About Pearl & Dean

The Pearls (Charles was always known as "Dickie" & brother Ernie) were reared in Swansea in apparently modest circumstances - a very long way from the opulent Hollywood lifestyle they were to later enjoy!

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They first worked in the 1920's (chiefly in South Wales and round about) selling all manner of media such as town guides and other forms of advertising - including stills at the local cinemas, and live theatres too, where simple messages could also be projected onto the fire curtain.

An eventual meeting with a certain Mr Robert Dean (always known as Bob/Bobby) in nearby Bristol was to prove another pivotal moment in ultimately creating the Pearl & Dean as we know it today.

This pre-war period also brought them in contact with Oscar Deutsch of Odeon Cinema fame but this legendary circuit was eventually sold to The Rank Organization for whom they ultimately worked for a while.

Having jumped ship from Rank Screen Advertising, they scooped the screen advertising rights to the prestigious ABC circuit in 1953. ABC was the major competitor to Rank's Odeon & Gaumont chain and remarkably had not shown commercials on its screens previously.

From memories and photos collated, Bobby emerges as a very loveable and influential character in the development of cinema advertising in the 1950's and 1960's along with an equally charismatic larger than life Ernie - whose portly figure literally cast something of a shadow over his much smaller sibling Dickie.

They led the way in the making of tailor made commercials, both for local businesses and to satisfy the growing demand from national fmcg advertisers too. They were quick to exploit the the introduction of commercial television with much shorter commercials of 30" and also recognised the need to create advertising packages built specifically around what was clearly going to become a major new medium as well as competitor.

Ernie Pearl was instrumental in not only forming the CAA (Cinema Advertising Association) but also SAWA ( Screen Advertising World Association) with festivals in Venice and Cannes.

Indeed, even at Pearl & Dean today, their unique influence continues to inspire - and as long as that spirit endures, their names stay firmly on the door!