye, the former Minister of Defence Mr Lim Kim San, the former first Lady Mrs Benjamin Sheares and many others.
In Malaysia, charity premieres were attended by such luminaries as former Prime Minister of Malaysia Tun Abdul Razak and Tengku Abdul Rahman.
MYang de Pertuan Negara, Tun Yusof bin Ishak among the VIPs who attended the charity premiere of 'My Fair Lady' at Lido, Singapore 1965
Malaysian Premier Tengku Abdul Rahman at the premiere of 633 Squadron, KL, 1965
Some of these charity events were of a far more personal nature. One such event was an orphan benefit held in 1956 in conjunction with Universal's 'Never Say Goodbye'.
A nine-year-old orphan, Wong Soon Muay of the Girl's Homecraft Centre in Singapore was picked to be given an 'unforgetable day'. She was taken shopping where she bought new clothes and a doll before heading for a visit to the Johore Zoo. After high tea, Soon Muay went to the movies accompanied by Miranda Sharp, daughter of Shaw's General Manager in the 1950s.
Orphan benefit, Singapore, 1956