In an effort to control the number of materials going through
it, the NSS instituted a date and coding system. The NSS had regional offices
set up throughout the country. All movie materials distributed through the
National Screen Service normally carried the NSS number.
There were 4 years that were exceptions to this rule. The
first 2 years that the numbers were used (1940 and 1941), some additional
numbers were used. We think that these indicated regions, but we haven't been
able to confirm this. The other 2 years were 1946 and 1948. For some reason
(???), they started the numbering system up around 5-600.
Until mid-1977, the NSS number consisted of two digits, then
a slash (/), and one to four numbers. The first two numbers indicated the
year of the release, the slash was a divider, and the last four digits represented
the sequential order of the movie for that year. For example, an NSS number
of 65/100 indicated that the movie was released in 1965, and was the 100th
movie title coded by NSS for the year 1965.
When the change was made, the same numeric breakdown was
used, but the slash (/) was eliminated. The first two digits of the number
represent the year the poster is released. The last digits represent the sequential
order of the release for the particular year. NOTICE: on the right showing
2 posters from 1977 - Greased
Lighting (on the top) had the old number system while Alice
Sweet Alice used the new number system.
The NSS number is usually found on the bottom border of
the one sheet poster, normally on the right side, but occasionally found
in the lower left corner. The NSS numbers were in different locations on
other poster sizes.
Here is a breakdown:
30x40 - the
NSS number was initially on the bottom right like the one sheet but by
the mid 1940s it had changed to being in the middle on the left and right
40x60 - the
NSS number is on the bottom right border just like the one sheet, but
it is also unside down on the top left border.
- the NSS number was on the bottom right corner until 1968 when it changed
to being on the top left and right borders.
- the NSS number was on the bottom right corner until 1977 when it changed
to being on the bottom left and right border 'side ways'.
Lobby Cards - on the bottom right corner
In order to indicate a poster is a reissue/rerelease,
all NSS numbers contain the letter "R" preceding the number code. Any
NSS number containing an "R" in the first position indicates that the
poster was reissued/rereleased in the year indicated. NOTICE: our sample
on the right shows the one sheet for the 1975 reissue for A
Touch of Class