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Holden CaulfieldApril 25, 2015

This poster for the 1947 film Dear Ruth arrived in a collection last week. The unusual alignment of the two main stars' names has given rise to an urban legend, that this was the inspiration for the name of the character Holden Caulfield in J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, one of the best known works of literature of the 20th Century. This is the first time William Holden and Joan Caulfield appeared together in a film, and this odd juxtaposition of their credits only happened once. It's easy to imagine Salinger strolling down Broadway and spotting this poster displayed under a movie theater marquee. Problem is, this film was not released until the summer of 1947, and Holden Caulfield made his first appearance in a Salinger short story in 1945. It's a great story; it's just not true.

A James Bond trifecta!April 3, 2015

This just in... from a former employee of United Artists, a set of three pristine rolled British quads for You Only Live Twice, featuring artwork by Frank McCarthy and Robert McGinnis.

Surf's Up!April 2, 2015

After our seemingly endless winter here in the Northeast this year, this was a welcome new acquisition, a complete set of four lobby cards for Bruce Brown's classic The Endless Summer. Not much too look at, but a very scarce set; single lobby cards rarely turn up, much less an intact set. Two of the cards have light moisture damage along the edges, but somehow that just seems appropriate for this wave-splashed title.

Chinese Bookies and Bodacious TatasOctober 15, 2014

I've counted no less than ten different styles of U.S. posters for Cassavetes' The Killing of a Chinese Bookie. This one is quite unusual and especially hard to find. A Chinese friend tells me that the characters on the left literally translate to Murder of an Underground Boss, which makes sense because the killing in the film is a murder, and bookmaking is an underground activity.

Here's another style poster for Chinese Bookie. This particular one features the lovely and talented Azizi Johari, who also had a brief cameo in Kubrick's The Shining, in a poster seen on the wall of Scatman Crothers' apartment.

A screen shot from The Shining, and the poster in detail:

Legal Marihuana!July 22, 2014
A recent acquisition is this one-sheet movie poster for Dwain Esper's notorious exploitation flick Marihuana, Weed with Roots in Hell. In this 57-minute shocker we learn - from some of the oldest-looking teenagers you've ever seen - that smoking pot leads in very short order to skinny-dipping, pregnancy, heroin addiction and death. The acting is stilted, the camerawork murky and the dialogue laughable, but just like some of Ed Wood's film, this dated gem falls into the category of so bad that it's good.

When it was first released in 1935 this film had obvious shock value, but when viewed today it seems more camp than provocative. Horror... Shame... Despair! Weird Orgies... Wild Parties... Unleashed Passions! There are three very similar - but slightly different - versions of the one-sheet in circulation, and no one knows for sure exactly when they were produced. Peter Molitor does a heroic job of trying to date the various releases here. His analysis takes into account the items on the table, the subtle changes in wardrobe and the evolving hairstyle of the blonde at top, which ranges from a longish bob to permed curls to something approximating a WWII peek-a-boo style. As far as I'm concerned, they're all cool, and all paper from this title is quite rare.

As a side-note, this poster came to us from a small auction house upstate, in the unlikely sounding town of Cazenovia, New York. They shipped the poster via Federal Express, and we received an email from FedEx with the following text: Marihuana, 5 lbs, expected delivery Tuesday July 1st by 3pm. Warning: I've heard that collecting rare posters like this can become a habit, and sometimes even lead to an addiction to other high-end exploitation posters (the hard-to-find stuff).

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