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Early 20th-Century Movie Posters A sampling of early poster art.

The designs of the early 1900 movie posters reflected some of the art-nouveau influences and also borrowed from the art used in large circus banners. Fancy border designs were evident on early posters. In the early days of movie posters they were showing “scenes” and did not feature any actor names. But they did began to feature names when audiences demanded to know who those people were. That’s when the “movie stars” were born.

Movie poster design and production exploded with the advent of color lithography. Turn of the century mass production of posters brought on a new excitement in movie promotion for the studios as well as audiences who could see the new features that were coming to their local theaters. After the movie was shown at a theater the film was packed up and sent to the next stop along with the large posters for continued use, as they were owned by the studios. The posters were used over and over until they were worn out. Along with posters there were smaller counter top and window cards which also previewed the coming attractions, but in this case, the theatre owners would have to purchase them. Some of these cards still exist today.
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Ben-Hur,
Movie Poster for the 1925 classic film adaptation of Ben-Hur!
Before the Chariot Race, Esther bids godspeed to Ben-Hur. An MGM movie.
The Gold Rush,
Charlie Chaplin,
Movie Poster
The Gold Rush (1925) movie. The Tramp goes to the Klondike in search of gold and finds it and more.

The Foundling,
Movie Poster
“The Detective Suspects Molly O”. This 1915 film was completed in August and reviewed by trade papers, but was destroyed by fire in a studio accident. It was immediately remade with a different director and a slightly different cast and release on January 2, 1916, only 6 days after the scheduled release date for the destroyed version.

King Cowboy,
Movie Poster 1928. Tom Mix was the most popular cowboy hero of the silent film era. A wild-west show performer and Texas ranger, Mix began his work in film as a wrangler and extra and soon graduated to starring roles in hundreds of Westerns.

Laddie, Movie Poster
A movie based on the best known novel by Gene Stratton-Porters. A photographic epic of the American Family, starring John Bowers, Gene Stratton.

Mabel’s Lovers,
Movie Poster
A Keystone Film poster, entitled “The Surprised Suiter”. It seems surprising enough for the viewer also.

The Perils of Pauline, Movie Poster
This is a 1914 American film serial shown in weekly installments, featuring Pearl White as the title character. Pauline has often been cited as a famous example of a damsel in distress, although some analyses hold that her character was more resourceful and less helpless than the classic damsel stereotype.

The Perils of Petersboro,
Movie Poster
A short Max Sennett comedy, silent, black and white.

The Mollycoddle,
Movie Poster
Douglas Fairbanks. An American who has lived much of his life outside the country returns to Arizona for the first time in years and encounters villainy.

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