Thursday, June 29, 2017

Mini posters from the flea market

Someone discovered the two small posters, mounted but unframed, at a flea market.  My Little Chickadee (1940), starred Mae West and W.C. Fields, as pictured, in the comedy western.  These two stars were old vaudevillians. Their skits were polished from decades of performing their well-known characters live in theaters across the country.  The movie is less an amusing look at the nineteenth century American West as it is a revival of early twentieth century popular entertainment...and a spoof by both stars about their own stage personas.

The poster is modern souvenir kitsch, such as you may find on the walls of any home of a classic film fan.  The art department of Universal Studios would marvel at this.  

Stanley and Livingstone (1939), from 20th Century Fox, was made the year before My Little Chickadee, and likewise looked back on a more innocent if more adventurous era as the reporter played by Spencer Tracy attempts to track down the missionary in the wilds of Africa.

We were on the brink of entering World War II when these movies with old-fashioned themes became hits of the modern era.  The posters are in public domain, copied and copied, and put on mugs, magnets, and any other handy item that will hold a brightly colored illustration.  The merchandizing is not publicizing the movie anymore, however; it's publicizing the art department of the studio.  Unsung and forgotten, but whose work is still appreciated, and apparently, still just as marketable as the movie.
My thanks to Gail Watson for these posters and her knowledge of collectibles.


Caftan Woman said...

I was just thinking the other day that it might be fun to give My Little Chickadee another look. I have a fondness for the screenplay of Stanley and Livingstone. Can't remember why, as it's been ages since my last viewing. There must have been a good reason.

I keep buying copies of lobby cards and can't catch up with buying frames for them. Someday, I'll have quite a wall. In the meantime, Ralph Byrd as Dick Tracy (a Republic Serial) leans against the wall behind my desk.

Jacqueline T. Lynch said...

I love lobby cards. I have a few as well. The artwork spawned by the film industry is fascinating.

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