It is inevitable that, occasionally, movie posters are unknowingly misrepresented by dealers and eBay sellers. No one is immune from making mistakes in this business. In many cases it is understandable that sellers use their “best educated guess” to determine the origins of a poster.
There are various ways to verify whether Australian posters are original and many of the tips are in my detailed guides. Pressbooks can help when available and printers details are also a good indication. There are some dealers and collectors who have acquired a great deal of knowledge over the years. Many of them have also had some fringe dealings with distributors and they have picked up anecdotal evidence of how posters were printed but the knowledge is often not documented so that makes it very difficult for other sellers.
One daybill that has been turned up quite often is “That Night in Rio” (1941) which featured Carmen Miranda, Alice Faye and Don Ameche. Although it appears that some may have been aware that this poster is not original nothing definitive has been documented so here is the story .....
The original daybill is as scarce as hen’s teeth and rarely if ever seen. Prior to 1941 the format of daybills was 15” x 40” referred to as the “long daybill” but there are some titles from 1941 where original daybills were printed as long daybills and others in the 13” x 30” format. It is not known exactly when the transition occurred in 1941.
However, a reprinted version of That Night in Rio turns up with monotonous regularity variously described as “original” or “40s release” or “50s reissue” or other similar descriptions. Usually the dealer or eBay seller is just guessing although it the poster certainly looks as though it might have been a 50s release.
There have been a number of people in Australia who have been collecting posters for decades, long before there was any documented interest in the hobby. Some of them were involved in the Cinema in various occupations and they had an absolute passion for the movies and saved anything they could on their favourite films. They usually attached no monetary value to their collections. They were just happy to have the original images. Some of them would actually cut the borders off the posters and paste the images onto scrapbooks.
One such collector is a huge fan of Carmen Miranda. He was fascinated as a boy by the costumes and lavish productions that she appeared in. He worked in the industry for many years and collected anything he could get on the actress including press clippings, posters and magazine articles. He also collected material from other movies and said that his life has been enriched by his passion for film and he is fortunate to be able to live a long life doing what he loves.
The story goes that although the collector had an extensive collection of Carmen Miranda memorabilia, one poster eluded him – a Style “B” Australian daybill for That Night in Rio that featured a specific image of the great lady. He had heard that such a poster existed but had never seen it despite the fact that he had scoured many old cinemas and tried all of his industry contacts without success.
Another collector who had media and industry connections was aware of the quest for the elusive That Night in Rio daybill. Through a series of incidents that have a touch of the mystical about them, the poster finally turned up and he immediately contacted the collector who boarded the first plane to Melbourne to pick it up.
The Collector was absolutely thrilled to finally have the daybill. The poster was printed by Marchant in 1941. Marchant used a photo litho technique to produce superb quality images. Unfortunately they only printed posters for a couple of years in the very early 1940s.
All of this happened around 1979/80. The collector was so happy with the image on the daybill that he decided to get some copies made. As he had worked in the industry he had connections with distributors and printers. He was able to contact one of the printers of daybills at the time and asked them if they could produce a replica poster of That Night in Rio.
The printer was happy to do that based on the fact that the collector was “in house”. The collector asked for 50 copies and the printer said he could produce 400 copies for not much more than the cost of 50 so the collector agreed on that. The printer was apparently very concerned that the original daybill had the “Marchant” printer’s details at the bottom of the poster. They said that they needed to remove any reference to the original printers name and the collector had no problem with that.
You need to understand the motivation of the collector in having these posters printed. I believe that he was so happy to find the original image that he had been searching for over the years that he wanted to get copies printed so that he could circulate them for others to see and appreciate. I very much doubt that he ever made any money out of them. He gave them to other collectors and dealers and even donated many to a museum and he was thrilled just to be able to share his passion with others.
Of course, the posters have been appearing on the internet on a regular basis. People who were given the posters ended up selling or trading them and they still turn up misdescribed. The lack of printer’s details should be a clue but I can understand dealers thinking they are original or re-release posters.
In case you are wondering, he never reproduced any other posters apart from when he occasionally cut up images from posters and pasted them together to make a collage poster. Although he has a great love of movies his true passion is for Carmen Miranda. The poster that he had reproduced has some variances from the original. The “blue” colours from the original appear “purple” on the reprint and, of course, the printer’s name does not appear on the reprint.
That's the story - straight from the horse's mouth!
© John Reid 2011
"These people should be stoned in a public place"
Yes, I know its hard to believe but Radio Shock Jock Alan Jones made the comment this morning in reference to the introduction of a notation on NSW motor vehicle registration labels carrying a warning about carbon emissions. The RTA website states: "Motor vehicle emissions are the main source of air pollution in urban centres and the fuel they burn is a major contributor to climate change". Alan Jones obviously takes issue with that but Stoning!!?? the people who are associated with adding this reference to the rego label. That seems just a trifle harsh!!!
I think its fair to say that many Americans have a reasonable knowledge of their 44 Presidents over the years. People like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower and John Kennedy are all well known to Americans and are household names. The history of American Presidents is taught in schools and there is a great deal of respect for the office.
In Australia, it seems to be a different story. Older Australians might be able to do reasonably well at naming PMs going back to Robert Menzies but the pre war Prime Ministers are largely forgotten and ignored. I wonder whether anything at all is taught about them in schools.
There have been 27 Prime Ministers in Australia. If you ask any Australian "Who was Francis Forde or Stanley Melbourne Bruce or Earl Page?" and you will probably get blank looks. For some reason, there is very little mention of the pre war Prime Ministers and the influence they had on Australia.
Maybe it is just a trait of Australians that we are more interested in the present than the past.
John Reid Comments .....
In Australia, Alan Jones, probably has the most listeners of all Radio personalities. He presents the breakfast programme on 2GB Monday - Friday and there is no doubt that he is very entertaining and at times extremely eloquent. However, his entire programme is fast becoming an exercise in Propoganda against the current Labor Government.
Whilst some of the vitriolic attacks on the Government may certainly be jusitified, his venom against the Labor Party in general seems to be totally one eyed with rarely a realistic opportunity for any opposing views to be expressed.
Barely a moment passes without Alan Jones ripping into the Labor Party and their independent supporters and what he sees as the shortcomings of the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, who he refers to as "this woman" or "Gillard" and the proposed Carbon Tax which he vehemently opposes.
I'm not sure exactly how much influence he actually has on the electorate but the constant and unwavering barrage against the Labor Party must be doing them considerable harm.
The problem I have with all of this is that he does not allow meaningful debate on his programme. Sure, he occasionally interviews people with opposing views but he does all the talking. In a recent interview with a Professor who supported the Carbon Tax, Jones commenced the interview with a long editorial and then proceeded to contantly interrupt throughout the interview at times restricting the Professor to "yes" or "no" answers.
OK, I know that there are time constraints but if you dont allow the other person to reasonably express their views then there is no point in conducting the interview.
Alan Jones employs the technique of interrupting routinely when doing phone interviews and quite obviously uses the fader to lower the volume on the caller so that he can constantly talk over the top of them. You can hear and sense the frustration in many of the people he interviews as they struggle to complete a sentence. If you dont agree with Alan Jones you are wasting your time attempting to talk to him.
The techniques that he uses are designed to be a vehicle for him to promote his views and opinions at the exclusion of any other point of view.
Alan Jones is a accomplished Broadcaster and very entertaining but he cannot be taken seriously as a credible Political Commentator whilst he continues to stifle real debate on his programme.
I'm John Reid
I recently interviewed Catherine Lambert, the Australian Jazz singer and songwriter. Catherine had an important role in the movie Lost in Translation (2003) Directed by Sofia Coppola. With Scarlett Johansson, Bill Murray, Akiko Takeshita. She also appeared in the Australian movie Peaches with Hugo Weaving.
She spoke about how she picked up the role in Lost in Translation
Heritage Auctions currently has a very rare Australian Daybill for the Universal Horror Film Mark of the Vampire currently up for auction.
It will be very interesting to see how much this sells for as posters for this title are incredible scarce.
I am guessing this will become the highest selling Australian poster at an auction.
The story of how the poster surfaced is interesting. It was actually listed a few months ago on eBay along with two other long daybills as a lot. The bidding reached approx $450.00 with a couple of days to go and suddenly the seller ended the auction. It seems fairly obvious that someone made him an offer outside eBay and he accepted it. The possibility is that the seller was unaware of the rarity of the poster and it is more than likely that he undersold it.
I know of a number of people who were well aware of the rarity of the poster and who had intended to bid on it had the ebay auction been allowed to run its course. I have no doubts that it would have achieved a very high price if the seller had just let it go to the highest bidder.
The poster turned up at Heritage a couple of months later and was restored and listed in the current signature auction. The information I have is that the consignor of the poster is not from Australia so I have to wonder how much he or she offered the eBay seller to end the auction. I have no doubts that many others would have quickly emailed the seller when the auction ended pointing out the potential value of the poster or making other offers so you would think that the seller might have been able to change his or her mind after the original offer was made.
No doubt the original owner of the poster will be disappointed in the decision that they made. I think that there is a very real possibility that the poster would have achieved very close if not more than it goes for in the Heritage auction.
How many times have you had a conversation with someone who talks at you rather than actually engaging in a meaningful two, or three way dialogue? These people usually spend their time talking about themselves and their likes and dislikes but rarely allow any other contributions other than the cursory "yes, I know" or a nod of the head in agreement. When the time comes for the other party to attempt to contribute to the one way dialogue that is normally the cue for the monopoliser of the conversation to depart.
There are many who cannot hold an intelligent conversation that allows all opinions and arguments to be contirbuted. It is surprising that medical science has never been able to identify or diagnose this "condition" bearing in mind that it would be fairly easy to establish.
You would simply need to randomly record various conversations to verify the "condition".
If you conducted a simple word count of how many words were utterred by all parties in the conversation I would have no doubt that the people who suffer from "onversationitis" would score overwhelmingly high - possibly as much as a four or five to one ratio. Of course, some people are able to express themselves more succinctly than others but those who have the "onversationitis" affliction always seem to need more words to express a simple concept than others.
This blog may sound a little flippant or sarcastic but the fact is that the perfect conversationalist is one who allows all parties to the conversation equal time. If the conversation is one sided it becomes a "oneversation" and that is of little or no value to anyone.