Come See the Show

Tasma Theatre Billboard, 1960s

In 1953, Jack Gerard painted a large Union Jack on the facade of the Tasma Cinema in Coffs Harbour to commemorate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. This innovative publicity stunt was part of his efforts to promote the 1953 Technicolor film about Queen Elizabeth’s ascension to the throne. The eye-catching illustration attracted widespread attention, and Mr. Gerard went even further by distributing over 600 brochures promoting the film, covering a distance of over 400 miles by car and on foot. His goal was to attract the largest crowds ever seen at a screening in Coffs Harbour.

Jack Gerard’s efforts paid off. The film “A Queen is Crowned” was simultaneously screened at Gerard’s two cinemas, the Tasma and the Jetty Memorial. This was an unusual arrangement as films were typically shown at one cinema, and then a local person would rush with the reel on a bicycle to the other cinema for the next session.

The number of paid admissions to see the film about the Queen amounted to 7,785, which exceeded Coffs Harbour’s population at the time by 1,785. Jack Gerard received a letter of congratulations from the Queen herself and won first prize in an Australia-wide publicity competition.

Jack Gerard was no stranger to putting on a show and had previously won Australian and international awards for his showmanship. One notable event was his promotion of the Australian film “Robbery under Arms,” where he re-enacted the robbery in Coffs Harbour’s High Street.


How many people saw the Queen’s Coronation film in Coffs Harbour?

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