Now, before you get all excited and run out to this show, let’s cover a few things first. The prices on some of the items you’ll find run the spectrum. Some dealers will have a table full of one-sheets or stills with a big sign stating “$1 EACH”. Of course, you have to go through each and every stack because you never know if you’re going to come across a real gem in there! You just never know. I have to say from experience, after that first stack, your back is killing you and you start to wonder if it is even worth it! But $1 posters is hard to pass up.
On the other end of that, you have some dealers with items on the slightly high side. You have to remember that these are original pieces of film memorabilia, which can go for big bucks. Such as an insert for the 1951 film Them!, which had a price tag of $1000. Or even a lobby card for the 1957 film Curse of the Demon that was going for $650…just for the single card! There are posters and even the bigger 3-sheet kind of stuff, but those are so high that I don’t even ask. I’m not saying that these are overpriced, but those are the going rates. You need to be a dealer/collector with some serious cash to be playing in that field, one that I know I never will.
In between those two ends of the spectrum, are the rest of the dealers. By shuffling and shifting through their merchandise, you might just stumble across a real gem hidden in there, at a great price, or at least a fair one. We’ve done the show twice now and each time I have come away with a few choice items, never paying what I thought was too much, while other times finding a great deal or two. Sometimes it just luck of the draw, being there first, or stumbling across something that others have missed. But you have to be there to find out.
At this particular show, I seemed to pick up items from some of my favorite films. One of the dealers right by me had hung up a half-sheet for a film that I would consider one of the best from the ’50s. Okay..not the best, but it is one of the greatest Turkey Day movies of all time, The Giant Claw (1957). The price tag was $40, which, for an original, really wasn’t bad at all. It wasn’t in perfect shape by any means, but not terrible either. After a little internal debate, I had to pick it up.
I picked up a couple more items from this same dealer. But I traded with him, so therefore I really didn’t spend any more money on stuff. Makes perfect sense, right? He had a print of the rarest of rare movie posters…the 6-sheet of the original Frankenstein. The story goes that a guy got a bunch of old suitcases from a yard sale and one of those had several posters in there, which turned out to be not several posters, but just one big one! It was an original 6-sheet from the 1931 Universal classic. Right now, its estimated to be worth anywhere from $600K to a couple million. But a professional photo was taken and prints were made of it, and this dealer had one of those prints. The colors are just beautiful and being a big fan of the film, as well as knowing that I would never be able to afford to even look at the real thing let alone buy it, a nice little reproduction is just fine with me.
The last item I got from him was one of those examples where the poster art is actually better than the film. The title on the poster is Vampire Beast Craves Blood, but is actually the 1968 British film The Blood Beast Terror, starring Peter Cushing and Robert Flemyng. It’s a fun little picture with a interesting creature, but not a film I would say is great. But this poster art is just fantastic! These were the kind of posters that with just one look, it made you want to go see the picture. A task that is sadly missed these days. It is a little bit sun-faded, but still has some good color in there.
From another dealer, our buddy Cory from Reel Art in Berwyn, IL, we picked up a beautiful 30×40 of Nightmare Castle (1965), probably my favorite of Barbara Steele’s Italian gothic pictures she made. Years ago, I had gotten a half-sheet for this (actually from Cory as well) and just love the images on it. So when I came across this much larger piece for only $40, even though I knew I was going to have trouble finding a frame for it, I had to add it to the collection. Can wait to get it framed and hung up in the movie room! Below is just the image of the one-sheet, since I didn’t have a photo of the actual 30×40 that I got.
The last great find, thanks to a friend pointing it out to me, was this great Italian fotobusta for Hammer’s Plague of the Zombies (1966), another favorite of mine. This was only $20, which amazed me it was so cheap. Now the problem is going to be finding places to put all of these up!
Besides getting a CD that had Lex Baxter’s score for Black Sunday, I was done buying for the weekend. There probably was a few more items that I would have liked to have gotten, but I think I had spent more than I should have. But still, at the end of the show, I came away with some great pieces.
Next Up…Writers, Writers, Everywhere!