Sunday, November 12, 2006



Auction news plus some web site recommendations make up the bulk of this issue. First, Bonham’s L.A. will be holding a movie memorabilia sale on 17 December. Along with the usual Hollywood high end garage sale detritus is a selection of movie posters. Most are the last batch from the Louis Leithold holdings (this is part III of the disposal of the late collectors’ hoard.) They will be offered without reserve and many in batches that should tempt some dealers to add to their inventory. Also featured is yet another 6 sheet ( 81 x 81 inches ) for The Outlaw starring Jane Russell. This one, as with the several others that have surfaced over the past few years, is from the furtive1943 showing of the film in San Francisco. Controversy has plagued this poster since its first appearance at Christie’s South Ken when it was declared the only known copy until it was revealed that the consignors had five more copies and then further rumored that the owners had destroyed the other four to preserve the value of the one being offered. On the day of the auction a lawyer crafted statement stating that this was the only copy “known to the consignors” was read out to the audience. It sold that day for $80,000. Another version showed up at Christie’s New York (in poor condition) and sold for $33,000. As with the one on offer in December (which bears a pre sale estimate of $15,000 to $20,000), this was stated as being from a different source than the Christie’s South Ken version. For further information: Go here

November 14 and 15 are the dates for the Heritage movie poster auction in Dallas. The sale contains over a thousand lots and its 300 page catalog is an excellent reference work (its annotated listings contain reams of off-beat and valuable information.) Among the highlights: the style B half sheet (28 x 22 inches) for War Of The Worlds (1953.) It carries an estimate of $40,000 to $60,000 and it the only U.S. art on the film that portrays the invading Martian space craft. There is also an amazing half sheet form Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1956); an insert ( 14 x 36 inches) for The Thing (1951), perhaps the best art on this title; a lobby card (14 x 11) for the U.S. release by Paramount of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927); the one sheet ( 27 x 41) for Forbidden Planet (1956) and the large format (23 x 33) lenticular of the space wheel image from 2001 (1968.) These are just a handful of listings from the sci-fi section of the sale. There is a whole section of major horror titles, some super Disney material (including the one sheet (27 x 41) lenticular for Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), plus Marx Brothers material, film noir, westerns, silent material and on and on. The sale also contains the only known one sheet for the original 1941 release of The Outlaw. The film was pulled just before hitting theatres because Hughes would not allow the cuts that were demanded by censors. The official release was in 1946 (and there’s a one sheet for that also in the sale), but, as stated above, there were abortive attempts to put it before the public in between those dates.
Detailed information on the sale and the entire catalog with images, can be viewed here

One of the new found joys of the internet are blogs and one of the best movie blogs around is here Dave is a well known film critic and historian who writes the DVD column for the NY Times. This weekly screed on new releases had become a must read for those interested in older films. He presents a wealth of detail about the films, directors and stars featured in the increasingly sophisticated and arcane packages being put out by a handful of companies who have gone to heroic lengths to preserve and present some major movie material. Those columns are presented on his blog plus reviews of recent releases and a fascinating chain of comments by some pretty savvy cineastes. Dave is also a long time movie poster collector and author on the subject. His book on the Italian film paper fills a huge gap in the literature on our hobby.

Having sold my business last year, finished my novel, done with Roadshow until late next Spring and seeking some way to avoid starting the sequel to the first book, I launched a web sitehere that offers free evaluation of movie posters (as well as war, travel, music and advertising posters.)

We’re back in L.A. after a two month stay in London. This weekend we are off to Las Vegas. Daughter Regina is doing some promotional work on the Comic Relief taping and Barbara and I get to see the Beatles show, Love. We are going to spend the Holidays in California, visit DisneyWorld in January and then head back to London so as not to miss the misty, damp and chilly British Winter I enjoy so much. Regards, until next time, rudy franchi

Monday, October 23, 2006

New Poster Appraisal Site

Now that my novel is finished and in the editing stage, I've had time to launch Poster Appraisal.Com an informatioin site for both movie and non movie (travel, war, etc.) posters. Basically, I'm offering free appraisals and a bit of advice about marketing. Only the first page is up -- poster size info, links, etc. will be coming next week.

If anyone on the board wants to trade links, let me know. (

Also, I'm winding myself up tighter than 10 one sheets in a 2 inch tube in prepartation to letting loose with another Poster News Bulletin. This one will comment on the recent Christie's auction and the upcoming Heritage and Hollywood Poster Auction sales.

Regards, rudy franchi

Friday, June 23, 2006


It was with trepidation that I opened the catalog for the upcoming ( June 25/26) movie poster sale at Bonhams in L.A. The chattering cineastes (especially the Morons Of Poster Obsession) had been filling cyber space with criticisms of the accuracy of the listings: re-releases had been listed as original release and sizes and conditions had been misstated and on and on. The catalog had taken awhile to reach me since it had traveled to several of my more recent addresses, finally discovering me unsuccessfully attempting to hide from the demimonde of movie collectors at my lair in the Little israel section of Los Angeles. During that gap in time, I began to wonder what could have come over Margaret Barrett, who was responsible for the sale, along with Greg Shaw and Dana Hawkes.

I had worked with Margaret at Christie’s New York when we put on several movie posters sales together. Greg had organized movie posters sales at Christie’s L.A. including the disposition of the George Cosmatos collection and Dana, of course, had been the head of the department that had put on the spectacularly successful sales at Sotheby’s in New York, working with their consultant Jose Carpio. Could all three of these totally professional experts on all aspects of movie paper lost their senses and put out a catalog rife with errors?

I needn’’t have worried. As I paged through the sales information, I did notice the odd inaccuracy, but not a single movie poster catalog issued in the last 20 years emerged with perfect listings. Auction houses have a routine method of dealing with catalog errors: as they are pointed out, a list is compiled and placed in the sales room while the pre-sale viewing takes place. These days, the corrections are usually made to the on-line catalog on a daily basis. The pressure of meeting catalog deadlines is responsible for most of these errors as is ever present human fallibility. The errors in the Bonham’s catalog were no more egregious then those that I had committed in the catalogs created for the sales at Skinner’s and Christie’s or ones that have appeared in sales at Christie’s London, those at Heritage in Dallas or the mega weekly eBay listings. Once more the idiots of the internet, who are obsessed with he condition of everything and know the value of nothing, had gone into another fit of bitchiness in an attempt to display their supposedly superior knowledge via picayune nit-picking. No wonder we are always disappointed our hobby finds it difficult to spread beyond the few thousand collectors and dealers who co-mingle like one large, incestuous family; with relatives like these, we’ll always remain the West Virginia of entertainment collectibles.

The movie poster section of the sale contains several major items, including the original U.K. program for Metropolis (1927) signed in dedication format by Fritz Lang in 1963. The inscription is to Forrest J. Ackerman, the Keeper Of The Flame for all things cinematic related to horror and science fiction. Another highlight is the original release one sheet (27 x 41 inches) for It Happened One Night (1934.) For the most part, the sale contains a broad range of mid-level posters, lobby card sets and even books, most with reasonable estimates.

The 200 + page catalog contains two other sections of interest: a number of lots devoted to entertainment memorabilia including a strong selection of Orson Welles material and the Vivian Leigh’s presentation script for Gone With The Wind (1939.) This part of the sale also includes rock ‘n roll material, featuring a large amount of Beatles ephemera. The catalog can be viewed online @

Next month’s major movie poster is actually three sales by Heritage scheduled to take place July 12th and 13th. Three distinct catalogs have been issued and the movie poster auction contains 900 lots including the Style B one sheet for Citizen Kane (1941), perhaps the best U.S. graphic on the title; both the style A and style B one sheets for Son of Kong (1933); the six sheet (81 x 81 inches) for Dark Passage (1947) and the star of the sale, the original release one sheet for Grand Hotel (1932.) I had brought what was then thought of as the only known copy to the May 2000 sale at Christie’s, New York, where it fetched close to $50,000. It was purchased by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as part of their program to acquire a one sheet for every Academy Award winning film (their only gap is Cavalcade (1933), so keep an eye out.) The example Heritage is offering surfaced earlier this year on eBay and was quickly withdrawn when the consignor realized that such a major piece needed the special treatment and promotion that could afforded by a large auction house. There is much speculation among movie poster affichionados as to whether the poster can sell within Heritage’s rather broad estimate range ($50,000 -$75,000) without the Academy leading the bidding. But this is a major poster, albeit for a rather poor film. Perhaps the most important aspect of its appearance in the sale is the reinforcement of my new found belief that it is very unlikely only one example of a film poster exists.

The second catalog issued by Heritage is for a selection of over 400 Swedish movie posters, including the one sheet (27.5 x 39.5 inchesl) for The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951). The other titles range back to the silent era and the display of images goes a long way to provide much needed information on Sweden’s contribution to film poster art.

The third sale, Lost Hollywood, consists of 150 original examples of special photography by such masters as George Hurrel and Clarence Bull. These are not the run of the mill 8 x 10 glossies shot by a film’s unit photography and found in a publicity departments key set. These are the large format photos shot and often printed by a select group of camera artists who had, from the silent era , developed thecniques and styles that captured and projected to the world the image of glamorous Hollywood. In most cases, only a few of each image were made from the negative since special photographs were sent as exclusives to major newspapers and magazines. Among the highlights of the sale are photos of Boris Karloff, Joan Crawford, the Marx Brothers and Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes.

All of the above material can be found @ but as always with material from Heritage, I recommend obtaining the printed catalogs. They are filled with informative comments and are important additions to any movie poster reference library.

I write at the Comfort Inn, Richland, Utah., where I am being held prisoner until I promise to stop saying nasty things about all those nice movie poster collectors. Actually, this is a stopping off point on our way to Salt Lake City, where we tape the second show of the new season of Antiques Roadshow. Last week we drove from L.A. to Tucson, where we taped show #1. We then drove up to Sedona and onto the Grand Canyon for two days of awe. The other day we were at Lake Powell (where the opening to Planet of the Apes was shot) l and on the way back from Salt Lake, we’ll stop off at Boulder Dam. After a break to celebrate our Nation’s independence from just about everybody, we continue the Roadshow tour with stops in Mobile, Milwaukee and Philadelphia. Somewhere in there, we’ll grab a week in New York. This year’s Roadshow schedule includes Honolulu, but I had long ago committed to appear at the 2006 World Science Fiction Convention, which is to held in Anaheim this year. We are off to London again in early September. Regards, rudy franchi

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Arabs Don't Suck, We Do

After spending 6 weeks in London:

The more time I spend here, the more I despair for our country. From a distance one can see clearly the suicidal path it has taken. I'm not only talking about our leaders, of both parties, who are just following the dictates of human nature. They are filling the vacuum left by a populace that has turned completely away from any sense of community. They want to be left alone in their jerrry built houses at the end of suburban cul de sacs and they don't really care what happens to anyone or anything beyond the borders of their gated community....except for those who have children in school and their only concern is that the number of black student be kept below 5%. They tune out most political noise and only the buzz words "God" and "Family Values" filter through. And they don't vote for The Republicans. They vote against Michael Moore and Whoopie Goldberg and all those Jews and Niggers in New York and L.A. They are the enemy, not the Arabs, whose cocks we all suck hoping oil will come out.

Now how's that for a totally illogical rant? As they said about the Junta with one honest man: there's a colonel of truth in there.

rudy franchi