ABSTRACT

This chapter illustrates the following thesis: that beyond their inherent ephemerality, media paratexts matter for the historically resilient mode of media presence that they propose. Ballyhoo film marketing stunts of the 1920s are unique paratexts in several respects. The film Ballyhoo designates simple parades of marketing material: a giant cardboard likeness of a Tyrannosaurus Rex driven around Montgomery, Alabama, for the release of The Lost World. As the modern variants show, an understanding of 1920s ballyhoo stunts still matters to the study of media paratexts, for they introduce a key dimension in the audience's relationship to media worlds: the hoaxing of the media. The contemporary media literature on presence has so far insisted on defining it as the illusion of non-mediation in the experience of digital and/or fictional objects defining presence, essentially, as illusion. Media do not vanish but trace the magic circle where the game is played.