we all scream for a free screen …

LIFE ad for Argus products

Toronto. … to paraphrase a kid’s chant from over a half century ago. In the 1960s every manufacturer of photo gear wanted a slice of the amateur photography pie – the bigger the better. By 1960, every factory aped its competitor’s best ideas so another idea had to replace all the “me too” ¬†features to differentiate a brand from the pack.

For Argus, this turned out to be a “free” gift. The company offered a free 40 x 40 inch screen with every movie or slide projector sold (most Argus dealers offer the free screen, cautioned the ad). And you could even return projector and screen within 10 days for your money back if not satisfied by the purchase and gift.

By this early 1961 LIFE ad (p 3, January 20, 1961 issue), Argus was owned by Sylvania Electric Products (their General Telephone & Electronics division). A big thanks to George Dunbar for spotting this bit of photographic history (you may wonder about the American bias here, but like today, Canadian magazines, advertisers, photographic product makers, etc. back then were few and far – very far – between).

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