Film poster art

There is a news story here of how film poster art is reaching a phase of re-evaluation and re-appreciation although judging by the prices that prints of movie posters fetch in auctions that re-appreciation does not translate in wealth beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.

Which makes me happy for all the wrong reasons.

You see in the 1960s I had a pretty impressive collection of genuine Walt Disney film posters and if I’d only asked I’m sure I could have had genuine Walt Disney film cells too.

The posters were thrown away years ago – what a pillock.

My dad worked for a company who rented one floor of an office building in City Square Leeds, right behind the Majestic Cinema they were, in fact my dad moved his office to the front of the building because on an afternoon when the matinee was playing in the Majestic he couldn’t hear himself think in the back office.

On the next floor up from his office was the Northern office of the Walt Disney Corp and it was their job to handle all of the distribution in the north of England of whatever feature length film they had on release that year, including handling the rental payments from the thousands of cinemas and distributing the advertising material that each cinema would display outside their door.

The Disney Corp usually only released one feature length animated film a year and until the advent of video those stock films were released on a careful rotation so that every five years or so another generation of children would be clamouring to watch The Jungle Book etc, its hard to recall now that no-one had films on demand and if you wanted to watch The Aristocrats again and it had just been withdrawn after this current season then you had at least five more years to wait to get to see it again – it was a very clever marketing ploy by Disney.

By the mid-1960s I had started to enjoy sketching and the easiest thing to sketch was a Disney cartoon, Mickey Mouse in particular (four circles and a couple of ovals and your done) and once you’ve mastered him then  Goofy, Donald Duck and Pluto are just variations on the same theme, as is Dumbo, Pinocchio, and any of the stars of Lady and the Tramp.

I soon exhausted the few comic strip examples of the Disney studios work and so it was that one day my dad noticed a bin full of posters for Dumbo in the back alley of the office building where they all parked their cars, he brought one home for me and from that moment on I pestered him almost every week for more examples to draw, and the people who worked for Disney obliged, they sent me dozens upon dozens of their old movie posters, mainly of the full length animations that every family has in their dvd collection now, but also the odd Mickey Mouse one too, I reckon some of them could have been from the 1950s as they were of the “Kids Saturday Matinee” variety.

They were full sized posters too, most of them A0 size (thats big) and I kept them all rolled up and tied up with elastic bands under my bed right up until I left home for Newcastle in 1978, after that who knows where they went or who disposed of them, I can guess though – my mother in a cleaning fit and in the bin 😦


2 thoughts on “Film poster art

  1. I still have my original POSEIDON ADVENTURE and Towering inferno posters
    I blagged them from the CINEMA IN RHYL WHEN i WAS JUST 13
    best thing I ever did

  2. The Towering Inferno – Fred Astaires finest moment, and how the hell did they put out that fire without drowning everyone for streets around ?

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