Dumb question... why is a Trailer called a "Trailer"

Steve Owen

Second Unit
Joined
Jan 7, 1999
Messages
416
I was just having this discussion with someone at work and neither of us knew. Why is a trailer called a trailer? It doesn't trail anything. And when did they cease being called "previews" and start being called "trailers".

-Steve
 

Dan M

Second Unit
Joined
Feb 6, 2000
Messages
327
Because in the old days movie clips for upcoming releases came after the movie, thus they 'trailed' the main feature.
True story.....
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Artur Meinild

Screenwriter
Joined
Aug 10, 2000
Messages
1,294
And on VHS, there were also trailers *after* the main features...
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~ Stud. Polyt. ~ Artur Meinild ~
 

Glenn Overholt

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Mar 24, 1999
Messages
4,201
Because a reel of film came in certain lengths (like 40 min each), if the movie ended at 25, they'd be left with a 'trailer' of 15 minutes, and they'd use it up instead of whacking it off.
Glenn
 

Janna S

Second Unit
Joined
Feb 17, 2001
Messages
287
I thought I'd read that the previews did indeed come before the main film, so the filmstrip of the previews was the last thing hanging on the reel, thus it "trailed" (hung off the film reel).
 

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