First Introduced: 1981
The Concept: Polyester, an amusing John Waters effort, is probably best known for three things: being an affectionate homage to director Douglas Sirk, kick-starting a comeback of sorts for aging heartthrob Tab Hunter, and an ingenious technology called Odorama.
How It Works: Twenty years after the costly and complicated fan-and-tube contraptions of Smell-O-Rama, Waters decided to make use of the then-new technology of scratch-and-sniff. Audiences were given cards before every screening, each with 10 different scents, marked and numbered. At various points in the movie, a number would flash onscreen, the cue for the audience to scratch the corresponding scent. This being a Waters film, the scents were both pleasant (roses) and malodorous (feces)—in one scene that demonstrates a delightfully Water-sian twist, audiences expecting the pleasant waft of flowers are treated to the funky aroma of old sneakers.
Was It Successful? Even though it was only used for this movie, Odorama was such a hit that many subsequent screenings (as well as a few home-video releases) included the scratch-and-sniff cards.
Other Movies That Used This Technology: Besides a few home-video releases of Polyester, this ingenious system was later used in two kids movies (which makes total sense if you think about it): Rugrats Go Wild (2000) and Spy Kids: All the Time in the World (2011).