"Before the movie was released the executive Producer Robbie Stamp travelled the world spruiking the movie. He did a very very good job. In Melbourne the session was about ninety minutes long and consisted of his speech, interspersed with some footage from the movie, and then a question time. The venue was the Crown Casino, which is a huge ugly building built by one of Australia's media barons and later sold to the other media baron. About $1 in every $3 of Victoria's disposable income passes through this building annually. The building houses a cinema complex and has a theatrette able to hold about 300 people. It was full for Stamp's talk. The talk was part of one of Melbourne's arts festivals, and appeared an oddity in the festival's program. It sold out very quickly. At the time I was on the Committee of the Melbourne Science Fiction Club, it's the oldest SF Club in the Southern hemisphere and the second-oldest in the world. Club members seized on the tickets like hungry dogs. I was delighted to go to learn about the movie; I first heard the radio show on its second episode, original New Zealand broadcast, in 1979, and followed it from then on.
Stamp is a witty, articulate and clever man. He answered as honestly as he could on all matters to do with the movie and the production, and you could sense the relief as the audience was won over. His message was - trust us, HH hasn't been stuffed up, in fact we're proud of the movie. He handled with grace the occasionally uncouth nerdish question such as "do you think the film would ever have been finished if Douglas hadn't died?". Sometimes I am ashamed of fans. "We were doing the film for Douglas," he said. "The question you ask never really came up for us. The movie is a testament to Douglas."
At the end I asked the first question: "The motto is, "don`t panic". During production, did you ever panic?". To which Stamp replied, "good question. Here's a gift bag" and then answered the question "yes". Inside the gift bag is the towel you see pictured here, and some publicity about the characters, and a movie poster. After the session I went up to Stamp and asked him to sign the towel. A handful of others did so too, for their towels. Add the ticket for the night and altogether I have a rather nice souvenir of a very pleasant occasion.
The Melbourne Science Fiction club organised a preview screening of the film at the Westgarth Cinema. About 100 people attended. We managed to get towels for all of them, having established a relationship with the distributor.
So on the night at the Casino, about 50 would have been given away, add another 100-odd at the Westgarth, and I suppose the print run across all Stamp's globetrotting might be say five to ten thousand towels? How many places did he visit? This is pure guesstimate.”
Murray MacLachlan, Australia
"At the world premiere in London all of us (a couple of thousand people) at the premier were given small white HHGG towels. They're about 75cm by 30cm, white, fluffy and with a black double-sided embroidered thumb logo. I have several, one of which I use to wipe my sweaty hands when I'm drumming!"
Jamie Freeman, UK http://www.jamiefreeman.co.uk
See its picture on http://www.flickr.com/photos/yarnaholic/152934945/
The image is from an eBay auction (long since closed).
From the auction page:
You bid for an extra towel made by BVI France for the french opening of the Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy movie in 2005. BVI France made only 400 of them, and they were given to journalists, VIP. and a few contests. I've just got a few left and I want to keep them to me! I just sell one towel (brand new in its original package) to pay my hosting fees for my two DNA and H2G2 websites: http://www.douglasadams.info (in english). http://www.voyageurgalactique.com (in french). The towel is white on blue (and blue on white the other side). The french tittle of the movie is written on the towel 'H2G2, le guide du voyageur galactique", and you have too the french version of the official H2G2 movie thumb. It is huge ( 5,5 feet long). The towel is brand new and still in its original package!