It's unusual for a movie to have a custom-filmed trailer made for it; it's even rarer for it to get the honour of having two. Then again, 1941 is no ordinary film.
Back in the late '70s, director Steven Spielberg was hot property, having just directed two successive blockbusters in Jaws and Close Encounters. The cast boasted several rising comedy stars, such as Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi and John Candy. And in another unusual move, two studios - Universal and Columbia - joined forces to make the multi-million dollar action comedy.
The first of 1941's custom trailers came out well in advance of its release - a year before, during the Christmas of 1978. It's so premature, they even had time to change the name of Belushi's character to what he says it is in the trailer (it's Capt Wild Bill Kelso in the finished film):
As well as brief footage from the movie and some of Williams' score, the second teaser also made use of the production's model shop skills, with the film's title tearing up through a miniature Los Angeles cityscape:
This image of a camera dolly towards a nighttime California city is something of a Spielberg trademark, with similar shots appearing in both Close Encounters and, particularly, E.T.
Whilst it's fair to say the resulting movie isn't exactly a career highlight for Spielberg , it's not a complete dud either. The miniature work is spectacular, there's a beautifully choreographed jitterbug setpiece and John Williams contributes a rousing score. It's also wrong, as many critics have, to call 1941 a financial flop - whilst the film didn't rack up huge box-office numbers as expected, it did end up turning a small profit for the studios.
I'd recommend searching out the film on DVD, if only for the extensive and surprisingly candid "making of" documentary.