Why short movie advertisement clips are called trailers, even though they are typically shown before the movie?

It turns out, the first movie trailers occurred not at the beginning of the films, as they do today, but rather at the end of the films. They were called trailers because the advertisements would be spliced directly on the end of the reels, so that the movie advertisement's film trailed the actual film.

The first known movie trailer to appear in a theater was in November of 1913. However, it didn't take long for movie studios to realize that full film advertisements would be a lot more effective if they showed up before the movie, instead of after, and by the end of the 1930s the switch had been made.


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