Vintage Movie Posters

The first film was created by Louis Le Prince in 1888. It was a two second film of people walking around in a garden and was called ‘Roundhay Garden Scene’. The first silent films were short, usually only a few minutes in length. 1929, when the means of recording sound and movement at the same time was discovered, silent films became obsolete, with the exception of Charlie Chaplin whose character of the Tramp was compatible with silent medium. When the silent era ended he refused to go along with sound; instead he maintained the melodramatic Tramp as his mainstay in ‘City Lights’ (1931) and ‘Modern Times’ (1936).

From the beginning of cinema, film posters were loaned to theatres to promote a film, then returned to the film exchange or  sent to the next theatre on the distribution circuit.  If the harshness of the 1920s and 1930s kept movie posters out of the hands of  the general public, the paper shortage of the war years also helped to keep movie memorabilia out of general circulation; so it is no surprise that film posters from the years of 1930 to 1945 are quite scarce.  It is said that fewer than 20 copies of movie posters exist from most films made between 1930 and 1945.  As the years went by more and more theatre owners did not bother to return the posters and they remained in theatre exchanges and warehouses.  Over the years many of these collections have been bought by dealers and collectors resulting in a huge market for vintage movie posters.  However, the majority of these posters were printed on inexpensive paper and were never intended to be collectable items. Continue reading “Vintage Movie Posters”

Toy Theatres

Toy theatres, made from paper and mounted on wood or board were a popular form of entertainment in Europe from about 1811. Charles Dickens, Robert Louis Stevenson, Charlie Chaplin and Winston Churchill all enjoyed staging a play in a miniature theatre.

The toy theatre has experienced a remarkable revival in recent years. Every year in Germany there is an International Paper Theatre Festival, which attracts participants from all over the world. There is also an annual festival in New York. The biggest museum of toy theatres is in Sweden and original toy theatre producers such as Pollocks are still trading in England.

Toy theatres were made from pre-printed pieces to be assembled at home.  Toy shops would offer ‘penny plain’ scenery and character sheets to be coloured at home, or ‘tuppence coloured’ ready finished sheets costings, one or two pennies each.  Often, the toy theatres reproduced real life theatres and their plays. Continue reading “Toy Theatres”