A Classic Stock Poster
By Ken Trombly - Thursday, December 1, 2022
While Harry Kellar, Chung Ling Soo, Servais Leroy and others promoted their shows with beautiful stone lithograph posters that were custom printed for them, what did the average Joe do?
During the Golden Age of Magic (c. 1875-1925) the vast majority of performers—who could never afford custom designed posters—relied on stock posters, generic advertising often featuring widely performed effects, to which a performer would add his name and advertise the show.
Here is a well-executed stock poster printed by Great Western Printing Co of St. Louis, from probably 100 or more years ago. Featuring the spirit cabinet and a host of classic apparatus, this is a colorful iconic poster to which any performer would be pleased to affix his name along the header at the top.
I think when I found this gem on eBay, it was unmounted, and missing portions, especially a piece from its northwest corner. As I was unaware of an intact copy of the same poster in anyone’s collection to aid in its restoration, I left it to my go-to poster restorer, Sei Petersen, of Poster Repair Co, in Baltimore, MD, to use his imagination in coming up with the devilish figure to replace whatever was in the missing upper left corner. Given that I have still not seen a complete version of this poster, if anyone out there is aware of another one to which I might compare this one and see how close Sei got in imagining what was in that missing corner, please email me at email@example.com. Many thanks.
© Kenneth M. Trombly, All Rights Reserved
Did you enjoy this? Other examples of posters from Ken’s collection can be viewed on Instagram or at his website, magicposters.com
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