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The Early Years: 1900 – 1941

By on October 25, 2012

Australian daybills from this era measured approximately 15″ x 40″ and are commonly known as “long daybills”. Two posters were generally printed from one sheet of paper using either the hand litho process (see my guide on daybills 1960-2006 for more information on the hand litho technique) or stone litho process.

Many pre 1941 daybills had a white border area at the top of the poster for screening details to be added by the cinema owner.

Daybills from this era are extremely hard to find and often feature breathtaking and unique artwork. A number of printers were used during the era including

  • JNO Evans
  • Marchant
  • Simmons
  • Hackett Offset
  • Matthews and Co
  • Paper Products Litho
  • F.Cunninghame
  • W.E.Smith
  • Morrison and Bailley
  • Offset Printers
  • The Swift Printing Co.

and others

Artwork was produced by various studio artists including

  • Tom Ferry
  • Wynne Davies
  • Frank Tyler
  • Fred Powis

…..and the famed Richardson Studio who produced most of the art for Paramount Studios. The founder, John Richardson, signed some early 20s posters.

It is important to note that some titles from this era were reissued in the 40s or 50s. Any original poster for a pre 1940s film should almost certainly be a long daybill.

Beau GesteBBC The Voice of BritainA number of long daybills were also issued in a complimentary duo-tone style and these are sometimes referred to as reissues but it is more accurate to say that they are original duo-tone versions.

Long daybills are genuinely rare and are extremely hard to find. There have been some interesting finds over the years with one or two turning up in old houses that were in the process of being demolished. The posters had been used as a form of insulation between linoleum and floorboards.

These posters are a unique part of Australian film history.

About John Reid

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