NSS Numbers Log

National Screen Service actually started in 1920 with trailers. By 1930, they had created a unique numbering system for each title that they handled. This number was their way of keeping track of the different trailers even when the titles were very similar.

In 1935 National Screen ventured into posters by providing a few specialty posters. Because they already had a national distribution set up for trailers, they were in approached to also handle specialty studio advertising material (30x40s, 40x60s and banners). This experiment failed as did several others that the studios tried.

In 1939, Paramount approached NSS to take over their entire poster distribution under certain circumstances. NSS met and exceeded those requirements. Soon all major studios followed behind.

Listed here is when the major studios signed EXCLUSIVE contracts with NSS for poster distribution. There were a few studios that initially went with NON-exclusive contracts with NSS. Consequently, a couple of the studios will have a few releases through NSS BEFORE the start date listed below.

Paramount signed with NSS Dec. '39,
RKO in '40, Loew's in '42,
Universal in 44,
Columbia in '45 ,
UA and WB in '46
20th Century in '47.

For more info on this see the NSS history section.

The NSS numbers that were used were created by title so the same number was used for both trailers and all assessories. The initial number was a series of 2 numbers (which is the year) and then 4 numbers which would be that specific title. This was the standard way that the number was shown until they started with the posters in 1940.

In 1940 and 1941, NSS tested several variations to try to make the posters easier to identify in the warehouse. They settled with a slight variation of putting the 2 numbers (the year) and then a slash (/) and then the individual number without the zeros in between. This system worked well until computers began catching up and in 1977, NSS changed the variation they were putting on the posters BACK to the initial way of 2 numbers and then 4 numbers.

We have started the NSS log at 1930 with all trailer numbers and then combinations of trailer and posters starting in 1940. Each year has an explanation and legend to the logs.  For more information about the logs, click here

* - indicates that I have finished the 1st pass (of 3) which is combining the 1999 NSS log info with the 15,000 NSS numbers that we have already collected.



The 2nd pass will combine the 1962 NSS log information and pre-1940 trailer codes and resort all the logs alphabetical by Title.

The 3rd and final pass will compile the reissue info and fill in distributors and general information.


1940* 1941* 1942*  1943*  1944*  1945*  1946*  1947*  1948*  1949*

1950*  1951*  1952*  1953*  1954*  1955*  1956*  1957*  1958*  1959*

1960*  1961*  1962*  1963* 1964*  1965*  1966* 1967*  1968*  1969*

1970*  1971*  1972*  1973*  1974*  1975*  1976*  1977*  1978* 1979*

1980*  1981*  1982*  1983*  1984*  1985*  1986*  1987*  1988*  1989*

1990*  1991*  1992*  1993*  1994*  1995*  1996*  1997*  1998*  1999*



A special thanks to all our number trackers:

Andy Schoenhorn
with over 3000 numbers submitted

Lou Ann Wooley
with over 400 numbers submitted

Francis Brewer
with over 200 numbers submitted

Christopher Jones
with over 200 numbers submitted

we really appreciate the help of ALL our contributors:

Ritchie Alexander
Norm Allen
Bernadette Allen
Evan Bernstein
Cindy Boutin
Francis Brewer
Jim Bryan
Andrew Campbell
Diane V Carleton
Parsin Churvongse
Tom Cook
Joe DePasquale
Tom Desmond
Dale Dilts
Andy Dobson
Richard Ducar
Ken Furlong
Bruce Hershenson
Ed Inman
Jack Johnson
Widge Johnson
Christopher Jones
Rob Jones
Sean Linkenback
John Long
Richard Madden
Evan Maxon
Jerry McManis
Jim Mossey
Lynn Naron
Tomoki Nishikawa
Robert 'Toby' Oden
Randall Petersen
Sarah Poole
Richard Prolsdorfer
Scott Reed
Andrew Roberts
Bill Ryden
Andy Schoenhorn
Matthew & Jennifer Schwenning

Grey Smith
Nick "SnakePlissken" Snider
Lynne Thompson
Randi L. Waddell
Jessica Wethington
Lou Ann Wooley
Frank Zoccano