Although movie poster collecting is as popular as ever, retail outlets for Movie Posters are now few and far between. Movie Poster shops have closed around the world as dealers turn to the internet to sell their wares. On Feb 26 2013, www.moviemem.com and the Woolloongabba Antique Centre will be presenting a week long Movie Poster Exhibition in Brisbane.
Woolloongabba has become a hub for Antiques and Collectibles in Brisbane and the Woolloongabba Antique Centre is an ideal venue to hold this exhibition. Despite the fact that there are many collectors of Movie Memorabilia in Queensland, the only retail venue that actually displays Movie Posters for sale is at The Gold Coast Antique Centre at Miami on the Gold Coast.
There is no doubt that seeing Movie Posters on a website and internet auction sites is no substitute for seeing them in person. However, the reality is that it is easier for sellers to market movie posters on the internet and certainly less costly than setting up a retail store.
Prior to the introduction of eBay, there were retail outlets for movie posters in all of the Capital cities in Australia but the only ones that are now left are part of Antique Centres, primarily in Melbourne.
The week commecing Feb 26 will provide collectors with the opportunity to see some very rare items up close and in person. A wide range of genres will be covered from the Silent era to more recent films. Posters for Star Wars, Film Noir, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Hells Angels, James Bond and more will be displayed along with huge rare vinyl banners for Spider-Man and Lord of the Rings.
The Movie Poster Exhibition in Brisbane commences at the Woolloongabba Antique Centre on Feb 26 and runs through to the 3rd March.
I hope to see you there.
I have an early c.1915-1918 Charlie Chaplin long daybill poster titled "His Day Out". Printer is Renwick Pride.
There is no record of a Charlie Chaplin film of this title but movies for the international release were often retitled so it could well be for a film that was renamed for the Australian release. One possibility is that it could be for "By the Sea" (1915) which was also known as "Charlies Day Out".
Another theory is that it could have been used for the Billy West film "His Day Out" in 1918 as a sort of toungue in cheek send up. Billy West was a Charlie Chaplin impersonator. If this is indeed the case it would have been a clever promotion but Charlie Chaplin was not averse to litigation and I doubt he would have condoned the use of his name and image to promote an imposter's film. Note the words "Charlie Chaplin in his farcical new comedy".
If anyone has more information on this I would appreciate it.
(My "moviemem" logo is on the image but obviously not on the actual poster)
Pagetâ��s Talkies was established in 1908 taking Silent Films on tour to remote country towns in Queensland. Very little is known about this chapter in Australian Film history but the brochures, flyers and advertising material that I have acquired tend to indicate that they toured primarily around Queensland. Towns like Blackbutt, Pialba and Nanango are mentioned in the advertising.
Pagetâ��s adapted to the introduction of sound and purchased equipment that was able to bring Talkies to the remote country towns. The familiar headlines of â��See and Hear Pagetâ��s Talkiesâ�� featured proudly on many of the brochures of the early 30â��s.
Mr Paget screened double features with shorts, cartoons and newsreels often boasting that the films he was showing were screened at the same time as The Regent in Brisbane. Many of the films that were screened were blockbuster American movies along with Australian made films of the era.
The arrival of the Pagetâ��s Touring Car with the â��magnificent machineryâ�� would have been greeted with great excitement by the country people who were starved for entertainment. Paget would often feature live entertainment prior to screening the movies. On one occasion he offered the following attraction:
Pagetâ��s continued through the early-mid 40s changing their name to Pagetâ��s Pictures. This collection of Flyers and Advertising brochures represents a part of Australian Cinema history that has been sadly neglected and almost forgotten over the years.
Some of the advertising material in the flyers give a fascinating insight into how films were brought to an Australian country audience in the 1930s and 40s â�¦â�¦â�¦
â��Paget's Silent Pictures were a boom. SEE and HEAR his TALKIES. Brilliant, wonderful, Supreme, the Talking is a revelation. It has been said that it is impossible for Talking Pictures to be taken on tour. Paget drops a bomb among the critics with his wonderful Touring Talkie Show. It has been acclaimed as the most wonderful Show ever seen equipped with AUSTRALIAN IMPROVED AUDIOTONE costing Â£3000.00 to install. A Bigger and Better show than ever. Remember its Paget's Genuine Talkies. Established Silent 1908 Talkies 1930 Overture 7:45pm.â��
â��Paget lead the way with Silent, now he leads the way with TALKIES
The first complete AUSTRALIAN Talking Picture equipment is now a part of the magnificent machinery of Paget's truck which cost Â£3000 to install.â��
â��A Boon to the Country
Bringing the Modern Entertainment of the Big Theatres to the small Country Townsâ��
â��Racophone's Latest high fidelity Talking Picture Plant in two units. No delays! Two machines. The best talking plant touring Queensland costing Â£2000.00. Come and hear it. Paget has now the best. And what a program!â��
â��Equipped with the Latest Dual Raycophone Sound System. Remember, its Paget's. See Paget's Beautiful new Touring Car.
Remember its Paget's. Always FIRST with the LATEST AND BEST.â��
â��PHOENIX THEATRE BLACKBUTT Saturday 6th March LUCKY GIFT NIGHT. Presenting a big 3 STAR PROGRAMME Also, 2 presents given to lucky patrons.â��
â��Presenting one of the GREATEST DOUBLE_FEATURE PROGRAMMES ever presented to our patrons.
THE FILM HITLER DOES NOT WANT YOU TO SEE ----
"The Lion Has Wings"
Showing for the first time the daring raid on German battleships in the Kiel Canal by British Bombers.
THE PRIME MINISTER (Mr MENZIES) STRONGLY RECOMMENDS THAT EVERY AUSTRALIAN SHOULD SEE THIS TRUE AND WONDERFUL FILM.â��
â��PAGETâ��S PICTURES are now TALKING PICTURES!
This equipment is not a portable set, but a baby City Theatre equipment taking hours to assemble.â��
â��PAGETâ��S TALKIES - Worldâ��s most wonderful touring show.â��
Bill Collins has been a regular fixture on Australian television for many years. He presents movies with a unique passion and is now regarded as a Film historian.
I found an article in Australasian Post from 1978 that would be of interest to collectors and movie buffs.
Original Movie Poster Guide
New Zealand Censorship Stamps 1916-1990s
Approximately 10 years ago I heard through the movie poster grapevine that a huge collection of original movie posters was being sold off in New Zealand after the closure of a distributor. I had been aware that this holy grail of posters existed for some time and when they finally came up for sale I flew to New Zealand immediately and was fortunate to be able to purchase them all. The enormous and daunting task of getting them all back to Australia for sorting and cataloguing is another story that I won't go into here.
The inventory included posters from the 50s to the 90s with the majority unused. New Zealand rarely printed movie posters of their own and used American, British and Australian posters and lobby cards. Consequently, the majority had New Zealand censorhip stamps or stickers added. These labels had often been painstakingly applied to every poster and lobby card. In many cases the US or Australian distribution and censor details were blacked out by hand along with any other imagery or text that was considered inappropriate.
Censorship of films and posters began in New Zealand around 1911 when lobby groups started to pressure the government to exercise some control over some of the risque or controversial films that had begun to appear along with some graphically lurid posters. As a result, the Cinematograph Film Censorship Act of 1916 was introduced for the censorship of films. Its amendment in 1926 allowed for the censorship of posters. The various regulations were consolidated in the Cinematograph Films Act of 1928.
In 1956 the Censorship Regulations were revised on the advice of the Film Censor, Gordon Mirams, to provide for five classes of certificate:
Censorship of movie posters was used either in the form of stamps or stickers. Whilst the stickers can generally be removed by a competant restorer, the stamps can be more difficult to remove and are often accompanied by large blackout areas where ink has been used. Two of the best examples of original daybills that have been heavily censored are with Goldfinger and Marnie. The untouched original is on the left and the New Zealand censored daybill on the right. Note that in Marnie the word "Sex" has been blacked out.
This system that had been introduced by Gordon Mirams lasted until 1976 when the single "A" and "S" certificates were dropped and a "Y" certificate was introduced - (Approved for general exhibition: recommended as more suitable for persons 13 years of age and over). Another change resulted in a "GA" and a "GY" classification to indicate that they were restrictions and not recommendations.
Pictured below is a US one sheet for the 1976 Robert Altman film "Buffalo Bill and the Indians". Note the addition of a "GY" censor stamp and the distributor and censor details which have been blacked out.
The Films, Videos and Publications Act of 1993 has produced a revised system that draws on the historical traditions of censorship with its current system of ratings and classifications. Instead of "Indecent" it now uses "Objectionable" and the current "M" (Suitable for mature audiences 16 and over) rating has replaced the older "A" or "Special A" ratings. Posters in New Zealand now use neat stickers for censorship.
The Chief Censors:
Censorship and the Value of posters
In the cases of Goldfinger and Marnie, the censorship with the heavily blacked out areas which severely detract from the image can significantly devalue a poster. Others that have a neat sticker are less affected particularly as most stickers can easily be removed by a restorer. The stamps can also be removed in many cases but many collectors are quite happy to retain the unique aspect of the posters history.
© John Reid
Butterfield 8 (1960)
Stars: Elizabeth Taylor, Laurence Harvey, Eddie Fisher, Dina Merrill, Mildred Dunnock, Betty Field, Jeffrey Lynn.
Which is the Orginal Australian Daybill?
Firstly, these are two entirely different posters. The poster on the left was printed by Robert Burton Printers and the poster on the right by A & C Printers.
Let's take the A & C printed daybill first. To the best of my knowledge, A & C printed MGM daybills between approx 1960 and 1962 so it is likely that this is an original daybill. This poster was clearly used in New Zealand but it should be noted that the censor stamp was added later in New Zealand and not part of the original printing. Generally New Zealand used original Australian, US and British posters in their original form and they added their own censorship to the posters after they had arrived in New Zealand. This often led to mutilation of posters with areas blacked out and NZ details roughly stamped in place or stickers added or both. You can see more about this in my guide about NZ censor details.
The vast majority of daybills were printed in Australia. On some occasions, Australian posters were printed without the Australian censor details, generally with exactly the same art as the original release, but used in the "territories". The NZ distributors would then add a stamp or a sticker. Note that the second poster, printed by Robert Burton, has SUITABLE ONLY FOR ADULTS printed in the lower portion.
The poster printed by A and C printers does not have these Australian censor details but has a blue box in the lower section which, to me, indicates that this poster had the Australian details blocked out. I believe that the original daybill used in Australia was exactly the same but had the Australian censor details intact instead of the blue box (more about that later).
Some have said that the A and C printers poster "lacks a plate" with little detail in Elizabeth Taylor's negligee but I dont think this is the case. Remember, these are two different posters. Although similar, there are clear differences eg the mink coat, etc etc. In my opinion, this poster was printed as intended but is simply one of the poorer examples of Australian movie posters.
In any case, the A & C printed poster appears to be original.
Now, to the second daybill printed by Robert Burton. When I first came across one of these I had no reason to doubt that it was not orignal but I received several emails from a well known and respected collector who suggested that the poster was, in fact, a 1960s reissue. A daybill for Cat On a Hot Tin Roof was also released, apparently, at the same time with similar art and colouring. The collector emailed me photos of what he described as the original daybills for these titles. The Butterfield 8 daybill was the same as the A and C printed poster that Bruce has currently on auction but had the words SUITABLE FOR ADULTS ONLY instead of the blue box.
The second daybill is printed by Robert Burton who started printing movie posters in the late 50s so that does not really help. Daybills are generally undated so no clue there. The only definitive proof might be a pressbook but I havent seen any for this title. I have seen similar daybills that were reissued around this time in full colour. One that comes to mind is North By Northwest, although there is even some doubt/dispute about this. I can give you my opinions on this as well if anyone is interested. Over the years, I tended to take the word of the collector who suggested that the second poster was a 1966 reissue although I never really had any absolute proof positive that this was the case. I have always sold the second poster as a reissue - maybe way too cheap!
I wonder if anyone out there has any definitive information, or any opinion at all, on
Where a full colour daybill is known to exist, many dealers and collectors have often routinely made the assumption that one or two colour daybills for the same title must be resissues.
It is certainly true that there are many examples of one or two colour daybills that are indeed reissues but there is usually some evidence to indicate this ie printers details, censorship logos, etc.
The fact is that there are many cases where a one colour version of a poster was produced in addition to the full colour version for the original release. Unfortunately, there is not much "evidence" in the form of pressbooks and general information about the origins of Australian posters. Pronouncements about the origins of Australian daybills are often based on anecdotal information or best guesses.
One example of a poster that has been assumed as being a 40s or even 50s reissue is the White Cargo one colour daybill. The film was released in 1942 and starred Hedy Lamarr and Walter Pidgeon - "I am Tondelayo!". A full colour daybill was produced so many dealers have just assumed that the one colour daybill must be a reissue.
Have a good look at the two posters side by side and read on below for the reasons why they were almost certainly both produced for the original release of the film.
It is quite obvious that the same artwork/plates were used for the two posters with the exception that the poster on the right is just a one colour version. Censor details are the same. Both posters were printed by Marchant. Marchant & Co Offset printers Sydney printed posters up until about 1942/3. That would indicate that the two posters were most likely printed for the original release of the film.
We do know that cinemas were charged a fee for posters. I actually have old copies of invoices that were sent to cinemas with details of how much they were charged for each poster. It is possible that the one colour version was printed as a cheaper alternative to the full colour version but we can only really make an educated guess about this.
There are many similar examples. There are also one colour daybills that exist in the absence of any known full colour daybills.
So, just if you come across a one colour Australian daybill don't automatically assume it is a reissue.
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
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.