Details about Original 1898 movie poster. Spanish American War era. Early "sex sells" imagery.Original 1898 movie poster. Spanish American War era. Early "sex sells" imagery. See original listing
Feb 07, 2012 16:23:50 PST
Saginaw, Michigan, United States
Used: An item that has been used previously. See the seller’s listing for full details and description of ... Read moreabout the condition
1898 Film and Slide Exhibition Poster
Advertising Film and Magic Lantern Slide Projection Using Sears, Robuck & Co.'s Optigraph Projector
21 x 28 inches
This is an original Victorian Era movie poster from 1898. NOT a reproduction. It measures 21 x 28 inches on slick paper with a slight salmon pink tone.
This was printed in the USA for exhibition of motion picture and slide "Actualities" of the Spanish American War as well as Hawaii, "comic scenes", and a bicycle parade.
This also is one of the earliest examples of using sex to sell movie tickets. This poster was made in 1898 for the exhibition of War film and slide "Actualities." However, it pictures the controversial film "The Kiss" being shown on the screen. Its not mentioned anywhere in the poster or was part of the program.
Its made of slick paper and was intended to be a one-use posted "bill", the type pasted to an outdoor wall or other spot viewable to the public.
The poster text is as follows....
"A2244 A Wonderful Animated or Moving Picture Exhibition Illustrating the Highest Attainment in the Art of Photography, Showing Life-Size Views of Life and Motion and a Magnificent Stereopticon Exhibition, Illustrating Our New Possessions and Free Cuba.
The Greatest Invention of the Age , Animated Pictures, Life-Like Motion; Life Size. The Wonderful Moving Picture Machine will Represent Scenes and Incidents from the Late War with Spain, Railway Trains Going at Full Speed, Marching Scenes, Bicycle Parades, etc. The Optigraph Moving Picture Machine will be used.
The Philippines, The Ladrones, Hawaii and Porto Rico, Illustrated Throughout with 52 Magnificent Views Projected from the Stereopticon. A Great Combination of Instructive Entertainment and Amusement! More Information in Two Hours’ Entertainment than in Many Days’ Reading. A Most Interesting and Instructive Lecture will be given describing our New Possessions Beautiful Hawaii, The Philippines, the Theatre of the Present War; Porto Rico, the Pearl of the Antilles; The Ladrones, etc., together with some entirely New Scenes in the Island of Cuba; the natural resources and opportunities for Improvement, Development and Civilization of these Fruitful and Beautiful Countries which have lately been acquired by the United States.
The Views will be Illuminated by an intense light, magnified by powerful lenses and projected onto an immense screen with 100 square feet of surface, making them so large the Everyone can see while comfortably seated in any part of the hall.
There has been a large amount of money spent in collecting authentic and reliable information in securing the Magnificent Photographic Views we promise you a royal entertainment. Don’t fail to come and bring your friends."
It has been folded twice. At the top of the verticle fold there is a 2 and 1/4 inch tare. Pin holes are in the horizontal fold. The previous owner used clear tape on the reverse side. None of which is over 1 or 1 1/2 year old. All can be fixed if sent in to be linen backed.
Using the 6- GRADE SYSTEM poster condition grading system, this is in Good condition and can easily returned to a Very Good when repaired and linen backed.
Is it actually from 1898?
All the films mentioned are Actualities except for "comic scenes". The poster can be dated mid-way through the Spanish-American War. It describes a "Freed" Cuba and the Philippines were still a war zone.
The Optigraph projector shown in the poster is hand cranked and with no takup reel, which didn't seem to exist on Optigraphs until 1900.
Optigraph film heads were produced by Sears, Roebuck & Co. from 1896 until around 1909 - 1910 when the brand was sold and name changed to Motiograph (please correct me if I am wrong).
The style and font of this poster is in keeping with others from the same era. Here are four examples that were available from a 1907 exhibitors catalog.
Actualities films from the Spanish American War made a lot of money during and after the conflict and were produced mainly by the Edison Manufacturing Company and the American Mutoscope & Biograph Company. More information can be found at the Library of Congresse's website http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/sawhtml/sawhome.html
It was expensive to be an exhibitor. The profession involved a major upfront investment back then because the films and slides were not rented but bought from the producers. A one 3 minute film subject, for example, would cost what most laborers earned in several months. Not to mention the projection equipment.
To give an idea of this 1898 poster's place in motion picture history here are some important dates.
1894 - Edison Corporation opens the first motion picture studio, The Black Maria.
1894 - The first Kintoscope parlor opens in New York at 1155 Broadway.
1895 - The Lumiere Brothers gave the first public showing of the Cinematographe, a device that projects motion pictures on a screen.
1895 - The first poster ever designed to promote an individual film is made for "L'Arroseur arrosé" (also known as "The Waterer Watered" and "The Sprinkler Sprinkled") directed and produced by Louis Lumiere.
1896 - The first movie theatre that was built was in New York City.
1896 - Georges Melies produces his first film , "Un petit diable" (1896)
1896 - Sears, Robuck & Co. begin to sell Optigraph projector picture heads.
I tried to provide as much history behind this poster and information about its condition as possible. If you have any questions or corrections feel free to email me.