History 4

December 13, 1977
The Dawn of the Dead production takes a three-week break over the Christmas holiday season. During the interval, George Romero assembles a rough 16mm cut of footage filmed so far in his Pittsburgh office.

Circa late 1977/early 1978
After a few early musical sketches for the film’s soundtrack by Donald Rubinstein (Richard Rubinstein’s brother) have been shelved, Dario Argento very literally brings some old pals of his from Italy into the picture: Massimo Morante, Claudio Simonetti, Fabio Pignatelli and Agostino Marangolo, collectively known as prog-rock band “Goblin”, have previously delivered the scores for his earlier giallos, Profondo Rosso and Suspiria; the former of which has spent a full year on the Italian album charts. Under Argento’s creative supervision, the group gathers at Trafalgar Studios in Rome to record a complete soundtrack for Dawn. Out of the total of ten principal themes submitted by Goblin, Romero will ultimately just use three – the main title L’Alba dei Morti Viventi, Zombi, and Ai Margini della Follia – for his final theatrical cut; with the remaining score consisting of a broad variety of different musical cues from the vast vinyl stock of the DeWolfe Music Library in New York (selected by himself and Michael Gornick) that are relatively inexpensive to license.

January 4, 1978
The presumably earliest industry trade print advert announcing Dawn of the Dead is published in Variety magazine. Lacking any artwork, it is a rather sketchy affair informing the entertainment world that “The Zombies Are Coming In 1978”, and providing basic production info as well as international sales contacts for George Romero’s “new action thriller” apparently “based on his forthcoming novel” (interestingly pointing to the fact that a book deal for the tie-in novelization with New York publishers St. Martin’s Press has already been finalized at the time.)

January 4, 1978
Principal photography for Dawn of the Dead resumes after the Christmas break for another six weeks of shooting.

January 1978
The now-iconic “baldhead” logo designed by artist L. L. “Lanny” Powers that will later be used on pretty much all American advertising materials for Dawn of the Dead first surfaces on special t-shirts handed out to the film’s cast and crew.

January 1978
group-mall-dawnDario Argento pays a visit to the Monroeville Mall set, which is kept rather brief (a reported 45 minutes) due to a hectic schedule, and marred by major language barriers. Over the course of this month, the shoot also is attended by various press people including Rolling Stone’s associate editor Chet Flippo and picture editor Susan Vermazen, David Bartholomew of Cinefantastique magazine, mystery film and fiction author Chris Steinbrunner, Edward Perchaluk from the Independent Film Journal, Tom Passavant from Playboy, and Evelyn Reynolds from Newsday (all of which are made up as zombies). Even a West German television crew arrives at the mall to cover the filming and interview George Romero for a 23-minute profile later aired on “ARD”. At the same time, a young local freelance photographer named Richard Burke is present as well over two nights to document the proceedings for Pittsburgh Magazine.