The Hollywood studios were always extremely frustrated by poor reviews. Today, film production companies aren’t giving reviewers the opportunity to slate their multi million dollar offerings before release; instead they are encouraging comment from random everyday internet users. Snakes On A Plane is the most current example of how a film can get hyped to success by “blogging”, thus disabling all the film critics.
In the 1940’s there was a host of Hollywood studio million dollar movies that were totally slated by the East Coast film critics. As a result, big investment films went into decline. Russell Birdwell was responsible for coming up with a plan to put a stop to the endless poor reviews. He decided to employ gigolos in the studio exploitation departments whose job it was to go to the East Coast as representatives of the studios. They would then wine and dine the female film critics and columnists, befriend them… and maybe more. This near-prostitution was exposed by a newspaper when one well known female journalist contracted syphilis. The senior editor of the magazine the journalist worked for, approached Birdwell with the apocryphal “that is a manipulation too far!”
Birdwell realised that some of his gigolos were only endowed in one area, so tried to refine his choice of men to only those who had brains as well as looks. This proved rather difficult as the necessity to be clever in PR was lost on these people.